Get creative with ingredients you have on hand
How many evenings have you found yourself asking, “What should I make for dinner?”
Whether you work all day or you’re a stay-at-home parent, dinner often feels like the most challenging part of the day.
It doesn’t have to be. The following are 8 of the best websites with a creative ingredient search feature that’ll help you figure out what you should make for dinner tonight. You won’t even have to make a trip to the grocery store.
The best website, by far, for coming up with a good dinner when you’re out of ideas is AllRecipes.
This site offers the usual recipe search you’d expect of any good recipe site, including browsing by meal type, your diet, cooking style, and more.
But the ideal way to answer the question, “what should I make for supper?” is by filtering only by the ingredients you have on hand. This is where AllRecipes shines.
To do this, select Ingredient Search in the recipe search field. This brings up a new field where you can simply type the ingredients you have on hand, one at a time. Select the “+” icon to add that ingredient to the filter.
When you select Go, you’ll discover a long list of fantastic recipes incorporating all of the ingredients you have on hand.
Other features you’ll find at AllRecipes include a Favorites library, sort recipes into collections, user-contributed photos, a shopping list, and the ability to adjust servings and have ingredients automatically adjust.
If you’re craving Chinese, BBQ, or Mexican food, avoid the restaurant and head home. Yummly can help you find easy recipes within any food genre right from the main page of the site.
Or if you want to go the ingredients route, select Browse from the left navigation menu, select Ingredients from the menu on the browse page, and select the main ingredient you want to focus on.
This is a bit less flexible than AllRecipes in that you can only choose from one main ingredient to base recipes on. However, each recipe includes a number of ingredients. So you’ll know ahead of time if you’re getting into a recipe that’s more trouble than it’s worth.
However, like AllRecipes, Yummly offers one-click add to your shopping list. You can also select the Meal Planner journal icon on the right side of the window to add the recipe to your Meal Planner library for easy access later.
A nice feature of Yummly is that you can go through a quick three step survey so that Yummly can customize your recipe browsing based on your diet plan, allergies, and ingredients to avoid.
The Fine Cooking website is a part blog and part recipe database. To access the recipes, select Recipes & Menus from the top menu. Or, if you’re on the hunt for ingredient-based recipes, select Ingredients from the menu. Select View All to see all ingredients.
The list format for ingredients is interesting. You’ll see a blog-like format with ingredients and their descriptions listed in the main area, listed alphabetically.
Select one to see instructions on how to select it at the store, how to prepare it, how to store it, and more. Scroll to the bottom to see recipes that use that ingredient.
Recipes feature a nice, highly detailed image, well-formatted ingredient list and instructions, and nutritional information.
Other features on Fine Cooking include user ratings, a recipe box to save recipes, and the ability to add your own recipe notes.
The recipe website FridgeToTable probably has one of the most minimalistic main pages of any recipe site.
Don’t let this fool you. Start adding all of the ingredients you have on hand, select your preferred diet type, and select Find a recipe.
The resulting recipe list is broken down by food type. You can further filter the recipes by cook time, course, and more. Select the small heart in the recipe photo to save the recipe.
Each recipe lists the time it’ll take to cook it so you know what you’re getting into before you even click the recipe link.
If you want your family to call you a super cook, then you definitely need to try out SuperCook.
This recipe site is all about ingredients. All along the left navigation pane, you can either type the recipes you have on hand, or select from the tree structure where ingredients are organized by categories like vegetables, fruit, dairy and more.
This site has a massive database of recipes, so expect a lot of results. There are also ingredient suggestions at the top so you can add more ingredients if you have them on hand. This will further narrow down the list and help you choose what to make for dinner.
The site is actually a recipe aggregator. It pulls in recipes from a large selection of online recipe sites, so recipe pages often look different. It’s sort of like the Instagram of recipes.
The site RecipeLand is aptly named considering the huge database of recipes that you’ll find there. But what really makes the site stand out is when you select By Ingredient from the top menu.
As you enter each recipe into the ingredient field, the recipes displayed below will automatically update to incorporate those ingredients.
You can type a partial ingredient name and then just select the “+” icon to the right of it to add it to your ingredient list.
Are there ingredients you absolutely hate in your food? Change the With to Without, and type all of the ingredients you don’t want!
Recipe pages feature user ratings, large photos, and a quick link you can select (the heart icon) to save that recipe to your recipe box.
Each ingredient on the recipe page is listed with the amount you’ll need. Below the recipe instructions, you’ll see links to email or print the recipe. You can also add it to your cookbook, or select the Menu icon to to build a customized menu.
You’ll need to sign into the site by signing up or logging in through Facebook to use any of the extra features.
The site MyRecipes is probably the largest database of recipes online. To search by ingredient, from the main page just select Favorite Ingredients from the menu.
The recipe page is a simple one. You can only select single ingredients at a time.
But what the site lacks in ingredient choice it has in variety. Recipe results can be filtered by all of the types of recipes you can make with that ingredient. And the recipe listing goes on for pages.
Individual recipes are simple and easy to follow, with prep time, cook time, stand time, and total yield. You can print or email recipes, or post them to popular social media sites.
The one drawback of MyRecipes is an over-reliance on ads.
The site MyFridgeFood is literally about the food you presently have available in your fridge. The main page is a form where you check off all of the ingredients you currently have on hand.
Don’t try to mix up strange ingredients to see what turns up, because the recipe search results only look for at least a single ingredient on your list.
The best results will come from trying to combine ingredients that would normally work well together in a recipe. The results are fantastic recipes you’re going to want to try your hand at making.
Recipe pages are well formatted, but lack the same sort of interactive features most of the other sites have.
In fact, the overall site design is a little bit dated. But given the unique and very tasty recipes you’ll find here, it still deserves a place on this list.
With all of these sites as options, you should have no problem figuring out what you should make for supper. So run home right now, check what ingredients you have available in your pantry, and start cooking!