Basil For iPad Is Like Instapaper For Recipes


Basil is my new favorite recipe app for the iPad
Basil is my new favorite recipe app for the iPad

I’m a dead treeware holdout when it comes to cookbooks, and as such any recipes I save from the web are scattered across Pinboard, Instapaper and Simplenote. But Basil is the app that might just change all that. Yes, it’s another recipe organization app, but there’s a difference. Basil lets you throw in recipes from just about anywhere, formats them and categorizes them ready to use.

Basil isn’t a pretty app. Not in the over-the-top Apple way at least. It is plain and handsome, though, and very easy to use. The interface has a navigation bar on the left side, an instructions pane in the center and the ingredients over on the right. The title, serving size and other information is up at the top, and the app even turns times into countdown timers.

And that’s about it. You can search on titles, keywords, tags, type of dish and so on, and the interface is clear enough to see while cooking. The real magic is in getting the recipes into Basil.

Once you have installed the bookmarklet, tap it and the current page opens in Basil’s in-app browser. All you do is highlight the various sections and touch a button to tell Basil what it is. For instance, you touch to highlight the paragraph containing the ingredients and then tap the “ingredients” button to let Basil know. This takes a few seconds for the rest of the info and you’re done. Better, if you’re using one of the sites listed below, import is automatic.

Serious Eats
Food Network
Pioneer Woman
Food and Wine
Bon Appetit
Tasty Kitchen

And that’s about it. Basil is like the ziplock bag in which I keep my old paper recipe clippings, only it’s more organized, and way easier to find things. Basil is available now for $4.

  • benjitek

    Paprika is much better, also has an iPhone and Mac version and syncs between your devices (and Macs) via it’s own free cloud service.  Basil seems like an abacus in comparison ;-)

  • Kendall Jung

    Wow. Almost a perfect ripoff of Paprika which has been out for a year. ( Though Paprika has shopping carts, synching to iPhone, etc. I highly recommend you check that out as well.

  • bigoven

    You might also check out BigOven (  With over 200,000 recipes, plus the ability to add your own (with auto-import for PRO members), it builds grocery lists, menu plans, and more.  Enter 3 ingredients from your fridge, and BigOven will tell you what to make!  More information is at