10 Ways Clever Cooks Use Smartphones in the Kitchen

Make your smartphone your sous chef with these fab phone hacks!

One person holding up a smartphone and filming another person as they grill meat in a skillet on the stovetop

Shutterstock / VGstockstudio

We love rounding up smart kitchen tips. Maybe you’ve tried our Amish cooking secrets or timeless tips from Grandma? Today we have a more modern twist: cooking with your phone! These 10 phone hacks can make your dishes prettier, healthier, and easier… all at the touch of a button.

1. Never Wonder How Long to Cook Your Steak Again.

A fan of steak, but afraid you’ll over- (or under-) cook it? Allow us to introduce you to Steakmate, the free app that tells you how long your meat should be in the pan or on the grill. All you have to do is enter your cooking method, the thickness of your steak, and your desired temperature or doneness. No more bloody t-bones or leathery sirloins!

Psst: be sure to avoid these top ten mistakes that almost everyone makes when cooking steak.

2. Out of Eggs? No Problem!

We’ve all been there: four steps into that pumpkin buns recipe when we realize that it calls for four eggs-and we only have three. Never fear! The Substitutions app ($1.99) is here. Type in what you’re missing from your pantry or fridge, and this app will give you a list of ingredients you can swap in instead. As a bonus, it’s super helpful if you’re avoiding salt, sugar, or gluten!

3. Can’t Read the Menu? Don’t Worry.

How many times have you been at an Italian restaurant, boggled by what orecchiette al pomodoro might mean? The Menu Translator app (free) turns even the most foreign of dishes into easy-to-understand English. You wouldn’t want to order pâté (liver mousse) at a French restaurant thinking it was a burger patty!

Are you pronouncing these common food names all wrong?

4. Find a Recipe for Any Food!

Have you ever eaten an amazing meal at a restaurant and wanted to duplicate it at home? If so, you’re going to love Pic2Recipe, the app that converts food photographs into step-by-step recipes. It uses artificial intelligence to scan a photo and compare it to over one million recipes and images. The app isn’t being sold commercially yet because there are still a few bugs, but don’t worry! We’ve still got you covered. Try our copycat recipes for some favorites from Panera Bread, Starbucks, Chinese takeout restaurants, and even for fast food!

5. Edit Your Food Pictures to Look like a Professional Chef.

Looking to send a snapshot of your dinner to a foodie friend or want to share your supper on social media? Snapseed (free) has been rated by Instagram food photographers as one of the best apps for editing food pictures. Use it to brighten and sharpen your photos to make colors pop, edges cleaner, and details stand out. Your friends will never know you’re not a professional!

More tips for fab food photography? Stand on a chair to get that professional-looking overview shot-or take a picture of your plate in front of a window for even, natural lighting.

6. Compare Nutritional Information Without Picking up a Single Box.

If you’re trying to eat healthy, turning over every item in the grocery store aisle to find the nutritional information can be time-consuming. Save yourself the effort and download Foodle for free. It allows you to browse thousands of nutritional fact sheets on supermarket products at the touch of a button.

If you think these foods are healthy, you’re not alone-but you’re wrong.

7. Don’t Know Whether or Not to Buy Organic?

You know you want to buy organic, but when there’s a price difference over a dollar compared to the normal produce, you have to wonder: is it really worth it? Dirty Dozen (free) shows what they call the Clean 15, a list of fruits and vegetables that are just as good when they are conventionally grown as when they are labeled organic. You can also find the app’s namesake, the “Dirty Dozen,” a list of the twelve produce items with the most pesticides. Looks like we’re buying organic strawberries from now on…

8. Touch-free Timer? Yes Please!

When the timer goes off and you’re in the kitchen, chances are you’re hands-deep in a bowl of marinade or covered in crumbling remnants of cookie dough. You don’t want to use your dirty fingers to turn off the timer-and you don’t have to! Wave Timer for iPhone or Wave Alarm for Android is like any other free timer app, but when the alarm goes off, you can stop it by waving your arm over the phone. The app works by using the front camera to detect motion, making it easy to set and stop kitchen timers without having to wash your hands first.

9. Pull Up Tasteofhome.com (We Had To)!

If you browse our site, you’ll find thousands of recipes, from slow cooker meals for every occasion to quick and easy weeknight recipes. If you set up an account (free), you can save recipes to your recipe box, find nutrition information and create handy shopping lists.

10. Learn How to Cook…Everything.

A fan of our How To guides? The How to Cook Everything app ($9.99) is a spin-off of Mark Bittman’s best-selling cookbook. It’s part cooking manual and part recipe book, perfect for any first-time cooks. Use it to figure out how to peel carrots, how to roast potatoes, or how to make homemade ice cream. (Of course, you can read our tips for free!)

With so much advanced technology at our fingertips, it’s not hard to turn your smartphone into your sous chef! Which of these sounds most helpful to you?