The best online resources for cooking at all skill levels

A key part of adulthood is learning how to feed ourselves. Some may opt for restaurants or takeout for food, but it can be expensive. The best option is to learn how to cook your own meals. It might sound harsh, especially if cooking doesn’t sound like fun to you, but there’s a plethora of resources online for cooks of all skill levels. From beginner’s tutorials to in-depth YouTube videos, we hope this list of Engadget staff favorites helps you get started on your path to culinary confidence. Oh, and if you’re ever confused about measurements, a tool like this recipe converter is a good reference to keep in your bookmarks tab.

recipe sites

serious eating

If you identify as a nerd and also like to cook, you probably already know Serious Eats. The site rose to prominence several years ago under the leadership of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who often takes a decidedly scientific approach to cooking. Lopez-Alt has since moved into a consulting role at Serious Eats (he has his own vlog, which is also worth following), but the site remains strong under new management. It offers advice on the basics like food preparation and storage, plus a host of step-by-step procedures and instructions for everything from breaking down a chicken to kneading your own bread.

Try this: Quick and Easy Pressure Cooker Black Beans with Chorizo

Kitchen NYT

This is the only recommendation on this list that requires payment – $1.25 per week or $40 per year – but I personally think it’s worth it. The site and accompanying app (for iOS and Android) are well-organized and intuitive to use, with bright, colorful photos and an ever-changing list of recipe recommendations and suggestions. I particularly like the search function, where you can not only enter the ingredients you have on hand, but also filter by the type of meal you want to prepare. Is it for breakfast? A snack? Or dinner?) as well as any dietary restrictions. If you don’t want to pay subscription fees, the NYT’s YouTube channel is also a great resource.

Try this: Spicy Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Turmeric (YouTube)

The kitchen

The Kitchn is a daily food magazine that’s been around since the mid-2000s, and it often serves up not just recipes, but also fun features like a celebrity recipe showdown (check out this one that compares roast recipes to the embers between Alton Brown, Ina Garten, Taste of Home and the Pioneer Woman). Of course, The Kitchn also publishes plenty of tips and tricks to help readers become a better cook.

Try this: Corn and Maple Cakes

YouTube channels

Food wishes

“Hello, I’m Chef John, from Food Wishes dot com” is the familiar refrain you’ll hear at the start of every Food Wishes video, and it never fails to warm my heart. His tone is so welcoming and cheerful that it lifts my spirits every time I hear it. A YouTube favorite (he has over four million subscribers), he’s also a favorite among a few Engadget staff, and for good reason. Not only is he goofy and charming, his recipes are almost always aimed at the novice chef, with clear, concise instructions. It also encourages viewers to experiment, to use their senses, to play with food, and to view cooking as an art as well as a science.

Try this: No-Knead Farmhouse Bread

Binger with Babish

Binging with Babish is a popular YouTube channel (over 9.6 million subscribers) that primarily focuses on recreating foods from TV shows and movies. Some famous examples include Krabby Patty from Spongebob Squarepants and Ratatouille from, well, Ratatouille. But host Andrew Rea can also cook “normal” food, and his channel’s popularity has led him to host a spin-off series called “Basics with Babish” which is aimed at beginners.

Try this: chickpeas

Food52

The Food52 website can be considered a one-stop-shop for cooking enthusiasts, as there is an online store with recipes and a community board. But the real highlight for me is his YouTube channel, which has great shows like Rick Martinez’s Sweet Heat (the former enjoy your food editor features recipes with both a sweet and spicy element), Big Little Recipes (focuses on recipes with a short list of ingredients) and Genius Recipes, which, well, shows “awesome” recipes created by notable leaders.

Try This: How To Make The Easiest Mac Rice Cakes

dessert person

Have a sweet tooth? Then look no further than Claire Saffitz’s YouTube channel, where she bakes everything from apple pies to oatmeal pecan cookies. Her personality is a combination of grumpy and adorable, which I adore, but more importantly, her recipes are great. She gives very detailed instructions and the results are almost always delicious. She also makes a lot of savory baked goods, like sourdough bread and quiche.

Try This: The Best Oatmeal Cookies

maangchi

Maagchi was mentioned by The New York Times like the Julia Child of Korean cuisine, and the description couldn’t be more apt. Not only does she have a friendly and bubbly personality, but she does an amazing job of demystifying Korean cuisine and making it accessible to both beginners and advanced cooks. From Korean classics like kimchi jjigae and bibimbap to sweet treats like Korean donuts, she makes everything seem at your fingertips.

Try this: Korean Street Toast (Gilgeori-Toast)

Dietary concerns or special diets

101 cookbooks

For a site entirely dedicated to vegetarian cooking, I highly recommend 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson, which has been an online favorite for decades. I’m a big fan of her simple and straightforward recipes that are able to turn a carnivore like me into a plant-based lover (a personal favorite is this cauliflower soup).

Try this: chickpea and rice soup with garlic and chili oil

Name Name Paleo

You don’t have to be on a paleo diet to fall in love with Nom Nom Paleo, a mini-empire comprised of a food blog, two award-winning cookbooks, and a podcast, among other things. The New York Times referred to Michelle Tam, the site’s creator, as Martha Stewart of Paleo, because of its accessibility. After browsing her site and trying her recipes, you won’t think of the paleo diet as restrictive anymore; instead, you might find yourself eating more than ever. Tam has also adapted some of her recipes for Whole30 or keto diets.

Try this: Garbage Stir Fry with Curried Cabbage

Clean and delicious

If you’re not strictly vegetarian or paleo, but still want healthy eating, check out Dani Spies’ Clean and Delicious cooking blog. A wellness and weight loss coach, Spies believes in balanced nutrition and “clean eating,” but without giving up the foods you love. For example, there’s a recipe for Lemon Bars on her site, but it’s made with whole-wheat flour and contains no dairy or refined sugar. All of the recipes on her site reflect this philosophy; they’re either gluten-free, paleo, vegan, or vegetarian and they’re also often low-carb, keto, dairy-free, or nut-free. I also love her Instagram and YouTube channel, where she also shares tips on mindful eating and healthy living.

Try This: Healthy Banana Bread Muffins (YouTube)

Staff Recommendations

There are simply too many restaurant sites on the internet to list them all, but here are a few that have been recommended by our staff and may be of use to you.

Chinese cuisine demystified

This is one of the best YouTube channels for learning all the ins and outs of authentic Chinese cuisine from people who actually live in China. It’s very detailed, well produced, and offers great tips for recreating these dishes in a western kitchen. I also love that he teaches technique in addition to recipes. To this day I keep coming back to this video on how to sauté any vegetable.

minimalist baker

The Minimalist Baker blog features recipes that use 10 ingredients or less and only take about 30 minutes to make. Weekend editor Igor Bonifacic is also a big fan, mostly because of the site’s wealth of vegetarian recipes, like this lentil soup with curried cauliflower.

Budget bytes

Budget Bytes is a great resource for those watching their wallets, as each recipe gives you a breakdown of the estimated costs for each ingredient. Commerce Editor Valentina Palladino said the site is also very good for beginners.

Rainbow plant life

If you’re looking for vegan recipes, Rainbow Plant Life has a ton. Palladino loves the Cashew Cream recipe and appreciates that site founder Nisha also has a wealth of vegan Instant Pot recipes to try.

Pick up the limes

Pick Up Limes is another go-to for accessible vegan recipes. Palladino says the healthiest granola recipe ever is one of her favorites, and she loves that the Pick Up Limes website makes it easy to filter recipes by ingredient type, prep time, allergens and more. Again.

White bread masterclass by Richard Bertinet

Richard Bertinet’s video on white bread is highly recommended for its simplicity. This proves that all you need to make bread is bread flour, yeast, and salt. Senior reporter Dan Cooper says the video is also a surefire way to calm him down when he’s stressed.

Half-cooked harvest

Editor Dana Wollman and news editor Billy Steele frequently exchange Slack messages with dinner recommendations. (What’s for dinner? Ask a co-worker, of course.) Either person’s answer is often a Half Baked Harvest link. The site is home to an extensive library of free recipes which, in our experience, tend to work as advertised. We’re also fans of her nightly cooking demonstrations on Instagram Story, not to mention her tacos.

Joy the baker

Wollman says she discovered Joy by accident through her warm and smug Insta Stories, only to discover she has an equally clever blog featuring a mix of sweet and savory baking recipes.