Yummly – A Recipe Search Engine to Spice Up Your Cooking

Saikat Basu 25-06-2010

The number of websites cooking up recipes and dishes is more than you could shake a ladle at. We have a fair sprinkling as well; from recipe suggestion websites to a social network for foodies. There’s even one which lets you conduct a recipe search of the dishes they show in the movies.


Apart from the last, Yummly covers almost all the angles you can cook up for a foodie’s website.

Yes, Yummly goes the same way by indexing recipes from across the web. The number of recipes it is attempting to index is astounding – 500,000 recipes from sources like Allrecipes, Epicurious, Food Network, Chow, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart, My Recipes, Real Simple, and Recipezaar.

But Yummly goes way beyond a cut and dry recipe index. It adds a lot more to the way you cook or as a wannabe Julia Child would like to cook.

Let’s uncover Yummly and see what’s brewing. You can use the recipe search engine without a log-in, but creating your own free account helps socially.

Is Yummly Just a Recipe Search Engine?

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Yummly is a semantic search engine. Traditional search engines search on the basis of keywords, often ignoring the sense of the specific word or the context in which it is used. A semantic search is meant to bridge that gap.

Semantic search may be web gobbledygook; in simple terms Yummly gives you so many filters to play around with, that finding the right recipe becomes easy. Here’s a working example with a search for a pasta recipe.

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The Yummly recipe search engine reaches into its database and returns 21,915 recipes. But I want to be more specific. So, I take the help of the FoodFinder. The FoodFinder is a set of seven filters which you can use to pinpoint the specific nature of recipe you want.


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For example, I prefer my pasta to be a bit on the spicy side. I can move the slider from No Preference to Really Like. The results immediately update to my choice for the Taste Match. A filter like Courses helps to narrow it down to the exact time of my meal. Cooking time and cost are also great for a bachelor like me who needs to cook it fast and inexpensively. All text entry fields come with dropdown suggestions and they are comprehensive.

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Nutrition, Diets, and Allergies should appeal to pound watchers. The Allergies part is really helpful to watch out for potential landmines.


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Check out the trusted sources that go into these calculations. It’s listed under Nutrition, Allergy, Diet & Price section of the FAQ.

Tweak Recipes to Your Taste

If the option rich FoodFinder was a help, then the individual recipe page takes the guesswork out of cooking. You can tweak any recipe by changing the number of servings and modifying the ingredients. Changing the ingredients as per servings is usually where things go wrong. This is where the web application recalculates the optimum quantities that should go into the recipe.

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The preparation steps stay the same though. You can also substitute one ingredient with another. The web app includes the substitutions via a dropdown.

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You can check the nutrition facts and other details on the right. The recipe page also gives you the option to upload your own photo of the dish. Make the modified recipe your own with a click on Save.

That’s not the only way you can build your recipe collection.

Yummly allows you to import your recipes from food sites like All Recipes and Food Network. But the feature to upload your own recipe is still missing.

The Good Word from the Curry Crowd

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Cooking tips from the social community on Yummly is a great way to discover likeminded souls. Yummly calls them TasteBuds. Think of them as your “˜taste buddies’ with whom you may want to share similar tastes with, or recipes and ideas. You can invite them over from Facebook or check out the Leaderboard.

The easiest place could be the homepage itself which gives a fair inkling of what’s going on in the site. Once you start frequenting the site, getting a gathering of foodies isn’t going to be a chore.

So, polish the pan and hop over to Yummly and let us know if this fresh web service is done just right.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Bob3000
    July 5, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Yummly is blocked by Websense - that's hilarious!