Paprika Recipe Manager for iPad – A Review

With it being the holiday season, people are always looking for recipes and trying to find a convenient way to store them. And since I have an iPad, I’ve been desperately trying to find a way to use it as a recipe box due to its portability and ease of use. Surprisingly, decent recipe software is actually hard to find for the iPad. But I think I’ve finally come across an app that will fit my needs and it’s called Paprika.

First off, Paprika is not another recipe book. In fact, when you start it up there are no recipes at all. And that’s exactly what I want. While apps like Allrecipes and Epicurious and others are fine and dandy when you’re looking for something new, I feel they have multiple limitations. You have to be connected to the web in order to use them. That’s great if you’re always planning ahead. In most cases you can’t save the recipe once you’ve found one you like. You can’t import your own recipes so none of your favorites are available. And in far too many cases you need to make some sort of account in order to use the app. Sorry, but none of these are acceptable to me. I want to store my own recipes and have access to them whenever I want, wherever I want. That’s what makes Paprika different.

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It’s a recipe box for your recipes, which means you need to load it up before it really becomes useful. In a way this is a double edged sword. Paprika lacks a regular import function, but assumes that your recipes will come from the web. That to me is a little confusing, but you can work around it.

Without an import, you need to copy and paste the recipes into the right place. Each recipe has 3 sections, the ingredients, the picture, category and rating, and the directions/cooking instructions. It’s actually pretty easy to copy a whole recipe to the Direction section, then cut and paste the ingredients where they need to go and then fill out the category portion and get a picture if needed. If you have a recipe that doesn’t follow too many conventions you may need to prepare the recipes on your desktop machine and then email them to yourself on the iPad. From there, copy and paste as needed to complete the recipe. Sadly, it’s a little tedious, but it wouldn’t surprise me if an import function is in the works.

If by chance your recipes are online, then things get even easier. If the site you’re looking at is one that Paprika recognizes, like Allrecipes or Simplyrecipes among others, you can click the Save Recipe button in the built in browser and the information will be imported automatically.

If Paprika doesn’t recognize the site, it’s still no problem. Simply click to highlight an area of text and Paprika will pop up some buttons asking which part of the recipe you want to assign that text to. Highlight the title, the ingredients and the directions and you’re done. You should be able to grab recipes from just about anywhere.

But how does it know about the site you’re viewing? It has a built in browser of course! No need to leave the app to find your recipes.

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If you want to enter recipes manually, you will just have to accept it will be slow going. Paprika does make things a little easier by offering a nice toolbar that lists 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 measurements and also lists teaspoon, table, cup and ounce so you don’t have to type out the whole word. It does make things faster.

Once you have your recipes imported, things work quite well. You can add an image of the completed meal (it can get an image from the web or from your Photo Gallery), assign it to a category or multiple if you like, create your own categories as needed, set the cooking times, build a shopping list, email the recipe or search through your catalog to find something to make. It’s actually very easy to work with and shows a complete recipe so you know what you need and how to do it.

As good as Paprika is, and it is good, there are a few enhancements I would like to see for the future.

  • There should be a lite version. A premium priced app like this needs a lite version so you can make sure it works for you. Paying $10 on hopes and dreams is a little nerve racking.
  • It needs an import function, at least from a text file. Strangely, none of the recipe apps out there have a usable import function.
  • There is no way to scale recipes. They are stored as text so you won’t be able to scale them up.
  • The search only works for recipe title; it doesn’t search by ingredient, so you can’t find all the recipes that contain corn or oregano for example. You could go around tagging everything but that seems a little overkill.
  • The grocery list is a list of ingredients from each recipe; it doesn’t combine them into a master list. For example, if you had three recipes using green peppers, you won’t get a rolled up total saying you need 3 green peppers. You have to make sure you scroll through each recipe and check off the ingredient.
  • More export options would be great. You can email the grocery list to yourself to use on the iPhone or iPod Touch, but you can’t do much else. You can’t post it up to your website, for example. It would also be great if you could export it to another Paprika user so they could import it directly. I could really go for a recipe sharing option like that.
  • Even though other applications have them, there are no timers, conversion or recipe substitution charts. Paprika is meant to be a recipe box so take that one with a grain of salt.
  • Is there a backup feature? It probably backs up through iTunes, but an actual file I store offline somewhere would be ideal. Or even share so someone else could import my entire library.

But putting that aside, Paprika is outstanding! Even without an import it’s not that hard to get recipes into the database. It’s extremely easy to use and what it does offer is exactly what I’m looking for. I don’t want a catalog of thousands of recipes I’ll never use. I want to store my recipes so that I can refer to them when needed. I especially want access to those seasonal recipes that I don’t use all the time and almost inevitably misplace.

Don’t be intimidated by the $9.99 price tag. I’ve worked with other recipe apps and they are nowhere near as useful or powerful.

If you’re looking to make a cookbook out of your recipes, Paprika is the way to go. I have no doubt the feature set will continue to improve as time goes on.

If you want to learn more and see a video of Paprika in action, check out the author’s website:

http://www.paprikaapp.com/

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