Food games are a great way to experiment with cooking without spending money, laboring in the kitchen, and making a mess (that you later have to clean up from!) Cooking, baking, and other food-based games that are brought to life through video games and app games are on the rise. Some classics may come to mind, but there are also some new, employing cutting-edge consoles and methods of playability, such as virtual reality. With impressive, tasty graphics, creative goals, and fun, addictive gameplay, get ready to sink your teeth into 15 of the BEST food-based games that allow you to “play” with your food! (All the app games are also free to download! Bonus!)
15. Restaurant DASH: Gordon Ramsay
You can’t go wrong with the basic time-management, chain link cooking app games. You can only improve it by bringing none other than Gordon Ramsay himself into the game! Restaurant Dash with Gordon Ramsay features stylized and funky graphics, clear tutorials, and hundreds of levels to master not to mention dozens of different restaurants. The challenges and rewards get bigger as you play through the game, gaining stars and coins to upgrade your restaurant equipment, ingredient quality, and your avatar’s style. Ramsay (uncharacteristically?) encourages you with an onslaught of compliments (that is, IF you do well,) and assists you by racing around the kitchen with a trail of fire behind him. That is certainly a sight to see in this fun yet nicely challenging restaurant-running app game.
14. Cooking Mama
From humble beginnings to a vast empire of various creative series, (such as Gardening Mama, Crafting Mama, Babysitting Mama, etc.,) the “Mama” franchise never ceases to entertain. However, we have to go with the original Cooking Mama series that captured our hearts. The Nintendo series is widely available on various consoles including the DS as well as the App store now. There are adorable, appealing graphics, and reaction-time, skill-based, timed “mini-tasks” in the steps of each recipe you must complete to appease Mama and gain gold medals. The cute character “Mama” also encourages you to do your best with bright, bubbly music and sound effects in the background. The actual gameplay can be sometimes more on the simple side, but the graphics of the food are too beautiful, and striving to get gold medals on every recipe is addictive! The “Cooking” series includes nine games, so there are PLENTY of recipes for fans to explore!
13. Papa’s Cooking Games Series
The “Papa’s” cooking game series, (no relation to Mama from Cooking Mama,) is just as if not more vast in how many versions there are. Available online on PC, they include Papa’s: Bakeria, Cheeseria, Sushiria, Donuteria, Cupcakeria, Pastaria, Hot Doggeria, Taco Mia, Wingeria, (big breath) Freezeria, Burgeria, PanCakeria, and Pizzeria! There is literally every genre of food you could want to pursue. You also get to customize your own quirky little avatar and create and serve other unique, stylized characters the custom foods they order. It starts out fairly easy, but escalates quickly over time as you move through more levels of gameplay. There are so many restaurant options, clean, detailed graphics, and non-monotonous gameplay. Being able to play any part of the series for free in your web browser, having the ability to save your progress and work towards higher scores, new rewards, and more complex levels make this cooking game a winner!
12. Run Sausage Run!
This newcomer app game isn’t about cooking but all about survival. You must guide this poor sausage’s running speed through the many obstacles safely without getting crushed, sliced, burned, or otherwise utterly destroyed. Don’t let the one-finger control fool you, however, the game is notorious for being hard to beat and changes up the obstacles after each death! The music is peppy and quirky, the graphics are cartoonish, fun, and clever, and the animation of the flailing, running sausage is hilarious. The array of different achievements and sausage characters you can unlock adds more visual interest and goals to keep trying. With a similar flavor of rage and obsessive re-tries as Flappy Bird, Run Sausage Run! is so much more worthwhile.
11. Diner Dash
(No, this isn’t what you do when you want to leave a restaurant without paying!) This classic, originally PC game HAS to make this list. Diner Dash was a true predecessor to this kind of time-management, chain-actions, strategic restaurant money-earning game. In the Diner Dash series, we join the character, Flo, as she quits her desk job to pursue her true passion in running restaurants. Balancing both skill and know-how in the gameplay is vital to managing the colorful customers so they don’t run out of patience waiting for their seat, order, food, and check. This type of time-management gameplay has spawned a huge list of sequels as well as similar games and other versions, such as Restaurant Dash for the App store, SpongeBob SquarePants Diner Dash, Wedding Dash, Hotel Dash, Garden Dash, and more. Get ready to really dash to make hungry guests the happiest they can be!
10. Kitchen Scramble
We’ve seen the usual dozens and dozens of cooking and baking app games out there; some saucy, smiling young woman with an apron works through levels making various recipes for various customers. While Kitchen Scramble does initially fit this description, you should certainly choose this particular one to pursue! The graphics are clean and the gameplay is uncomplicated. The storyline, levels, playability, and characters will win you over as you get to know the recipes by heart, what each character wants, and get used to using your kitchen to get the goals needed for the highest score. This time-management cooking game helps your coordination as you cook, mix, make, and bake multiple orders and recipes at once to get to your (sometimes impatient) customers. The punny names of each level come with delicious themes, such as burgers in Pittsburger, breakfast in Waffleton, pizza in Mozzaroma, seafood in Chowderville, Mexican in Albuqueso, Chinese in Mount Foodji, and much, much more. You learn so much as you master each new themed, multi-step recipe and it really makes you want to go explore cooking in real life! Test your ultimate skill at this ultimately charming game to play and excel at.
One of the Nintendo Switch’s biggest hits is the co-op cooking game, Overcooked. It has a unique multi-player gameplay where you must really get on the same page in order to succeed in fulfilling orders demanded by customers. This is all training to defeat a Meatball who is taking over the world! With awesome and adorable graphics comes remarkable music and high-pressure tasks to complete. Even more level challenges make things escalate quickly, like conveyor belts, each player only having access to one-half of the supplies, moving counters, power outages, rats stealing your food, kitchen stations based on icebergs, and burning orders setting kitchens on fire. This is the perfect game to test friendships!
8. Battle Chef Brigade
Battle Chef Brigade is the newest (launched November 2017 on Steam and for the Nintendo Switch) and most diverse and unique food-based game on this list. It’s completely different in that it’s a STUNNING anime-art-style, platforming brawler and puzzle video game. If you forget you’re on a quest fighting for and collecting the best ingredients to cook, you’d think it was just a beautifully developed and rendered video game where you defeat enemies as you go along. Luckily you won’t forget your top chef goals as the game incorporates puzzle game elements while you cook your spoils to get the best possible dish out of your competition. Battle Chef Brigade has truly lush, integrated graphics, advanced, immersive gameplay and heartwarming, charming characters and story that you will eat up.
7. I am Bread
This game from the makers of Surgeon Simulator is weird in the best possible way. In the ridiculously hilarious I am Bread the goal is to become, not merely bread, but toast. You must painstakingly maneuver this slice of bread, each button controlling a different corner of the bread, throughout a tricky, obstacle-filled environment to find some way of becoming toasted. There are so many pitfalls and struggles, such as falling on the dirty ground and watching your “edibility” percentage go down. Or, climbing a counter to get to a toaster, hairdryer, heater, or another toasting source only to have your grip weaken and fall all the way back down. The peril doesn’t end once you start toasting, though. There’s the possibility of burning yourself! In a maddening game of skill, determination, and delicious, delicious carbs, this unique and challenging game will leave you starved for success.
6. Job Simulator: Gourmet Chef
Entering into the fast-growing realm of virtual reality, nothing comes close to the immersive entertainment of the “Gourmet Chef” job in Job Simulator (available on VR gaming consoles.) In Job Simulator, hosted by floating computer monitors set in the future, players choose to experience “old fashioned” jobs that humans used to do. Players choose from Garage Mechanic, Convenience Store Worker, Office Worker, or Gourmet Chef—an obvious favorite of players. In the chef simulation, players are posed in a small kitchen workspace where they must fulfill steps for customers, such as making tea and crumpets, building a sandwich for a computer monitor character to hide his engagement ring in, making smoothies, custom soups, breakfast, and so many more unique tasks and requests (that you initiate by pulling an order slip!) The coolest part about these steps is most certainly the virtual reality aspect; being able to actually turn knobs for water, pour drinks into cups, open and reach into cupboards and fridges for supplies, turning a knob on the stove to cook eggs that you physically crack, carefully placing finished food on plates—it’s just an amazing feeling. That with the freedom of utterly experimenting with simple cooking in this fun environment makes it so you’ll never want to leave.
5. Fruit Ninja
The original Fruit Ninja is a game simple in concept and yet so very entertaining. The vibrant game relies on reaction time in pair with excellent hand-eye coordination. The great talent in slicing combos will gain you extra score points, yet you can’t slice mindlessly since there is the added obstacle of needing to avoid slicing bombs. Fruit Ninja has spread wide across the console universe, being a popular mega-sized touch-screen attraction at arcades as well as being developed for app stores as well as play in virtual reality. Entering ninja mode and neatly slicing juicy fruit clean in half leaving nothing but a colorful smear on the wall is so, so satisfying.
4. Good Pizza, Great Pizza
Meh, you may say. Another make-pizzas game. What of it? Well, the art style is incredible. The graphics aren’t super cutting edge or in ultra-HD, but they are one of the most refreshing and utterly distinctive on the pizza-making market. Paired with sweet music and chipper sound effects, the rounded shapes, a soft, unique color palette, and freaking adorable character design make this cooking game immediately stand out from the scores of other food-based games out there. The highly illustrative, comic strip style will make you feel like you’re watching a cute cartoon instead of playing an app game. It does start out a bit more simple than other games out there, which is good for younger children, however the longer you play the more complex the orders become. With the opportunity to upgrade your ingredients, machine, and pizzeria, maybe one day you’ll crush the competition that taunts you every day from across the street. The unique and charming Good Pizza, Great Pizza is indeed great.
3. Sims 4: Dine Out
Who doesn’t love the Sims? This gaming empire leads the way in simulation games and has proven time and time again that they aren’t running short of creativity in their vast multitude of niche expansions. This particular expansion for the Sims 4, “Dine Out” celebrates what is many player’s favorite parts of the Sims series—cooking! In this expansion you’re able to actually have your Sims run and manage a restaurant for customers, adding another interesting aspect and life goal for your Sims to accomplish. The managing is key for what makes this food-filled expansion so notable, as you can hire and dress the staff, motivate the chef, design the restaurant’s interior, and hand-pick the menu to impress both guests and critics.
2. Candy Crush
This list would not be complete without the one and only, the legendary app game Candy Crush. This predecessor to the huge boom of app games is just classic and sweet in every form. There are probably hundreds of games like this out there now—the “match similar icons to clear them” style, but if Candy Crush was not the first it is certainly one of the most popular. IF you happened to have not at least heard of this game already, you travel through different levels on a pastel, “Candy Land”-esque board. The goal is to swap and match a variety of colorful, shiny hard candies to score points—in a certain number of moves. Understandably, the game gets more complex as you advance! With dreamy, peaceful background music, snappy, “punny” comments and encouragements, and satisfying sound effects, Candy Crush proves it won’t get old.
1. Farm Heroes Super Saga
Somewhat similar to Candy Crush—the similar method of swapping matching icons—Farm Heroes gives you the most adorable break for your sweet tooth and from the sugar-filled desserts and confectionary games. This swap-and-match app game features the “Cropsies” the CUTEST fruits and vegetables you’ve ever seen. The endearing graphics, soothing background music, and chirping sound effects from the Cropsies is where Farm Heroes wins your heart and your play time. Healthy food has never been so round, squishy, and downright lovable. (Just look at the character design! I don’t know whether I want to hug them or go eat some vegetables, which has never seemed more appealing.) Its difference to Candy Crush is in that you’re trying to collect a certain number of certain fruits and vegetables to continue. This bright and bouncy app game is just what you need for a fresh break from dessert-based games.