Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can be daunting. Not only must you prepare tons of food — some of it you've rarely cooked before — you've also got to make sure that it's all ready to hit the table at the same time. And you've got to keep all those plates spinning under the watchful eye of family members ready to remind you of every overcooked turkey breast, lumpy gravy, or overheated green bean casserole at every future get-together.
Luckily, you don't have to tackle Thanksgiving dinner alone, provided your kitchen arsenal includes an iPad. The App Store has a cornucopia of cooking apps that you'll be giving thanks for when it's time to get cooking.
We've rounded up five iPad-optimized apps that aim to help you prepare Thanksgiving dinner, whether your menu calls for a turkey or a tofurkey. These apps will help you at every step, from picking recipes and planning a menu, to cooking multiple dishes at one time, to figuring out what to do with 20 pounds of leftovers.
Thanksgiving Menu Maker
An super handy tablet-optimized cooking app produced by Fine Cooking magazine, Thanksgiving Menu Maker ($1) is geared toward the Thanksgiving gourmet. Recipes include such tantalizing dishes as brined roast turkey with sage-butter rub and mushroom gravy and beet salad with oregano, pecans, and goat cheese.
The app offers more than just menu-making, though, with tabs devoted to recipes, forming a shopping list, scheduling cook times, and assorted cooking tips. You start out by taking a look at the recipes, which are categorized by dish (starters, main dish, sides, and desserts). You can add recipes to your menu, and then view your entire meal via the app's Menu tab.
The Shopping List tab creates a grocery list based on your menu, while the Schedule tab lets you know when you need to complete certain tasks, such as making turkey giblet broth the day before or heating the oven four hours before dinner. Finally, the Tips tab directs you to Fine Cooking's website for tips on wine pairings and what to do with leftovers.
BigOven 350,000+ Recipes and Grocery List
BigOven (free) is more of a generic recipe and shopping list app than Fine Cooking's offering. It's not just focused on Thanksgiving, so it's worth a look for anyone who wants some guidance in the kitchen.
This app has more than 350,000 recipes to search through, with filters to help — search based on ingredients to include or exclude, or dietary restrictions, for example. You can also browse recipe collections, such as the current Thanksgiving-oriented collections ("Thanksgiving Favorites" and "Savory Sides").
Though you can use BigOven year round, it has a couple of particularly useful tools for Turkey Day beyond those Thanksgiving recipe collections. A "Use Up Leftovers" feature helps you come up with creative ways to work that fridge full of leftover turkey into your post-Thanksgiving meals. Just input the ingredients you need to use, and the app searches for menus that include them.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.