Organize your recipes in the cloud and on your iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Phone!

Adding Recipes: How to Get All Your Recipes Organized in the Cloud, on your Phone and iPad (Tutorial)

Part of our Getting Started with BigOven blog series

Few things are more frustrating for the home cook than the “I know that recipe is somewhere around here” feeling. Getting your recipes organized in one searchable location in the cloud gives you the power to find just what to make, whether you’re at the grocery store looking for inspiration,  planning the week’s meals, or at the kitchen counter needing a quick reminder about a particular recipe’s steps.

BigOven was built from the ground-up to be the best recipe organizer for home cooks. And it all begins with building up your personal recipe collection.

You can have fun with BigOven without adding a single recipe of your own — you can simply browse through BigOven’s 350,000+ recipes (we’d recommend you start with the Seasonal Recipe Collections, a hand-picked set of recipes from our editors) and click the paperclip icon on recipes you’d like to Try.

But every home cook has their own library of family favorites; you can add your own recipes in one of five easy ways, and we strongly encourage you to get your favorites online!

Take these Simple Steps to Organize Your Recipes

1)  First, Join BigOven:  Visit https://www.bigoven.com and click “Join”.  Basic membership is free; Pro membership unlocks full recipe organizing features, removes all ads and costs just $1.99/month or $19.99/year.  You only need one account, and Pro membership is unlocked across all your points of service.  (The mobile apps are available for Android, Android Tablet, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire and NOOK, and are all free.)

2) Add your recipes:  Click “+ Add Recipe” to bring up the 4 handy ways to add recipes:

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Adding Recipes to BigOven

You can add recipes in one of five easy ways: by (a) typing them into the form, (b) copying and pasting from Word or text recipes, (c) clipping them from one of dozens of food websites,  (d) letting BigOven transcribe a photograph of a written recipe, or (e) importing from an existing recipe software program.

Add recipes to the cloud in one of 4 easy ways
Add recipes to the cloud in one of 4 easy ways

Let’s look at each of these in turn:

a) Type Recipes into BigOven

The most straightforward way to add recipes is to simply type the recipe into the Add Recipe form, located at http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/post.

b) Copy and Paste from Word or a Text Document

If you’ve already got recipes in digital format, you’ll probably find our “Copy and Paste Import” option the easiest method.  To use this method:

  • Go to the source material, select the area of text (the entire source recipe) using the mouse and press ctrl-c (on Windows) or command-C (Mac), or choose “Edit” then “Copy” from the menu, to copy the full recipe text to the clipboard.
  • Visit Copy and Paste Import at http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/quickimport
  • Highlight the Step 1 box and press ctrl-v (on Windows) or command-v (Mac) to paste in the recipe text.
  • Highlight just the recipe title in the textbox and press the “Title =>” button
  • Highlight just the recipe ingredients block and press the “Ingredients=>” button
  • Repeat the above process for all the key elements of the recipe — Title, Ingredients, Summary, Source URL, etc.
  • When done, press “Save”

This method will save a lot of retyping, and recipes can generally be entered in about a minute using this method.  To try it out, visit Copy and Paste Recipe Import at http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/quickimport

c) Clip from Food Websites

BigOven’s Recipe Clipper lets you import recipes from dozens of popular cooking websites by clicking a button on your toolbar.  It’s free.

  • Get the Recipe Clipper and drag it onto your “Favorites” toolbar in IE, Chrome or Firefox
  • Visit the the website(s) with the recipes you’d like to clip
  • When you see a recipe detail page of one you’d like to remember, click the “Add to BigOven” button.
  • Review the ready-to-save information on the Recipe Add screen (you’ll be asked to categorize the recipe for later use) and click “Save” at the bottom of the page.

d) Snap a photo and let BigOven transcribe it for you

Do you have recipes in handwritten form, or magazine or newspaper clippings in a notebook, and want to let someone else do the data-entry?

You might find it easiest to pay BigOven to transcribe them for you.  Simply get out your smartphone, tablet, digital camera or scanner and snap photos of the recipes, and upload them to BigOven’s RecipeScan service.  On the web, you can visit BigOven’s RecipeScan transcription service, or, if you have one of the free BigOven recipe apps, click “Add Recipe > Import via RecipeScan” and upload it that way.

As a free member, you’re given 3 RecipeScan credits to try.  RecipeScan credits can be purchased for just $0.59 apiece if purchased in volume (100 RecipeScan credits), or $0.99 apiece in lower volume.

e)  Bulk upload recipes from desktop software (advanced)

Do you have recipes in Mastercook (MX2) or Mealmaster (MMF) format?  You might be able to use BigOven for Windows to import them locally into BigOven for Windows and then use the Cloud Uploader tool to upload them to your account.  (BigOven Pro membership required.)  To do this, download the free BigOven for Windows desktop recipe software, and then use File > Import to import recipes from MXP, MX2 or MMF format into a new BigOven recipe box.  From there, you can post the recipes (one by one) to BigOven.com, or use the free BigOven Cloud Upload tool to upload your .CRB recipe box to BigOven.  Note that if you have recipes in Mastercook binary (.MC2 or .MC) format, you’ll first need to load Mastercook and select the recipes you’d like to export, and export them to MMF or MX2 format.

Great!  Now you’ve got your recipes online.  Now what?

Once you’ve entered your recipes into BigOven, your life as a home cook is made much easier!

Just sign in to any web browser with your login, and your “My Recipes” dashboard will be right there for you.  You should also take a minute to download the FREE BigOven recipe app for your mobile platform(s) at http://www.bigoven.com/mobile or Google Play, the Apple App Store, the Amazon Marketplace, or Windows Phone Marketplace.

Consider these examples:

  • When you’re out at the grocery store, look for what’s on sale, or what’s freshest, and then search your library for recipes featuring that ingredient.  Click the grocery cart button, and BigOven will make you a list of the ingredients you need to make that recipe.
  • Recipes you’ve added will always sort to the top of your searches, whenever you’re signed in.  That is, if you’ve added your Apple Pie, that recipe will sort to the top when you search for “Apple Pie”, ahead of all other matching recipes.
  • Share your recipes with friends and family by simply sharing the URL http://www.bigoven.com/myrecipes/{your-username}
  • Plan shopping trips in advance to save time and money.  On Sundays, whip out the BigOven Menu Planner on your tablet, phone, or web (http://www.bigoven.com/plan) and drag and drop recipes from your “My Recipes” area to the calendar.  Then just click the “Make a grocery list” button, highlight the days you’d like to add, and BigOven will generate a ready-to-go grocery list for you!
  • Eat healthier. BigOven generates nutritional facts for all your recipes.  You can tailor long-time family favorites to be more healthy if you’d like.  To see the nutrition facts (Pro membership required), simply visit the recipe detail and click “Nutrition”.  For instance, a nutrition heatmap for Artichoke Mushroom Risotto looks like this (below.)  It’s easy to see where the calories, protein and sodium come from!
  • Create a folder for each member of the household.  BigOven Pro membership unlocks the Recipe Folders feature, letting you organize recipes into folders.  These folders can be organized however you like — one useful trick is to create a folder containing the favorite recipes of each member of the household that you cook for.  Then, it’s easy to make them something special when it’s just the two of you!
Nutrition for Artichoke Mushroom Risotto
Nutrition for Artichoke Mushroom Risotto
  • Take your recipes with you, wherever you go.  As long as you have a smartphone, tablet, or access to the web, your recipes are right there with you:  at the grocery store, at a friend’s house, at relatives while visiting, on summer vacation… wherever you want them, whenever you want them.

Get recipes organized as a gift for someone else!

Thinking this might be a good gift for a cook you know?  Go ahead and create an account on their behalf (using your own email address), enter the recipes, then, when the gift-giving time approaches, simply contact BigOven’s support desk, and we’ll be happy to help you transfer ownership of that account to someone else. It makes a great holiday gift: your recipient will save time, save money, and have more fun in the kitchen.