The Best Meal Planning Apps for 2022

The Best Meal Planning Apps for 2022

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There are few pleasures in life that can surpass a delicious, home-cooked meal. With modern conveniences like the airfryer and Instant Pot, cooking at home has never been easier. That said, making time to cook, figuring out recipes to discover new meals, and experimenting with ingredients can make a simple task more difficult. Sure, you can Google for recipes, but sometimes that just isn’t enough. In those cases, you need to upgrade your cooking game by using meal planning apps.

What is a meal planning app?

Meal planning apps save recipes to your Android or iOS mobile device, making food preparation incredibly easy. Keeping track of recipes can be a chore, especially if you’re the old-fashioned type who still take notes with pen and paper. Finding recipes online doesn’t get much better as you have to bookmark pages, print them out, or save the ingredients and instructions in a document. After all, no one wants to flip through papers or search files while cooking to find a recipe.

Keep in mind that meal planning apps are typically subscription-based services. Prices vary, but you can expect to pay $3 to $5 per month to use their many features beyond recipe organizing (more on that later). Of the services we tested, Paprika Recipe Manager is the only exception; it is a one-time purchase of $4.99.

Woman using a phone in the kitchen

(Image: Getty Images/AfricaImages)

Meal Planning Features You Need

There are important criteria to look for when selecting the ideal kitchen companion. Most importantly, a meal planning app should give you access to a multitude of recipes. Depending on the app, you can find the recipes using an in-app browser, a recipe import tool, or a robust library pulled from the web. Many of the apps mentioned here combine those useful elements.

Another notable feature is the ability to edit recipes in the app. This gives you the freedom to adapt and experiment with any recipes you discover, or to add notes when needed. The best meal planning apps also allow you to create and customize a digital pantry to inventory your kitchen items, which can be used in conjunction with an in-app shopping list for easier shopping.

Several meal planning apps tap your phone’s camera to help you in the kitchen. Some let you scan products you have on hand to find recipes, while others let you scan items in your pantry for easier inventory management. Video supplements are also a common feature. Many apps either contain video recipe guides with step-by-step cooking instructions or bite-sized overviews. And, as the category name suggests, these apps allow you to create a meal plan using an in-app or external calendar.

Recommended by our editors

Meal planning apps streamline home cooking and kitchen management in many ways. Check out the apps listed here to see which one fits your needs. And for even more high-tech approaches to cooking, check out the best smart kitchen tools we’ve tested.

If you want to forgo cooking, but still enjoy a quality meal, take a look at our recommended delivery services for ready meals and delivery services for vegetarian and vegan meals.

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