Want your mom’s chili recipe? Snap a photo and BigOven’s RecipeScan does the work

Have you ever wanted a copy of your best friend’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, but don’t have the patience to copy down all of the ingredients? A new mobile application from Seattle’s BigOven solves that nagging problem.

“Users can simply whip out their iPhone or iPad 2, snap a photo of a recipe, and BigOven will convert each recipe photo to an online recipe, complete with ingredients, instructions, categorization – ready to add to grocery lists, email to people, share on facebook, get calorie counts, and more,” explains CEO Steve Murch. “It saves users tons of time typing recipes themselves.”

BigOven hosts the recipes, and they are stored in your private collection. That means you have your recipes wherever you wander, while traveling, visiting a friend’s house or shopping at the farmer’s market.

Sounds pretty cool, huh?

BigOven’s new RecipeScan app costs 99 cents per recipe, or users can buy credits in bulk. (12 for $9.99, 40 for $29.99 or 100 for$59.99). Every member of BigOven gets three free credits to try out the service.

The recipes don’t show up in real time, with BigOven taking a day or two to covert the photos to text and place in the user’s digital recipe box.

Murch tells GeekWire that no one else is doing anything like this.

“Short of telekinesis, there is no easier way to get a recipe you love entered onto the web, your iPad, iPhone, Android or Windows Phone.  You just snap a photo and upload it,” he says. (An Android version is in the works).

BigOven said that it has recorded about five million downloads of its recipe applications.

Here’s a video of the app in action:

  • http://frugalmechanic.com/ Eric Peters

    Very interesting idea, probably a great use of Mechanical Turk.  My wife keeps a stack of various cooking magazines too for the handful of recipes in each magazine she would actually use, would be nice to get rid of that stack :)

    • Erikkrause

      Mechanical Turk was my first thought as well. Fairly decent margins if they are paying 10 cents a recipe for the conversions.

  • Bullhorn

    I get that they host the recipes – but in 3 days I could probably parse granny’s recipe book in my free time, myself.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Murch/705204492 Steve Murch

      Thanks Bullhorn!  Just a note — we say to “allow up to 5 business days”, but typically, you’ll get your recipe digitized within a few hours, and then it’s available forever, on your mobile device or the web. And you can issue multiple ones, and they’ll be done for you in parallel. Then, you can browse your collection at the grocery store, over at a friend’s house, create grocery lists sorted by aisle, and more.  Also, one use that people are finding — when you’re over at a friend’s house, and enjoyed a great dinner, you can simply snap the recipe(s) they used, and within a short time it’ll be on your account, private, ready forever! Some more details about this service are on our blog at http://bit.ly/kynI1l

      [disclosure -- I'm head chef of BigOven.com]

      • Adamtylor Tylor

        This is a
        another way on how to prepare your dishes with chili, another
        way to present your chili and spicy dish to your Family and friends, and
        how yummy it is, especially the peppermint.

        • Adamtylor Tylor

          This is a
          another way on how to prepare your 
          dishes with chili, another
          way to present your chili and spicy dish to your Family and friends, and
          how yummy it is, especially the peppermint.

  • Jim Butts

    When I read the headline I inferred that that the app could reverse engineer the recipe from a picture of what’s on your plate. Still cool though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Murch/705204492 Steve Murch

      Hi Jim,

      We’ve kicked that idea around a bit in the past, but unfortunately, even the best chef in the world cannot divine a recipe accurately enough from a photo, particularly without tasting it… 

  • Bill smith

    Hello. this dish
    appears yummy and deliciousand moreover very spicy and i have never tasted it
    before.but it looks so luring that i cannot stop myself to ask my mum to
    prepare it for me this Chili and
    spicy dish
    .

  • Javed Vardi

    Hello.
    this dish appears yummy and delicious and i have never tasted it before.but
    it looks so luring that i cannot stop myself to ask my mum to prepare it for
    me this chili .

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Murch/705204492 Steve Murch

    Just a note — RecipeScan is now available on our Android app (as well as iPhone, iPad 2 and Windows Phone).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Murch/705204492 Steve Murch

    Just a note — RecipeScan is now available on our Android app (as well as iPhone, iPad 2 and Windows Phone).

  • http://twitter.com/blurdoogie blurdoogie

    I just took a bunch of photos w/my phone to save recipes from a family cookbook. Now I just look up the recipes on my phone when I’m ready to cook. It doesn’t allow me to organize them as easily, but it’s free!