The free, universal Epicurious iOS app looks great on the iPad, though syncing with your Web account or the iPhone app requires an in-app purchase.
If you've searched for a recipe online, odds are you've ended up on Epicurious.com. This huge online recipe database culls recipes from a wide array of sources, including Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines and numerous cookbooks. The iPad app grants you access to over 30,000 recipes and presents them in a sleek, easily navigated layout. The app also includes an enhanced search functionality to help you sort through the sometimes overwhelming number of recipes, and it includes a shopping list feature to aid trips to the store.
The iPad works in either landscape or portrait modes, but it works best in landscape, where the layout includes two columns. From the home screen, you can browse through featured recipes, search using filters or simply the search bar, and view your favorites.
As you search or browse, recipes show up on the large, right panel. Five tabs run down the right side, letting you view search results by relevance, rating, alphabetical, newest, or those that have photos. When searching, you can add multiple search terms either by entering a keyword in the search bar in the upper-right corner or swiping through icons across various categories such as main ingredient, cuisine, and dietary consideration.
Three buttons are included next to each recipe. Tap the star to add the recipe to your favorites list, tap the list to add the ingredients to your shopping list, and tap the share button to e-mail or share the recipe via Facebook, Twitter, and other services.
When viewing a recipe, the ingredients are listed in the left column and the instructions are in the right panel. To mark your place as you follow a recipe, you can slide an orange arrow to the step you are working on. At the bottom of the screen are tabs to read (but not write) user reviews and to read more about the recipe, which typically includes a short introduction to the dish and its source. Sometimes, there is a nutrition tab, but most recipes lack this information.
To navigate the app, you can tap the Back button in the upper-left corner to jump back from a recipe to your search results. Sometimes, however, this Back button disappears. I found this happened occasionally when I tapped the star or shopping list buttons on a recipe. To escape from a recipe without the back button, just tap the forward or backward button in the lower-right corner to skip to another recipe and the Back button returns.
From the app's home screen, you can tap the large My Shopping List button to view the ingredients you've added to it. You can view by recipe or view a combined list. Unfortunately, the combined list doesn't combine ingredients. That is, if one recipe calls for four garlic cloves and another recipe calls for two garlic cloves, the combined list will list each separately instead of telling you that you need six garlic cloves. On the plus side, the shopping list lets you check items off as you shop, and it organizes ingredients into catagories such as fresh produce; baking, nuts and spices, and dairy.