Organizing Your Kitchen Recipes with Open Source

Easy (and Free) Ways to Tackle the Mess Formally Known as Your Kitchen

Woman using laptop while cooking
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Okay, I admit that there are areas of my kitchen that are out of control, with the biggest culprit being all the recipes that I've torn out of magazines and "organized" into a big pile on the shelf. I like to believe that my pile is neat, but to be honest, I have no idea what's in there anymore. There's got to be a better way to handle this, right?

Well, it turns out that there are lots of free, open source pieces of software out there that aim to do just that.

Below are 6 free options that I found interesting. They'll all help organize your recipes, but depending on how you want to do that, there might be one that simply speaks to you more than the others. My personal choice would be to go with one of the web-based ones so that I have the option of pulling up a recipe at the store, but that might not be a concern for you. Either way, though, I'm not looking forward to picking up that mountain of recipes, so I think that I might make things a bit easier on myself first.

Desktop-Based Software

I'll be the first to admit that desktop-based open source software isn't always beautiful to look at (any designers out there?), but what it lacks in style, it often more than makes up for with functionality. So, with that in mind, if you want to keep your recipes private and stored on your computer, these three options are worth checking out.

  • Gourmet Recipe Manager: If you're on Linux or Microsoft Windows and you're looking for a simple way to store, print, and share recipes, Gourmet Recipe Manager might be just what you're looking for. You can also generate shopping lists (which can be a real time saver), calculate nutritional information, and, according to the official website, "look at all your recipes as a list and quickly search through them by ingredient, title, category, cuisine, rating, or instructions." For a more detailed review, be sure to read Bon Appetit with Gourmet Recipe Manager, and for the download files, head on over to their LaunchPad page.
  • Krecipes: This Linux program has been around since 2003, and the amount of functionality reflects its age. Along with basic search features, you can also create printable shopping lists and, since everything is based on a database, you can even have it help you with your diet. That's right -- if you tell it how many calories or fat you want in your diet, it'll help you plan your meals for a specified amount of time ... which is kind of like have a personal nutritionist! You can download the latest version of the source code from SourceForge.
  • Taco Recipe Manager: I'm not sure where the name came from, but there are some pretty cool features built into Taco. You can enter new recipes, import recipes from online, search for recipes based on the ingredients you do or don't have, export recipes as printable PDFs, rate your recipes, and even import several recipe packs (Vegetarian, Fast Food, Party Recipes, or Children's Kitchen). Taco Recipe Manager is available from SourceForge for Microsoft Windows and OS X, and it requires Java to be installed (don't worry -- if you don't have it installed, the program walks you through the process).

Web-Based Software

If you're more interested in sharing your recipes or having them available on multiple devices (desktop, tablet, mobile phone, etc.), then a web-based solution might be a better choice. Below are some great (and modern) options to choose from.

  • iEat: iEat has a very simple interface design, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. You can browse for recipes without having an account, but if you want to add your own recipes, you will need to sign up. Other features include the ability to search recipes based on multiple ingredients, rate recipes, convert measurements between systems, create meal plans, generate shopping lists, add comments, and add images. You can download the latest version of the source code from SourceForge.
  • OpenEats2: This has all your basic sharing, rating, storing needs covered, and it also lets you create grocery lists and store your favorite recipes so that they're easy to find. But, it looks like there aren't too many chefs using this service yet, so the sharing function might be something that comes more into play down the road. In the meantime, though, this is a good option if you're looking for something that's simple to use, and if you want to run your own installation, you can download the source files from GitHub.
  • PHPRecipeBook: This last option is designed for users comfortable with Apache, PHP, and PostgreSQL/MySQL. If those don't scare you off, PHPRecipeBook is a nice option to consider -- it lets you add, view, search, and edit recipes, create customizable shopping lists, and convert measurement unit systems. The look isn't quite as modern as OpenEats2, but the interface is really simple to use and the ability to save lists could be a handy feature to have access to. You can download the latest version of the source code from SourceForge.

    As you can tell, there's no shortage of open source recipe managers out there, so pick the one that has the features you like and stay organized, save time, and eat healthier. And once you've tackled that stack of old recipes, you can move on to some other kitchen chores.