It’s technically not fair to compare Pepperplate to AnyList; after all, Pepperplate is free, while AnyList is a paid yearly subscription ($8). In fact it’s probably more fair to consider each app from the perspective of a noob vs mature recipe manager.  Nevertheless, here’s a breakdown of the reasons why I upgraded to AnyList:

1. AnyList’s bookmarklet actually works.

In the course of importing at least 70 recipes into Pepperplate, only maybe 10 or 15% of them were able to be automatically scraped by the bookmarklet. In the case of AnyList, I would say the inverse was true: only about 10 to 15 percent were NOT able to be imported into AnyList. In fact, that was the reason converting over to AnyList was so easy, because it imported so seamlessly.

One of my big gripes with Pepperplate was that if an import was unsuccessful, the bookmarklet would just fire an error message and do nothing from there.  Why couldn’t the developers have made it so that it at least bookmarked the recipe I attempted to import?  Seems like an easy band-aid to implement.

2. Searching in Pepperplate was just…difficult.

Pepper plates tagging didn’t quite make any sense. I could tag a recipe as “dessert” and as “recipes to try”. But when I try to filter for those two tags, instead of showing me recipes that were tagged with both tags, it showed me all recipes tagged with either tag.  How on earth is that useful?  No website anywhere filters that way.

Pepperplate’s search feature didn’t even work on the desktop and hasn’t for months. Oddly, it worked on the mobile app. You have no idea how frustrating it is not to be able to search for your recipes. Instead I had to go the recipe list and scroll and scroll and scroll.

3. AnyList automatically imports from an iOS reminder list.

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You can setup AnyList to automatically pull from your groceries list in the iOS Reminders app. This is by far my favorite feature. I’m wretchedly addicted to Siri and being able to use Siri to add to the grocery list and have it automatically import into AnyList is hugely useful.

4. AnyList has a rating system; Pepperplate does not.

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That’s a pretty easy thing to implement.  I don’t understand why Pepperplate never coded that in.  I’ve already rated all my recipes in AnyList from one-star to five-star.  (I always keep track of the one-star recipes, just in case I stumble upon the same recipe again and don’t want to wonder if I’ve made it before.)

Plus the stuff you pay for…

There’s a couple of features I’ve found useful, but it’d be unfair to compare to Pepperplate simply because PP is a free app.  AnyList has standalone app (iOS) that is a breeze to use, with a few minor UX concerns (four-clicks to get to the search box?  Please fix this, AnyList!).  Lastly, AnyList has store filters in its list management; if LaCroix soda is only available at specific stores, you can tag it that way, and then filter your list accordingly.

And yet, Pepperplate is still worthwhile if you’re not willing to spend money on an app.

Pepperplate’s shopping list feature was actually pretty decent for a free app. It automatically categorized grocery items for you or let you categorize them. It also gives you the option to create new grocery categories, which I did for non-standard grocery items that were available at the store I frequented. I created categories like “Asian grocery store” for when I needed to pick up meijis or shichima togarashi. Pepperplate’s grocery list also lets you sort by aisle, which comes in when you’re shopping, or by recipe.

So how do you manage your meal planning, groceries lists and recipes?  Let me know in the comments!