Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and with it right around the corner, you may be wondering where time flew off to and how exactly you’re supposed to pull off one giant dinner for friends and family (especially if you’re hosting this year’s feast). Luckily, there’s no need to hit the panic button just yet, because the beauty of the smartphone age is that we have culinary power in the palm of our hands – literally.
Perhaps you can’t find a turkey. Maybe you have no idea what sides to serve. Could be you’re willing to branch out from canned cranberry sauce to homemade (pro tip: don’t). In any case, we’ve got you covered – no matter your needs!
We put together a list of apps that will help you prepare for – and survive – the Thanksgiving madness. Let us know which apps you find useful this holiday season!
1. Yummly: The Best Personalized App
Yummly is an app that takes personalization and puts it into the kitchen. You’ll receive recommended foods and recipes based on your interests, likes, and previously cooked meals. You can even find recipes based on your dietary needs, preferences (for example, do you like spicy foods?), and what you have in your cupboards.
This Thanksgiving, you might have someone who has a dairy allergy and another person who is a vegetarian. Rather than worrying about how you’re going to accommodate for everyone, let Yummly choose recipes for you based on their specific needs. Besides, you have enough to worry about…
2. Vivino: The Best Boozy App
Vivino is the world’s largest collection of wine drinkers -- a community of 26 million, to be exact. And that’s a lot of people who like wine. If you’re stuck for what bottle to get to accompany your roast turkey and carbs a-plenty – or need to stock up a little extra to help you survive a large family gathering – then look no further than the ever-reliable Vivino community.
What’s more, you can save, share and review the wines you’ve had, so when Thanksgiving comes around next year, you’ll be able to check which wine you had so that you can buy more (or not, as the case may be).
3. Kitchen Stories: The Best Step-by-Step App
At the end of the day, anyone can cook. But with the help of Kitchen Stories, even the trickiest of Thanksgiving meals will seem like a breeze. Whether it’s a lengthy ingredient list, or just long and tedious instructions, many Thanksgiving recipes can feel like more of a burden than an exciting experience.
On this app, you’ll find easy-to-follow step-by-step guides for all of your favorite meals, as well as some dishes you’ve probably not heard of that might make a nice addition to the Thanksgiving dinner table. Leave your mother’s big Betty Crocker cookbook on the shelf, and cook off your cell with Kitchen Stories.
4. SideChef: The Best Tutorial App
There aren’t many apps that put novice cooks at ease, as if a guiding hand is helping you throughout an entire cooking process. However, SideChef manages to achieve this with their step-by-step cooking guides. It’s an engaging, interactive experience with annotations, voice commands, and well-timed photos all set up to ensure you get from fridge to plate in as little time as possible. When time isn’t always on your side, this app is not a bad addition to the kitchen when you’re preparing your Thanksgiving dinner!
5. Instacart: The Best Grocery Shopping App
Instacart might just be that lifesaver on Thanksgiving when you realize that you’ve forgotten to buy a crucial ingredient – or have put off braving the grocery store for any necessary goods altogether!
This app allows users to order groceries in advance and schedule delivery, helping you maximize family time during a busy long weekend. When it’s time, your personal shopper will text you through the app to ensure you get everything on your list. What’s better? You can order products you badly need online and receive them as soon as one hour later, depending on where you are in relation to their nearest shopper. Plus, Instacart shows plenty of store deals, so you may even find yourself a special sale on a family favorite or essential ingredient.
6. Well Done Cooking Timer: The Best Organizational App
During Thanksgiving, you’re probably going to be making several items for dinner at once, which, as history has shown us, means you’ll be in the market for multiple timers to track all four stovetop burners, your crockpot and an over (or two).
Unfortunately, there’s not an easy way to set several timers on our smartphones default time apps, but there is a downloadable mobile app that can save the day: Well Done Cooking Timer. Don’t fret about burnt potatoes or dry turkey, because this handy little app will let you set many timers to ensure everything turns out just right!
7. Hooch: The Best Party App
Hoping to hit the town with old friends the night before Thanksgiving? Look no further than Hooch! This under-the-radar app is designed to help users explore new bars in their city. Plus, you’ll get access to free drinks every day just for branching out and trying something new! So go ahead – prep for too much extended family time with a few extra libations.
8. Tasty: The Best Recipe App
Tasty is a modern recipe app, designed to bring users the best recipes in a simple format. Designed by Buzzfeed, the app portrays some chefs’ recipes in the most user-friendly way possible (think those aerial-view recipe videos you so often see circulating on your Facebook news feed!).
Users able to search the app for specific recipes, ingredients, and even occasions (hint, hint – Thanksgiving…). There are also options to filter based on a variety of factors, including recipe difficulty, overall meal, and dietary needs and restrictions.
9. Blue Apron: The Best Delivery App
Lacking any staple recipes or family traditions, and unsure of where to start? Blue Apron customers can rely on the service to prepare tasty, home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients without having to spend precious time finding recipes, writing grocery lists, and lugging everything home from the grocery store.
Every recipe’s ingredients will be delivered straight to your door – and they’ll even come pre-measured in the exact quantities that you need. If you enjoy cooking, but hate grocery stores and lack a bit of imagination for your dinner menu, then Blue Apron could be a winner for you this holiday season.
10. The Infatuation: The Best Restaurant Guide App
The Infatuation is an app designed to help users find restaurants they’ll love wherever they are – and it is perfect for anyone who is really, REALLY stuck this Thanksgiving.
Whether it’s your lack of time, talent, or energy in the kitchen, sometimes finding a restaurant to post up at with family and friends is the best thanks you can give. The review-based app will show you which spots are at the top of list for popularity at the moment and suggest where you can go for some tasty grub. Just be sure to check their holiday hours before you hop in the car.
In the run up to Thanksgiving, you can test out a few of these apps to see which ones you prefer. Then, when it comes to the big day, you’ll be ready to rock and smash the dinner out of the park!
Tell us the cooking apps you swear by in the comments below.