Black bean soup—that’s what was on the menu last night. I remembered the onions, the garlic, the oregano… But what was the ingredient I was forgetting? And which of my many cookbooks had the best recipe? I couldn’t remember either detail, so I did what more and more home chef superstars are doing: I went online.

The mobility of laptops and tablets and their instant-gratification online access are changing the way we cook. I love a good cookbook, especially one with gorgeous photos. But as recipe sites and blogs become more sophisticated, I can get my food porn—er, information online. I can find recipes with step-by-step photos. I can watch videos demonstrating cooking techniques. Possibly best of all, I can get ratings from people just like me on recipes that I look up.

As my black bean soup was bubbling on the stove—and clearly needing something to take it from “okay” to “awwww yeah!”—I could have gone through my many cookbooks to find that dog-eared, delightfully food-stained page that held my favorite recipe. Maybe if I had more time.

Instead, I went to what I consider my online cookbook library: a group of cooking websites I’ve bookmarked on my laptop. They’re reliable, fun to look at, helpful, easy to use, and they yield delicious results.

Here’s the first in a series of blogs on some of the best recipe websites we’ve found, from the well-known to the unknown, the famous to the undiscovered. Let us know what your favorites are for future blogs, and ¡buen provecho!

The Usual Excellent Suspects
The top go-to for recipes is no surprise: The Food Network. Plug any ingredient or dish into the search bar, and you’ll be spoiled with recipe results from famous chefs. Sort through with difficulty ratings, and—perhaps the part we like best—comments from people who’ve tried and tweaked the recipes.

Also bookmark-worthy are Epicurious, Cookstr and, which gave birth to the DinnerSpinner app. All offer thousands of recipes by dish, ingredient, time (dinner in 30 minutes or less? Thank you!), even method of cooking—yes, you’ll finally be able to use that slow cooker.

The Healthy, Yet Still Totally Delicious Option
Americans eat a lot of meat. We also have a high rate of heart disease and type-2 diabetes, and those figures are rising among Hispanics. That’s why we’re glad we found Meatless Monday. They have great vegetarian recipes, such as Creamy Porcini Pasta, Fiesta Fantastica Wraps, and King Cake with cinnamon filling, for every meal, as well as how-to videos and important health news. If you or someone in your family has been told to eat more veggies, these recipes will keep you from missing the meat.

The Best of Everything
Whether you like to cook or just like to look, Punchfork presents the best recipes—along with fabulous full-color photos—from hundreds of sites. Sort your page by sites, trends, diets, or just drool over what they’ve found. A great way to find recipes as well as recipe sites you’ve never heard of before (Lottie and Doof? Gluten-Free Goddess? Cookin’ Canuck? Love!). Punchfork uses social media chatter to find the recipes they feature; it’s like Facebook for food, which means, of course, there’s the danger of falling so far down the rabbit recipe hole that you never actually cook anything. But what a way to go….