It’s no secret that eating at fast food restaurants on a regular basis is bad for your long term health, with evidence from studies by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) showing that regular visits can lead to a two-fold greater increase in insulin resistance – a risk factor for Diabetes.
One of the reasons fast food has become so popular is due to the fact that it’s so readily available. But what if there was an easily reachable source of information that collated hundreds of healthy and simple recipes, which are also often quick to make and relatively inexpensive?
This is something that some of the best food blogs can offer, together with a real sense of community via their presence on visual media channels such as Pinterest and Instagram, as well as more conventional social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Food blogging itself has gained tremendous popularity over the past decade, which is excellent in terms of variety, but can also make it difficult to find those special resources that create new recipes on a regular basis, combining this with some stunning photography and even sharing of life experiences.
This is why we’ve put together this list of our top 10 cooking blogs for 2015, to act as a quick reference guide. Although these aren’t the only food blogs we would recommend reading, they’re what we’ve found to be our go-to places for culinary inspiration during 2014.
Created in 2003 by San Francisco based photographer and designer Heidi Swanson, 101 Cookbooks has now grown into one of the most popular cooking and food blogs online.
The recipes you’ll find on the site are based on Heidi’s own life experiences, including her travels and everyday interests, as well as a selection from the books she’s written.
If you’re going to be travelling in the near future, we would certainly recommend taking a look at the ‘Travel’ section of articles, where you can find some invaluable ideas for restaurants, bars, and some iconic places to visit while you’re there. So far this extends to London, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, and Tokyo.
Just as impressive as the photography and quality of writing is the design and structure of the site, with clear categories making it easier to find recipes by meal type, ingredient, and season.
If like the thought of starting your own food blog, or simply want to find out more about what exactly goes into a site like Heidi’s in terms of content creation, growth, and design, she’s recently written an extremely interesting article about maintaining a long-term blog, providing some useful tips from her own experiences.
In addition to publishing her latest recipes on 101 Cookbooks, Heidi has also written a bestselling book entitled ‘Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen’.
The book focuses on some unique recipe ideas involving natural foods, using whole grains and fresh produce, with a minimal focus on processed ingredients. This is actually Swanson’s second highly rated cook book, with ‘Super Natural Cooking’ being the first to be published in 2007.
If you’re a lover of social media, 101 Cookbooks has built an impressive and active collection of accounts on all the major networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and of course, Pinterest.
As a big advocate of eating seasonally as part of your everyday diet, Sara Forte started Sprouted Kitchen in May 2009 as a way to share her passion for making food taste good through natural ingredients.
Despite being fairly new compared to some of our other top 10 cooking blogs, Sprouted Kitchen has already started to build up an enviable list of accolades, including being winner of the Best Original Recipes category in the annual Saveur awards.
In terms of what to expect from the recipes themselves, although the main focus is undoubtedly on healthy whole foods, you can also find a number of ideas for desserts, beverages, and healthy snacks.
Even the snack recipes will often provide photos from different stages of creation, together with the ingredients list, complete explanation of instructions, and an interesting back story on how the recipe came about.
Despite clearly being a food blog, Sara is also kind enough to share her family adventures as part of the recipe write-ups, which actually makes it feel like the sharing of the recipe is on a much more personal level once you’ve found out a bit more about what’s going on in their lives.
But together with the creative writing style and comprehensive ingredient lists for each of the recipes, you’ll no doubt be attracted to the high quality photography that plays a big part in the visual appeal of both the site and the food.
Photography is actually provided courtesy of Sara’s husband Hugh. If you love what you find and want to see more examples of Hugh’s work, in between his own freelance photography work and finding the perfect shot for the site, you can also find more photos in their book; Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods.
Their second book is also due for release in April 2015, entitled ‘Bowl + Spoon’.
With a career in food that originated in some of the elite restaurants of Beverly Hills, Ashley Rodriquez created Not Without Salt as a way to share her passion for good food and creativity.
As well as keeping visitors to the blog up to date with her latest recipe ideas and cooking experiences, Ashley also shares a number of lifestyle stories involving herself and her family.
The recipes themselves cover everything you could possibly need, from sides to desserts, and even a selection of drinks, including cocktails, tonics, and floats.
Each has been created with a number of delicious looking photos and a thorough explanation of the ingredients and instructions required, and is usually accompanied by an update of the latest family events and adventures.
Together with all the inspiring recipes you can find on the blog, Now Without Salt now has its own book. Also written by Ashley, this goes beyond the more traditional approach to listing ingredients and following directions, including an honest look at her marriage and family life.
Entitled ‘Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship’, the menus you’ll discover each relate to one of 25 seasonal dates, and include a step-by-step plan of how to recreate them for your own date nights.
To get a little off the topic of food for a moment, whether you’re an aspiring food blogger yourself, or simply love good design, we’re certain you’ll appreciate the level of work that’s clearly gone into the site’s creation and style.
From subtleties like the font choice and preview images for recipes, to the filterable post selection options that help you find what you’re looking for in an instant, it’s easy to remember why we chose this as one of our top 10.
If you like what you read on the blog, you can also keep track of the latest updates via social media, as well as checking out some gorgeous food photography on visual media networks, including Pinterest and Instagram.
Based around the philosophy that honest, delicious food can also be simple, ‘I am a Food Blog’ was created in early 2012 by Stephanie Le as a platform from which she could share her love of unique food combinations and Asian flavours.
As with many of our top 10 cooking blogs, photography plays a major role in each of the recipes you’ll find on the site. If you’re curious about the type of camera and lens used to create such high quality photos, Stephanie actually answered some questions about her setup as part of her FAQ, which can be found here.
One of the great things about I Am a Food Blog is the way that many of the food recipes take multiple ingredients that you may be used to having on their own separately, and combines them into a single meal idea that’s truly unique.
You can also find a growing selection of recipes for drinks in addition to the food recipes, such as Pumpkin Spice Latte, Spiced Apple Cider, and our personal favourite – a classic Old Fashioned.
Despite being a fairly new site in the grand scheme of food blogs, I am a Food Blog has already started to receive acclaim in the industry, winning the coveted ‘Blog of the Year‘ editor’s choice title as part of the fifth annual Saveur Best Food Blog Awards.
This is in addition to having recipes feature on leading food blogs and websites, such as Foodandwine.com, Food52.com, and TheKitchn.com.
2014 itself was an incredibly exciting year for Stephanie, as it saw the release of her first cook book, based around a similar collection of creative gourmet meal plans to the ones that you’ll find on the blog.
‘Easy Gourmet – Awesome Recipes Anyone Can Cook‘ contains over 100 different recipe ideas for a variety of social occasions, and meals for any time throughout the day, including breakfast, snacks, meats, seafoods, and desserts.
Originally created as a personal recipe file for storing away her latest recipe ideas, Tara O’Brady has continued to keep Seven Spoons updated with her culinary and lifestyle adventures since May 2005.
Fast forward nearly 10 years, and not only has Tara created an extremely successful food blog, but has also written her first cook book, which is due to be published in April.
What makes this so exciting is that the vast majority of recipes are ones that haven’t currently been published on the site, but which still feature in the day-to-day life and special events that take place in Tara’s life.
Despite the growing number of food blogs online, it’s rare to find one that offers nearly a decade of recipes and still looks as visually enticing as Seven Spoons. If you want to start at the beginning and are curious about what the very first published post was, you can find a link to it here.
It’s also interesting to see how the style of the recipes themselves has developed, where you will often now find the instructions and method prefaced by a number of food and location photos, as well as an update to the events taking place in Tara’s life. One of our recent favourites is the recent journey to Seattle for a storytelling workshop at Aran’s Studio.
While you can find the majority of Tara’s writing on Seven Spoons, you may also have come across her recipes and photographs in a number of well known publications and websites, such as The Guardian, Bon Apetit, UPPERCASE magazine, and Oprah.com.
Seven Spoons is also no stranger to awards, having been the winner of the writing and recipes categories in the Canadian Food Blog Awards, Finalist in the Saveur Best Food Blog awards, and considered one of Gourmet’s favourite food sites.
Based out of Orange County, California, White On Rice Couple is a world where you’re invited to share in the food, photography, friendship, and travel adventures of professional photographers, bloggers, and filmmakers, Todd and Diane.
Although the site itself is divided into 3 main categories of Food, Travel/Life, and Garden, in many cases these will tend to overlap in a single, wonderfully written post, such as sharing their experiences at the Food Blog Forum in Asheville, NC.
This is just one of the many examples where we’ve found it incredibly easy to get drawn in by the quality of their photography, with images of the stunning grounds, venue, and food that were on offer at Biltmore House and Gardens.
If you can’t get enough of the recipes on the blog, it’s reassuring to know that White On Rice Couple actually has its own cookbook.
As avid gardeners who love to share recipes involving fresh fruits and vegetables, the title of ‘Bountiful: recipes inspired by our garden.’ certainly makes sense. Complete with simple, seasonal recipes that can inspire you from spring through until winter, ‘Bountiful’ manages to capture the connection between healthy food you can grow in your garden, and your kitchen table.
If you’ve always wanted to know about the process and equipment behind great food photography and styling, Todd and Diane also regularly speak at industry events and workshops, including the Food Blog Forum and the BlogHer Food Conference.
To find out about upcoming food photography workshops and be the first to know when the craft photography and video storytelling workshops are available, it’s certainly worth taking a look at the TD Photographers website.
White On Rice Couple has also received a number of mentions from world renowned publications such as the Washington Post, LA Times, and New York Times, as well as features on websites that include Serious Eats, Examiner, and Gourmet.com.
If you’re looking for inspiration for new recipes that are colourful, healthy, and based around seasonal produce, Love and Lemons is certainly a blog that’s worth a read.
Despite only being created in 2011, Jeanine and Jack have designed, created, and grown a site that’s already gaining recognition in a number of sites and publications in the industry, such as SELF magazine, Food 52, and even walking away with the award for Best Cooking Blog in the annual Saveur awards, as voted by readers.
The recipes tend to be mostly focussed around vegetarian options, but dairy free, gluten free, vegan, and raw food meal choices can also be found in the archives.
If you find a recipe you love or are simply looking for some inspiration for your next culinary creation, Love and Lemons is actually incredibly easy to navigate.
The main recipe page presents a wealth of search options to choose from, categorizing by season, holiday, special diet, meal type, and ingredient.
This means that if, for example, you are looking for a vegetarian summer recipe that’s suitable for a main dish and also includes almond milk, a visual selection of recipes is presented to you almost instantly. (This search actually displays the delicious tomato and zucchini frittata, in case you were wondering)
While Jack is the talent behind site programming such as this, Jeanine is the voice behind the posts/recipes, and they tend to collaborate on the photography.
Travel is also a major influence on the types of recipes that appear on the site, and if you want to stay up to date on the latest travel experiences, recipe photos, and adventures with Jeanine’s gorgeous Shiba Inu pups, you can follow Love and Lemons on Pinterest and Instagram.
As a family food blog that started over 8 years ago, Steamy Kitchen has grown into a home for nearly 1,000 free recipes – many of which include video instructions and adaptations for special diets.
Being a family blog also means that you can find posts on activities that Jaden’s family enjoy doing when they’re not enjoying culinary masterpieces, such as microgreens, aquaponics, and even raising ducks and chickens!
In addition to keeping the SK blog updated with these incredibly detailed recipes, that often include photos showing every step of the recommended preparation and cooking method, Jaden’s work has also been mentioned and published on a number of well known websites and publications.
This includes Oprah.com, Fortune, Parents Magazine, and The Washington Post, as well as cooking twice each month on NBC’s Daytime Show.
If you wondering whether Steamy Kitchen has a cook book, then yes, it does. Well actually, it has three; ‘Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favourites’, ‘The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook‘, and ‘Healthy Chinese Take Out’.
While each book contains a wealth of healthy recipes, they are each very different in their styles. You can find out more about what each book contains by visiting the blog, which also contains a number of impressive reviews from such food industry icons as David Lebovitz, and Heidi Swanson (of 101 Cookbooks fame).
Further showcasing Jaden’s entrepreneurial success, ‘Food Blog Forum‘ has been created as a 3-day event where food bloggers can find out more about all aspects of the industry, as well as share stories of encouragement and inspiration.
Food Blog Forum is actually a collaborative work between Jaden and Scott from Steamy Kitchen, and Todd and Diane, of White On Rice Couple (also included in our top 10 list).
From when the Simple Bites blog was first started in the spring of 2010 by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque, its mission has been to promote the importance of eating locally and seasonally through comprehensive recipes, tutorials, and stories of urban homesteading.
The feeling of a family-oriented community is noticeable throughout the site, but really shines through in the posts from the ‘Kids in the Kitchen‘ category, where you can find a range of useful family food advice, such as simple summer lunch ideas, and how to create a balanced diet for children.
Aimée has also a written a number of seasonal recipes as a contributor to JamieOliver.com, as well as being awarded as the winner of the Best Kids’ Cooking Blog category of the prestigious Saveur food blog awards, and rated one of the 75 most influential Canadian mom blogs by Savvy Mom.
In more exciting news, Simple Bites is currently building up to the release of Aimee’s first cookbook, which is scheduled for release in Spring 2015.
Entitled ‘Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family recipes from the kitchen of Simple Bites’, the book follows many of the same principles that are valued on the blog, with practical tips on homesteading and kids in the kitchen intertwined with some gorgeous photography and kitchen tips Aimee gleaned from 10 years in the restaurant and catering industry.
Of course, the book will also include a large collection of food recipes, which are divided into seasons of the year and focussed on twelve events that center around family food life. Brown Eggs and Jam Jars is available now for pre-order on Amazon, with a release date of February 10, 2015.
Simple Bites also maintains an active presence on a variety of social networks. If you love all things social media, we would certainly recommend starting on the visual sharing sites, such as Pinterest and Instagram.
After working as a Silicon Valley consultant for most of her adult life, Elise Bauer created Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way of documenting her favourite family recipes that she grew up making with her parents.
Each one has been personally tried and tested by Elise and her family or friends, often multiple times, which has resulted in numerous small improvements being made over the years in order to ensure that what you create is the very best version it can be.
Despite having over 10 years of recipes to choose from, it’s actually incredibly easy to find some culinary inspiration thanks to being organized by course, season, cuisine, recipe type, and main ingredient.
You can also find a full list of Elise’s current favourites, as well as an extensive list of recipes that are in season, and a wide range of options for if you’re cooking on a budget.
The recipes themselves are tailored towards a healthy and varied diet, with most ingredients being whole foods or fresh seasonal produce. This includes everything from low-carb roasted vegetables to Peppermint Bark Chocolate Cookies, as well as a number of incredibly useful ‘How To’ guides for various types of ingredient preparation.
Simply Recipes has also received numerous mentions and awards in the press, including features in Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Gourmet Magazine, Forbes, and Times Online.
When she’s not creating, photographing, and publishing new recipes on the blog, Elise is also regularly invited to speak about her experience of food blogging at conference events across the country, including BlogHer and BlogHer PRO.