Recipe Generators: random acts of cooking

You’re not Old Mother Hubbard. There’s always something to work with.                             You’ve got cans of beans and bags of pasta, salsa, olive oil, frozen peas, and bread crumbs, a forgotten can of hearts of palm, tomato sauce, salad dressing, an opened jar of pesto, and a hunk of parmesan mouldering away in the deli drawer.

An online recipe generator can take random and disparate items and turn them into dinner. Most work with a basic search algorithm, matching your ingredients with recipes in their database. But each has its own twist.

At, you list the ingredients you want to include and any ingredients you don’t want to use. You can set cooking parameters like maximum prep time or preferred cooking method, and specify dietary preferences or limitations like high fiber, low carbohydrates, or gluten-free.

Something from Anything stands out as the only dedicated human recipe generator we came across. That’s right, there is an actual warm body on the other side of the server awaiting your input. More personal and customized but less than instantaneous, the focus is on creatively impromptu cooking with an eye for budget-friendly ingredients.

Not sure how to peel a tomato or cut up a chicken? Don’t be afraid to tackle the recipes generated at Cooking by Numbers where each recipe comes with detailed instructions for the skills required to execute the dish.

When you truly have no idea of what you want to eat, give the Random Recipe Generator a try.  True to its name, it requires no user input to generate completely random recipes– a new one each time you reload the page.

Hunch is not a recipe generator but instead generates ideas. Starting with a main ingredient, Hunch asks a series of questions that will shape its suggestions. Beyond food preferences and restrictions it might ask about the weather, the age and gender of the cooks, and usually throws in an esoteric question or two, although I’m not sure that my position on premium cable in the prison system (actual question!) says much about what I want for dinner.

Remember, you’re only as good as your pantry.

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4 Responses to Recipe Generators: random acts of cooking

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  2. Good overview of recipe sites. Would like to see an update soon.

  3. Insightful stuff, very helpful, very nice site additionally, so appreciate it, will also bookmark.

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