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Cooking apps to bring out your inner MasterChef

How many times have you heard the expression “If you can read, you can cook!” It means, of course, that you don’t need any impressive skills to serve up amazing dinners every night, you just need to follow the instructions in the recipe. But that’s not really true.

Sometimes we’re not sure if we’re really going to understand how to make something; often we’re lacking inspiration or ideas, and very often we don’t have half the ingredients in the pantry.

That’s why cooking apps are so enormously popular. They give meals ideas, create a shopping list and then show step-by-step photos or videos so you know exactly what you should be doing.

Here are our top five cooking apps:

1. Cook’s Companion (pay as you go)

Australia loves Stephanie Alexander and her cookbooks are gorgeous, but if you prefer your recipe books more convenient than decorative, Cook’s Companion is for you. Search over 2,000 of Stephanie’s recipes according to ingredients you have in the fridge, and there’s even an ‘Exprecipes’ section for when time is short but your desire for quality is great.

2. Hippe Lane ($4.49)

If you love your desserts and treats with an extra dollop of healthy goodness, you’ll love Hippe Lane. It has recipes for raw and plant-based sweets and desserts, including raw Snickers bar, peppermint slice, banana chocolate cheesecakes, triple-layer chocolate and peanut butter slice, chia pudding and raw Oreos. (Hint: don’t mention they’re healthy and the kids will never know!)

3. Taste (from $0.99 per month)

Remember when your parents used to tear recipes out of magazines and stick them in a scrapbook? Now the company that publishes our favourite magazines have created an app, so they (and you!) don’t have to tear and paste! Taste has over 50,000 tried-and-true Aussie recipes, with simple and easy-to-understand instructions.

4. FoodSwitch (free)

OK, so you can guess from the fact it was developed by Bupa and The George Institute that FoodSwitch isn’t the sexiest cooking app–but it is super helpful if you’re shopping for ingredients and want to make healthier choices. All you need to do is scan a product’s barcode with your smartphone’s camera and the app will give you an instant rundown on its fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt and energy content.

5. Cookpad (free)

It’s like a Facebook group for food. Cookpad is a global recipe-sharing platform that lets you share your own recipes and try out ones shared by others. You can search for recipes by ingredient or dish, and even follow other users, whose recipes you’ve loved. Just remember, if you choose a recipe submitted by someone overseas, you may have to convert quantities to metric.

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