The Best Grocery List for Home Cooks

Still using a paper list at the grocery store? You’re missing out. Go right from recipes to automatically-sorted time-saving lists. Text your list to someone else, or even share your list within your household. Watch this brief demo to see some of the things you can do with BigOven’s easy-to-use grocery list:

We've upgraded BigOven's search to a faster, more powerful platform.

Recipe and Grocery API, Version 2.0

We’ve released a new version of our 350,000+ Recipe and Grocery List Application Programming Interface (API), now available at This API gives developers and data scientists working on applications in the food-tech, health, grocery delivery, home automation field easy, searchable access to recipes at affordable prices.

What’s New

The biggest advancement with the API is that it’s refactored to be much more RESTful. The new Swagger-based endpoint brings with it great productivity improvements for developers.

If you haven’t heard of Swagger, it’s an open API initiative aimed at making powerful, consistent and sharable definitions of RESTful APIs. We’ve provided developers a handy playground to experiment with the BigOven API v2, where you can input parameters in a web form and see actual responses, plus you get code generation tools so you can take the Swagger API definition and build simple “recipe and grocery list building blocks” in your language of choice. So if you’re using Java, Ruby, C#/.NET, jQuery, php, Python, or a popular mobile development framework, you can build your own components that work with the recipe and grocery list API.


  • Quickly test out the 350,000+ Recipe and Grocery List API via the Swagger-based developer interface. Very handy during exploration, development and debugging.
  • Get quickly up to speed with Swagger-based documentation. We’re still putting the finishing touches on the documentation, but you’ll find much more extensive descriptions of the endpoints, as well as seeing what each endpoint does.  (Tip: You can put your api_key in the upper right hand corner of the Swagger playground interface and it’ll be remembered between calls.)
  • Use code generation to jumpstart your work in Ruby, Node.js, C#, .NET, Angular.js, jQuery and many more programming languages and frameworks.
  • More REST-ful, newly refactored endpoints for search, recipe display and more
  • Photo redirector – You now can get recipe and user images in a variety of square tile sizes to fit your needs with our photo redirector. These are spread out throughout a Content Delivery Network (CDN), making the experience faster worldwide
  • Recipe categories and subcategories
  • Recipe Collections
  • Support for recipe folders
  • Glossary terms

API2 is being used in production today for our own apps and website, as well as new updates in the works.

Our terms of use and pricing have not changed.

Migration Notes

  • We recommend all new developers start with v2 of the API.
  • We plan to support the older v1 of the API well into 2017, and will monitor usage of that endpoint to determine end-of-life date after January 2017. API v1 is now deprecated but maintained – we will certainly continue to fully support it. We strongly encourage new developers to use API2, and existing API v1 developers migrate to API2 as soon as your development cycle allows, since new features and improvements will be solely on the API2 endpoint.
  • You can use your v1 API key on the new v2 API. Each key will work on both. Starting on a date in 2017 (specific date TBD based on usage and your feedback), API keys will only work on API2.
  • Read other technical migration notes.

Text your grocery list to any cellphone (New Pro feature)


Text your Grocery List to any cellphone.  Your grocery list is ordered by aisle.
Text your Grocery List to any cellphone. BigOven sorts your grocery list by aisle.

Want to send your list to someone to do the shopping?  BigOven Pro members can now send their grocery list to any cellphone via text-messaging (SMS) on

It’s easy.

Step 1:  Visit Grocery Page

Your grocery list is at  Grocery lists sync automatically for you across BigOven’s free mobile apps, but we realize that sometimes you may want to simply text the full list to another person, or perhaps yourself, if you don’t have wireless coverage in the grocery store.

Simply visit the grocery page at and click the phone icon:



Step 2:  Enter the phone number, area code first


Step 3:  Your message will be delivered within seconds.

BigOven groups your list by aisle, and also shows a handy link to the recipe(s) on the list at the very bottom.

Here’s how the list shows up on Windows Phone.  The [A] indicates that the ingredient corresponds to the recipe linked at the bottom of the text.


Messages will be sent from BigOven’s automated messaging account.  You might wish to Save the sending number (231)-464-OVEN in your phone contacts, so you know who it’s from.  There is no BigOven charge for this feature for Pro members, however text-messaging data rates may apply (check your carrier.)

BigOven Pro unlocks many features and also removes all advertising wherever you sign in.  A single Pro membership covers you all points of service — web, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, smartphones and tablets alike.

You can try BigOven Pro completely free for 14 days — activate your free trial at

Improvements to “My Recipes”

Today we released several improvements to the My Recipes Dashboard.  The “My Recipes” dashboard keeps track of all the recipes you’ve added, marked as Favorite and Try Soon.  You can find it in two ways:  Click the “My Recipes” menu option on any page on, or visit  

Related article:  FAQ on Favorites and Try Soons

New features

  1. Easily add to Grocery List — simply mouse-over the tile and click the grocery cart icon
  2. Easily add to Menu Planner — simply mouse-over the tile and click the calendar icon
  3. Easily Remove from Favorites, Try Soons or Added lists — mouse-over and click the minus icon. “Favorites” and “Try Soons”  are two separate lists on BigOven, by design.  Removing a recipe from these lists simply removes it from your list, it doesn’t delete the underlying recipe.
    However, removing a recipe when viewing your “Added” list will permanently delete the recipe from the database.  Don’t worry; you’ll be prompted to confirm!
  4. View as tiles or detailed list


View your recipes as a list or tiles

Sometimes it’s handier to view everything as a quick list.  We’ve added a list view to the My Recipes Dashboard.  Click the list icon in the upper right to switch to list view:

12-19-2013 1-06-06 PM

Sample list view


Sample Recipe Tile View



Existing Features You Might Not Know About

To quickly find a recipe you’re interested in, just start typing the title of the recipe in the text box at the top of the page, or and/or use the dropdown to filter by Course.

Special holiday note for those who are sharing recipes — simply pass along your “My Recipes” web address!

How to share your recipes dashboard:

Click the “Share to Facebook” or “Tweet” links, or simply grab the URL from the browser (it’ll look like, with your username instead of “stevemur”) and share it with friends!  They’ll be able to see all the public recipes you’ve added, all the recipes to try soon, and your favorites, in one easy place.



Introducing the new, now in Beta

9-24-2013 4-36-57 PMWe are pleased to introduce a major website update — now available at

For the past several months, we’ve been working on a rewrite of the entire website, looking carefully at simplifying key actions, and improving the display on all screen sizes.  We’ve looked at the most common use-cases, from looking up a recipe on mobile, to signing up, to entering grocery list items… in an effort to make each one better.

We’d love it if you’d take a look and then jotted a note to us with your thoughts.

This is a beta-test.  We’ll eventually cut-over, but are still running the platform through its paces.  Note though that on the beta site, you’ll still be working with live, not test data — changes (updates, deletions, etc.) you make here will be synchronized to your mobile and tablet apps.  Image upload is not yet allowed on the beta site, but will be enabled when we go live.

New Features You’ll Notice Right Away

  • New support for widescreen monitors
  • Better display on smartphone and tablet screen sizes
  • Much-improved grocery list – better pick-list, support for checked/unchecked items and more
  • Improved recipe tiles on search — richer, simpler, better use of screen
  • Much easier Menu Planner, with your pick-list on the left now conveniently organized by Course (instead of having to locate it in Favorites, or Try Soons, or Added first)
  • You can now add/remove a recipe to or from your favorites, try soons, grocery list or menu planner right from search results – simply hover over the recipe to see the options
  • Dramatically improved recipe picker, used in grocery list (add recipe to grocery list.) It now filters automatically to “My Recipes”.  This improves performance and gets you to the recipe you’d like even sooner.  “My Recipes” equals the combination of recipes you’ve added, favorited, or marked “try soon”.
  • New Browse by Course area
  • New About Us page
  • Better home page which more clearly describes what BigOven is about, and how BigOven helps home cooks
  • More in-line editing tools for administrators
  • Easy navigation breadcrumbs throughout, so you more quickly know just where you are
  • … and more

We had several goals with this major upgrade:

1.  Make the BigOven web experience responsive to screen sizes

Since well over half of the visits to BigOven are via smartphones or tablets, this was by far our biggest objective.  

While we have extremely popular, easy-to-use, native mobile cooking apps for all major smartphone and tablet platforms, there are still many times when people go hit (the website) via a web browser from a tablet or smartphone.  We previously used a “fixed-width” design for the website; this no longer suffices in the age of the smartphone and tablet.

The old platform required us to special-case our mobile views and implement each one separately for smartphone, tablet, etc.  This created inconsistencies in mobile web views, and duplicate effort on our part.  

The new platform lets us build special views that magically shrink and grow as you resize the screen.  That is, mobile screens get just the “need to know” information, and wide desktops get a richer experience.  Screens are first developed for the smallest possible output (the smartphone); then features and items are progressively added as the screen gets larger.  

By making BigOven responsive to screen sizes, it will make the experience across mobile web and desktop web much more seamless.  Ultimately, this new platform allows us to improve the mobile web experience dramatically, and make for an easy, consistent experience regardless of your viewing device.

2.  Support widescreen desktop monitors with richer content

If you’re like many web users, you probably have a wide-screen desktop monitor.  You may also have a tablet and/or a smartphone.

We have moved from a fixed-width design, optimized for a 1024×768 monitor to a fluid design that better uses the pixels available to you.  If you’re on a widescreen desktop monitor, you’ll see a lot more results on the screen.  

For instance, doing a search on “chicken”, here’s what you’ll see on the new site (right) versus the existing site (left):

old website (6 recipes visible at a time)
widescreennew website (10-15 recipes visible at a time)

You’ll notice similar information-rich display on all webpages, compared to the current platform.

3.  Refactor several areas of the codebase

BigOven includes many components – recipe search, recipe entry, recipe scanning, grocery list management, menu creation, menu planning calendar, grocery list, nutrition and more.  We took this opportunity to refactor and reshape several of our core libraries, which will make for higher-quality and more maintainable code with fewer bugs.  

We’re now running the latest versions of core web new-format
and javascript libraries.  This refactoring and simplification is an ongoing process, but the platform rewrite allowed us to take a careful look at all code areas and make some improvements under the hood.


4.  Deliver a streamlined, modern look

We’re adopting a simpler, cleaner flat look for BigOven, with emphasis on recipe content.  We’re cleaning out the recipe details page to help surface the most important content to you.

Buttons and iconography have been rethought to make it clearer what they’re used for.  New dropdown buttons and other components mimic their desktop counterparts.

9-24-2013 4-21-21 PM

5.  Adopt some important new platform technologies  

For those interested, we’ve moved from Microsoft’s older “ASPX” view model to Razor, which delivers much better HTML validation, much tighter code and better syntax checking.  

We’d love your feedback. 

When we’re done with the beta, this new site will take its place as, and the existing site will go away.   

The website is currently in beta, which means that it’s pretty stable and mostly feature-complete.  There are still a few layout and display bugs, and we’d love your help to squash them.  Please send in your feedback via the integrated survey on the website, or via our comments form.

Note that the URLs (web addresses) should generally correspond — simply replace “www” with “beta”.  For instance, your grocery list can be viewed at both and

Thanks, and happy cooking!

BigOven® proudly partners with Sony and their XPeria® Tablet Z: Kitchen Edition

BigOven is pleased to be pre-installed with the brand new Sony XPeria Kitchen Edition.

Sony’s amazing new Android-powered device is accompanied by $115 worth of accessories, content and recipes. You’ll also get the iGrill accessory, which is a wireless Bluetooth meat thermometer that allows you to monitor your food from up to 200 feet away.  And of course, it’s also an Android tablet, so you can choose any app you’d like from Google Play.

Here’s the kicker:  If some of the spaghetti sauce you’re cooking happens to splatter on the tablet, or sticky fingerprints are covering the screen, simply rinse the tablet clean under running water. Let us repeat that for you: simply rinse the tablet clean under running water.  When we tried it here, we said to ourselves, “are you freaking-kidding me?”  But no joke, you

The remarkable XPeria tablet can withstand being submerged under fresh water for up to half an hour at a depth of 3 feet, making it the perfect cooking companion for even the most “enthusiastic” cooks!

This new tablet also sits on a lightweight, fold-able stand, saving some counter space for your other kitchen items. A 10.1-inch Full HD 1,920-1,200 screen makes it easy to view your favorite BigOven recipes as you move around the kitchen as well. When uploading your own recipes to BigOven, don’t forget to snap a photo with the tablet’s 8-megapixel rear camera! A 2-megapixel camera is located in the front.

Sony XPeria Tablet Z Kitchen Edition



BigOven brings Recipe Clipper™ to iPad, iPhone – Add recipes from your favorite food websites and blogs easily!

Major new upgrades to the free iPad and iPhone recipe apps hit the App Store last night, and we encourage you to download them today:

BigOven 250,000+ Recipes and Grocery List -
iPhone App
BigOven: 250,000+ Recipes and Grocery List -
iPad App

These updates bring the BigOven Recipe Clipper™ to your iPhone and iPad, letting you add recipes from your favorite food websites and blogs, right from within the app.  This is a great way to build up your custom collection and always have it at the grocery store or the kitchen countertop, where you need it most.

Add Recipes from Your Favorite Food Websites and Blogs

We’ve brought our convenient Recipe Clipper feature to your iPad and iPhone.  Coming soon for Android.


You can now add recipes you discover on an ever-expanding list of recipe blogs and websites to your BigOven app with just a single click.

Just click “Add Recipe” / “From website or blog”, then find the recipe details page.  (Make sure it has the recipe on it, with ingredients and instructions.)

Then, click “Import Recipe.”  BigOven will inspect and import the recipe, ingredients, instructions — even photo — with just a single tap of a button.  From there, you can add it to your grocery list, mark it a Try Soon, a Favorite, rescale it up or down, add it to your Menu Planner and much more.

We have a starting list of food sites, and are expanding the list all the time.  As this relies upon third-party websites, we cannot guarantee that this list will remain constant — but we’re hard at work adding more to this list.

Just find the recipe you’d like, click “Import Recipe” in the top menu bar — and bingo, it’s in your collection.  You can categorize it and make any further edits directly via the app.  Changes you make will be automatically synchronized for you across other BigOven points of service, including on the web at  We’re adding recipe sites to this list all the time — jot us a note using the link on the form if you’ve got one you just can’t live without.  At this writing, we’ve got a good backlog of a few dozen sites to add, so more are coming in the weeks and months ahead!

Edit (or delete) recipes right from the app

Need to make changes?  No problem!  Just tap on the action button in the upper right, choose “Edit Recipe”, make your changes in the text boxes provided, and press Done.

Your changes are synchronized with the website, so your My Recipes Dashboard is updated as well.



You’ll also find the “Delete Recipe” option on the same action button.

Easy Facebook Sharing

Cooking is social, and the new BigOven apps make it easy to share your Favorite and Try Soon recipes with your Facebook friends.  When you mark a recipe “Try Soon” or “Favorite”, you’ll be asked if you want to share it once, always share Favorites or Try Soon discoveries, or never prompt you again.

Benefit:  Your timeline on Facebook keeps handy links of recipes you want to try.  Your friends also get an easy way to see your discoveries.  You can change your preferences at any time; simply visit your “My Profile” area — and customize them as you see fit.

You can notify friends when you mark a recipe Try Soon, when you Favorite a recipe, or when you’ve Loved a recipe (rated it 4 or 5 stars.)  Or, you can choose not to do so at all — it’s all up to you.




Bug fixes

We’re improving BigOven all the time.  But we’re human, and don’t always get it perfect the first time.  Thanks to you, we’ve identified and fixed some important bugs with this release, the most notable ones are a fix to editing ingredients in the grocery list (this used to cause a sporadic crash in the app), and in invitations to Facebook friends (which used to fail silently in most situations, but now work properly.)  Notice any bugs that you’d like fixed?  The quickest way to tell the development team is our feedback form.  While we do read the app reviews, with two million+ registered members, you’re much more likely to reach the developers in a timely way by letting us know directly.  Thanks!

Thanks for all your ideas and support

In every release, roughly half of all new features come from suggestions you make.  We’re listening.

If you find the BigOven app helpful in the kitchen, we’d love it if you take a moment to say so with an App Store review.  That’s a great way to spread the word about BigOven, which means more recipes, photos, reviews, and tips for you!

From all of us here at BigOven, happy cooking.  Make something great tonight.


Moving from TypePad to WordPress: How-To

Today, we’ve moved the BigOven blog from TypePad to WordPress.  I hope you like this new format, and find our blog readable and informative.

Why move from one blogging platform to another?  In my view, WordPress has won the blog-platform war, and is now embraced by millions of writers around the world.  It’s a tremendously flexible platform, and many functional and responsive themes are available that scale particularly well to mobile and desktop screens.  Wordpress is made particularly vibrant by a vast library of extremely useful plugins, letting us add additional features to the blog without additional code.  In short:  Typepad, while perfectly adequate as a blogging platform, in my opinion loses out to WordPress in virtually every measure.

What do you think of the new design?  Let us know.

Typepad to WordPress: Migration Tips

The rest of this blog post is for those who want the specifics about migrating from Typepad to WordPress; I wanted to share some tips on the migration for those who want to do the same.  Fair warning though — it gets pretty technical.

How to Move from TypePad to WordPress on IIS

I spent a good half-day migrating the content from our blog from Typepad to WordPress, and thought I’d pass along some tips.

Option A:  Outsource the whole thing

The nice folks at have a “valet” service, currently priced at $1499, that will get you a full migration, soup-to-nuts.  They do tech support, and have a great migration tool that handles some of the nitty-gritty below.  If you’re looking for a “set it and forget it” solution, I’d suggest you fill out their contact form.

[Edit — Thanks to a comment from Alec from FolioVision, I now know that they too have a migration service priced significantly less, Silver T2WPMove at $500.  See the comments for details.]

Option B:  Do-it-yourself

I chose the do-it-yourself option.

The first step is to get your WordPress server ready.  You can choose a third-party service like, or you can use a shared or dedicated server.  At BigOven, we happen to have a spare Windows 2008 server in our farm, leftover from previous system upgrades.  It’s running IIS6, and for various reasons I wanted to keep it that way — it’s perfectly adequate for our blog and miscellaneous other duties.

Here are the steps in migrating from Typepad to WordPress (hosted on Windows):

  1. Export the existing blog from within TypePad.  This is done via Blogs > Settings > Import/Export.
  2. Install WordPress (and PHP and MySQL) on Windows 2008.  Microsoft makes this really easy with a special “Install WordPress For Windows” powered by their Web Platform Installer.  I found the installer worked flawlessly and installed PHP, mySQL and WordPress.  (It did require a server restart, however, so do this on a time that you can bring the box down for a restart.)  Still stuck?  Read the gory details of installing WordPress for Windows.  The installer will automatically create a username and password for accessing mySQL.  You can write it down during the install, or you can always view it later via the config file on the IIS box.
  3. Now, you’re ready to import the post content!  Once WordPress is up and running on IIS, log into the admin panel, and install the handy plugin “Movable Type and TypePad Importer”.  This will do the lion’s share of the work.  Once this plugin is activated, you can go into the settings for it and give it the .WXR file you created in step #1.  After a few minutes – voila – your content should be live in your WordPress blog.By now, you’re humming along and must be thinking “that’s not so bad” — and you’re right.
  4. Solve two big gotchas:
    a)  Preserving permalinks (and creating new ones that match your old site structure)
    b)  Getting your images hosted by your new server
  5. Point your DNS server to your new WordPress site

It’s step 4a and 4b that take the bulk of the work.  Here’s how I tackled them:

Getting Permalinks To Transfer (4a)

What they are:  Permalinks are the actual absolute URL links for your blog articles.

Why you should care:  If you want to maintain your user experience and search engine presence, you don’t want a whole lot of broken links out there after you flip the switch and move your domain name to your new WordPress-powered blog.  Wordpress and Typepad use a different default syntax for building URLs.

How to tackle this.  First, I inspected our Typepad blog.  Our TypePad blog had links that looked like this (bold added for emphasis):

By default, WordPress generates permalinks in a different format.  But, lucky you, you can tell WordPress how to generate these permalinks!  In the WordPress admin panel, go into Settings > Permalinks.  To preserve the “old” method, set yours to “Custom”, and use the format corresponding to your blog.  In our case, it’s:


This works, but with IIS6 at least, there’s still a problem.  While the WordPress engine now publishes articles using this format, IIS6 needs a way to route links of this kind to the WordPress engine.  When I try to browse any of these new Custom Permalinks, WordPress on IIS gives a 404 (not found) error.  Essentially, you need to tell IIS6 — “when a link comes in, hand it off to WordPress’s index.php for handling”.

*Note — as Alec indicates in the comments, we are able to do this because for our blog at least, we’ve never hand-edited the URL slug.  If you’ve hand-edited the permalink in Typepad, you might be interested in FolioVisions service.  See the comments for more information.

To solve this, I had to download and install a “URL Rewriter” – for IIS6, the one to use is the free (donationware-supported) Ionics IIRF – you can download it from:  After it’s installed, you’ll want to use notepad to create a file called IIRF.ini, and put it in the base directory where your new WordPress site is located.

I’ve told it to route all requests through the WordPress engine with these lines:

# Iirf.ini
RewriteEngine ON
StatusInquiry ON
IterationLimit 5

# this will allow ugly URLs 
# to not be processed at all
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule /. /index.php [L,QSA]

Restart your WordPress site, and voila!  Now, the “old” site links, as well as the new ones, should be working.

Importing Images into WordPress (4b)

What they are:  These are all the .png, .jpg, .gif and other files you may have on your old Typepad site.  In our case, we also have some embedded videos from YouTube, but these won’t be affected at all, since the URLs are absolute.

Why you should care:  While your blog might appear to be functioning just fine, if you look closely at the HTML that is rendered in your new WordPress account, it’s still pulling the images from your old Typepad account.

Unless you do something, when you shut off your Typepad account, these images will all be broken links.

For those of us on Windows hosting, there’s another catch — Typepad likes to store images in a subfolder called “.a” (period-a).  Windows doesn’t like folder names that start with a dot, so you have to rename this destination, and in turn, rename all the hyperlinks in the post.  Fortunately, if you know a little SQL, that’s simple.

The best way to handle this situation is to migrate all the images from your TypePad account to your new account.  You can use a tool like the HTTrack to download all the images from your old blog to a specific folder on your hard drive.  Then, FTP them to the new IIS6 server, to a folder that lives under the “wp-content” folder.

The last step is to point your old posts to the right subfolder for these images, and for that, you’ll need to go in and update the WordPress posts database in mySQL.  In brief, what you do is get the login credentials from wp-config.php – that will tell you the username and password that wordpress uses for mySQL access.  You can use the mySQL Workbench to issue a query that looks something like this:

update wp_posts set post_content=replace(post_content,’/.a/’,’/wp-content/img/’) where post_content like ‘%/.a/%’

WARNING:  Always be careful when issuing bulk queries against your database!  You can corrupt the data if you do it wrong.  So always do a SELECT on this and triple-check the output before UPDATE-ing the entire database.

If you get this bulk url correct, your posts should now be pointing to the right images, on the new WordPress site.

And then, once it’s up and running, you can ask your DNS administrator to point the blog to your newly established WordPress site.  Happy writing!

Readers Choice: Best Recipe App, 2013

For the third straight year, you’ve voted BigOven “Best Recipe App” in the annual Readers Choice Awards on, with 89% of the total vote.  Thank you!


In addition, we’ve received some nice recognition recently from these national publications:

BigOven is a community effort – your recipes, photos, ratings and product suggestions help us continue to design and deliver great solutions for home cooks everywhere.  We really appreciate the recognition – we’re working very hard to deliver to you the finest solution for recipe organization, meal planning and grocery shopping.  BigOven is available for free download for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, Android Tablet, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone and NOOK at