Calling all junior chefs! Spice up family time in the kitchen with these easy-to-follow cookbooks for kids.
If you ever thought cooking with kiddos was a disaster, think again! Au contraire! Kiddos might be itching to get in on this ‘adult’ activity, which might also make them feel empowered. Plus, you don’t want your little one to grow up thinking food came only from you or delivery apps! If they’re old enough, cooking together or allowing them to cook independently sparks their interest in the food. The benefits of equipping kids with culinary skills early are aplenty.
So, start them young. Get the kids involved in simple tasks like sorting fruits, organising ingredients, measuring and even simple chopping with a kid-friendly cutting tool. You can also plan your family meals together, discussing nutrition and some of your family’s favourite dishes. It’s critical to ensure kiddo’s tasks in the kitchen are age-appropriate and safe. Before inviting kiddos to cook with you, teach them safety skills, starting with basic knife skills around age six.
As they gain control, let them prepare simple meals independently, emphasising cleanup as part and parcel of the process (wink wink!). Introduce them to kid-friendly appliances like microwaves, rice cookers, slow cookers, and air fryers for safe and delicious culinary adventures. How do you go about introducing all things culinary to kiddos? They might like to learn beside you or help them embrace their inner chefs via kids’ cooking classes or cookbooks.
Pick a kids’ cookbook based on your child’s interests. For example, if kiddos love pizza, pick an Italian cuisine cookbook. Look for clear steps, clever illustrations, tips, and photos to make learning enjoyable. Keep it approachable and fun to keep young chefs engaged. Here are our favourite reads to get their creative juices flowing.
10 best cookbooks for kids
1. Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up by Molly Katzen and Ann Henderson
Touted to be the gold standard for children’s cookbooks by the New York Times, Pretend Soup is a top-notch kiddo cookbook that provides easy, healthy and vegetarian recipes guaranteed to please the whole family. It makes cooking accessible to kids aged three to eight, with adults as guides. Tested in classrooms and homes, the whimsical watercolour illustrations make cooking an enjoyable learning experience. That’s not all; this book also helps foster skills like counting, reading readiness, and food literacy. We utterly love the delightful recipes in this, especially the titular recipe, which makes for a healthy brekkie and is a cinch to put together.
2. Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!) by Deanna F. Cook
Would you like the kids to take over the kitchen? Then this should be in your collection with more than 50 recipes designed for the cooking abilities and tastes of kiddos aged six to 12. Written in an entirely kid-friendly way, this multiple award-winning kids’ cookbook full of essential starter recipes from popcorn chicken to apple sauce and more will make a confident chef out of your little one. We also love imaginative presentations like mixing and matching fruit flowers where kiddos make a garden out of cut fruits. Plus, with these cute innovations on typical food, why call it yoghurt parfait when Breakfast Sundae sounds way more fun and enticing?
3. Look and Cook Snacks: A First Book of Recipes in Pictures by Valorie Fischer
We know how kiddos scream for snacks when they return from school, so how about helping them whip up their own with Look and Cook Snacks? Created specifically for little chefs aged four to seven, this innovative, visual cooking guide includes lots of bite-sized information on mixing, measuring, and safely handling kitchen equipment. Plus, kiddos are highly encouraged to clean up their mess. Here’s what we love about this kids’ cookbook: it is suitable for little visual learners. Recipes include photos of ingredients, utensils required and each step, too! So, maybe it’s slip-up proof too? You and kiddos have to find out. Try out the Naanizza, which is exactly what it sounds like: naan pizza! This simple recipe is a delicious way to innovate leftover naans from your Indian takeout! At the end of the book, there’s also a graphic on substitutions and more.
4. Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook by Georgeanne Brennan
Did your kiddos love reading all about Dr Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham? Did they long to taste them? Well, now they can! Thanks to this hilarious cookbook replete with quirky recipes suited for kiddos aged six and above. Kiddos can look forward to serving Seussian delights from breakfast to dinner and more. Each recipe is accompanied by the original verse that inspired it, and the pages are laminated to protect against splatters of Sneetch Salad, Oobleck, and Solla Sollew Stew! We think these recipes will be such a delicious hoot to whip up.
5. Oh, The Things You Can Do That Are Good for You: All About Staying Healthy (The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) by Tish Rabe
The Cat in the Hat continues to delight kids with quirky rhymes; in this specific tale, he’s teaching kids to take good care of themselves! He explains the importance of eating right, staying active, getting enough sleep, handwashing, brushing and flossing, and wearing protective gear when playing sports, all in the typical quirky verse! Say what? This new version features eight kid-friendly recipes to be done under adult supervision. Albeit not entirely a cookbook, we can’t pass this up as it’s all about teaching kiddos to keep healthy and make better dietary choices.
This one might be an acquired taste, but it is perfect for that little ghoul hungry for the horror genre! These “horrifying” snacks are as delicious as they are hideous (that’s saying A LOT!). Help kiddos to create dripping zombie skin, booger sticks, and bulging cake eyeballs. Creating snacks has never been so much fun or so gross! This delightfully disgusting cookbook series will make budding chefs squeal with happy horror as they prepare gross, spooky, yet delicious recipes. Clear step-by-step instructions and colourful photos accompany each concoction to guide readers through. This would be suited to kiddos aged seven and above. Adult supervision is necessary, as some recipes call for using the oven and knives. Also, kiddos might not be familiar with some cooking techniques, so hang around. The question is: do you dare take a bite? If your little ghoul is onboard, check out other titles in the Little Kitchen of Horrors series, too, from making cat litter cake and other dreadful desserts to mains that disgust and delight (we sure hope)!
7. Noodlemania! 50 Playful Pasta Recipes by Melissa Barlow
Have you got a little pasta fiend who devours fusilli to penne? Then, Noodlemania! is just the book to satisfy your kiddo, featuring 50 playful recipes that all require pasta of some form. Fancy some Tortellini Totem Poles? It takes play with your pasta to a whole new level. Plus, there are sweet treats with, you guessed it, pasta, too, from Sweet Ramen Trail Mix to Crunchy Cinnamon Noodle Ice Cream Sundaes. How might they taste? You and the kiddos have to find out for yourselves. Also, load up on your pasta trivia and learn about the ancient origins of the word ‘noodle’ and even the record-breaking giant meatball. Adult supervision is recommended as these recipes aren’t visual.
8. Colourful Foods in 15 Minutes or Less by Tamara JM Peterson
How about becoming a 15-minute foodie? Thanks to this lovely recipe book, kiddos can easily whip up tasty dishes in a short time. Blend your favourite fruits into a layered rainbow smoothie. Roll up vibrant shrimp and vegetable spring rolls. Whip up rainbow smoothies. These quick, fun, yummy recipes will be ready to enjoy in 15 minutes or less. Plus, they include veggies and fruits, so it’s super healthy too. Other titles in the series can all be whipped in 15 minutes or less. Be sure to check out Vegetarian Recipes in 15 Minutes or Less, Eye-Opening Breakfasts in 15 Minutes or Less and more!
9. Fun with Asian Food: A Kid’s Cookbook by Devagi Shanmugam
Join siblings Anneke and Max as they teach kiddos all about the vibrant world of Asian cuisine. Not only do they whip up delicious meals, but they also love donning the colourful clothes of each country. Get ready to learn about the culture and origin of every scrumptious dish. Designed for kids aged six to 12, this cookbook is a fantastic journey into Asian cooking. We particularly love the extensive chapter on safety and taking the right kinds of preventive measures before cooking. Recipes are accompanied by step-by-step visuals, making this a cinch for kiddos. Plus, it’s not just about food – it’s a fun exploration of national costumes and a delightful way to savour the flavours of Asia.
10. Masak-masak: Asian Cooking for Kids by Arti Daryanani and Elena Yeo
The Malay phrase masak masak refers to a game of playing with toy kitchen utensils and food – often a child’s first foray into the culinary world. This meticulously crafted collection of recipes invites kiddos to masak-masak into the world of cooking. Authors Arti and Elena share their favourite recipes from their childhood, providing expert tips and visual references. Kiddos will learn to make beloved family classics such as laksa pesto spaghetti, saffron rice, Kopitiam-style eggs, agar-agar jellies and more.
Cook up some serious fun with these cookbooks for kids!