If you like cooking up a storm in the kitchen then there a huge number of mobile apps ready and waiting to help.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive directory of recipes then it’s difficult to beat the BigOven app, which boasts some 350,000 in total (enough for the fussiest of eaters).
Recipes can be searched or browsed by category, the app can put together a shopping list depending on what you’re making, and one of its best tricks is being able to come up with a meal based on the leftovers you have spare. [Freemium on Android and iOS]
A clever app that can recommend alternative ingredients if you’re baking or cooking for someone with food allergies.
Whether you need to cut out gluten or alcohol, this app can help find a substitute, and over 1,200 different ingredients are covered in an interface that’s a pleasure to navigate around. It even syncs across iCloud so you can use it seamlessly across several devices (as long as they’re made by Apple). [£2.29 on iOS]
Yummly is one of the biggest and most well-loved cooking networks on the Web, and the accompanying mobile apps are just as polished and in-depth as you would expect.
Through the use of big, appealing pictures and an intuitive layout, making a recipe from the app is a piece of cake whether or not you’re actually baking one. Save your favourite recipes, get personalised recommendations, create shopping lists and more. [Free on Android and iOS]
Getting meals and dishes arranged in advance can make a big difference to the cooking process, giving you more time for preparation and experimentation.
Food Planner is one of the best apps for working out what you’re going to be cooking and when, and it’s not just about scheduling either: the app also offers shopping list and recipe features, and you can get at your account through any Web browser as well. [Freemium on Android and iOS]
Described as an “interactive” baking app, Perfect Bake does a better job than most at actually guiding you through the process of making your cakes, cookies, pancakes and waffles — in fact if you have a compatible smart scale to hand then it can help measure out the ingredients too.
Wilton Cake Ideas
Wilton has been in the cake business for 85 years or so, so the company has a good chance of knowing which recipes work and which don’t.
This straightforward but well-presented app is great for finding inspiration about new ideas and cake designs when you’re feeling short of creativity — you can browse through the cakes in a number of ways, read reviews from people who’ve tried them and even ask questions. [Freemium on Android and iOS]
What Epicurious does well — besides its neat layout and freshly updated content — is combine user-submitted recipes with ones pulled from professional publications.
You can’t really see the join and that means there’s always a wealth of different meals and dishes to try out whatever your situation. Unfortunately the Android app doesn’t seem to get quite as much love as the iOS equivalent, but both are available. [Free on Android and iOS]
There are many apps for managing the whole cooking experience on your phone or tablet, but Paprika is one of the best, and it’s available on just about every platform you can think of as well.
You can keep your favourite recipes, lists of ingredients, meal plans and cooking tips all in one place, and everything syncs via the cloud to wherever you happen to be (recipes can be saved from anywhere on the Web too). [£3.17 on Android, £3.99 on iOS]
100 Cakes & Bakes Recipes
Just a few minutes staring at the mouth-watering photos inside the 100 Cakes & Bakes Recipes app is enough to get you in the mood for a lengthy baking session, and — as the name of the app suggests — there are plenty of recipes to get started with.
You can browse around based on category or occasion, or search for something specific instead, and you get a full list of ingredients and instructions with each recipe. [Free on Android]
This app adds something a little extra to your cake creations: it started off concentrating on firework displays but now there are a few other tricks to explore, including dancing unicorns and pirates.
It works via augmented reality, so you (or your child) holds up the smartphone to see the cake come to life. There’s also the option to capture a few special moments as the birthday boy or girl blows out the candles. [£2.36 on Android, £2.29 on iOS]
This baking calculator app sticks to the basics and does them well. While other apps in this round-up may have more features or more polish, you can’t argue with Panadero’s usefulness: it lets you quickly compare recipes against each other (to see which is sweeter, drier and so on), and scale them up or down by any amount.
You can identify bad recipes and get accurate cost estimates for your ingredients as well. [Free on Android]
Cake Recipe Book
If cakes are your thing then Cake Recipe Book is a free app that’s definitely worth checking out on your next browse through the app store — it gives you access to a whole host of different recipes, from cakes that are quick to make to seasonal choices to the frosting on top of your creations.
In each case you get a list of ingredients and cooking instructions, together with an estimate of how long it’s going to be before you’re finished. [Free on iOS]
Allthecooks is another recipe app that’s both packed with a lot of content and yet simple to find your way around in.
There are several hundred thousand recipes here, many of them submitted by fellow users of the app and the Allthecooks community: one of the best parts of the app is the way you can follow related recipes to get variations on the same theme. Of course, you can submit your own recipes too if you wish. [Freemium on Android and iOS]
Escoffier Cook’s Companion
Something for the more discerning chef here, this app brings with it a whole bunch of tools for making your life easier in the kitchen: a measurement converter, a kitchen timer, an ingredients list, an equipment list, a cooking glossary and more besides.
Everything is wrapped up in a tasteful interface that’s a world away from some of the other cooking apps you can find on the iOS and Android app stores (naming no names). [Freemium on iOS]
Cupcake Maker Salon
If you don’t want to get your hands (or the kids’ hands) sticky then making virtual cupcakes is the next best thing to cooking: you can teach youngsters the basics before setting foot in the kitchen.
The other advantage to an app like this is it lets you send cakes to faraway friends with a simple tap of the share button. There are plenty of in-app purchases here, but you can still get creative without paying anything. [Freemium on Android and iOS]