Skip to main content

How to Cook Everything with a Windows Phone (Hidden Gems)

Hidden Gems

It's time to grow up and start cooking like an adult. No more microwavable meals. No more take-out from that Chinese place down the road. And please stop ordering Domino's twice a week. You don't need to become Thomas Keller or Gordon Ramsay, but you need to at least be able to make a week's worth of meals without breaking down.

Thankfully for you, there's an app in the Windows Phone Store that's going to help you discover the rewards of simple cooking. How to Cook Everything is a bestselling cookbook from New York Times columnist Mark Bittman. The cookbook features more than 2,000 simple recipes and has been helping folks learn how to cook for over a decade. That book is now an app for Windows Phone.

Let's take a look. And remember, if you leave a comment, you enter into our daily Hidden Gems contest to win a new tablet or phone!

What it is

How to Cook Everything ( howtocookeverything.com) is the app of a very popular cookbook. You're getting over 2,000 recipes that are aimed to be simple and require minimal cooking skills or knowledge. In addition to all those different recipes, you get 400 how-to illustrations and a ton of other info throughout the app. The cookbook itself came out in 1998 and quickly went on to become a favorite in kitchens across the country. Praises have been given out to the book from celebrities and folks like you and me. Just check the ratings and reviews on Amazon or check out what singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb says about How to Cook Everything:

"I learned how to cook from How to Cook Everything in a way that gives me the freedom to be creative. This new edition will be my gift to new couples or for a housewarming; if you have this book, you don't really need any others."

Endorsements run high for the cookbook. So how's the Windows Phone app hold up?

The app

How to cook everything

Head into the Windows Phone Store and you'll find the digital version of this popular cookbook. In our time using it we've noticed a few things that you'll want to know about. It's a simple app, but does achieve its goal of being a digital cookbook. It lacks a ton of photos, but the information is straight to the point that you don't really miss them.

Here are the highlights of How to Cook Everything for Windows Phone:

  • From this award-winning book: Mark Bittman's 2,000 recipes and recipe variations—as well as his no-nonsense cooking guidance, including hundreds of how-to illustrations; equipment, technique, and ingredient information; and meal-planning ideas.
  • Easy-to-use and flexible search capabilities, as well as the ability to browse recipes and reference information.
  • Cooking inspiration: Bittman's Picks, Featured Recipe, Quick Dinners, and Favorites, which provide quick access to selected recipes.
  • All recipe and reference content is embedded in the app, which means that you can use the app even if you don't have a network connection.
  • This app is the perfect complement to the book and an invaluable reference.

How to cook everything

When you go into a recipe you'll get an overview of what you're about to make, an ingredients list, the steps and variations you can make to a recipe.

The overview page is a summary of the meal you're going to make. On this page you'll find information like the number of servings it makes, the time it takes to prepare/cook and related content. The related content are how-tos within the app that will help you make a given dish. For example, you'll find the best way to prepare onions if you're making an onion soup.

The ingredients page is straight forward and just lists everything you'll need to make a recipe. While the steps page contains all the required moves you'll make to actually be eating. We'd really like to see additional photos in this section, but that would add to the install size of the app.

The amount of content you get with this How to Cook Everything is huge. Everything is contained within the app when you first install it, so no internet connection is required to use it. That has its pros and cons. We'd really like to see more photos in the app, even if it required data. The download size is just 27 MB.

How to Cook Everything for Windows Phone will cost you $2.99 in the Windows Phone Store. You can trial the app, fully-featured, for three days. So we suggest you guys download it and take it for a spin.

You'll really want to trial the How to Cook Everything for Windows Phone since it is part of our Hidden Gems collection. Leave a constructive comment below and you can win a new phone or tablet!

QR: How to cook everything

1000 Comments
  • Remember: Leave a helpful comment about this app, you're entered into our daily contest! Helpful comments include what you like, what you don't like and how it could be made better. Winners will be announced at the end of the month, so you can enter in at any time. Multiple comments allowed, but only one will be picked. Contest is open worldwide and the prize will be a Windows Phone of your choice! Need more info about our Hidden Gems series? Read our announcement post here.
  • Do we need to leave an article-sized comment? Or will a few lines of helpful comment be just as good? 
  • I love the fact that I can access all of the content off-line since I will be camping in Canada next week and will use this newly purchased app to make some savory campfire dishes.
  • Now if the app could just cook the stuff for you.
  • I believe the Microsoft Solitaire app might be able to, just leave it running then break an egg onto the back of your phone after a few minutes...
  • Lol that would be tres awesome! I'd pay alot for such app
  • Add more foods from defferent countries to cook
  • It would be really helpful to have a voice-controlled navigation in this app. I don't really want to get my hands on my Lumia when they're covered in dough or meat juices.
  • Fun fact: I recently sat next to Lisa Loeb on a flight to LA.
  • ...and we didn't "do lunch" when you were in LA??
  • lol haha  btw, would be better if she's famous these days. :\
  • She's STAYS famous :p
  • Is she still hot lookin??
  • Funner fact: I met the most interesting man in the world on a flight this past Monday. True story and have a pic to prove it!
  • man, everybody's bragging now.
  • Us geeks wanna know...  Did you ask for her autograph or did she ask for yours?  
  • lol, neither. I tend to not want to bother celebs on their off time.
  • I got to get up close to Norman Reedus at Mardi Gras this year and got him to sign my 521. :)
  • Whoooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!
  • Lol ... Its just a comment
  • Did she stay Daniel?
  • Yep, this and Epicurious are the best cookbook apps on WP. I just love how easy it is to use these apps
  • This one is pretty impressive. As a chef (once at pro level, now just private hobbyist) this is a comprehensive way to bone up on forgotten skills and methods, and definitely a great way for newcomers to pick up the skill. I've never seen on this complete. I'll have to check out Epicurious, I've not seen that one yet. If you say its on par with this one, ill definitely have to look it up too.
  • My girlfriend says it's great.
    Another reason she should switch from her iPhone. :)
  • The knife holding instructions are a big help.
  • This^^. BIG help especially if you're a guy that can't cook.
  • The holding knife instructions is totally amazing for phone app. Well organised and very neaty app. Congrats to developers. I hope more apps like that are already in the oven with soon availability.
  • Yes, this is a really cool feature. Helps people like me who are just getting into cooking.
  • HA!Finally!Waiting for this for so long.(Daniel and Sam know :P ) I'll definitely download this right now and give my review of it as a reply to this comment after I'm done :D
  • Ok, so used this app for sometime and I'm reviewing it now. DESIGN AND UI:-
    I liked the app's icon and splash screen but I would like to point out that please change the theme color to something that's more natural. Bright orange can be a bit irritating to the eyes. :)
    The user interface was very good and easy to use as well.I liked the metro feel and the animations were good but there was a slight lag when searching for dishes though. :) WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS APP
    -Yay! It's offline :D I love offline apps. :D
    -The categorization is very well done.
    -I've never cooked in my life but the recipe info, ingredients, and pictures looked pretty neat and detailed.
    -But perhaps the best thing I liked about this app was the search function. That was very unique and different from other apps in a positive way. :) FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS I'D LIKE TO SEE IN THE APP
    -Make the animations more smooth, there was a slight lag in the searchbar area.
    -add cross device syncing eg I favorite some recipe and voila! Is on my laptop as well. That'd be pretty neat :D
    -and voice recognition support. That would be a small but welcome addition. Not necessary though. Just for those funky people who want every thing voice automated ;)
    -A functioning live tile would be welcome as well :D
    Overall rating:-7.5/10 Yes,I think that's all but if I've made any mistake or left anything out, I'll edit this post :)
    I hope the developer finds my comments useful :)
  • So a couple times you've mentioned lag, both in searches and animations... So what phone are you using, and are you running developer preview?
  • Lag occurs mainly on 512 Mb ram devices. Please update for improved performance on 512 Mb ram devices!
  • No lag on my 920 which has 1GB of RAM.
  • How about including support for showing recipe search list in Cortana? That would be another useful improvement.
  • Downloading now... Will be back with a review soon ;)
    Although I've never cooked / prepared anything in my whole life except tea, noodles and boiled some eggs sometimes... I've almost no idea how a recipe instruction should go like but I'll definitely give it a try and let you know how i like it...
  • Alright, I’ve used the app for more than an hour now and I’ll rate it here (just as I did in my previous review) ........FIRST IMPRESSION (10/10)........ Name. Name of the app is just perfect; it’s easier to find apps like these which use common nouns instead of pronouns, making it easier for the crowd who don’t know a name / Chef already. Size. 28 MB. Not bad. Not bad at all, considering I can browse all the Recipes / How-To(s) offline. Price. I think it’s worth $2.99, anyone interested in cooking should buy it without a second thought! (P.S: I’m going to purchase it as well, from the credits I earned yesterday from GameStop!) ........INTERFACE (8/10)........ Welcome screen. Splash screen takes some time, it should be faster as in other apps. Response. It’s simple and fast. Although I’ll definitely suggest a progress indicator (The default Windows Phone style that moves beads like ( .  . . . …. . . .  . ) Umm IDK how to say it :P because I felt the app a little unresponsive when I tap the Home button after viewing a recipe or when I selected “Top 100 Fast Recipes” Scroll bar. Although, the recipes ain’t very long but I’ll suggest a scroll bar so that I can gauge the length of recipes from it. Readability. I liked dark grey text on white background, gives me feeling of reading a recipe "book" but then there's this issue, screen automatically times out and I’ve to unlock my screen to continue where I left. I can’t imagine how one would do that who’s in kitchen! (Alternative sol to users: settings > lock screen > set screen timeout to “5 mins” or “forever” so you’ve to tap lesser) Inbuilt links. I liked the way contents were represented. Specially the linked words, which I can tap to find its meaning. Brilliant idea (just as in Wikipedia) but hey its offline, that’s really a plus point! ........SHARING (6/10)........ I'm surprised to see there’s no share option in the app through which I could share the app with my facebook friends. (Please add one!) While I understand sharing of “recipe” isn’t possible but it would be great to share the titles of the recipe along with the app link via Email, Text, FB etc… I can see small “Thumbs up” icons in recipes that say “votes” but I wish I could do one. ........BUGS (8/10)........ Once I opened the app and it just showed this screen, no keys were working there. I had to restart the app and it worked fine. Please see the screenshot here. I was asked to purchase the full version of the app three times, first,  when coming back to home from  a recipe, 2nd when resuming the app from minimized status. I think it’s enough to remind only once I open the app. About page. While I was already asked a number a number of times to purchase the full version of the app, the “Purchase Full version” link in About page doesn’t look like a link. It would be better to colour it Red ;) This isn’t really a bug but a small suggestion, people may not know "Bittman's Picks" is a link, should appear like a link, as in "Most Popular". ........SUGGESTIONS........ I would love to have some pictures for the “Most Popular” recipes (only those which are most popular, among “Most Popular”) and not just “How-Tos” Addition of some videos would be really great! (Just saying because it’s there in most of the apps in its class). I possible, make it buffer from the internet otherwise it’ll add to the app’s size. It would be ice on the cake to have an option like "shopping list"... where I can tick mark the products I’ve purchased (since no options for print out of the recipe is available to carry in market). Please add a live tile if possible (even better if Transparent live tile for WP8.1 users). And you know what would be cool? To see what I’ve in my “shopping list” or “what I’ve to prepare, at what time” would be amazing to have it on a live tile. I’m hoping the app will integrate with Cortana soon. I just like to do anything by commanding Cortana over myself opening the app and look for a recipe. I’d love if the app had a special category where I could see the nutrients / calories etc for particular products / vegetables. This can really come handy when thinking to prepare something hygienic I guess ;) ___________CONCLUSION____________ AVERAGE RATING: 8 / 10 ___________________________________ As I already told, it’s a must have app for ANYONE who loves cooking! Thanks to the developer and the Chef for making this simple, beautiful, useful app. P.S: So now I know how to make “Real Pop-Corn”… Gonna surprise my mom soooon ;P And I'm sorry for the spelling errors!
  • Looks like a winning post!!! 
  • So you mentioned wp8.1, but what phone are you on? Wondering about the splash screen taking too long for you is why I ask. Also, how was fast resume?
  • I tested it on my brother's 720 (it has WP 8.1) as my 520 was running out of battery already!
    Yeah splash screen took longer than other apps. I don't think it's a fault in the code but i may doubt the time delay might be set a little higher than required...
    Fast resume didn't work very well either. That's, if i resume the app within 2-3 minutes of minimizing it, it resumes faster (as i mentioned i was asked to purchase the app on resuming each time though!) but once it's minimized for around 5 minutes or more, it takes a while... (like 3-4 seconds)
  • I wonder if the lag is due to the fact that its offline, and loading so much info, as opposed to a web based app that is much lighter in size, pulling all its data from the web on demand... Just a thought. It doesn't have much lag on my 1520, but more than average I suppose.
  • That's not impossible, you could be right on that (specially if i think of those offline dictionary apps like Advanced English Dictionary, it behaves similarly). And 1520 is a powerful device, works way better than any other WP device so there should be no lag at all. But since you're saying it lags more than average apps, I think developer needs to look into the app...
  • Yea I'm in the same boat :) so now there's no more excuses! This app will have you covered :)
  • Guess you're right! I've already learned two recipes so far... Can't wait to try them out myself (i know it's going to be non-edible though LOL!)
  • Step 1 to cooking with a Lumia: Turn on Bluetooth and just sit there. It'll set itself on fire :p I would appreciate more photos in the app since I'm REALLY bad with cooking and I need all the help that I can get. Still, it's got enough info IMO.
  • 1.)Launch Waze. Wait two minutes.
    2.)Once phone is preheated to 375 degrees, add bacon strips to gorilla glass surface.
    3.)Add cinnamon and sugar to taste.
    4.) When battery saver turns on, flip bacon.
    5.)When battery is drained, or in 3 more minutes, remove bacon and enjoy.
  • You don't need to use Waze. Anything that uses the gps function for about 2 minutes will cook things nicely :) Nokia Maps is my particula favourite cooking app :p
  • Nokia maps is a great cooking app- don't get me wrong, but it interrupts my music when it's telling me which direction to turn the food. But it does support landscape cooking on the other hand. I can see how on a 1520 this would be useful as hell
  • For high heat, use the camera module on the Lumia 1020.
  • LMAO
  • Make sure it's charging at the same time, and playing music!
  • That goes without saying lol
  • Apparently mine should have burnt a hole through the Earth. BT has been on since I got it months ago lol.
  • :-o
    How do you get your battery to survive for one day?
  • Lmao :)) interesting recipes :)
  • That's probably the best this kind of app on WP yet, quite surprised about great quality of it
  • I've noticed a big rise in the quality of WP apps lately...
  • Quality over quantity! That is what seems to be happening nowadays.
  • I know, but quantity is what matters most.. We need all iDroid fans to see that WP has the most apps.. WP needs 1.5mill apps ASAP❕ ... This is all that really matters.
  • Yes, number of apps really matters! Just building an awesome OS isn't enough. That's why Microsoft is trying to push out more alternative and easy ways for users (not just developers) to build apps. Windows App Studio is the best example here. I only wish Microsoft could promote it more and more...
    P.S: I've myself tried out App Studio and i must say it's really easy to use and loaded with features. I've created few apps and published it in store as well. I wish more people take advantage of this amazing web based developing tool for WP!
  • Well, I was kinda joking.. Lol.
  • Oh i see! I'll assume I lack sense of humor hehe... :P
    BTW it's good to see email notifications are finally workin =)
  • Yes, they are working, and it's great!
  • Downloading, will edit when i'm done
    So here it's :
    - The app is smooth to open and navigate, i like how every meal is under specific order.
    - it made me hungry
    after i downloaded the app, MOM YOU NEED IT ! "she likes to cook, she's not terrible"
  • I love that you can turn pages via the camera on that W8 app by MS. Can this do a similar thing? Via voice? Any Cortana integration planned?
  • That would be Food & Drink (formerly Bing Food & Drink).  Yes, it is handy so you don't get the screen messed up.  This app, How to Cook Everything doesn't seem to support that.  Of coarse, neither does the (Bing) Food & Drink (by Microsoft) app on Windows Phone 8.1 support it.
  • I was using Food & Drink and for the average, use in the Food side, is OK but the recipes are very generic (at least in Portuguese-Brazil) and some steps are missing leaving room for guessing.
    In the Drink side are more complete and I have received some compliments with those recipes.
  • I would love to have Cortana dictate me recipes of this app while I cook... Add this feature if possible...
  • Wow ! Amazing app ! Instruction are easy (even for a student) and recipes are good !  
  • Indeed! I like the design and how simple the instructions are. The only thing missing would be recipe videos. Other than that very good!
  • Exactly what i liked the most! It's really a good app for beginners
  • That's what I most liked about this app... Instructions are really short and sufficient...
  • Nice! This is really helpful towards my accomplishments in the kitchen :) The app itself is solid with a nice UI. Thanks WPC!
  • Really loving how simple this app is. A lot of the foodie type apps can become a bit convoluted but this does a great job of being simple and intuitive in use.
  • -Cooking App... my mom LOVE this kind of app, I'm going to use her opinions also to review this app MS = Mom said; SS= Son Said;   >What we liked: -Completely easy to use; SS and MM -Love the red theme; MM and SS -App peformance is great, and it runs smooth on my 720 and on her 625; MM and SS -'How To' section is everything; MM  -2,99$ is a good price for that. I gues she'll buy that app later;   >What we don't: -We live in Brazil, and here this basically not that usable, support for international metric (celsius, grams, etc) would be a HUGE YES to this app; MM and SS -App size for me it's kinda big, didn't knew that Cooking apps were soo big; SS -I kinda dislike Tiles and Splash Screen with too much details and text, this one enters on ugly-TilesnSplashes category; SS (mom disagreed) -Offline use of the app is good! But it's better having online content with more images and user reviews; MM and SS -Categories sub topics UI is messy, with no division between options; SS   >Suggestion: My mom used to keep her iPhone next to her when she was cooking, she always hated he fact that her phone always got dirty by food in her hands... Now she has a WP, and she said that would be incredibly good to browse recipes or so by voice, so I would suggest use of Cortana APIs for things like that eg.: "Bittman, show me recipes of Tacos"... MS
  • Nice, clear app - but pretty much useless outside the US, because it's all in pounds/cups/Fahrenheit.
  • Now that's a constructive comment... Other reviews are like... I am so nice I want to win that phone or tab... I am the nicest person alive...
  • No support for International metric system is not that making- app-useless...
  • This app is really a hidden gem.Beautiful design and easy to use even for those who are bad at cooking.I love the red theme.Tile is also good(Thank God it's not the transparent one,which makes my start screen boring).
    It would be better if they add more pictures of "how to" and also support of International metric system.
  • Or possibly deeplink to videos of "HowTo's" would be great... they could get a partnership with many YouTube channels that already offer this. Imperial measurements are a drag also... Also, there is US (Imperial) and UK (Imperial) that are both different.
  • Give the developer some feedback.. Maybe they'll make the units adjustable...
  • It's no big deal... Just telling the developer to implement an option in the app that can change units/convert units is enough
  • I'll give it a shot. Hopefully there is a dark theme option as I've become so accustom to most text based apps being light text on dark background. The techniques are what convinced me to give it a try though, that would be so helpful.
  • That's great. I'm thinking of exploring new career paths by becoming a cook. I have no education at all on the subject but I am hoping this app can help me get through the basics. I will gladly try it. It really looks nice.
  • So far I like the app with his simplicity. Also, the "recipe type" option is a nice bonus. I wish that it add more pictures and hopefully it will with some updates.
  • Yeah... I felt it too it has limited pictures
  • Interesting but a little expensive compared to what you can get for free from the allrecipies app among others
  • Bing Food is really good, and free!! But, you get what you pay for, and these apps don't cost much.
  • I've to say you're right. Recipe apps in my girlfriend's iPhone are like $7, $10 etc... This one is worth and better for the bucks!
  • Me too but then my cooking never comes out like it suppose to so having it this way is good for my confidence lol
  • I think this would help my daughter as she goes to university soon. She doesn't even know how to boil an egg!
  • Who's fault is that❔✔✔✔
  • This looks like a very feature packed app and I'm kinda digging it. I'm not ashamed to admit I suck at cooking, but this could hopefully change that! I see that the recipes are "liked" but I don't see anywhere in the app to do that. Also, I think this would be much more useful as a universal app so I can use it on my Surface Pro 2. But overall, I like the app very much and intend on buying it.
  • Really great app; is it available for Win8? Apps like this really add a lot of functionality when the sync across devices.  For example, find a recipe on my PC, mark it as a favorite, buy ingredients via my phone, then go how and make it by following directions on my tablet.
  • My thoughts as well. App looks nice, could use a bit more pictures - but I can see how that would be a difficult thing to simply implement. Over all, this would be more functional on a tablet. It's a lot easier for me to just set up my Surface to be on it's kickstand and i can glance over and reference the recipe while i'm cooking. Additionally, cooking can be messy business. I'd rather not touch my beautiful Icon with my food ingredient covered hands if i don't have to. Make this a Windows 8 app!!
  • Yes, using your phone as a cookbook is definitely not ideal as the screen will time out multiple times and if you have messy hands it can be a real shlep :) Wonderful app though and still very handy and informative for novice and experienced cooks alike.
  • I was thinking the same thing about touching my phone with food fingers, but then thought that this would be a great application for 3D Touch. Could just swipe without getting salmonella on your screen. actually, voice navigation via Cortana would be nice too.
  • This is exactly what I need.  I recently became a bachelor again and the prospect of pizza rolls and fish sticks is rather daunting.  Lol
  • So Neat LOL
  • Did you not see that you can now have a fake girlfriend ring and text you now lol
  • it would be very useful if they make it universal app, phone is not the best size for such an app.
  • I actually bought this book during an unwanted separation. The book was helpful, and our relationship is better than ever. Coincidence??? I don't think so. This book saves relationships. Facebook does not.
  • LOL
  • It must have helped you cook better for your spouse... And thus saved your r/s...lol...
  • Great app!
    There is some app about that cooking chef Oliver ?
    Thank you !
  • This is a great app for a single man living alone (like me xD). Very easy to use and find recipes and techniques to cook. I really like the "how to" page.
  • Wow, this looks really nice! Beautiful interface, instructions on things like boning a chicken breast and carving a prime rib, tips on sharpening knives, tons of recipes, and pretty good drawn images to show you how to do it. Looks like a great app to me - I'm buying it!
  • Nice app, looks nice and has plenty of ideas I'd like to try!!
  • I think a timer feature would be useful for time-related recipe steps such as "leave in the oven for 30 minutes". I'd like to have a "Recent" page with recently viewed recipes. Also, because some people are vegetarians or have other preferences that exclude certain types of foods, it would be convenient to have the option to hide recipes based on what they use such as meat, dairy products, etc.
  • Now we just need this for windows rt.
  • And windows 95 please!!!
  • Windows 1 maybe...
  • Con el primer parrafo lo dijeron todo, casi casi dirigido a mi, que acostumbro a comprar comida TODOS los dias en mi trabajo, pero con esta app ya no se tienen pretextos, no se necesita ser un chef certificado, con esta app podemos salir del apuro todos los dias y porque no, quizas hasta una buena comida para impresionar a tu pareja o a tu familia y amigos.
  • As a professional Chef. It's always exciting to see more cooking apps on WP. Especially ones like this which actually teaches people how to cook! All the cooking apps I recommend to WP users: Cook with YumVy, Epicurious, BigOven, All Recipes, How to Cook Everything, Betty Crocker Cook Book and Great British Chefs