Cooking games are some of the most fun you can have on consoles and PC. There's something about taking the experience of preparing delicious food and translating it to the virtual world that makes for some hilarious, challenging, and always entertaining mechanics. That's why we gravitate to them so often, after all.
Whether you're chopping lettuce, assembling a pizza with plenty of toppings, or serving hungry customers who're convinced you're not cooking quickly enough, the culinary world is a great place to explore in gaming.
So, where to start? What are some of the best options out there currently in terms of cooking games? We've rustled up some tasty grub in the form of five bite-sized options perfect for a snack or a main course. You can enjoy them solo or with friends (depending on if you feel like ruining some relationships or not).
Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2
Although most cooking games are content simply to have you cook and serve dishes to hungry customers, this one makes you do all the rest of the chores that come along with working in the food industry, too. While cooking up multi-stage meals from various types of cuisines, you also have to clean the bathrooms, refill the ice machine, and do a myriad of other things in between preparing food and getting it out to the right customers. Oh, and you've gotta do it at a supernatural pace, or else people are just going to leave the restaurant that you've opened and are now curating, right down to the furniture in the dining room. The sequel is even more difficult than the original game, but it's also super rewarding, especially when you get things down to a proper science. It's still probably not as hard as actually doing all this in real life, though.
This hotly-anticipated sequel to one of the Switch's best co-op and multiplayer games thrusts you into the role of a cartoony chef who's tasked with cooking and serving food in various, hectic situations. When playing with friends, it turns into a bloodbath, as you struggle to figure out a viable pattern where one person chops lettuce, heats up broth, and washes dishes while the other cuts tomatoes, cooks steak, and serves customers... or whatever you come up with. Oh, and sometimes you're doing all this on a moving vehicle, or on the moon. Sometimes you'll do it while a flock of people walks right through your kitchen. If you've never experienced stress while gaming before, just cue this one up.
Battle Chef Brigade
This gorgeous, hand-drawn game with an anime aesthetic isn't a cooking game per se, at least not like the rest of the games on this list are. But it does heavily feature food and gathering ingredients, and it's extremely fun. Combining platforming mechanics with a matching puzzle game, you whip up over-the-top dishes while playing through a rewarding RPG storyline with plenty of fun nods to those deeply entrenched within the world of cooking. It's an unorthodox adventure that centers around food, and well worth experiencing, especially on the Nintendo Switch.
Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appetit!
What would a roundup of the best cooking games be without Cooking Mama? The fifth entry in the main series touches down on the Nintendo 3DS while players work with the animated Mama to prepare various stages of a meal: slicing meat, chopping vegetables, and serving up dishes to receive a rating after completing a series of food-prep mini-games. As you're graded on your performance during each stage of meal prep, it more closely resembles the real way food is made than most other cooking titles since you must follow a recipe from start to finish. It's sunny and lighthearted, and a great way to pass the time while on the go.
If you were a fan of old-school tycoon games like Pizza Tycoon, Pizza Express will look immediately familiar. It takes the best elements of older titles like those and spins it up with more savory pizza creation, business management, and a fun story that's great to kick back with and enjoy. Its lo-fi aesthetic makes it a simple choice that's not demanding at all from any rig and can be played on basically anything. It's also absolutely adorable, which is a plus for any cooking game.