Cookbook and Recipe Software: The Best Cookbook and Recipe Software of 2010

Best Cookbook and Recipe Software 2010

While I was looking for the best and most popular cookbooks of 2010, I happened to also run across the cooking software programs that are being ranked as the best in class.

There were many things that I realized about cookbook and recipe software that I had not thought about before.  Unfortunately, I think I might be hooked and now I will have to experiment with some of these great programs to further organize my cooking life!

Although I think I will always love having my hard back cookbooks and my many binders of recipes, I can really see an advantage to converting my favorite recipes to an organizational system such as cookbook and recipe software. Let's face it - half of my time sometimes is spent trying to remember which cookbook my 'favorite' recipe is in or which binder so for me, this would be an incredible time saver.

Let's explore some of the software options and the pros and cons of them!

Perhaps a thing of the past - real cookbooks?
Perhaps a thing of the past - real cookbooks?

Photo Credit: Flickr Szlea

Who Uses Cookbook and Recipe Software?

At first, I was thinking that cookbook and recipe software wouldn't have that much to offer the 'regular' cook and wondered if it was mainly targeted towards cooks that were really serious - as in chefs and restaurant owners. But the more I thought about it and examined some of the features, I can see how cookbook and recipe software would be great for any level of cooking skill. All these cooks would benefit from cookbook and recipe software.

CATEGORIES OF COOKING SKILL LEVELS

  • Old-fashioned cook - This is the kind of cook who has a box of recipes - probably some handed down from relatives and friends over the years, or just bits and pieces. Or notes that they've made on how things worked when they made something. Most often there's no way to trace where the recipe came from.
  • Chief cook and bottle washer for the family. This is someone who usually works as well. This cook is always having to think about dinner while multitasking and taking care of the family. Most times what's needed is something quick and nutritious but the operative word is quick and little prep!


  • Professional chef who lives amongst us. This cook may have a restaurant or a catering business and is always looking for the brightest and the best in terms of presentation, ingredients, and prep time is not a factor! Making things from scratch and making them perfectly is the name of this cook's game.
  • Newly married or out on their own for the first time. This cook is just starting to realize that they need to learn to make food or they will live on take-out and fast food forever. This cook is very nervous about cooking and just wants to start out with the basics and not mess it up!
  • Cook doing special diets. Whether it is a heart-healthy diet, low-carb, diabetic, or low cholesterol diet, to name a few, this cook needs facts and needs them now. The breakdown of ingredients is essential to this kind of cooking and being able to figure out the numbers is essential to this cook's success.
  • Disastrous cook. This is the cook who cannot seem to boil water much less an egg and needs serious, easy-to-follow instructions of the simplest kind to begin to gain some success at cooking. I would almost categorically put most men and boys into this category, although I know for a fact that there are a lot of great cooks out there that are male, professional and live-in. I applaud you all!

Even though as noted above, there are so many different kinds of cooks and levels of skill, who would benefit then the most from cookbook and recipe software? I think it would be fair to say ALL these cooks would benefit from these products. The most obvious reason to me is the organizational benefit of it!

As we look further at these products, we will examine what they offer in terms of options - and that's where it gets really cool!

What Do You Need in Cookbook and Recipe Software?

These are the most important features in cookbook and recipe software - no matter what brand you decide on:

  • Ease of installation - this is paramount and if it is labor intensive, it's not the right one
  • Ease of use - it has to be totally user friendly and something even a man could figure out! (sorry - only kidding)
  • Help and support - if you are buying a product, you deserve help and support and I prefer mine over the phone although sometimes that is hard if the 'support' is from another country. At the very least, email support should be available. You should see the support mechanism on the website where you order the cookbook and recipe software or in my opinion, you will probably be on your own but for some FAQ's
  • Availability of recipes - how many are included and can you get more for instance on the Internet? One product starts out with 1 million recipes - hard to beat.
  • Can you add recipes? If you want to add in Uncle Fred's recipe for corn-on-the-cob on the BBQ, can you do that?
  • Are recipes able to be edited? Sometimes you have a tweak that you like better than the original and you want that to be the recipe rather than the original - does the software allow that?
  • Can you separate recipes by categories? So you have your drinks in 1 category and your desserts in another - this seems essential if you are organized!
  • Does the cookbook and recipe software have a feature that makes grocery lists? This is a must-have feature in my book. Also does it organize the items on the list? Or have a 'perpetual list' for items you use all the time? Great features!
  • Can you download recipes off the Internet and add to the software? This is a great feature as most any recipe you could want is on the Internet
  • What if you have apples, raisins and nuts? Can you do a search and find what recipes you could use these ingredients in and pick from several recipes?
  • Adjustments on servings - if the recipe calls for 4 servings but you want to make it for 6, can the software 'think' and give you the appropriate measurements? This is a fabulous feature!
  • Does the cookbook and recipe software calculate calories depending on ingredients, sodium content, fat content, etc.? This is invaluable information especially if you are tweaking or creating your own recipes
  • Can you print recipe cards?
  • Could you print a cookbook if you wanted? This is becoming a favorite thing to receive as a gift - a family or personal cookbook of 'best' recipes!
  • Are there tutorials to walk you through the software?
  • Are there photos and videos of recipes included in the software?
  • Can you design menus - if so by the day, the week or the month? People on a diet or people on a budget like this feature and can use it to save money - or calories! This is also a superb way to control food inventory and make sure your ingredients stay fresh and you use them in a timely fashion
  • Are there any verbal cooking instructions with the software?
  • Is there a Frequently Asked Questions category available?
  • Can you download your list or recipe to an iPhone or Smart phone?
  • What versions of Windows support the cookbook and recipe software? This is very important as if you buy the software you do not want it to become obsolete if you upgrade your operating system
  • Are there software upgrades available as they come out? Are they free? Where do you obtain them and are there any known glitches or bugs to the software?

These are just some of the questions (and features) that are available in the cookbook and recipe software market out there today.

Make sure that you note which features are most important in your style of cooking and then select the software that is best for your needs - and your pocketbook.

The Top 10 Cookbook and Recipe Software Awards of 2010 Go To....BUT

I could have put this at the beginning but I think it is important for folks to think about what they want first and then look at the options. In purchasing cookbook and recipe software, the same principle applies. According to TopTenReviews, this is the breakdown in the ratings (best price and how many stars with overall rating out of 4).....BUT this is really not the whole picture!  This is only a rating as per TopTenReviews.

RATED 4 STARS

  1. MasterCook Software ($29.99)
  2. BigOven Deluxe Software (29.95)

RATED 3+ STARS

  1. Living Cookbook Software ($34.95)
  2. Cook'n with Betty Crocker Deluxe ($44.95)
  3. Cook'n with Betty Crocker ($29.99)

RATED 3 STARS

  1. Cook'n Recipe Organizer ($79.95)
  2. Now You're Cooking! ($25)
  3. One Million Recipes ($67.95)

RATED 2+ STARS

  1. AccuChef ($19.95)
  2. Cookbook Wizard ($17.95)

The BUT comes in when I viewed a video on cookbook and recipe software.  According to the video and the way that these software programs are ranked, I began to realize that some of my gut feelings were correct. When I looked at the review above on-line, I noted that there were some serious discrepancies. If you go to the TopTen website and look at the review, I think you will see the same things.

Why would a product that is ranked #1 not have any support or even an email address? Some of the top ranked cookbook and recipe software programs do not seem deserving of their high rating if that is the case.

Also of note is that these rankings change. Reportedly, TopTen is also in the business of selling software and appears to make a tidy profit on these when they do sell them.  That would need to be factored in when believing the 'rankings'.

Most significantly of note is that the Cook'n software is supposedly all the same software and although there are differences between each one, there are many more versions of that software available than are shown (3) and the information given is not necessarily accurate.  Reportedly, if one of the software programs has the features, then all of the software programs have them.

You can also review the TopTen reviews of cookbook and recipe software for 2008 and the results are completely different - and even different from month to month if you check the archived reviews.  Some of the lowest ranked cookbook and recipe softwares from 2010 (actually 2009) were rated the highest in 2008.

So what does this mean? As in anything else, before you buy, you should do your homework. I plan on looking at maybe 3 of the software programs and doing a trial download if available to see which program meets my needs.

I have always been of the mind that the most expensive is not necessarily the best - but then the cheapest is not always the best deal either. If price was a valid predictor, I would always pick something in the middle - but I always try and do my homework on each product.

In the case of this kind of software, I would like to look at it hands on and see how they operate and which program would be easiest to use and offer the most options. In all truth, I think most all of these programs would suffice but for my needs, I want to be able to add recipes of all kinds, calculate calories, fat content, etc., and import recipes from the Internet.  I also require support as that is just a common sense rule to me when you buy anything.



Summing Up Cookbook and Recipe Software

As you can see, there are many options available and more I'm sure than I discovered in my research. 

What does ring true, however, is that you get the best software program for your needs - and the one that is compatible with your computer now and in the future! Selecting a program that will be upgradeable if you change operating systems is important or a software program that you can reload should the need arise. 

Examine all the features above and make a list of what features you would most use and then let that list be your guide as to the cookbook and recipe software that would be best for you. 

I think it's a fantastic way to organize your kitchen from the ground up and the only stumbling block I can foresee to starting to use cookbook and recipe software is the time spent entering in the recipes.  However, once they are entered, they will be there forever and can be easily accessed.

You can also make your cooking 'library' portable using these software programs, so if you wanted to copy recipes to your flash drive and take them with you, that is also another possibility!

No matter what software program you pick, I think you will find cookbook and recipe software is a great addition to any cook's list of tools.

How to Make a Cookbook with Software

How to Use Cookbook and Recipe Software

Living Cookbook Recipe Software

Creating a Cookbook with BigOven

Mealformation Recipe Software

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Comments 14 comments

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Gosh, Donna - thanks for the update - and hope that you get a resolution but sounds like maybe not?


DONNA F  6 years ago

I bought and paid for Meal Master in 2005, and theY have just deleted the entire program from my computer, asking for more money. The software was adequate but not good enough to repurchase it. DO NOT TRUST THIS COMPANY - MEAL MASTER OR COOKBOOK WIZARD.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Prasetio - I know! Think of the possibilities. It is really bugging me because I could be so much MORE organized - but that is a good thing unless you happen to be my friend or in my family. I do think you can go too far and all that but this REALLY seems like a cool way to be organized!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

A minutes ago, I search a menu for dinner. I am fasting know and I hope to find delicious menu. But before continuing my browsing, better to give a comment to this hub. I am glad to found this hub. It makes me curious. Actually I never thought about recipes software, but I believe it an help us t make cooking easier. Thank you very much. ~ prasetio


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

That's priceless, BJ - I was just telling Bob if only I had more hours in the day!! I'm afraid once I get the software ya'll never see me again here on HP - I'll become obsessed with getting in every handwritten, notebook filled, favorite cookbooks and tweaked recipe I own - this could be MILLIONS - and by the time I got around to publishing it, it would need a couple GB to hold it!

Good idea though....I just gotta give up sleeping!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Verrrry interesting! Now with all this remarkable software that's available, Audrea, you have no excuse for not putting together the Audrea Kirchner Kollaboration of Kookbooks for Konscientious Kooks (that's cooks with a k).

When may we expect to see it available?


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks Katie for the visit - I was thinking it really would be the way to go only it might take me years to get all my recipes in there!


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Fantastic resources, I'm a visual person and love Love LOVE all the amazing videos. Now I learned so much from the recipe software. Thanks and Peace :)


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

HH - Too funny - ya know, he could really help me out since he has more time than I do, being unemployed at present. He could log in all my recipes for me! Of course, they might turn out quite funny after he was done logging as I don't think his typing skills are all that great....bummer!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Either poor Bob because he;ll never see wife again or Bob look the kitchen door. Which will it be?


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks Prasetio for the read - one can never have too many programs - or too many books me thinks!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

I am glad you want to share these books for us. That's must be great books. Like you said above, nice to have one of these books. Thank you very much.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for the read, CM - now I have to check out the products and see if I want to buy one - and which one. Decisions, decisions!


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

You did some good research for this post, and it shows!

Great hub!

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