Right now, Pinterest is basically a black hole where I get sucked into looking at pretty pictures of food for hours at a time, but my clicking and pinning hasn’t always been the most productive. Like, I love the idea of trying out a month of salad recipes, but I’m as likely to actually follow through with that as I am to try the 36 braided looks for medium-length hair I’ve had saved for about four years now.
But Pinterest is introducing some new features in the food section that could make it a more actionable tool for planning out realistic meals instead of a just a place we go to save aspirational dishes that we might not ever have time to try.
There are now filters in the search tool so you can look for recipes by dietary preference — including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, Paleo — cook time and ingredients (for instance, you can search what you have on hand, and the site will recommend ingredients that pair well with those). These new tools will help you stay focused when you’re looking for recipes so you don’t just wind up adding yet another pin to your “classic French cuisine” board, when what you really need is a gluten-free dinner using salmon that you can make in 30 minutes or less.
Pinterest is also adding star ratings to recipes, so it’s easier to judge whether something that looks good is actually going to work out or not (we’ve all seen too many Pinterest fails to be naive on this front). You can also scroll down on a recipe pin to read comments and feedback from people who’ve actually tried it.
Pinterest Lens is also getting an expansion. Previously, you could snap a pic of an ingredient and Lens would recommend recipes that use that item. Now, you can search and find related recipes based on full dishes, like waffles and fried chicken, not just single ingredients.
Food and drink is the most searched category on Pinterest, so it makes sense that they’re striving to make it as useful as possible. Between the reviews and new search tools, it’ll be easier than ever to avoid becoming a Pinterest fail.