Ask HN: Best Recipe Search Engine?

That recipe is from BBC food which isn’t related to BBC Good Food.

>BBC food is not related to the monthly magazine and media brand BBC Good Food, which was acquired by Immediate Media Company in 2018

I’d welcome feedback onhttps://www.reciperadar.comwhich is an open source recipe search & meal planning that I’ve been working on.

~100k recipes, search by ingredients (and kitchen equipment), and plenty more features planned.

a search category would be helpful. just recently i was searching for cake recipes, but if i enter the ingredients list i get all sorts of suggestions and only a few cakes.

possible categories could be eg. breakfast, lunch/dinner, snack, desert, cakes, cookies, sweet, savory, soup, dry/portable (for the road), fingerfood, cold, warm, no cooking (like sandwiches, salads, etc)

the list likely depends on what categories you are able to detect in the recipe data, but you get the idea.

The automatic translation is very weird.
If I open the website in my browser it’s in french, but the search and recipe is only english keywords, and most of the translated text is plain wrong, like it is straight from google translate. Is there a platform where I could help with the translations ?

It’s nice – maybe not yet final, but I like the idea and how it currently works!

You could probably reuse the same engine to do the same with cocktails and maybe other stuff.

Thank you. Sometimes it feels like development progress is slow and that the UI could do with a complete overhaul (the project does have some design volunteers offering time and improved designs which are being incorporated slowly – I’m the bottleneck!); but it’s gradually improving and enjoyable to work on.

All the components and dependencies are open source, so there’s a social and learning element involved when integrating new features and finding bugs / improvements in other projects.

Cocktails could certainly be another domain this could work for, and homebrewing is another that springs to mind. I’m not currently intentionally keeping the core services extensible to those, but forks and/or later generalization of the application are both possible.

Just some additional thoughts:

1) you might have to do in the future some deduplication of entries in your master index – e.g. by searching… I see that the entries pointing to & for “Pasta Carbonara” are identical (the 2 sites might be mirrors of each other or one site might just have copied the contents of the other one)=>depending on how much your index will grow you’ll maybe want to show only 1 result pointing to 2 different URLs.

2) The scraping of contents of other websites coupled with displaying it directly on our own website might become problematic. Meaning that you would be an “ally” of the source websites if you would just show the results and the overview of the needed ingredients but then just point to the recipe hosted on the other website, but you would become an “enemy/opponent” if you would display the recipe directly on your site.

Meaning that on one hand I would not be happy at all if somebody would steal my contents and stop users from getting to my website (I would therefore e.g. blacklist their bots and IPs from which they would try to scrape my site), but on the other hand for somebody that might increase traffic to my website I would potentially even provide a special API so that that bot could get better quality data (instead of scraping the html).

Cheers & good luck 🙂

How can I search for recipes with:

cans of tuna
tuna can
canned tuna
can of tuna

(none of the above works)


teriyaki sauce




Hey – thanks for mentioning this. I’ve filed an issue at– in short; RecipeRadar has crawled some tuna + teriyaki recipes, so you’ve uncovered a bug indexing those and making them searchable.

(I’ve added some debug SQL and output to the issue in case you’re curious)

Substitutions (i.e. ‘ingredient x OR ingredient y satisfy my constraints’) are planned. I’m yet to fully spec the feature out and consider all the use cases, so I’ll make sure that’s one of them.

[1] –

Update: the situation should now be improved; some recipe content has been re-indexed, and an ingredient parsing problem was discovered and fixed too.

There are still only three recipes that containbothtuna and teriyaki sauce appearing, so coverage could likely be improved further. But it’s a start, I hope!

As a fairly intentional design decision, you need to provide context from your kitchen – a search engine query, essentially – before you see results.

The concept is that RecipeRadar will ultimately help you track your kitchen inventory (all on your own device; there are no user accounts), and then the search step will disappear into the background – you’ll be straight into browsing recipes that match your context.

It’s not there yet and I’d appreciate hearing about how you like to browse recipes in case that’s something else that can be supported.

You may want to provide ‘suggested cupboards’, with a limited selection of multi-use ingredients, to show how the app can help make the most of ingredients.

No problemo!

Sure, you may want to come up with a few different sets, perhaps Italian stuff, Asian-focused, vegetarian, etc.

This is timely for me as I was just searching for it. I am using but was looking for alternatives (just to see how good the alternatives were)

For paid options, the best is the ATK/CI site.

The reason they’re head and shoulders above anything else is quality control. You don’t have to worry about a recipe being good or not because they test them so much. Even the NYT, which has more adventurous choices, aren’t anywhere near as reliable.

I was gonna pay them but between that an the fragmented walled nature of their site I decided not to give them any money. Shame really

it really is unfortunate that – especially in this case – the content creators are great at their legacy content model, and terrible at getting it out there as a meaningful digital business.

I subscribed happily during and after college. CI is truly a beautiful magazine, with a mix of foundational information and rock solid recipes. It helped me learn to feed myself and know my way around produce beyond “lettuce” etc.

Haven’t tried their website, so many of their recipes on my shelf, and so many pilfered on other sites as it is.

It’s great until you want to cancel; they require you to call their customer support number to do so.

I got so pissed off by this that I rang them up right after subscribing and cancelled. At least they lost one customer for it.

My approach on this is the opposite, I explain it here in case it helps. I go from specific to general and it has 3 advantages:

– No wasted food.

– Any web searcher is valid (, google,…)

– Save money

The procedure is simple:

1. Select the main ingredients, they will be those leftovers I have in my fridge & kitchen or if I am buying in the market, the offer of the day or the food I want to eat.

2. Search in the web a recipe containing these main ingredients, for example, yesterday for dinner it was “recipe portobello, spinach, tuna”

3. Implement

You will be surprised that there is a recipe for any random combination of ingredients!

I find myself moving further and further away from searching for recipes altogether, blogs especially. I spend most of my time researching pastry recipes and techniques but it really seems like everyone online is just copying each others content and padding the post out with weird stories and pep talks which transparently exist for page ranking.

I’m a huge fan of cook books for formulas and recipes and then watching YouTube for technique.

Allrecipes is still my favorite site. For some reason they took down the advanced search. Maybe it is available to pro accounts.

You can still filter by ingredients and even specify ingredients to exclude.

One of my favorite aspects is the Most Helpful Review. I often find other things I can do to improve upon the recipe in that review.

I have a small baked goods business and spend a lot of time doing research. Allrecipes is pretty legit.

I still prefer cookbooks over anything else because what’s missing from AR is technique plus many of the most popular recipes will opt for using heavily processed ingredients or mixing in premade food.

I don’t think I’ve attempted the most popular Italian recipes on the site but from what I’ve seen they would be pretty good but I would steer you or anyone else to far superior sources such as Italia Squisita and Pasta Grannies on YouTube.

But the strength in all recipes as a platform is that people can report in on what substitutions actually work.

I agree, the substitutions are key.

I have found an amazing lasagna recipe on allrecipes.

The first time I made it, it was way too salty. The trick was limiting the amount of Parmesan.

The other great aspect of allrecipes is the number of reviews. People are really into leaving reviews and ratings. Its not uncommon to find a recipe with several thousand reviews.

If you’d consider an (inexpensive) paid option, an interesting approach. They partner with publishers to put cookbooks online. Fairly powerful search/filters, and the focus on cookbook content is a good proxy for recipe quality.

I’m not affiliated with them, but Matt (cofounder) has a background in scientific publishing and is passionate about recipe sharing.

Are they verified recipes? I’ve found that a lot of books just stole recipe and never tested similar to how online does it now. Also lots of recipes are needlessly complex

The guesses it makes when it doesn’t know a recipe are hilarious. I’ve never used head cheese in a chocolate mousse, but hey, who knows.

If you’re interested in Cocktail recipes Sphynx catalogues recipes from Instagram and cocktail books. (Built by yours truly)

I’ve seen that around. Doesn’t yummly require you to install their app to see the actual steps? That was a deal breaker for me. I hate websites that have a page then arbitrarily block content unless you get their app.

It’s been years since I’ve used it. Was a pretty technically sophisticated startup back in the day. Has been since acquired so not surprised it has decayed.

Not to be that guy that always says “what do you want to dothatfor?”, but it’s possible you’re looking for the wrong solution. If you buy ingredients and set aside time for specific kinds of recipes, you don’t need to hunt for the recipes.

Get one cookbook of some cuisine you think you’ll enjoy, and look for recipes that fit within a time frame you’re comfortable with (keeping in mind that for many recipes, many steps can be done ahead of time or in parallel). For each recipe, make a list of ingredients and plan what to buy, when to buy it, when to prep it, when to cook it, and when to eat it (to anticipate a repeat cycle). If you follow this method you’ll end up eating what you like, rather than what’s convenient for a cabinet with ketchup, instant noodles, canned mushrooms, and dried basil. (Not knocking the poor man’s pasta, just saying!)

Also, most recipe databases are awash with poor-quality imitations of traditional dishes, designed purely to cater to whatever your supermarket gives you, rather than good ingredients or healthy food. This doesn’t mean you should buy $4 tomatoes, but even a different thickness of noodle can make a big difference. (Though Jersey tomatoesareworth the price; just don’t refrigerate them!!)

Read More