Whether you’re new in the kitchen or a practiced cook, everyone has one regular objective above all else: to cook a delicious and healthy meal. These apps and sites make that easy for anyone, especially beginners.
No matter what age you decide to start cooking, you’ll need a little guidance. You can enroll for free online cooking and baking classes, but the best way to learn is by doing it in your own kitchen with your own tools. And if a few people on the internet can help, then nothing like it, right?
Project Foodie (Web, iOS): Cook Along in Real Time With Chefs
Cooking shows and cookbooks assume that the viewer or reader has a decent set of cooking skills. They rush through things like the amount of time to boil something or the “smoking temperature of oil”, or take shortcuts like showing pre-diced veggies. It never feels like you’re cooking along with the chef.
Project Foodie reimagines this by showing you every single step of the cooking process, which you do at the same time as the chef. When this site says it takes 30 minutes to make a dish, it means you’ll see a 30 minute video where you follow each step with the chef. This “cookalong” is different from anything else you’ll see online.
Project Foodie already has a huge collection of videos on its YouTube channel and website, all of which are made by professional chefs and shot by a professional video crew. No edits, no cuts, and high-quality production make this something you want to cook along with. Try any of the recipes, you’ll be able to follow it like no other recipe before.
The mobile app adds extra features, like ordering groceries online based on the dish you want to make, as well as timers and other tools. It’s not essential though, and you can follow along to the video alone as professional chefs share recipes on YouTube.
Download: Project Foodie for iOS (Free)
The Cook’s Thesaurus (Web): Everything You Need About Any Ingredient
Feel like you have a dumb question about something and don’t want to ask it because it’s embarrassing? Turn to The Cook’s Thesaurus, a single site with everything you’d need to know about an ingredient, including substitutions.
Run a search on the site for what you need to look up, whether it’s a vegetable, fruit, meat, fish, dairy product, grain, liquid, or anything else. You’ll immediately find what it is made of, how it is typically used in recipes online, and tips on how to use it. Most ingredients also have a suggested substitute in case you don’t have the ingredient with you.
You can browse The Cook’s Thesaurus as well, but there seems little need to do that. This website will be most useful when you are looking for information, so the search feature is what matters. Bookmark it; you never know when you may need it in the future.
Only Eats (Web): Trending Recipes With Nutritional Information
You’re always looking for something new and interesting to eat. So what’s trending on the web in terms of recipes, especially on a cooking site for beginners? Only Eats has that ready, along with necessary nutritional information about it.
The site is an aggregator, which means it takes links from other popular recipe sites. The list of recipes shows a picture and a name, along with the option to save it for the future if you create an account. You can always bookmark it at the source site though. And of course, you can filter the recipes based on different criteria, such as healthy, simple, diets, type of meal, and sources.
Each recipe also has an “info” button that shows you its main ingredients as well as nutritional information. Only Eats claims it calculates this nutritional information based on USDA and FDA guidelines. Use this only as a base metric though, not as an accurate reading of what you’re cooking.
Basics With Babish (Web): Learn the Basic Tools and Techniques
If you’re new in the kitchen, you need to know the basic tools and techniques that are often referenced in cookbooks and recipes. To learn those, watch this playlist of YouTube videos.
Host Andrew Rea goes through a series of topics that will have you ready to cook anything that you come across. This includes tools, sauces, steak, pasta, chicken, pantry, eggs, and more. The videos are between five and 12 minutes, and Rea has a remarkable ability to simplify concepts and techniques.
Incidentally, Binging With Babish is one of the best sites to find anything shown in movies and TV shows. Rea looks up dishes talked about on screen and recreates them with the best possible recipe to show you how to make them.
Teeny Recipes (Web): Facebook Recipe Videos, With Full Text
Video recipes are better when you’re starting out, and Facebook is a treasure-trove of them. Some of the top websites share their secrets on the social network, as do bloggers and home chefs. But it’s hard to search on Facebook. So here’s something easier. If a recipe is popular on Facebook, Teeny Recipes will have it.
Teeny Recipes has a simple list of the latest recipes, as well as the most popular posts on the site. You can filter by ingredients as well, or search for something you want. Playlists and channels are two more ways to browse the site.
For a lot of the videos, Teeny Recipes also draws the full text of ingredients and cooking steps. This is vital since as good as a video is to see what you have to do, you still need that information listed somewhere in text.
Best Sites to Simplify Cooking
With these five sites, you should be able to get started with the basics of cooking, from learning techniques to cooking along with a chef so that you don’t mess up any step. But that doesn’t mean you stop at this.
There are sites that tell you the best “average” recipe based on the web’s most popular recipes for a dish. Others will help you collect recipes in one place, or mix and match multiple recipes to create your own. It’s all here in the best recipe sites and apps to simplify cooking.