The best meal planning, cooking and recipe apps

Stumped by your dinner choices? Forget recipe books and fire up your mobile phone with these free apps.

Cooking apps are a lot more useful than recipe books - they can be updated, contain more recipes, and let you watch videos and read comments from other home cooks.

Here we'll tell you all about five cooking apps to whet your appetite. Don't forget to check out the video above to see them in action.

[Read more: The best apps to boost your productivity]

1: Go big: BigOven


Price: Free

Operating system: Android, iOS

With 350,000 recipes BigOven is a tasty place to start if you want recipe inspiration.

Plan your menu using endless options from cuisine to diet, type of cooking and even the weather. Each recipe includes detailed cooking notes and predicted cooking time.

To get the best from BigOven you really need to create an account to add recipes, create a shopping list and even share meal plans via email.

2: Add a random element: Allrecipes Dinner Spinner

Allrecipes Dinner Spinner

Price: Free

Operating system: Android, iOS

Forget singing, this app lets you spin for your supper.

Choose the type of dish, ingredient and when you want to eat and the app will suggest tried and tested meal ideas submitted by its community of 11 million cooks.

Along with ingredients and preparation instructions, each recipe includes user reviews and photos.

Allrecipes Dinner Spinner caters for cooks of all abilities, with thousands of videos with step by step instructions for trainee chefs.

[Read more: How to find the best Android apps]

3: Never burn the spuds again: Thyme


Price: Free

Operating system: iOS

Cooking a meal with lots of different components means having to keep an eye on lots of different cooking times. This can quickly get confusing if you’re juggling a phone and oven timer. Thyme makes cooking that little bit easier by letting you set timers for five things simultaneously.

Set a timer by tapping one of the four plates or the oven, select the time and wait for the alert.

It's so useful you'll wonder how you coped without it.

4: Slash your weekly food bill: mySupermarket


Price: Free

Operating system: Android, iOS

It’s not a cooking app, but if you’re food planning for the week or month, mySupermarket lets you compare grocery prices from the UK’s major supermarkets.

Search by product type or name, or by scanning a barcode. You can compare prices at up to 11 shops for individual items or across your entire shopping list. If it’s cheaper somewhere else, swap stores and book a delivery slot. 

mySupermarket includes Cashback vouchers, exclusive offers and Multibuys. It claims it can save you an average of 30% every supermarket shop.

5: Get a takeaway: Just Eat 

Just Eat

Price: Free

Operating system: Android, iOS, Windows Phone

Finally… if you’re too tired or just can’t be bothered to cook, takeaway delivery app Just Eat is your new friend. It’s a single app to replace all those annoying takeaway menus that pop through your letterbox.

Pop in your postcode and choose delivery or collection to discover your closest pizza, Chinese or Indian restaurants from 20,000 nationwide. Browse the menu, make your choice then place your order paying by cash or card. User reviews from other customers are well worth checking out before you place your order.

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