There is no shortage of recipe websites on the internet, which can make things a bit confusing for the beginner cook. After trawling the internet for all things food related, we can now offer you our top five recipe sites. These five sites offer the best overall mix of meal suggestions and culinary knowledge. It may be true that many of us still love a well published cookery book, but now it's really possible to gain some great insights into making modern food through some of these great websites.
Here we present reviews of the five sites we believe should inspire all you budding chefs out there!
Jamie Oliver – Top Recipes from The Naked Chef
The Jamieoliver.com website has to be included in our top five because, just like Jamie himself, the site delivers a great mix of recipes and his very personal food campaigns. Similar to his popular cookery books, the recipes are all very well written, and his team delivers fantastic photography and good page designs that you will enjoy looking at. It is easy to navigate between the main sections of Jamie's restaurants, the recipes, books, kitchen equipment and so on. At the end of the day, it's all about ideas and inspiration, which it really delivers on. However, there is some functionality missing, for instance it is hard to carry out advanced searches for precise recipe titles.
The main philosophy Jamie Oliver is to "empower, educate and engage as many people as possible to love and enjoy good food" and generally speaking, if you allow yourself a little time to navigate the main menus it does exactly that. The best thing is that most of Jamie's recipes are unique and can only be accessed via the website or in his great collection of cookbooks. The how-to videos make the whole Jamie experience come to life as he is truly one of the greatest cookery presenters, bar none. A nice touch is that it is possible to receive SMS recipes if you don’t have a smartphone. What's really good is that even though it's not designed for beginners, there's something here for all levels of chefs to learn from and enjoy.
The related forum is a great add on to the experience allowing you can share foodie tips and comment on the recipes themselves. Jamie's site combines a very positive attitude towards both food and an active healthy lifestyle.
Delia Online – The Legendary Chef Online
The ability to print, save and share the deliaonline.com recipes is a great bonus to a great-looking website. We include the much-loved Delia Smith's site in our top five because it is very well thought out and is very much an online school. In her introductory video, she states very clearly that cooking can be compared to driving a car, that without adequate training it can cause unnecessary accidents! How very true.
The instruction of the recipes is very clear and is an education in itself with a fine selection of different classic dishes to choose from. The cookery hints and tips are really very well thought out, whether you are seeking ideas for ingredients, techniques or cooking equipment, it is all here. A how-to section is a great guide that allows beginners to learn how to scramble eggs, de-bone a chicken, and cook perfect rice. So many cookery sites presume that you have this knowledge, but the aim here is not just selling recipes but to educate the novice chef, and encourage better cooking at home.
The attention to these kinds of rudimentary skills is the key to this online schooling from Delia Smith. Over the decades of dedication to her craft, she became both a household name and is now seen as a British culinary institution!
Foodiez.com – An Invaluable Resource
This site is very well designed and really nice to navigate, with its main page opening with cuisines, diets, dish types, occasions, and cooking methods. The cuisine section is divided by nationality and if you click on, for example, African, you are presented with a really huge list of typical African dishes with a well-designed guide and clear instructions on how to cook some of the well-curated dishes. What we particularly liked is how very attractive the visual icons are on the ingredients pages that allow you to make a quick mental note without really having to read every word.
Below a recipe, there is quite an ingenious system of tabs that will connect to the dish by suggesting related themes. From African to Soup to Gluten-free to Winter, the suggestions can allow the visitor to the Fooddiez site to think and connect ideas themselves.
With its attractive design and wonderful photographic illustrations, you can enjoy referencing and picking up new recipe ideas by clicking on a method, or if you are more concerned over a particular dietary need than by this type of search.
One fun but very useful tool Fooddiez have utilised is that you can dial in the level of difficulty from 'easy' to 'expert', which, especially for the more amateur chef, will reduce any unnecessary stress when selecting a dish that suits your knowledge. Not only that, you can also choose a dish by the approximate cooking time required, that ranges from a quick bite at 5 minutes to a full dinner party style meal of 2 hours. Clever stuff!
The Occasions allow you to choose from events such as 4th of July, Birthday, Christmas and Easter. This is a great feature of this very well-designed and thought-out site for cooks with different skill levels. There are plenty of fun and interesting reads like 'A Look at the relationship between Nutrition and Sleep' or 'How to make Sushi'. It is also very practical as you can learn how to cook some real basics with guides such as 'how to cook eggs: 10 Ways!' or 'How to Cook Chicken Breast in a Pan'. These step-by-step guides are well-written and thorough to the point of being nerdy. When you are deciding what to cook, you will also see some very good alternative suggestions below these that you can reference easily.
One very nice section is 'How to Cook by Age' as this is really informative on ways to inspire and promote some basic cooking projects and skills for children of all ages. One example suggests that you get your children to assist you by reading recipes out loud and cracking the eggs for you. All in all a great site!
Food.com – An Encyclopaedia for Cooks
From Trending Recipes to What We're Craving Now, this site covers a huge range of recipes and food ideas. Food.com is a very easy-to-use site and a particularly nice feature is the imaginative titles given to the site’s various different sections. For example, 'Our Most Tweaked' recipe allows readers to share their additions to some of the popular recipes and engages the community by encouraging tips and suggestions. With millions of members, this means that each individual recipe comes with readers' comments and personal ratings so that everything is constantly being read and reviewed.
Food.com is an absolutely huge resource of over 400,000 recipes, making it the go-to site for searching for specific titles. One of the great features is that you can save to your own personal cookbooks. You can even have a summer and winter collection, which can be really useful.
This is a sister site to The Food Network, which is where to go if you need a more educational, how-to style of site. Food.com is an exceptional database and very user-orientated, but if it's an education you need, it is best used in conjunction with other sites and resources.
All Recipes – A Comprehensive Collection
The AllRecipes.com site is neatly divided between dinners, meals, ingredients, occasions, cuisines and kitchen tips. Like the other recommended sites, it is frequently being updated with seasonal meal suggestions and themed recipes. The News and Trending section will quickly enable a visitor to gain new ideas and is a nice inspiration for meals and dinners to suit all tastes.
It is quite true that the site can boast all recipes as it is home to an enormous array of categorized and archived recipe titles. Membership is fairly painless but be warned you will need an American postcode to enter the site. This is probably the largest collection of menus available online, and if you want access to all the additional features, then it is only $1 per month for this service.
Recipes are easy to find due to excellent categories and search tools, even more, obscure types of foods can be accessed. Each suggestion is accompanied by good-quality photography and some very insightful readers' comments. There are some excellent categories like Garden Fresh or St. Patrick's Day recipes that are all very well organised and user friendly.
Saving your recipes is quite straightforward when you use AllRecipes, and before long you will have a very good archive of meals to take you through the year. You can also quickly email some of these to friends or print off a hard copy on paper.