What's the best recipe software?

What’s the best recipe software for the Mac? I’m a new MacBook owner and I can’t get rid of my desktop PC until I find a really good recipe program. I’ve got about a GB of them (I like choices, and variety) and I need to be able to import whole collections at a time.

My PC recipe program can export in many formats so mac software that can import MM or MC formats should work just fine.

I’d appreciate input from anyone who uses recipe software.

Two good sites for Mac software are VersionTracker and MacUpDate. Go there, enter “recipe” in the search box, and sort by Ratings. Then read the comments by users (often far more candid than developer claims). You may also look for freeware or shareware, less expensive offerings that are often better than much-hyped bloatware by well-known companies.


Funnily enough, I splashed out on some recipe software about 36 hours ago, so your question is quite timely! I looked into this about 6-12 months ago and there were lots of options, but most seemed to be gathering dust, with no recent updates. I downloaded trial versions, but nothing grabbed my attention. Please note that I am not recommending the following site for downloads, because I have no idea who they are, but as a source of information I used to find out what was available and which I bookmarked for future reference:

Night before last, I couldn’t sleep, so I thought I would clear out any redundant apps from my Applications folder. One of these was MacGourmet, which someone had recommended strongly to me but which I hadn’t been especially taken with. Before trashing it, I thought I would have a quick look at it again - and the auto-update said there was a new version. Bearing in mind that I was just whiling away the midnight hours, I thought I might as well look at the new version before scrapping it, so downloaded the update and started to play with it. And this time, I liked it! And there is a new optional plug-in (extra cost) for adding nutrition data from the USDA database (or whatever it’s called). I was having so much fun playing with it, and putting in recipes in various ways, that when I reached yet another trial version session limit (don’t you just hate those!) I bought the thing. And the plug-in (the favourable exchange rate has a lot to answer for). And 36 hours later, I am happily transferring and entering recipes, and don’t regret the purchase at all! :slight_smile:

It can (apparently) import in MasterCook format, amongst others, and also has a rather nice facility for importing from web pages (some sites automatically, but others via a text clipping Services facility - fortunately, I use Safari; Services aren’t available in some browsers e.g. Firefox).

So that is what I would recommend. (Of course, it’s possible that some of the other aps may also have had updates since I last looked at them, so my recent research was by no means exhaustive, and my recommendation may not be worth the pixels it’s written on.)

You can find out more at the MacGourmet site:

EDITED TO ADD - Lots of people also seem to like A Cook’s Books (web site: http://www.3caam.com/products.html), but I haven’t looked at it recently.

Since there seem to be some of us about can I plug my new food blog called Past Food? pastfood.blogspot.com

Love you all to share eating experiences …

We can be grateful that you didn’t call it Passed Food. :open_mouth:

To be honest, I have downloaded and test-driven every single Mac recipe application and found all of them wanting. I’m still using test files until I can find something I really like.

There was a contest some time ago, where Mac users were invited to suggest ideas for a really great Mac application to be created. After they picked an idea (a recipe management app, by the way), they hired a developer to create it.

I don’t remember where I saw an update of their progress on the app, but it is on the web somewhere. And I liked what I saw, so I’m waiting for that to be released.

If you find an app you like in the meantime, please post because I am still looking for one as well.

The application, and contest, you are referring to is located here: http://mydreamapp.com/news/post/389/. It looks somewhat interesting, if a bit heavy-handed in the design department (in my opinion). I’ve never been a fan of texture rich application design. Austin, the developer, is known more for glam than guts (developer of Disco and AppZapper), but this does look more feature laden than either of those mentioned applications, so we’ll see I guess.

Vapourware aside, here is a pretty good round-up of what you can try right now: TidBits Cookbook Round-up.

Thanks, everyone for the input. I’m evaluating a few now and initially it looks like MacGourmet is in the lead with A Cooks Books as runner-up. But that could change as I continue to fool around with the field. (I haven’t fooled around with the field since my single days). So long ago that
Methuselah called me, “Sir.”

I just sat down and started copying recipes into Scrivener and I have to say it works pretty well.

I created a subfolder of Soups titled New England Squash Soup. Inside I created three documents: Ingredients, Instructions, and Nutritional Information. I then typed the relevant info into each page. As a synopsis of the folder I added the serving size and prep time. I used external links to reference where I found the recipe. I used internal links to reference dishes (other folders) that it could be paired with. Keywords: low fat, Thanksgiving, soup.

I’m interested in MacGourmet but thought I’d post how I used Scrivener. It’s a good fit, if you want just basic recipes (eg - not generating a shopping list) and love Scrivener.

Before OS-X I created a recipe database in Filemaker Pro, but the upgrade price has been too steep and I no longer need such a powerful database app for other purposes.

Now I’m simply using Yojimbo, though when I’ve done my upgrade to Leopard I’m planning to have a look at Bento … I guess keeping recipes in a lunchbox is kind of appropriate, but again, if the price is too steep once it goes commercial, I won’t bother.


I’m deadlocked between MacGourmet and YummySoup. YummySoup has less features (advantage or drawback, you decide) and two features that stand out: full screen mode and the recipe entry screen.

Full Screen actually is full screen (unlike Chef View in MacGourmet) and works with the Apple remote. You can even have it read the recipe aloud!

Recipe entry in YummySoup is much less tedious than MacGourmet. Everything is in one window so you can just run down the recipe and type it in. MacGourmet has 6 or so tabs that must be fiddled with to enter the recipe.

There’s also some confusing moments with MacGourmet like that there’s keywords and categories. What’s the difference? Couldn’t they just be combined?

Being big on usability I’d like to use YummySoup. The problem is that there’s no categories or keywords which is a dealbreaker. They will be implemented in the future, according to the developer.

hungryseacow.com/YummySoup%21%20 … st%21.html

(side note: it scares me when software developers use spaces in their URLS – all those percent20’s)

I like something called Yum (freeware from nixanz.com) - it’s free, and awesome, and he updates it all the time and is very responsive. I don’t know about MasterCook format imports (I don’t have MasterCook) but it’s a great program!

I’ve yet to find a Mac recipe program that is as powerful as my Windows “Now You’re Cookingâ€

Nib, if you’re on 10.5 have you thought about trying Bento … I’m sure you could make a good recipe database in that. I used to use FileMaker, but couldn’t afford the upgrade when I went onto OS-X, so it’ll be interesting what they will sting us for Bento when it’s finally released, but I like the look of it, though I haven’t had much chance to play.

Recipe collection in a lunch-box … sounds kind of natural :wink:


This stuff’s made in New York City!

I’m still on 10.4.11. Amber’s advice sounded good about waiting 'till the inevitable bugs are squashed before updating. I’m dealing with info overload as it is, trying to convert all my computing needs over to Mac. And there’s that whole “family needs to eat” thing. I can wait to update but when I do, I’ll give Bento a look. Thanks for the tip.

Strictly speaking, I think it’s classed as donationware - and if you don’t want to give money, he even suggests payment options called Beerware (send him some of your local beer) and Haggleware (make an offer of something else), which made me laugh. I like developers who seem like real individuals :slight_smile:

Having said that, I’m sticking with MacGourmet for the moment, even though some aspects of it are still rather awkward and unnatural-feeling. I am using it to store favourite recipes gleaned from a multitude of sources, and it is working well for me. (I don’t import recipes unless they are tried and true, because I prefer to read cookery books, newspapers or the web for new ideas. I used to have MasterCook, and I hated the recipe selections that came with it, so I think I might be biased against large software collections!)

I have set up my own categories to match how I think of recipes when I enter them (broadly speaking, corresponding to food groups, but edited to my own tastes and terminology). Similarly, I edited the “Course” list to match how I think a recipe is to be served. And I use keywords as a form of meta-data that doesn’t have much to do with the recipe itself, but concerns how or when I intend using it, or who might especially like it. For example, I have a “BD07” keyword to mark those recipes which I intend cooking for a Boxing Day gathering this year. This lets me set up a smart folder which effectively acts as a cookbook just for that day. Yes, I could bung that information into the categories list and use the meta-data search and smart facilities to access it, but I struggle with the idea of a particular one-off meal being a food category.

Yes, good practice normally … but I decided to go for it as I had problems following 10.4.9 when Apple changed the FireWire Audio drivers and my FCA202 interface no longer worked so I had to maintain a separate boot disk with 10.4.8 just to be able to use my recording set-up. When 10.5.1 became available, I reckoned I had nothing to lose, so got Leopard and did the upgrade immediately … clean install and re-install of all regularly-used software. Not only have I not had any trouble with Leopard, but the FCA202 now also works again happily, though Amadeus Pro is not that keen on it being connected through a hub … hangs on first trying to save a recording, then works normally when restarted! Otherwise it’s just brilliant: booting is much quicker, apps open much more quickly. Apart from the Amadeus Pro matter, the only hang I can think of with any app, was with Nisus Writer Pro 1.03 private beta, and that kind of thing is therefore to be expected.
So yes, there have been people who’ve had trouble with it. I can only think that they run much more complex set-ups than me, perhaps with haxies and other low-level third-party software, or they have installed it as an upgrade, rather than doing a clean install or an “archive and install”.
Sadly, I’m still going to have to maintain a 10.4.11 external boot disk as I use InDesign CS quite a bit and it is supposed not to work under Leopard. I can’t afford the upgrade to the CS3 version.



You’re not on your own. Though I don’t feel too bad having looked at the price of Hard Drives recently. Iomega 500GB Hard Drive going for a smidgin’ under £70. :slight_smile:

If you’re in Blighty … here they’re rather more, but I’ve got two 320MB FireWire externals, I’ve merely got to find the time to do some sorting out.