Review Of The 6 Best Recipe Software Programs & Why I Ultimately Chose Big Oven

I’ve been using Mastercook to organize my recipes for years.

My version of Mastercook is so old (4.0, rather than the current version 9.0). It’s simple and easy, but the interface isn’t very modern.

At the time I started using Mastercook, it was the most popular format for sharing recipes online and with others. I think I’ve been with Mastercook since the product was first invented, version 1.0! So anyway… I just kept using it — mostly because I was more a dabbler in the kitchen, rather than an avid cook. My Mastercook 4.0 is not fancy, but it has done everything that I’ve needed.


Fast-forward a dozen or so years. Today, I’m now very active in the kitchen, complete with all the latest gadgets and gizmos to make cooking fun and easy! The one thing lacking in my cooking repertoire: an efficient way to organize and access recipes from multiple computers. Mastercook 4.0 no longer cuts it.

These days, I’m yearning for a more modern interface with simpler actions and faster response times. So I thought I’d give the newest version of Mastercook — and 5 of the other most popular recipe programs — a try to see which one I liked best.


Should I Continue With Mastercook?

One of the factors that ultimately determined whether I would continue my relationship with Mastercook or not was this:

They only have a 30-MINUTE free trial! Who can tell anything in 30 minutes?! That’s just stupid.


So I honestly have no idea what the newest version of Mastercook is like. I’m guessing it’s decent. But they sure don’t make it easy to find out.

At the same time, I wasn’t all that comfortable with Mastercook’s progress through the years. Somehow, it’s managed to survive and remain a popular recipe program, but it doesn’t seem well supported. There are lots of open-ended questions floating around out there; the bulk of the questions are answered by fellow users of Mastercook, rather than a knowledegable support team behind the Mastercook recipe software.

Plus, Mastercook was recently sold to another company (Mastercook is now owned by ValueSoft, rather than Sierra) which appears to have opened up a few more holes — in terms of support. Personally, I quickly became frustrated when I couldn’t find one good online page to go to for all my Mastercook questions.

In the end, I opted to move on and end my relationship with Mastercook. Fortunately, most recipe programs import Mastercook recipes without any problems.

Comparing The 6 Most Popular Recipe Software Programs

So, here’s how the process of deciding on a recipe software program went for me…



In addition to Mastercook, I’ve also used MealMaster before. (It was a freebie on a computer I bought years ago.)

Back in the day, MealMaster was once a decent recipe program, but much like Mastercook, it just seems a little outdated these days. So no dice.

Their online presence is a little rough around the edges and I’m looking for recipe software that’s forward thinking; not yesterday’s model. While MealMaster has a free trial, I have to say that I wasn’t even intrigued enough to download their latest version to try it. There simply weren’t enough “wow” factors for me.

Worth noting… One of the features I’m looking for is a way to sync recipes on my 2 computers, or at least a way to access my own recipes on multiple computers. An online version similar to the way Google Docs and Evernote sync your data would be nice. And… in the best of all worlds, an iPhone app which would enable me to glance at my recipes when I’m out & about and possibly prepare shopping lists based on the ingredients needed.

One of the first “new to me” recipe programs that I explored was Big Oven. I downloaded the free trial. I have to say… Big Oven is way modern, trendy, and fun. My gut told me, this was going to be my recipe program of choice (see below), but I wanted to make sure, so I kept researching.

While I liked Cook’n and was intrigued by its simple functionality, I wasn’t about to pay $60-$80 on the spot — despite the 200% guarantee. I wanted a free 30-day trial (like most recipe software programs have). Cookn looks like it definitely has a lot of potential. I especially liked the demo video, but I just didn’t like the “pressure to buy”.



Living Cookbook was the next one I downloaded the free trial for. They too, appeared to have a respectable track record, and they have constantly updated their recipe software through the years. It seemed really modern, and had a lot of potential.

During the installation process, a warning box came up that said my computer was lacking a necessary file/component ( 3.0). You could click to install that missing compon
ent, so I did. I wasn’t sure if I should’ve done that or not… especially since it took forever to download. That was scary; I didn’t want to mess up anything on my computer!

After it was all said and done, I quickly realized that this was a space-wasting download. I mean, Living Cookbook is basically a “Windows-looking” spreadsheet program. Technically, it looks like a bunch of folders and files (just like Microsoft Explorer) …ugh! So, that’s what the framework was all about… a way to make this program look and behave just like the rest Microsoft’s interface. I wasn’t impressed.

Not to mention the fact that the process for inputting a new recipe into Living Cookbook is somewhat tedious and very structured, rather than intuitive and user-friendly. It’s not hard, just boring and spreadsheet-like. And, Living Cookbook is slow too.

Oh, and you can’t import your own recipes with the free trial, so I still don’t really know how that process goes. As you know, that was one of my biggest concerns: being able to quickly & easily import my multi-year collection of Mastercook recipes into whatever recipe program I ultimately choose. (Most other programs let you import from Mastercook in their trial programs.)

So, I uninstalled the Living Cookbook right away …but I was still left with all the files taking up space on my hard drive. Bummer. In case you’re wondering, it amounts to 430 files in 29 folders on my C: drive. That alone, totals 137 MB!



Finally, I downloaded the free trial for Now You’re Cooking. First impressions with this one were the least impressive of all the recipe software programs I tried. But, Now You’re Cooking appeared to do most of the things I wanted, so it was definitely worth a try. Plus, I figured the more programs I compared, the stronger my feelings would ultimately be for “the best” recipe program for me.

Right away, I noticed that the download screens weren’t modern and flashy, so I figured I was in for a slightly outdated interface on this one. I was right. There are no “wow” factors, that’s for sure. But Now You’re Cooking is a good very basic recipe program — much like my current outdated version of Mastercook 4.0, if you ask me. It’s not what I was looking for, so I uninstalled it.

So, there you have it. In the end, I decided to purchase Big Oven for the following reasons…


Why I Love Big Oven Recipe Software

big-oven-logo.gif BigOven was the first recipe software program I downloaded that was completely new to me, and yet I knew right away that it was probably the best one for meeting my recipe organization needs.

To be honest, one of the deciding factors in whether or not I even wanted to try this program was their timely and up-to-date support. I was especially impressed with the prompt replies from support on a wide variety of topics posted by Big Oven users. That’s classy… and reassuring for a newbie like me.

For every question I had prior to (and after) downloading the Big Oven trial program, I searched their support database and quickly found the answer.

I also like how they have consistently improved Big Oven since 2004. They really seem on top of things at Big Oven, and they appear to pay very close attention to their users’ needs.

Oh, and the BigOven iPhone app is a nice bonus too. However, it’s not fully functional — in that you can only access those recipes that you also “share” online (for the world to see). It is a cinch to access some of your recipes while out & about though. This iPhone app has 3 out of 5 stars from over 21,000 ratings and nearly 300 reviews at the Apple Store.

More good things about Big Oven:

  • It’s user-friendly & simple.
  • Has a modern and intuitive interface.
  • It’s quick!
  • You can access your recipes online (from multiple computers, for example).
  • You don’t have to “Save” every little change. Saves happen automatically with every little thing you do.
  • It was a breeze to import my Mastercook recipes and cookbooks.
  • Surprisingly, I actually like the cookbooks that come standard with the program: crockpot recipes, mixed drinks, low carb, and weight watchers. (I deleted a couple of others it came with that I would never use.)
  • They have dozens of FREE cookbooks you can download with one click.
  • You can even customize the “look” of your recipes.
  • For some reason, all of the web-access from within the program only works with IE (not Firefox).
  • You can “scale” recipes for more or less servings without changing the original recipe.
  • The support forums ROCK!
  • They’re so hip & cool at Big Oven that they’re active on Twitter! (@BigOven)


Things I Don’t Like About Big Oven

cooking-with-the-help-of-a-computer-by-valkyrieh116.jpg Obviously, none of these is a deal-breaker for me. I still love BigOven even despite these faults. But they’re worth mentioning…

When you share your recipes online with Big Oven, you’re basically making your personal and private recipes “public” for the world to see and share. I may grow to appreciate that, but I don’t want to have to worry about copyrights and such for all of my recipes. One of the biggest things I liked about Big Oven was being able to access my own recipes from other computers (or let friends & family access my recipes), but I’m finding that I’m limited by the recipes that I can legally, in good conscience, “share” while respecting recipe copyrights (from published cookbooks, for example). I — and others in their online forum — have requested a “private” option for some of the recipes we share online.

There’s a simple word search tool (to find any word mentioned in any of your recipes), and there’s a more advanced search feature (where you can only search recipe titles, or tags, or ingredients). Three faults:

  • You can’t exclude ingredients when you’re doing a search. For example, “give me recipes with ‘steak’ in the ingredients, but not ‘steak sauce'”.
  • When you do a word search (for say, “pizza”) it actually searches beyond the word
    s in your recipes — it searches your Tags too (so I get any recipe that I’ve tagged with “breads & pizza”, rather than actual mentions of the word “pizza” within my recipes). If I wanted to search my Tags, I’d use the advanced search tool for that. But if I just want to find the times I’ve mentioned pizza in a recipe, let me do that too.
  • I’m not crazy about the fact that a search for “apple” does not pick up instances of “apples”. C’mon… make it easy for us, guys.

Yes, Big Oven shows nutrition information for each recipe, but only after you go through the tedious process of “linking” each and every ingredient in each recipe first! That’s a huge pain. In my mind, the nutritional data is useless until they figure out a way to automatically link the nutritional data with ingredients like most other recipe programs do.

For some reason, the rating system only works online. Even though you’re able to assign stars (1-5) to each recipe on your computer, you can’t see those ratings unless you upload the recipe to share it online with others. What’s up with that?!

You can enter/edit everything about a recipe on one screen… except for Tags (and Notes). I use Tags a lot. Why do I have to click to a separate tab when I’m editing recipes?

I’d like to be able to mass-edit a bunch of recipes with, say, “Main Ingredient = Beef,” or “all these recipes should have the tag of Appetizer.” So far, I haven’t found a way to do this.

Overall, Big Oven is very simple and easy to use. While I was able to figure out most things on my own (and thanks to their 22-page startup manual that comes with the free trial download), I can’t say enough about their online support. It ROCKS! And in their online forums, Big Oven reps (mostly Steve Murch, the program’s founder and an avid chef) respond to questions almost immediately. You don’t get that everywhere, folks. I hope that type of support and feedback continues. It’s a great “feel good” for newbies and seasoned Big Oven users alike.


UPDATE #1: Big Oven Doesn’t Meet All Of My Needs

I’ve had a slight change of heart since I originally wrote this. While I like Big Oven as a program on my computer, I’ve become frustrated that I can’t see all of my recipes on any computer whenever I want. Instead, I have to boot up the laptop that I initally downloaded Big Oven onto.

Plus, from Day One I’ve been bummed about the fact that you cannot see all of your own recipes online at the Big Oven website or on the Big Oven iPhone app — unless you make all of your recipes viewable to the public. Even then, you can’t edit them via those avenues.

So I am again in search of a recipe program that lets you manage all of your own recipes By the way, I could care less about “X number of recipes included in the recipe database!” because I’m simply looking for a way to permanently store and access my own recipes whenever (and wherever!) I want. For me, that includes other computers and on my iPhone.

There are a handful of good iPhone apps that let you store and edit your own recipes on your iPhone. Some even let you edit your recipes online at their websites. But they don’t provide a desktop option, which is a huge downside for me. The reason? Because I may not always have an iPhone, so I don’t want to have ALL of my personal recipes stored only there. I suppose if those apps also had excellent export and import capabilities, then I would feel better about being able to eventually move my recipes from the iPhone, if I wanted to.

So that’s where I am now… reluctantly searching for another / better recipe manager that also has an iPhone app and that lets you access and edit your own recipes from any computer.

A few that I recently shared on Twittter and I’ll be keeping my eye on…

  • iCookBook lets you edit recipes online or on your iPhone, but recipes are only stored on the iPhone, not on your computer
  • Handy Cookbook is an iPhone app that lets you edit recipes from your computer (or iPhone), but recipes are stored only on the iPhone
  • DRecipe has an iPhone app that lets you store (and edit) recipes Nice but I want to sync with my desktop too

UPDATE #2: I tried Big Oven for awhile, but I eventually moved my entire recipe collection over to Google Docs. It’s FREE, simple, and practical in so many ways!


More About Recipe Software Programs

Top 10 Recipe Software Programs

DIY Ways To Organize Your Recipes

Organizing Recipes With Evernote

Using Evernote To Store Recipes

5 Best Recipe Managers

Transferring Mastercook Recipes Into Evernote

Lynnette Walczak

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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Fun From Around the Web

  • Steve Murch

    Hi there! Just a clarification, BigOven imports .MX2, .MXP, .MMF and Cook’n files. To import more than one recipe, simply use your existing software to export more than one recipe to a single MX2 file. (You can do that in most versions of MasterCook by highlighting multiple recipes before exporting to MX2 or MXP.) Then, simply use the File / Import option in BigOven. Thanks!

  • Gary

    From what I see on the website, it cost nothing for up to 500 recipes and $20 Australian for up to 1000 recipes and $45 Australian for up to 2000 recipes. You can create recipe eBooks, which I think is quite nice.

  • Anonymous

    you should try
    everything is online and there is a 14 day free trial!

    • John Mattatall

      You’ve got to be kidding, The cheapest option is $50/mo, $2000 for the 5 Star. Obviously for professionals.

  • LQ

    Lynette, I followed your article about managing recipes and Big Oven Software. I have issues also with Big Oven, but can find nothing better. I would like to be able to link recipes into “meal suggestions” that can be pulled up together as one set. I haven’t used it much yet, but wonder about changing the font, etc.

    Also, would like more flexibility about various ways to categorize recipes… I was wondering whether you ever found another that you liked more? I am eager to peruse your set of niche offerings. I have a good friend who lives in Franklin; will tell her about this! Thanks, LQ in Greenville, SC

  • Sara Griffin

    I’ve been using Computer Cuisine Deluxe mac recipe software for years. I love it! They have an iPhone app that doesn’t make your recipes public at all. It’s super easy to enter recipes and everything just makes sense to me.

    Here is the link:

  • tom

    you should try Rapid Recipes 2012 available

    • Timark2000

      i understand that there has been an update to this software in recent times. The new update allows a logon if you just want your own recipes or dont want to share them with others using your network. I particularly like the idea of having my recipes in my pc rather than online due to the unavailability of webpages and internet etc. This software has a great cut and paste system for acquiring recipes from the internet.

    • John Mattatall

      I downloaded the trial and wanted to test out the features such as
      pasting in a recipe and highlighting ingredients. So the very first
      thing I tried was “New Recipe”. As soon as i clicked on it, it said i
      had reached the limit and if I wanted to add anymore i would have to
      purchase. I hadn’t even added anything yet!! So much for that one I,
      immediately closed it down and uninstalled it.

  • Artaler

    Thanks for writing this article. I am looking for many of the same things. Please keep us updated if you find what you looking for!

  • Paul


    I’m not sure when you tried to get Cook’n for demo, but the new version ”9” is on cnet for download free to try with up to 5 new recipes. Mastercook is apparently going for $19.99 at several vendors, including the ValueSoft store on their site. Seems like maybe a good time to try out ones you did not actually use in your 6 package shootout. It seems that Steve, with Big Oven, IS listening to what people are asking for. Does it show up in the software, that is the question.

    I have not looked at your samples of the Google docs recipes as of yet, but I don’t see how it could even compare with a true recipe software program for anything more than search for a word and bulk storage. Am I missing something?

    Thanks for your blog and taking the time to write about things we find relevant and interesting.

    • FunTimesGuide

      Hi there, Paul. Good info you’ve shared here. I think I’m different from most people in that I definitely don’t need/want anything fancy as far as recipe programs go, So I’ve been quite content with my free Google Docs recipes for quite awhile now. You’re right, it’s just the basics – but all I need is a place to store, edit & access my recipes from any computer (or smart phone) at any time. And Google Docs does that for me. (I use it for all of my word processing too.)

      • Paul


        I wrote Radium Technologies-The Living Cookbook. Geoff Van Duyne, from customer service wrote back saying that 2011 can import .fdxz, .fdx, .mx2, .mxp, .crb, .mmf, .mmm, .dbf, and .dvo files. Anyone can test the import feature in any version newer than 2008. They have merely hobbled the export feature in the demo. I asked how much additional interaction would be required by the user once the import was complete (example: do amounts, ingredients and calorie counts translate cleanly without much additional manipulation from the user) Geoff said that Living Cookbook learns a user’s tendencies as they pertain to linking, that when one says “milk” they usually mean, “Milk, Fluid, 3.25 milkfat” and over time the program will suggest that link first when the user enters “milk” as an ingredient.

  • Bobby Stillman

    I want to say thank you for informing me about using Google Docs. It is great! It also lets me share my recipes with my family members via my Google Apps hosted domain! I also have been looking for a good way to do this. I have been using an old program, Key Home Gourmet, but this is much better. The copy and paste is fantastic. And the Google search function works great.

  • Tony

    Hold off on Big Oven. We purchased Big Oven about 18 months ago and liked it at first. The new version look great except they are not offering assistance on the version we have. Usually companies provide upgrades and support their products. I see a number of comments online regarding problems with current versions that are unanswered. I am experiencing similar problems with the software. Nothing like leaving your customers hanging.

    The answer may be that since they have released their new version and a new monthly pricing strategy they aren’t compelled to support past customers.

    As a consumer it is a leading indicator that history will repeat itself and on the next version they will leave everyone high and dry again.

    It is unfortunate that after investing my time to enter my recipes that I am now shopping for a new software provider. Shame on you Big Oven.

    Beware if you are considering the shiny and new Big Oven one day they will decide the Oven is ready for the scrap yard and will move onto the next version leaving you high and dry.

  • Anthony Watson


    I have never been a fan of storing my recipes or any other personal data online. If the web site has issues, my internet connection fails, or if I do not have internet access, I would be unable to use my recipes. I prefer to organize my recipes on my own computer where I can access them quickly, plan my meals, and prepare my grocery lists. It also lets me backup my collection regularly in case there is a problem in the future (drive failure, power surge, fire, theft, etc.). I can always email recipes to friends and family, or even to myself if I need to access a recipe from a remote location. I can even export recipes to an Evernote email address and read my recipes on a smart phone or other mobile device if needed.

    My “Home Cookin” recipe software can also be run directly from a USB flash drive. This lets me take my entire recipe collection, grocery list, and meal plans in a pocket to access on any computer (friends house, library, internet cafe, etc.). Home Cookin also works fine on most small netbook and laptop computers if you want to take the computer with you. A great solution if you travel in an RV, or want to plan your meals out in the lawn chair instead of in your home office.

    Of course, you can easily import recipes from meal-master, mastercook, or other public sources like web sites or newsgroups. You can also export back to those formats if you need to share recipes with users that have other recipe software.

    Just some things to consider in your search for a recipe organizer.

    Anthony Watson, Mountain Software
    “Home Cookin Recipe Software”

  • Steve Murch

    Hi there, I’m the founder of BigOven — thanks for your feedback! While the best way to get the requests heard is by jotting a note to us at [email protected], I just wanted to pop in here and respond to this:

    “Plus, from Day One I’ve been bummed about the fact that you cannot see all of your own recipes online at the Big Oven website or on the Big Oven iPhone app — unless you make all of your recipes viewable to the public. Even then, you can’t edit them via those avenues.”

    A couple months ago, we introduced BigOven Pro membership. For about $0.30 per week ($15.99/year, billed annually), you can now post private recipes, so that you and only you will see them across the web and our free apps for iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone and Android. This Pro membership also removes all advertising across all of these platforms, shows nutrition facts for recipes, and more. (We’ve got more features coming for Pro membership later this year.)

    Also, note that you can edit your recipes, public or private, simply by logging into, finding the recipe page, and looking to the right hand side for the Edit button. Thanks! Again, don’t hesitate to send your suggestions along to us at [email protected]; we’re listening!

    • Judy B.

      I would be interested (without even trying it) why it is only compatible with Internet Explorer?

  • Mark White

    Hi Lynnette,

    I just read your article on FunTimes regarding online recipe management and I thought it was hilarious that you ended up using Google Docs. I totally get it.

    I developed for the precise reason that every recipe manager came up short. Foodforge is a completely fast, uncluttered, user-supported, very simple and yet very powerful online recipe manager. If you try it, you will immediately see what I mean. It does exactly what you want it to do and nothing more and it does it fast. I know because I developed it as a programmer and chef. I wrote exactly what I wanted it to be!

    Anyhow, please give it a look. And if you like it and want to write about it even better. We have just started and have under 5,000 users but I can tell from the users that we have that people are enjoying it with the average number of recipes from active users at 21 recipes!

    Thank you,
    Mark White

    [email protected]
    (347) 676-1522

    • Judy B.

      Well, it would have been nice to have a look, but seems you are no longer accepting new members :-(

  • Athenstean

    Hi everyone,

    in case anyone is interested in a solution for iPhone, this might be for you:

    I wrote it in the early days of the AppStore since there wasn’t much available for my own recipe collection back then. There is no accompanying desktop app for it so instead I added a couple of imports/exporters for mealmaster, cookML, rezkonv and a couple others to play nicely with existing desktop recipe applications. In the last 2 years I published various updates and so the app has grown in features quite a bit. It’s just a hobby project for me but over the years a number of people have contacted me saying they were looking for a recipe manager for quite a while before finding and settling on this app. I would love to get more people on board, so feel free to check it out and send me feedback via the website above…


  • Jane

    Maybe you shouldn’t be so judgemental about the appearance?
    I’ve used Living Cookbook for years, & love the simplicity of it’s appearance & the customization it offers
    It may not sync to other devices, but discounting it just because it ‘looks dated’? puh-leeze.

    (I was actually hoping to find something better, as I dislike how it lags if I haven’t used it in a while; I always thought that was an issue with my computer though)

  • Mark Yelka

    Is there a recipe manager that I can host on my own dedicated server? I don’t mind paying for quality software, but I don’t want to have to pay monthly or yearly membership fees. I found a couple in (such as PHPRecipeBook), but I am hoping for something even better.

  • Viscount Wilhelm

    I’ve been using Qollector which allows me to customize my layout exactly the way I want – including pictures and video for every recipe. I like to perfect my cooking over time and keep notes. It’s free for the iPad. It allows me to share via web, email etc. My mom and I have been swapping recipes. Future releases will sync between iPhone and the web so you can use a browser to login and view only your stuff 😉

  • Judy B.

    Even before I got to the bit about the fact that you no longer like it, for me the fact that you could only use it in Internet Explorer would be a deal breaker. It is well known that IE is the most insecure browser to use

  • Judy B.

    I, too, used to use MasterCook (version 2) I haven’t got it installed on my current computer (it probably wouldn’t even be compatible) and am also looking for a replacement. I would love to find one that also “speaks” Hungarian, as I have lots of Hungarian recipes (which I intend to translate “mañana”)

  • Kathy Gollstrom Thomas

    Lynette, I bought version 10 of cook’n on Amazon, and really like it. Enough that I just paid another 60+ to upgrade to the current version. At least with it, I have free exchange of all my recipes on all platforms. So far so good!

    • FunTimesGuide

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Kathy. I’m glad you’ve found a program you really like! It makes such a difference when you find one that does everything you need it to do 😀 You probably read at the end of my post that I’m now using Google Drive / Google Docs for all of my recipes – LOVE IT!

  • Tammy Sanders

    I know that you are happily using Google Docs now, but for other readers of this post, I wanted to share the fact that Groupon has a deal right now for Cook’n – v10 for $10.99 or v11 for $22.99. Being able to get live feeds, import from scanned images and Pinterest are huge for me… shared access to recipes, shopping lists across computers as well as smartphones was also important. If you’re interested, here’s the link:

  • Phanes Erichthoneus

    At least the people who ended up with the rights to Mastercook, even if they were associated with “ValuSoft” (not a name that brings quality to mind), seem to actually like the software and use it themselves. So to me, that kind of attitude about Mastercook is more impressive than the idea that a company named “ValuSoft” once owned it instead of Sierra.

    My current version is Mastercook 6. I recently upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 8 and I had not yet installed Mastercook until trying just a few minutes ago. Windows asks me for permission to allow the setup.exe to make changes. I give permission and after that, nothing else happens.

    So I’m happy to see that Mastercook 14 is still alive and development and I plan to get this latest version so I can get all my recipes organized.

  • barb

    Have you checked out it’s web based, but very soon you will be able to purchase a copy to run on your own server

  • barb

    Have you checked out

  • Leslie

    I’ve tried pretty much all of them, and none compare to Paprika Recipe Manager. Give it a go, it’s a little bit of $ but SO worth it in the end.

  • feignducky

    I have found It’s not a great orgainser for meal planning nor nutrition analysis (but allows setup of keywords as you go), it works for me (and free). Originally I wanted to access the recipes individually on my Ipad/Kindle, or be able to share a batch (ebook) with family. I tend to cook the same recipes from memory and don’t use a reference too often. My origninal goal was to convert a large word file full of recipes, then type up a pile of family recipes into an ebook. Also later to regularly export personal recipes to have as a backup (for when the internet is unavailable). Who knows If I’ll finish, because I am starting from nothin, plus I’ve discovered Pinterest recently.

  • Graebeard

    I’ve been using Big Oven for several years and find it meets all of my needs except for publishing a cookbook. I generally either type in my own creations or Import from the Clipboard which is a godsend. What I need help with from all you chefs and chefettes is what PC software is out there that can print cookbooks and obviously import all my Big Oven recipes.
    Thanks in advance

  • Dan Oaks

    This article is so fascinating to me. Thank you for taking the time to write it! If I understand correctly, you spent a considerable amount of time and energy entering your recipes into MasterCook but became dissatisfied. So you switched to BigOven only to find that it didn’t meet all of your needs. And, now you switched again to Google Docs. Try Cook’n Recipe Software!

    In addition to serving “your recipes…anytime…anywhere” which is what it sounds like you want, Cook’n will do oh so much more! In this article you mentioned that you were intrigued by Cook’n but didn’t give it a try, despite the 200% guarantee, simply because of the $60-$80 fee. How many hours have you spent trying recipe software and entering recipes only to be disappointed in the end. What is your time worth?

    Cook’n will save you time & money at the grocery store. Cook’n will simplify meal preparation. You can scan your printed recipes into Cook’n saving you typing time. With Cook’n, you will easily recoup your investment in the first 60 days. Give Cook’n a try so you can see what all the excitement is about! :)

  • Ali

    I purchased Cook’n in 2013 and at first it was perfect. The Customer Service was excellent and responsive – I was very impressed. You can type in the search window for any ingredient or recipe name and the software will search the entire internet for you and come up with every possible recipe meeting your criteria and then import it seamlessly into the software so that all your recipes are uniform and you have to do a minimum of typing, copying and pasting. Soon after I purchased it, the software was updated so that you could sync between devices, which was wonderful while it worked for me. However, within 6 or 8 months, my recipes stopped syncing altogether and I received notification that I would basically need to “repurchase” the software in order to be able to continue syncing my recipes. Another $75? I don’t think so… So yes it is expensive and it won’t stop with one purchase.

  • MyTbroke

    Ali- It sounds like you may have been misinformed. No additional purchase has been necessary for me. Cook’n Version 10 came out late in 2011 (when I bought it for Christmas) and Cook’n Version 11, which is the current version, was released in November of 2013. Both versions of Cook’n sync to the Cook’n Cloud and to the Cook’n Mobile Apps. If you are having trouble syncing recipes, maybe you should contact [email protected] so they can help you. I had some trouble once when I switched systems and they totally helped me out!

    It seems like DVO fixes bugs, improves Cook’n and post updates that you can download for free over the Internet about every 10 days. And every couple years, they add amazing new features and offer a paid upgrade. Existing customers get a discount if they choose to upgrade. Upgrading is
    optional. This is a typical business model employed by most software development companies for years. I don’t see any problem with this. If you want the new features and if they’re worth it to you…then pay a small fee and upgrade. Otherwise, don’t. It’s that simple!

    I am surprised and pleased that the Cook’n Mobile Apps are free. I love having all of my recipes at my fingertips! I also love the new Scan feature. I am also surprised that they don’t charge a monthly fee for the Cook’n Cloud service…like most other software companies do these days. Cook’n ( is far and away the best and definitely worth the small investment.

  • Rachel Ramey

    I love, love, LOVE Living Cookbook — especially the fact that it has an easy copy-and-paste process for recipes I gather from around the internet. I don’t need to be able to sync across devices (‘though I think that’s an option), but THIS is important to me. But I just bought a Mac and they don’t have a Mac option. :( So I appreciate this overview of all of these! It helps me narrow things down.