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Review: Crouton is a super-smart recipe manager

Developer: Devin Davies
Price: Free [$8.99/£6.99 per year]
Size: 247 MB
Version: 2024.2.5
Platform: iPhone & iPad


Having recently won a coveted Apple Design Award, Crouton is enjoying something of a second wind some five years after its initial App Store release. It’s been a long time cooking, but the belated attention is more than justified.

Crouton is a meal planner app that lets you import and save recipes from a variety of sources, schedule meals, and draw up easy shopping lists – all with minimal effort.

Crouton formats recipes beautifully

You can send online recipes to the app through the Share tool, and Crouton will analyze and reformat the recipe to meet its own layout. It’ll filter out introductory text, separate and aggregate ingredients, break cooking instructions down into a clear step-by-step guide, and pull out nutritional information.

That’s handy enough, but it’ll also tag ingredients mentioned within those cooking instructions, so that when you tap them the quantity will appear. In a similar way, it’ll tag timings and link them to a one-tap timer, as well as attach an image, cooking times and quantities to the recipe’s thumbnail.

Pull in recipes from the web and print

It’s not just online recipes that can be imported either. Tap the ‘+’ button from the app’s Recipes tab, and you’ll be able to use your iPhone’s camera to take snaps of a magazine or cook book recipe, whereupon Crouton will use AI to process and reconfigure the information.

I found this latter process to be broadly reliable, and even a little magical, though it’s far from perfect. Crouton’s AI seems unable to pick out related images from printed copy and insert them as thumbnails, forcing you to do it manually. More problematically, it can’t really deal with multi-component recipes, smooshing together all the separate ingredients and instructions, which doesn’t always make sense.

For straightforward linear recipes, however, Crouton’s AI is remarkably effective.

The Discover tab is like a food-focused RSS feed

Crouton also contains a Meal Plan tab that lets you add saved recipes to particular days of the week, while tapping on the shopping basket icon within a recipe lets you add each constituent ingredient to your shopping list.

Plan your meals and add to your shopping list

The Discover tab is only available when you sign up to the monthly or yearly Crouton Discover subscription, where-upon it’ll essentially serve as an RSS feed for recipe websites. A Discover subscription is also needed for the AI import feature.

It’s such a powerful suite of tools, however, and the $8.99/£6.99 per year charge is so reasonable, that we’d highly recommend that you go all-in. Crouton is one of the smartest recipe manager apps we’ve ever used.