(Credit: Just dance, Shutterstock / Just dance)

Forget all the messy prep work, cooking and baking, and clean up IRL. Preparing sushi, chicken bhuna, tacos, ice cream, cupcakes, cake, or apple pie is way more fun on your iPhone or iPad with the best cooking games for iOS. Whether you're looking for free cooking games or cooking games for kids, we've got you covered like a roasted turkey. Bring recipes to life, run restaurants, and win competitions, with our favorite cooking games for iPhone.

SEE: Best cooking games for Android

1. Diner Dash

Running your own diners is hard, especially with the big-name franchises like Mr. Big's brigade of Eat-Mor fast food restaurants muscling in on your business in free game Diner Dash (iOS, Android). In this sizzling strategy and time-management game, from the makers of other Dash games, Cooking Dash and Wedding Dash, you'll help restaurateur Flo succeed and thrive by being the best waiter you can be in one of the best cooking games. Attend to quirky and demanding customers' needs across the breakfast, lunch, and dinner shifts and earn those big tips and rewards necessary to keep the diners afloat in one of the best free cooking games. Diner Dash is free to play, but you can pay for powerful upgrades and boosts.


2. Cooking Dash

Ever dreamed of being the next celebrity chef like Rachel Ray or Giada De Laurentiis? You can in time-management game Cooking Dash (iOS, Android), which tasks you with creating gourmet dainties at various restaurants, in front of a studio audience. Cook quickly, create stellar dishes, serve VIP customers well, and earn amazing profits in Cooking Dash, from the makers of Diner Dash. Spend your profits on food and better appliances. Win competitions, and next stop, stardom -- your own show, a larger audience, and the hottest VIPs in your mix. Cooking Dash is free to play with in-app purchases.


3. Cooking Mama Let's Cook!

Who needs a world-class head chef? Even an epicure would agree that there's nothing like a home-cooked meal from mom -- or dad. The Cooking Mama Let's Cook! (iOS, Android) business simulation game, one of the best cooking games on the App Store, includes 30 different recipes, and it's up to you to prepare them. Harvest produce, fish for food, and serve it all at your own restaurant in one of the best kitchen games, not to mention food games, around, that just happens to be free with in-app purchases.


4. Toca Kitchen 2

Developed by Toca Boca, the sequel to the Toca Kitchen free game, Toca Kitchen 2 (iOS, Android) includes new cooking implements, ingredients, and food combos, which encourage even armchair chefs to get experimental in the kitchen. Why follow someone else's recipes when you can get down and dirty and make your own chicken tacos or taco soup in this fun cooking game? Let your guests decide if it's delicious or a dud. And don't worry, they don't "mince" words when they're displeased, so you'll get real reactions. Toca Kitchen 2 costs $2.99 but has no additional in-app purchases.


5. Hello Kitty Lunchbox

Remember how much you loved Sanrio's Hello Kitty toys and Hello Kitty games? The Hello Kitty purse, Hello Kitty backpack, and Hello Kitty metal lunch boxes? The Hello Kitty Lunchbox (iOS, Android) game, a casual cooking game based on the popular kids' lunch boxes, brings it all back. In the game, you'll prepare and customize cute lunchtime recipes for cupcakes, sandwiches, soup, and kabobs, using Hello Kitty appliances at the school cafeteria. If the iconic Japanese Bobtail cat with the red bow approves, she'll reward you with unique lunch box decorations. Then you can take it out and break bread with the coolest cat around. The Hello Kitty Lunchbox app is free, with in-app purchases.


6. Restaurant Dash: Gordon Ramsay

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's notorious tongue is as sharp as his kitchen knives. He's also an amazing professional chef who helps aspiring chefs improve their culinary skills on his long-running TV show "Hell's Kitchen." In this casual cooking game, Restaurant Dash: Gordon Ramsay (iOS, Android), the acclaimed British chef will guide you to stardom, as you sharpen your cooking skills, cooking international fare in restaurants around the world. You can customize your chef's avatar, compete against others online or face off against the best in Celebrity Chef Boss Battles, earning unique items to enhance recipes for better rewards. Restaurant Dash: Gordon Ramsay is free to play, with additional in-app purchases.


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7. My Cafe: Recipes & Stories

My Cafe: Recipes & Stories (iOS, Android)is a restaurant business simulation game, where you help open a gourmet restaurant or cafe. As you might expect, that involves preparing delicious dishes and drinks and serving interesting customers, but if you play your cards right, getting involved in juicy dramas, too. "Did Bill cheat on Mary?" Find out in this choose-your-own adventure game, where the My Cafe: Recipes & Stories cheats are everywhere you look.


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Joshua is an editor for CNET's He covers the mobile tech and apps that power our lives and interviews celebrities about their favorite apps. Previously, he worked as an editor at Healthline and and as a contributing writer for Mac Directory, MacAddict, SF Weekly, SF Examiner, and SF Chronicle.