SideChef Evaluate | PCMag

Visible attraction is simply as vital for a cooking app as it’s in your favourite dishes. On that be aware, SideChef appears to be like nice on cell units and within the browser, and stands tall as probably the most engaging cooking apps we have examined. Even higher, it has wonderful recipe strategies, an intuitive meal-planning system, and incorporates grocery purchasing into its package for simple on-line ordering. Sadly, SideChef lacks a pantry system that can assist you take inventory of kitchen gadgets, and it does not allow you to edit recipes. For these beneficial options and extra, try Paprika, our Editors’ Alternative decide for cooking apps.

SideChef has an excellent mobile design.

Getting Began with SideChef

SideChef is free to obtain and use on Android and iOS units, and is accessible by way of an internet browser. You possibly can create an account from scratch, or sign up utilizing your current Google credentials. After that, you’re requested about your dietary preferences, intolerances or allergy symptoms, and consuming targets. The targets embrace maintaining a healthy diet, budget-friendly cooking, fast and straightforward meals, or studying to cook dinner. When finished, you’ll be able to bounce into the app to start your recipe looking out, or begin planning meals.

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SideChef’s subscription prices $4.99 per 30 days, however the firm does not push it as exhausting as different cooking apps we have examined . By subscribing, you take pleasure in unique movies and recipes. Chefling and Yummly’s subscriptions are additionally $4.99 per 30 days; BigOven is $2.99 per 30 days; and Paprika, the PCMag Editors’ Alternative decide for cooking apps, is a one-time, $4.99 buy on cell units (it prices $29.99 on desktop).

Engaging Visible Design

SideChef makes use of the same structure as Chefling, with massive picture panels that showcase the app’s many recipes. You scroll up or all the way down to see the assorted classes, and swipe left or proper to see the actual recipes inside stated checklist. The app’s high options the Every day Inspiration class, a number of recipes based mostly in your preferences.

As you scroll down, you will come throughout meal lists, together with Brunch Concepts, Trending Recipes, Simple Household Meals, SideChef Originals, Airfryer Cooking, and 30-Minute Dinners. These recipe mix meals pulled from the net, together with authentic SideChef choices. The result’s a good, easy-to-use interface, with a visible design that ranks among the many best-looking cooking apps we’ve reviewed.

SideChef’s Grocery Choices

SideChef robotically identifies a recipe’s substances, and provides them to your grocery cart. Like Yummly, SideChef lets your order substances on-line. It options Walmart integration, so your meals gadgets are sourced out of your nearest Walmart location. You possibly can modify the gadgets you probably have them in your pantry, and schedule a supply or in-store pickup. My native Walmart just isn’t notably shut, so my gadgets took a day to ship. That wasn’t as expedient as Yummly’s same-day possibility by way of Instacart. Nonetheless, it’s a handy function that few different cooking apps provide.

That stated, SideChef is just a little overeager to get you to order groceries. You see, SideChef segregates the purchasing cart substances and the recipe substances on the recipe playing cards. The substances checklist options the portions and measurements for the meals gadgets in a recipe, whereas the purchasing cart options the gadgets as mirrored from the closest Walmart. You possibly can swap between these lists with a button press, however SideChef prioritizes the purchasing checklist. Because of this, you could take that additional step to see the vital recipe info. Yummly, however, lists the substances and measurements by default, and gives a button so that you can add the gadgets to the purchasing cart.

Sadly, SideChef lacks a digital pantry. It is a main disappointment, as a pantry system is a useful software for any kitchen assistant. Managing your stock is important for mitigating meals waste, and taking cost of your grocery purchasing wants. SideChef’s grocery operate retains observe of potential gadgets chances are you’ll personal, relying on what you’ve beforehand positioned in your purchasing cart. Nonetheless, this pales compared to a correct, customizable pantry system. Yummly additionally lacks a digital pantry, however the function is presently in improvement. Hopefully SideChef does the identical within the close to future.

SideChef's browser visuals look great too.

Useful Video Content material

The largest profit to subscribing are the premium recipes, a strong number of video-guided meals much like Yummly’s Professional movies. Like Yummly, SideChef’s movies provide step-by-step cooking directions, making it a incredible visible information for inexperienced and novice cooks. SideChef additionally consists of timer settings and visible guides to stroll you thru the cooking course of.

BigOven consists of video content material, however these are bite-sized movies and guided recipes. Chefling lets subscribers save video recipes from YouTube, however doesn’t present its personal video content material.

Managing Recipes

SideChef enables you to save recipes you discover, and categorize them into cookbooks that you could arrange nevertheless you see match. The default guide is Favorites, however you can also make as many as you want. I put all my Asian-American dishes into one cookbook, created one other for Latin recipes, and one other for fried meals. There isn’t any restrict to the cookbooks you’ll be able to create, neither is there a restrict to what number of recipes you’ll be able to embrace in each. It is a fantastic function that I wish to see utilized in different cooking apps.

Sadly, you are solely restricted to in-app recipes. There isn’t any option to import recipes into SideChef as you’ll be able to with Chefling, BigOven, and Paprika. You possibly can manually enter your personal recipes into the app, however you’ll be able to’t pull them from the net and save them. Archiving, enhancing, and customizing recipes are commonplace amongst cooking apps, and extremely helpful when experimenting within the kitchen. Cooks ought to have entry to enhancing instruments to create notes or swap substances or measurements. Likewise, you must have the ability to save recipes you want in a single place with ease. It’s a disgrace SideChef doesn’t provide this in any actual capability.

Enjoyable With Meal Plans

SideChef has the usual options you’d anticipate from a cooking app, similar to including or eradicating recipes to your calendar checklist. SideChef spices this up by providing personalised meal strategies based mostly in your preferences for every day of the week, supplying you with decisions to think about as you edit your planner. You possibly can simply take away these strategies, and add recipes of your liking. That is an particularly helpful function in case you’re feeling adventurous within the kitchen.

Modifying your meal plan is as straightforward as clicking the add button for any given day. This opens a small window the place you’ll be able to select out of your saved recipes, or seek for a brand new one. Click on the meal you want, and its immediately added to the plan. SideChef’s meal-planning system, very similar to Chefling and Paprika’s, is extraordinarily straightforward to make use of, which makes growing a menu enjoyable and addictive.

Meal planning is great and personalized.

Cooking With SideChef

Sadly, recipe instructions are displayed beneath the substances checklist, which implies you could continuously scroll down as you cook dinner to see the subsequent steps. Paprika and Chefling have handy Ingredient and Path buttons that allow you to swap between the 2 lists with ease. That is helpful since you will not need to manipulate your cell gadget an excessive amount of whereas cooking. On the upside, you’ll be able to simply scale a recipe by tapping the plus or minus buttons, and swap between US and metric measurements. SideChef additionally prevents your cellphone from going into sleep mode whereas studying recipes, which is a helpful function to have whereas cooking.

Some web-specific recipes don’t function in-app instructions; as a substitute, you are given a Instructions button that takes you to the unique recipe’s web site for additional instruction. That is an irritating function that BigOven and Yummly additionally possess, and it solely provides extra scrolling to the recipe-reading course of.

SideChef requires an web connection to make use of. With out one, you can not peruse the app’s many recipe strategies, view the recipes you have saved, or replace the meal planner. This limitation is pretty frequent amongst cooking apps, with Paprika being the stand-out exception.

A Good-Wanting Cooking Assistant

SideChef contains a beautiful interface, wonderful recipe suggestion techniques, incredible video content material, and a handy grocery-shopping software. Nevertheless, it lacks a correct pantry system, in addition to recipe-editing performance—important letdowns. For those who’re prepared to forgo the video guides and recipe suggestion, Paprika (PCMag’s Editors’ Alternative decide for cooking apps) offers you a wonderful software set for gathering, enhancing, and archiving your favourite on-line recipes for a one-time, $4.99 payment.


  • Nice visible presentation

  • Wonderful recipe alternatives and strategies

  • Enables you to order substances on-line

  • Intuitive meal-planning calendar

  • Well prevents your cellphone from coming into sleep mode whereas studying recipes

  • Terrific recipe-organizing instruments

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  • Lacks a pantry system

  • Does not allow you to edit recipes

  • Intrusive purchasing system

  • Does not consolidate grocery gadgets

View Extra

The Backside Line

SideChef is a cooking app with wonderful presentation, and plenty of helpful meal-planning and grocery-shopping choices. Nevertheless, just a few limitations stop it from being the highest chef’s assistant.

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