The Best Alternatives to the Pepperplate Recipe App Now That It’s Not Free

Pepperplate, a popular and cross-platform recipe management app, announced yesterday that it’s changing to a subscription-based model. The company had offered its apps and services for free and with minimal advertising for years, but going forward, the service will cost $3 a month or $33 a year. If that sounds like too much, we have a few suggestions for you.

What’s Going on With Pepperplate?

The Pepperplate website, showing a trial notice and several recipes.

Pepperplate is a recipe management service that allows you to easily create recipes (or import them from websites), plan a meal schedule, and set up a grocery list based on that schedule. It didn’t feature much advertising, promised not to sell your data, and was totally free.

Yesterday, users received a surprising email:

You are now registered for a free 14-day Pepperplate trial!

After many requests to support Pepperplate’s progress, we are finally moving to a paid service model.

With the subscription fees we will be able to support feature requests, updated apps, an expanded development team, customer support and improvements to the Pepperplate technology platform.

After your 14-day trial ends, you can switch over to a monthly or annual plan. But, don’t worry, if you decide to activate your subscription at a later date, your recipes will be waiting for you.

Considering there was no warning of upcoming subscriptions, that email may have been an unwelcome shock for existing users. But for anyone paying attention to the world of free services and apps, it’s not too surprising. Creating and maintaining apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and web browsers is not an inexpensive endeavor. Add in the additional cost of hosting servers to store recipes (which can include images), and that price only balloons.

Trying to provide all those services with minimal ads is ultimately an unsustainable business. Pepperplate hinted as much in a follow-up Facebook post. So going forward, the company intends to charge for access to its apps and services. Pepperplate company moved all its existing users to a 14-day trial today.

But, while Pepperplate does provide an excellent service, recipe management is a competitive field with many alternatives. You can choose ad-supported options or premium options that still cost less than Pepperplate. To assist with that, Pepperplate promised to provide instructions in the near future for retrieving your recipes so you can take them elsewhere. Some alternatives already have guidance in place to make the process easy. We have a few suggestions if you’re thinking of making a switch.

The Best Premium Recipe Management App: Paprika

The Paprika Windows app showing several breakfast recipes.

If you’re willing to support your recipe app developers but are looking for an option that’s a little more affordable, check out Paprika. Like Pepperplate, it offers recipe creation the ability to import recipes from websites through a convenient bookmarklet.

You can also create monthly meal schedules, generate shopping lists based on that schedule, and add images to your recipes. Paprika also offers cloud syncing, just like Pepperplate. Unlike Pepperplate, you can import recipes from the web directly in the Paprika app when you’re on your tablet or phone. Paprika already has instructions in place for importing Pepperplate recipes.

Paprika is a premium service, but it doesn’t require a monthly subscription. You pay for each app you want (on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac), and all your data syncs between each one. Essentially, pay for as little or as much as you need and don’t worry about recurring fees.

The Best Freemium Recipe Manage App: BigOven

The Big Oven Android app with several healthy recipes.

If you’re looking for a free recipe management app, Big Oven is one of the best. But it differs from Pepperplate and Paprika in one notable fashion: you can’t import recipes from websites. Instead, you’ll “bookmark” them in the app so you can easily find them again.

On the upside, Big Oven already has over 500,000 recipes in its database that users have full access to. Additionally, if you have a hand-written recipe, you can scan it with your device’s camera and import it automatically. You can save up to 200 recipes on the free plan. While you can create a grocery list on the free plan, you can’t access meal planning, and you can only scan in three hand-written recipes.

The company sustains its business through advertising and an optional subscription plan. For $3 a month or $25 a year, you’ll get the ability to save an unlimited number of recipes, meal planning, 25 recipe scans, and nutritional information.

Big Oven is available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone (really?).


If neither of those options fit your needs, we have other suggestions as well. You can choose everything from the roulette-style Allrecipes app, to Epicurious’s curated list. Depending on your needs, there should be something for you.

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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