Let's be honest: family and friends are swell, but food is really the star of the show whenever the November holiday rolls around, right? That means that whether you're celebrating at home or heading out to a potluck, the heat is on to make something oh-so-delicious for the festivities.
To help you in your endeavor, we've got a list of our favorite cooking apps for the Android platform. They'll not only help you find the best Thanksgiving recipes to get you started, but they'll also provide you with some extra tools to get the cooking done more efficiently.
Editors' note: For iOS cooking apps, check out Jason Parker's roundup.
In the Kitchen ($1.99)
If you're a Food Network fanatic like I am, then In the Kitchen is the app for you. It gives you an extensive database of recipes straight from the kitchens of your favorite Food Network chefs, and all of it is easily navigable, thanks to some simple search and browsing tools.
With In the Kitchen, you can run a search based on an ingredient or dish, or you can simply tap the image of your favorite chef to run through his or her favorite recipes. Some chefs have thousands of recipes listed in the app's database, while others (Masaharu Morimoto) have only a few. Altogether, though, In the Kitchen offers more than enough recipes to keep you cooking a new dish every night for years.
More than just a recipe database, though, In the Kitchen offers quite a few convenient tools to make your cooking experience easier. If you have an account, you can keep track of favorite recipes in your Recipe Box and add ingredients to a Shopping List in just a few taps. And even without an account, the app offers conveniences like a unit converter and a cooking timer.
For this special holiday week, In the Kitchen has added a dashboard button that leads directly to a roundup of Thanksgiving dishes. Tap the link and you'll see hundreds of recipes for turkeys, stuffing, potatoes, appetizers, pumpkin desserts, and even festive Fall cocktails. What's nice is that the lists of recipes offer ratings, thumbnails, and cooking times, as well as the chef responsible. This way, it's easy to quickly browse through these exhaustive lists, if you're looking for, say, a turkey recipe that cooks in under three hours. If you want tried-and-true recipes by your favorite Food Network chefs for Thanksgiving, look no further than In the Kitchen for Android.
You can also get In The Kitchen for iOS.
With over 250,000 recipes, BigOven for Android offers the most complete cooking database I've seen in a mobile app. And with it's nifty, tablet-optimized design, thumbnail-based pages, and menu of useful tools, it's an absolute pleasure to sift through all of its delicious content.
As with other cooking apps, you can search through BigOven's recipes for specific dishes or ingredients, or you can browse by category. There are also a number of curated recipe collections, such as the Thanksgiving collection, which currently has recipes for turkeys (of course), pecan pie, pumpkin cheesecake, roast chicken, and perhaps the best dinner rolls you've ever tasted. There's also a random recipe generator, which is neat but not very useful, if you ask me. One of my favorite features, though, is Search by Leftovers. With this tool, you can input as many as three ingredients you have in your kitchen, and search for recipes that require them.
In addition to delicious recipes, BigOven offers tons of tools such as a grocery list, a menu planner, a favorites list, and more. With its incredible database and all of its extra conveniences, BigOven should probably be your bread and butter when it comes to cooking this holiday season.
You can also get BigOven for iOS.
Cooklet is the final app on our list, and it's a bit of a risk since it's a young social platform that still has quite a few bugs. But even at such an early stage in its development, this app is worth mentioning as it is, hands down, the most beautifully designed cooking app I've seen. Optimized for a tablet, Cooklet features a two-panel layout, slick drag-and-drop functionality, and a number of visual details that add to an overall jaw-dropping interface.
At its core, Cooklet is a social cooking platform. This means you can not only run a typical search for a dish or ingredient, but you can also browse through the recipe "books" of other users. Also, you can filter by meal type, cook time, or even difficulty. But my favorite way to use Cooklet is by swiping through the Inspiration page. Here, the app shows you streams of thumbnails for popular recipes on the network. You can click through to get details, or drag any thumbnail to your Favorites list or Shopping List.
Again, it's worth noting that Cooklet will not provide you with the smoothest of user experiences, because it is still a relatively buggy app. That said, I do have the utmost confidence that this title is going to get better. Check it out now, browse through its recipes, and keep an eye out for future updates.