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Whether you’re a true crime nut, or prefer cooking, comedy, business, fashion, health, or current-affairs podcasts, there are dozens of programs you can listen to right now—all of them free, and all of them addictive. So, to make your morning commute a little more entertaining, we combed through the podcand you the best in each category. Keep scrolling to start listening.st app to fi
Food and Cooking:
Hosted by the Cooking Channel’s Dan Pashman and produced by the folks from Freakonomics and Radiolab, the Sporkful’s tagline is that it’s not for foodies—it’s for eaters. Relatable, right? Recent episodes have covered everything from marital disputes over food to fridge-food thieves.
For everyone who’s better at making reservations than making dinner, Start Cooking will teach you the basics about how to make quick, tasty meals.
With names such as Scarlett Johansson and Anderson Cooper as celebrity guests, this 60-minute podcast about food, culture, and conversation has received a ton of buzz.
Released biweekly and produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance, Gravy is all about storytelling with food, focusing on the American South as the taproot of American cuisine.
A cocktail-party podcast assessing which cocktails relate best to certain life moments.
Comedians Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton bring their humor to all your favorite cuisines, and some you haven’t even heard of yet.
Based in a real 2,500-square-foot test kitchen outside of Boston, dozens of cooks test recipes dozens of times to bring you America’s Test Kitchen podcast.
An all-new program centered around food politics, Bite explores topics such as vegetarianism, tipping, and mystery meats.
Culture and Current Events:
The Secret Room is the new podcast where people anonymously share secrets they’ve never told anyone, and we all get to hear them. It’s pretty intimate and makes for compulsive listening.
Basically, Sampler just brings you the best stuff from podcasts around the world, as well as conversations with podcasters to find out why (and how) they do what they do. New episodes of the Gimlet-produced program come out every Monday, and the show is hosted by Brittany Luse, who used to have her own podcast called For Colored Nerds.
Before My American Life, there was Radiolab, and if it’s clever, creative storytelling about music, current events, and personal stories that you’re after, with amazing production, tune in here. Topics are wildly diverse and super interesting—for example, one of our favorite episodes is about a group of paranormal investigators and another is about a sunken nuclear submarine. You really don’t know what you’ll get when you start listening, but you do know it will be intriguing.
You know the books Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, but did you know there was a radio show, too? Freakonomics Radio will tell you things you always thought you knew but didn’t, and things you never thought you wanted to know but do. Sounds like the very definition of confusion, but just listen and we promise you’ll enjoy.
This show’s about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about, like a bizarre old castle in New York’s Central Park that you wouldn’t know about, or what happens when a neighborhood is gentrified. With 80 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes, so it’s a safe bet that you will love it.
If you want to learn something new without being bored, Cracked is just the thing you should be listening to. Each show goes for an hour or two and covers everything from current events to pop culture. It’s not quite as succinct or well-produced as some others on the list, but we definitely still enjoy the stories.
Chances are This American Life was the gateway podcast that got you hooked on Serial to start with. Well, there are still hundreds of podcasts available to you on the mobile app and the website, so it’s time to get back into it.
The Wall Street Journal called The Moth “New York’s hottest and hippest literary ticket.” It’s a not-for-profit that’s been around since 1997 and is all about the craft of storytelling, which, as you could guess, translates really well for listeners. Each show starts with a theme, and the storyteller explores it—usually in ways that you really don’t expect.
Australian radio journalist Richard Fidler has a one-hour conversation with fascinating people from all walks of life such as refugees, artists, domestic violence survivors, politicians, activists. He has a knack for getting people to share their most interesting life stories in the one-hour episodes.
Every week the show invites live writers, performers, and everyday people to share the stories they never thought they’d tell. If you occasionally find podcasts a bit dull, we recommend giving Risk! a try.
Surprisingly Awesome is a show full of stories about things that sound boring but are actually fascinating. New episodes are released every other Tuesday.
Just like its name suggests, Death, Sex, and Money talks to people about their own personal experiences with death, sex, and money. Each episode is a little short, but they’re addictive as hell.
Code Switch is led by a team of journalists who are “fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity, and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities.” The podcast centers around themes of race and our community—sometimes you’ll laugh, and sometimes you’ll feel damn uncomfortable.
Keep up with politics leading up to the election (and beyond) with the NPR Politics Podcast. It’s where political reporters talk to you like they talk to each other, with easy to digest, weekly roundups and quick takes about trending news.
NPR’s Embedded podcast goes deep on a story from the news. What does it feel like for a father in El Salvador to lie to his daughter about the bodies he saw in the street that day? What does it feel like for a nurse from rural Indiana to shoot up a powerful prescription opioid? Embedded (EMBD) takes you to where they’re happening.
Hosts Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer are former advisers to President Obama, and chat about everything you need to know leading up to this year’s federal election.
For one hour each week, this show tries to lift the veil from the process of “making media,” especially news media, because “it’s through that lens that we see the world and the world sees us.”
Another winning show from NPR, Hourly News Summary gives five minutes of news, updated hourly, so you’re always up-to-date on the headlines.
Host Krissy Clark investigates a single topic each season, unpacking the things we take for granted as inevitable in our economy.
Instead of just presenting you with a newsy headline, Let’s Know Things put those current events into context by using a news story as a starting point for a bigger discussion about a trend, an industry, or society in general.
Business, Careers, and Entrepreneurship:
Smart, snappy, and quirky, Startup tells stories about what really happens when someone starts a company.
If you have a head for business, you’ll love The Tim Ferriss Show. By the guy who authored “The Four Hour Work Week,” his audio episodes are available on iTunes now.
The concept behind NPR’s Planet Money podcast is that it will help you understand the economy using interesting stories and anecdotes. The topic sounds dry, but this podcast is really good, we promise.
Considering starting a business? Traction gives actionable advice about how to begin, including how to find a developer or get your first users.
On each episode of the podcast, Sophia interviews famous Girlbosses who have made their mark in creative, cultural, and business ventures to extract solid advice from the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Whether you’re interested in the world of investing and venture capital, or want to launch your own tech company, this is a great place to start. Host Harry Stebbings talks with world-class VCs, founders, and angel investors to nab actionable advice.
This new show delves into why people buy the things we do and takes a deep-dive into the universe of consumable stuff.
Retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink discusses discipline and ownership in business, war, relationships, and everyday life.
NPR podcast Marketplace is the highly rated business news program exploring the way in which economic news affects you, through stories and conversations.
With more than 8 million downloads, this free leadership podcast is one of the most popular in the world.
This top-ranking and award-winning business podcast includes weekly interviews with subject-matter experts, strategies, and advice for building your own online business.
Host David Stein gives investing tips to listeners, making them easy to understand through stories and analogies.
Seth Godin is a thought leader in the marketing and business world. Throughout these live recordings, hear Seth as he guides 30 entrepreneurs through a workshop exploring how they can build and run their dream business.
Wall Street Journal‘s podcast will help you get your personal finances in good shape with advice on budgeting, credit-card debt, college tuition, retirement, and more.
Motley Fool Money airs every week on radio stations across America and features a team of Motley Fool analysts discussing the week’s top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar.
leaders and industry professionals speak to give specific, actionable insights that can boost your performance at the office.
HR Happy Hour is the longest-running and top downloaded human-resources podcast and zeroes in on HR, management, leadership, and workforce technology.
Serial is quite possibly the podcast that kicked off your audio addiction. The second season is narrated by reporter Sarah Koenig (whom you’ll remember from season one) as she digs into the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a United States Army soldier who is facing charges after walking off his post in Afghanistan and who was held in captivity by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network from June 2009 until May 2014.
If you’re into Serial, you’ll appreciate Criminal’s episodic take on a new new-crime case. Host Phoebe Judge has a similar presentation style to Serial’s Sarah Koenig, and each show is just as addictive. The episodes are a little short but perfect for quick commutes to and from work.
Like Serial, Someone Knows Something follows one case over multiple episodes. This season (the first) the program is taking a deep dive into the disappearance of a five-year-old boy in eastern Ontario back in 1972.
Unsolved is a seven-part podcast investigating the murder of 14-year-old John Zera, who was mysteriously killed back in 1976. Host and reporter Gina Barton digs through old evidence and speaks with people originally involved with trying to solve the case.
Each week, Generation Why gives a play-by-play rundown of a case picked by either the listeners or hosts Aaron and Justin. An episode could cover some unsolved mystery or dig into a conspiracy theory surrounding a closed case.
Sword and Scale tells stories of murder, rape, kidnapping, and more serious crimes, and looks at how the justice system deals with them.
A little different from your typical true-crime podcast, in each episode the host Dan Zupansky talks to authors of true-crime novels. This definitely isn’t as well-produced as shows like Criminal and Serial, but the stories are fascinating.
Chilling is really the only word you can use to describe Finding Tammy Jo, a new podcast series about the murder of a girl in upstate New York who went unidentified for more than three decades. New episodes are released every Sunday morning and the season only kicked off in the beginning of May, so you’re not too far behind.
We were hooked after one episode of Actual Innocence—which is frustrating because only five have been produced so far and they’re all damn addictive. Each follows a person who served time for a crime they did not commit and was later exonerated, which makes for fascinating, heartbreaking audio. Actual Innocence doesn’t have the same production quality as Serial, but it’s worth listening to regardless.
Garage covers a new case each week; it could be a horror story that’s current headline news or a discussion about infamous serial killers or cold cases. The podcast is laid-back and conversational and not quite as gripping as some others such as Actual Innocence.
Missing was selected as one of iTunes’s best podcasts last year and looks into how and why people disappear and what life’s like when you’re on the run. Host and crime writer Tim Weaver is easy to listen to—the British accent probably helps—and brilliantly picks out the most fascinating aspects of how people vanish in the 21st century. There are only eight episodes, so you’re going to want to savor them.
Produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, Reveal reveals injustice, power abuse, and crime. It’s an easy, interesting listen and is produced with all the bells and whistles of Serial.
The first season features a retired detective and his true stories from 23 years on the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Homicide Division. We recommend listening to the “Mighty Ike” episode if you’re not sure where to start.
Most recently, podcaster Bob Ruff looked into Hae Min Lee’s case after Serial brought so much attention to the murder. However, earlier episodes cover other aspects of the law and themes such as crime and justice.
Each of the six episodes is narrated by criminal psychologist and trial consultant Dr. Michelle Ward. Ward actually talks face-to-face with six violent murderers, relying on her expertise as a trial consultant to look into each killer’s psyche and find out what actually drives people to kill. It’s compelling, to say the least.
Starlee Kine, whom you might know from the This American Life podcast, hosts Gimlet Media’s Mystery Show. Basically, she takes it upon herself to solve bizarre mysteries that crop up in everyday life—so it’s not exactly true crime, but it’s still about cracking some sort of case.
Made in Sweden looks into the true story behind the novel The Father, which is about three brothers who grew up to become Sweden’s most notorious criminals. Cohost Stefan Thunberg is their brother, which makes the series even more interesting.
CrimeFeed covers the most shocking true-crime stories exclusively. Unlike in a lot of other true-crime podcasts, most of the content is current; however, the program will occasionally look into cold cases. CrimeFeed more or less covers only information that’s been circulated in the news and doesn’t dive deeply into crimes or editorialize them in the same way such podcasts as Serial and the Mind of a Murderer do.
If you’re a super fan of “True Detective” on TV, you definitely need to know about this series. Weekly shows analyze all of the clues and plot developments on the show and basically help feed your “True Detective” addiction between TV episodes.
Thinking Sideways investigates things we simply don’t have the answer to—such as missing-people reports, suspicious deaths, or old mysteries that were just never solved—to try and reach a conclusion.
Casefile is an Australian podcast that digs into a different case during each hour-long episode. Murders and violent crimes are the most covered topics.
The award-winning team at CBS News’s “48 Hours” is behind this in-depth podcast covering tricky criminal cases and human drama. Production quality is stellar, and the team always selects gripping criminal stories.
Fashion and Beauty:
Chicago-based blogger Jena Gambaccini invites a weekly guest to chat about various topics in the world of style.
People are really digging this show by beauty editors Jess Matlin and Jennifer Goldstein. The pair are super plugged into the industry’s latest news and share their inside access along with candid stories of their beauty adventures, from celebrity interviews and freaky new facials to miracle products and epic beauty fails.
Kimberely Snyder, the author of The Beauty Detox, offers beauty-focused insight that improves your skin, hair, nails, and overall well-being using diet.
American Fashion Podcast
One for the hard-core fashion enthusiasts, American Fashion Podcast interviews top designers, delves into brands’ marketing strategies, and discusses topics like sustainable fashion, tech, and more.
Tune in for interviews with beauty entrepreneurs, discussions about diversity in the industry, and expert tips from buzzy industry professionals, released every Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST.
We couldn’t decide whether to be offended or amused after the first few minutes of Ask Women, but pretty quickly we decided to go with amused. The two female comedian hosts discuss topics like “What lesbians do to attract women” and “Signs you’re in the friend zone.” It’s brash, chatty, and about as far from politically correct as a podcast can get.
We seriously can’t recommend this show enough—it’s hosted by British comedian Andy Zatzmann and comedian John Oliver. The pair satirize the news in a way that will make you feel better about the week’s headlines.
Have a laugh while listening to NPR’s weekly current-events quiz.
History nerds, this one’s for you. Revolutions is literally just different podcasts about revolutions in history—and it’s really, really interesting. The production quality isn’t great, but the stories are still very much worth listening to.
Science and Technology:
Stuff You Should Know
Ever wondered what a black hole is, how Leper colonies worked, or what the deal is with crop circles? Stuff You Should Know answers all of these weird, interesting questions in detailed 40-minute podcasts.
Science Vs looks at different trends and fads with a scientific eye. Topics include whether organic food is really good for you, and whether a child’s upbringing is what determines their success.
This show discusses invisible forces that control human behavior—things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions, and emotions—by using personal stories and scientific evidence. Season two is being released June 17, 2016, and features seven one-hour episodes that will drop every Friday.
This show about the internet is downloaded more than two million times each month and offers a fun, interesting perspective about some web-based story.
By drawing on science and storytelling, Hidden Brain’s host Shankar Vedantam unveils what drives human behavior. It’s compelling audio, trust us.
Exploring and explaining the science of everyday things around us.
Health and Happiness
Run by Precision Nutrition, this podcast will teach you small, actionable steps to get started on a healthier lifestyle. If you’re just starting out in the health and fitness space, this is a good place start.
This podcast is all about fitness and is run by vegetarian and ultra-marathon runner Matt Frazier. Our favorite episode: Sitting Is Killing You (Even If You’re a Runner).
This top-rated podcast literally exists to bore you to sleep. Hit play any time you’re struggling to catch some Zs.
Stop being the most stressed-out person in the room by taking some tips from the Radio Headspace podcast. Just try listening to host Georgie Okell’s soothing voice and tell us you don’t feel calmer.
Instead of focusing on elaborate recipes, Nutrition Diva’s advice is easy and actionable. She discusses topics such as artificial sweeteners and the real deal on the skim vs. whole milk debate.
Dan Harris is the cynical ABC newsman who had a panic attack live on “Good Morning America,” which led him to something he always thought was ridiculous: meditation. He then released the bestselling book 10% Happier, started an app, and now chats with other smart people about happiness on his podcast.
All your favorite health-and-fitness-focused TEDTalks, in one place.
Emily Morse is a sex and relationship expert, author, and talk-show host. This is her podcast about sex, relationships, and all the stuff in between.
Thinking about training for a marathon? Beginners can listen in for free marathon coaching and learn about everything from how to create a training schedule to changes you will need to make to your diet.
A motivational podcast about the mind, body, and spirit, this might be a little new agey for some, but if you’re into alternative health, you will love it.
The One You Feed is about mental health and how to feed the most positive version of yourself. There are discussions on depression, anxiety, and happiness.
Host Diane Sanfilippo is the New York Times best-selling author of Practical Paleo and The 21-Day Sugar Detox and her cohost Liz Wolfe is the bestselling author of Eat the Yolk. Each week, the pair talk about current topics in health and nutrition, with a specific focus on Paleo living.
From the best-selling author of The Happiness Project.
Athlete and best-selling author Rich Roll delves deep into all things wellness by speaking with world-class experts in health, fitness, nutrition, and spirituality.
Half Size Me helps listeners lose weight in a sustainable, healthy way with its weekly podcast. Host Heather Robertson interviews real people who share their inspirational stories of weight loss and maintenance, and shares resources and tips that you can use yourself.
Tune in for strategies to increase your quality of life through a better understanding of biology.
How to be healthy, strong, fit, happy, and productive with the least amount of effort and sacrifice.