Find great holiday recipes online

If you're planning to make treats for the holidays, you'll want to check out some of these recipe sites.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
5 min read

Now that the holidays are upon us, many of us are considering what kind of food we'll be making. Sure, we might start out with the turkey on Thanksgiving, but what about desserts or appetizers? Finding help from online resources is certainly welcome.

That's why I've decided to take a look at several recipe sites. If you're getting together with family over the next month to celebrate a holiday and you plan to cook, this roundup is for you.

Get your cooking on

AllRecipes All Recipes is one of the best places to check out holiday recipes for your family. You can either click on a specific holiday you're planning to cook for or you can sift through its many recipes for regular days. It's a nice site.

The first thing that struck me about AllRecipes was its design. Finding recipes is quick and easy. Plus, thanks to a handy navigation pane both in the left sidebar and in the header, I was able to drill-down into what I was looking for without much trouble. Since I was searching for holiday recipes, I started there.

I was pleasantly surprised by the selection. And thanks to the option of choosing recipes based on ratings (the top-20 tab was my favorite) or when they were added to the site, I was able to find recipes that matched what I was looking for. I really liked AllRecipes. It's well-designed and its recipes are great.

All Recipes
All Recipes helps you find the good stuff. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Chow Chow might be best known for providing information on good eating around town, but the site also has a nice selection of recipes.

Chow's selection of recipes won't be as big as other services in this roundup. (It's not dedicated only to recipes, after all.) But what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in an outstanding selection of really good recipes. What's best about Chow is the way in which you choose recipes. You don't have to just search the site to find what you're looking for. You can find options based on ingredients, the type of cuisine you're in the mood for, or based on tags that are placed on all recipes. You can also pick which course you want to make a meal for.

When I used the site, I found that many of the options were right up my alley. Since I eat Italian food often, I was quite happy with the site's selection. Try out Chow. I think you'll like it. (Disclosure: Chow is owned by CBS Interactive, the parent company of CNET.)

Chow has numerous recipes worth trying out. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Epicurious Epicurious has the best holiday grouping of recipes of any site in this roundup. Not only does it provide some favorites that you might have already heard of, the site lists some new recipes that you'll definitely want to try.

Epicurious does the best job of any site in this roundup of organizing content based on what you're looking for. Since I was searching for holiday recipes, I clicked on that. I then chose the holiday I wanted to make something for and I was pleasantly surprised by just how many items the site made available. It included everything from new ways of making stuffing to appetizers I'd never heard of before. Each recipe can be rated by users to help others determine if it's worth using it or not. You can even write a detailed review. Overall, Epicurious is a really decent site.

Epicurious makes it easy to find recipes. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Food Network Since the Food Network has a television presence, it might be one of the most-trafficked recipe sites on the Web. But it earns that traffic with outstanding recipes for any occasion.

If you're looking for holiday recipes, Food Network is a great place to start. Aside from a grouping of holiday recipes placed prominently on the site's home page, you can also search for specific kinds of recipes. When I searched for recipes, I found thousands of possibilities. It was great. If you're looking for some of the best recipes from outstanding chefs, Food Network is a fine resource.

Food Network
Food Network has all kinds of great content. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Group Recipes If you're looking for a more social solution to finding recipes for the holidays, Group Recipes is for you.

Group Recipes is quite simple: search the site for whatever kind of recipe you might be looking for, and you will find a list of user-created recipes to try out. Each recipe contains a short introduction on its genesis, what it tastes like, and what ingredients are necessary. Each listing also features the option to comment on a recipe. Since the site is used by so many people, you'll find an active community on Group Recipes. You can even offer up a potential alteration to the recipe to make it better.

I really liked Group Recipes. It delivers "homemade" recipes with a social flair. You'll find numerous recipes to try out, just as I did. Check it out.

Group Recipe
Group Recipes adds social flair to finding recipes. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

MyRecipes MyRecipes is another well-designed site that provides users with a healthy dose of recipes for just about any occasion or desire.

When I arrived at MyRecipes, I was pleasantly surprised. Maneuvering through the site's many menus was quick and easy. And since I was looking for holiday recipes, it was nice to see that this option was placed prominently on the site. One practical option that MyRecipes offers is a "note" tool. When you view a recipe that you plan to use, you can append notes to the recipe that only you can view. If you print out that recipe, your notes will be displayed on the page. It's a nice option that you won't find on other sites. It adds a little more value to an already useful site. If you're looking for holiday recipes, MyRecipes is a decent option.

Find some nice recipes on MyRecipes. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

SuperCook SuperCook doesn't work the way so many of the other services in this roundup do, but it makes it quick and easy to find a great recipe based on what you already have in your kitchen.

When you get to SuperCook, you'll see a prominent search box asking you what's in your kitchen. Simply type the ingredient that you want to cook with and the site will return several recipes that should suit your fancy. I tried the site out with everything from turkey to pasta. In every case, it offered up some tasty ideas that would work well this holiday season. But you might be surprised to find that SuperCook doesn't house any of the recipes on its site. Instead, the site is basically a search engine that pushes you to other recipe sites on the Web. That helps it offer more recipes than many other services in this roundup. Check it out.

SuperCook lets you input ingredients you already have in order to find recipes. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. SuperCook: If you're looking for good recipes from several sites, SuperCook is the way to go.

2. Food Network: You'll find a slew of recipes on the Food Network's site.

3. Group Recipes: Who doesn't want a little help from their friends?