Unless you're blessed with as much free time and disposable income for expensive meats and cheeses as Ina Garten, cooking for yourself all the time can be a real pain in the ass. But rather than Seamless your way through life, you can easily load up your iPhone with a few handy apps that'll make grocery shopping and meal prep a little less hellish. Behold: adulthood! And if you're looking for a little inspiration, take on one of Thrillist's own original recipes.
What it is: The Swiss Army Knife of home-cooking apps
BigOven is one of the highest-rated cooking apps in the iTunes Store for good reason -- it's packed with a suite of hugely helpful features, including access to 350,000 recipes (which you can favorite and save), auto-generating grocery lists, and a menu planner. There's even an easy way to figure out what new and not-disgusting meals you can make using the leftovers in your fridge.
What it is: Video tutorials for kitchen newbies
For the visual learners among us, Kitchen Stories has got you covered with a glut of different snack, entree, side dish, and dessert recipes broken down into step-by-step photo tutorials, which should help assuage the anxiety of whether you’re doing everything right. Also, there's a whole catalog of how-to videos to walk you through everything from making sauerkraut and homemade croutons, to filleting a fish or poaching an egg.
What it is: A slick-and-simple meal planner for busy single people and couples
Mealime makes it insanely easy to plan out a unique meal plan for your entire week, providing a selection of 30-minute recipes personalized to suit your particular likes, dislikes, and dietary restrictions. Plus, it'll help you save money and prevent unused groceries from going bad, since your meal plans are "intelligently created" to use up the majority of purchased ingredients over the course of the week.
What it is: A pocket-sized sommelier
For wannabe oenophiles who haven’t the slightest idea what to sip alongside their roast pork or ribeye, Pocket Wine will walk you through it. Apart from narrowing down a perfect fine wine to suit your particular palate, the app has an entire section dedicated to recommending wine pairings for all types of foods and cuisines.
Escoffier Cook's Companion
What it is: A measurement converter and virtual culinary whiz kid
Useful for novices and seasoned chefs alike, this app packs in a sleek measurement converter, timers, a glossary of cooking terms and ingredients, and proper usage tips for a wide range of kitchen tools and utensils. That means never having to Google how to use your spiralizer, set the oven timer, or look up what the hell "adzuki beans" are while you’re mid-meal prep.
What it is: Your new favorite recipe search engine
Googling around for a particular recipe is a one-way trip to slideshow and pop-up ad hell. That's what makes Yummly such a godsend. The app allows you to finely filter your search by taste preference, ingredients, occasion, diet, season, and other parameters, then plucks the best matches from its stock of thousands upon thousands of recipes, sourced from hot blogs and food sites like Chowhound, Epicurious, and Serious Eats.
What it is: Cooking classes and recipes from Michelin-starred chefs
iTunes: Free (plus subscription fees)
While the app itself is free, the hundreds of exclusive recipes and how-to videos from the likes of Rick Bayless, Seamus Mullen, and Michael Anthony are only available for users who pony up the $20 subscription fee. That said, the premium version comes with a handful of other exceptional perks, including access to its proprietary kitchen help hotline, Ask the Chef.
Food Network In the Kitchen
What it is: The mother lode of Food Network stars’ recipes
This incredibly popular app gives you one-tap access to how-to videos and recipes from all your favorite Food Network chefs (even Guy Fieri!) all in one place. If you want, it will even generate a shopping list based on what you want to cook.
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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. He's a pretty decent cook, despite a particular mac and cheese mishap that prompted a visit from the FDNY.