It’s late, dinner time is approaching and the usual question of what to cook for the family rears its (ugly/frightening/demanding) head. The fridge is half-empty but you’ve got chicken and broccoli and, somewhere at the back of the cupboard, you remember there’s a jar of curry powder that needs to be used up before its expiry date. What you need is recipe inspiration and fast.
Luckily you remember you can tap your ingredients into an online recipe finder, and hey presto, hundreds of recipes meeting your exact requirements will appear at your fingertips all at the click of a button. Dinner saved.
While the concept isn’t new – quite a few websites now offer it as a feature – we’ve fallen in love with two online recipe tools that are taking the process two or three big leaps further. Think smart shopping lists, recipe recommendations catered to your preferences and powerful filtering tools that can match the tastebuds of even the fussiest eaters, and you start to get the picture.
The first of these online recipe websites is Yummly – whose mission is to be the “largest, most powerful and most helpful food site in the world”. It’s certainly getting there.
Its founder, Dave Fellar, got the idea in 2010 while trying and failing to find online recipes that didn’t have mustard in them. Today 15 million new users a month can not only find recipes that don’t have mustard in them, but also dishes that pair banana with chicken for example (surprisingly quite a few) or gluten-free bread recipes or any number of variations, thanks to a very powerful filtering system. I like to think of it as the Dyson vacuum cleaner of online recipe tools.
Word of warning: don’t visit this website hungry. The homepage is truly lovely to behold with hundreds of incredibly beautiful food shots and creative recipes that will get your mouth watering, even if you’ve only just eaten.
To make the most of Yummly you’ll need to register and set your preferences, like how many you’re cooking for, what your tastes are and even what your cooking level is from beginner to advanced. You’re then free to explore the whole Yummly experience.
Use the browse and filter fields to find recipes according to the ingredients you want to use, the ingredients you don’t want to use, the time you have to cook, your tastes (salty, sweet, spicy), nutrition (low in fat, sugar-free), allergies, cuisine and even brands. Or have a look at the recommendations Yummly has made for you based on your own personal preferences.
By adding the “bookmarklet” to your favourites bar, you can start adding any recipe you see online to your personal Recipe Box and you can share those recipes with friends or family, or save them to a shopping list on your mobile ready to use the next time you do your grocery shop. In certain areas of the US, that smart shopping list goes one step further and is linked to a shopping delivery service that delivers everything to your door.
If you’re a home chef or a food blogger you can add your own recipes to Yummly and instantly share them with the world – time for Grandma’s Apple Crumble to have a well-deserved global audience, we think.
The second of our online recipe tool recommendations is Yumprint, the slightly newer kid on the block (founded in 2011 and acquired by Walmart in 2014). It features 15 million recipes from more than 2000 websites around the world every month and a super organised cookbook where you can stash your favourite recipes from anywhere on the internet.
On first view, Yumprint is clean and well laid out. While it may not look as “wow” as Yummly, we think it’s Recipe Clipper is slightly better than Yummly’s bookmarklet. It’s more visible for one thing, sitting right next to the URL field on your screen. It not only shows you if there’s a clippable recipe on the page you’re on but also how many recipes. Click on the icon, the recipe appears neatly laid out and written in a sidebar and you’re then given the option of which folder you want to share it to in your personal Cookbook.
Yumprint also has a grocery list which you instantly download ingredients to and save or print. Its app isn’t available here in the UK yet so you can’t save the list to your mobile. And it doesn’t look like you can upload your own recipes if you’re an amateur chef either. But there is a nice review system where home cooks can rate recipes they’ve tried, which we think is incredibly useful. We know a number of food bloggers who use Yumprint and are very happy with it.
The best thing about both sites is that they do away with the hassle of trying to organise recipes you’ve found online. No more bookmarking them and then forgetting which folder you bookmarked them to (or is that just me?) and no more creased and torn print-outs gathering dust in a drawer after they’ve been used once (my old standard way of recipe filing).
Inspired, yes. Informed, yes. Life made easier, yes. MoKL loves.
*We’ve added the Yummly share button to our recipes. Look for the icon at the bottom of each recipe page. And check out our Yummly page. We’d love you to Yum us!