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I have seen the phrase おいしくできる a number of times in the context of cooking. For example in the cover of this book. Does できる mean “be able to” (be able to cook deliciously) or “be complete” (meal is deliciously made)?

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Does できる mean “be able to” (be able to cook deliciously) or “be complete” (meal is deliciously made)?

That's the latter. できる in the context of cooking is 「(料理が)できる」(≈出来上がる), "(meal) is prepared, cooked", rather than the potential form of 「(おいしく)する」(can make the food tasty).

「ケーキをおいしくすることができる」のではなく、「ケーキおいしく作る」→「ケーキおいしくできる・できあがる」って意味です。

This できる is defined as follows in 明鏡国語辞典:

で・きる【出来る】
🈩〘自上一〙
❶ 事物が新たに生じる
ものごとが意図的に作り出される。
「駅前にマンションができる
「組合[原稿]ができる
「食事ができました」

And this できる is very often used in recipes, eg:

簡単にできるシーザードレッシング」(cookpad)

Here it's saying 「ドレッシングが簡単にできる」, "Dressing will be made/prepared easily", not "You can make the dressing easy".

15分でできる蒟蒻とちくわの煮物」(cookpad)

This できる is also "is prepared/cooked", not the potential form of 「15分でする蒟蒻とちくわの煮物」, which would make little sense.

残り物でおいしくできる」(Rakuten recipe)

This できる is also "is prepared/cooked". 「残り物でできる」 would also make sense, and the できる is not the potential form of する because 「残り物でする」 would make little sense. それに、特に「残り物」によって料理美味しくする= 変化させる ことができますよ、というのは変ですから、残り物でも料理美味しく出来上がりますよ、という意味だと捉えるのが普通だと思います。

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    「初めてでも美味しくできる」の「できる」が、「AをBにする」"make A into B" の可能形なら、「初めてでも美味しくすることができる」と言い換えられるはずですが、「初めてでも美味しくすることができる」はおかしいです。このレシピは、そういう意味じゃないです。
    – Chocolate
    Sep 3 '21 at 7:51
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The book's title is はじめてでもおいしくできる — that is, "(You) can make it tasty, even if it's your first time!"

This is just 美味しく + the potential form of する ("make (it) tasty") — since the potential form of する is できる, we obtain 美味しくできる ("can make (it) tasty").

As for whether this means できる "to be able to" or できる "to be ready, complete", both senses end up having a similar meaning, but I'd suggest that in the context of this title, it means "to be ready", because 美味しく出来上がる is a common phrasing that doesn't necessarily have the "potential" sense of できる.

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はじめてでもおいしくできる!

I'll break down the sentence for you.

はじめて, in this case, functions as an noun meaning 'first time' because is followed by the particle でも that conveys the meaning of 'even'.

おいし is the stem-form of the adjective おいしい, which means delicious in this case.

おいしく is the ku-form of the adjective おいしい. おいしく functions as an adverb in this sentence.

できる is a verb which has multiple meanings depending on the context, but, because of the context, it means 'can'.

To sum up, you have a noun, a particle, an adverb plus a verb:

はじめて(first time) + でも(even) + おいしく(delicious) + できる (can)

We can translate this as Even the first time can be delicious!

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  • Your translation doesn't make sense, because the book's title has はじめてでも, not はじめで as you have written.
    – jogloran
    Sep 3 '21 at 5:06
  • @jogloran Yes, I forgot about that.
    – Nameless
    Sep 3 '21 at 5:07
  • @joploran I've made the corrections, is it okay?
    – Nameless
    Sep 3 '21 at 5:25

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