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20 Recipes Kids Can Make (That Aren’t Braindead Easy)

Recipes that Kids can make that arent braindead easy

Here’s one for you:

Q: What do you get when you cross a child under 10, a can of bread dough, and a bag of shredded cheese?

A: A children’s cookbook.

Up until a few years ago, it seemed like our culture didn’t put a lot of trust in kids’ tastebuds or cooking abilities. Recipes for kids to cook tended to be mostly what I would call “assembly instructions” like, “Put pizza sauce on an English muffin. Add pepperoni and cheese and ask an adult to microwave it.”

Ack!

Not only is that not very healthy, but it’s also not actually cooking. And I believe we should expect more out of our kids, even though some adults can barely make spaghetti and grilled cheese.

The culture is finally swinging back, and I’m helping to push that swing. I’ll stand on the playground all day if that’s what it takes.

I’ll stand there by myself if I have to, but I’d love it if you’d help me connect today’s kids with real food.

My Solution: A Kids Cooking Class

Kids Cook Real Food eCourse on a laptop, desktop, phone and tablet.

A few years ago I hired a professional video crew and together with my kids and some of their friends, we created an online cooking class for kids. Since then, we’ve taught over 7,000 families how to use sharp knives safely and all sort of basic cooking skills.

The eCourse includes over 30 basic skills at 3 different age levels that will serve kids ages 2 to teen. Little ones will learn careful pouring, how to cut with a dull knife, peeling veggies, and flat measuring, and even pre-readers will be able to make a recipe all by themselves with our special system of recipe cards just for them.

Early elementary aged kiddos get an introduction to sharp knives along with a lot of focus on reading and following a recipe well and stovetop safety. They learn to flip pancakes, make homemade tortillas, and brown ground meats.

And our older kids, those 8 and up who already have tackled the Intermediate skills, get to really master a chef’s knife on a variety of foods, get into the oven and gain competence at making entire meals by themselves – real, healthy things like stir-fried veggies.

Read more, and find out if this ecourse is right for your family.

A lot of the food for kids recipes we use in the eCourse are really our family’s favorites anyway. Although the two recipe books in the course are written just for kids to cook in our special kid-friendly format, they’re just good, wholesome, delicious food made with real ingredients. Just like I’m not a fan of most kids’ menus because I think they train us to lower our expectations, I don’t do “kid recipes.”

Related: Contributing writer, Mary, taught her kids how to cook in two weeks. 

Here are 20 recipes for kids to make, from breakfast to dinner:

I know that kids can cook or play sous chef on these recipes because we’ve done it in our own kitchen.

1. Pumpkin Pancakes

Grain-free Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

We make these pumpkin pancakes in our cooking ecourse to teach flipping skills and gets lots of good practice with several other skills taught, including following a recipe well. This recipe is also really yummy when made with the grain-free or gluten-free adaptations.

2. Stir-Fry

Kids Cook Real Food on the set advanced cooking stir fry

Stir-fry is a meal well suited for kids with advanced kitchen skills. This post details several different Asian cooking techniques.

3. Homemade Ranch Dressing


If you can’t view the video above, click Kids Make Homemade Ranch Dressing to see it directly on YouTube.

This ranch dressing recipe is one that we use to teach measuring and stirring skills in the course.

 

The holidays are a tough time for healthy eating, especially when kids really just want to bake fun foods!

(If they want to get into the kitchen at all!) 

Maybe…just this once…we should do something I don’t normally recommend. 

What if we give them what they want?

If you’re ready for your kids to gain baking independence without sacrificing all the healthy standards you value, join the Holiday Baking Challenge! Now on sale for just $19, you get professionally filmed videos of me and my kids teaching you to make baking favorites with healthier ingredients.

Holiday Baking Challenge

4. Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice and taco seasoning

We use this homemade Mexican rice recipe in the kids cooking classes to teach stovetop safety and how to cook rice.

5. From-Scratch Refried Beans

homemade refried beans in a bowl topped with sour cream, lime and chives.

Cooking dry beans from scratch is a skill that some adults don’t even have yet. We teach kids this money saving skill while they’re young, so they can spend their dollars wisely their whole lives (and make healthy, thrifty meals while they’re in college). Homemade refried beans is a yummy way to enjoy the freshly cooked beans.

6. Homemade Tortillas

7 year old eating tacos on homemade tortillas she made.

Everyone has to learn how to use a rolling pin sooner or later, right? Let your kids practice their rolling skills now on homemade tortillas instead of having to learn the hard way when they’re making a pie for Thanksgiving dinner when they’re older.

7. Guacamole

4yo with homemade guacamole he made himself.

Even our littlest chefs can help smoosh and mush some avocados to make homemade guacamole, and the pre-reader’s measuring system we use in the course enables them to mix up the seasoning for it as well. Here is a visual too.

8. Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes made in the instant pot in a bowl and the potatoes chopped and not mashed.

Yes, we teach our kids to use a pressure cooker safely in a premium content section of our cooking ecourse. These Instant Pot mashed potatoes are about as easy as it gets once the kids know how to be safe with this countertop appliance.

9. Sheet Pan Dinner

kids chopping bok choy and asparagus for a kid made sheet pan dinner.

This sheet pan dinner recipe is highly customizable and makes very few dishes, which is always nice when the kids are doing the cooking.

10. Homemade Italian Dressing

Homemade Italian Dressing in a bowl next to an undressed green salad.

Homemade Italian dressing is a delicious alternative to dairy-based dressings like the ranch dressing above. And it’s SO much cheaper and healthier to make it from scratch than to buy it from a store.

11. Potato Salad

Easy Homemade Potato Salad in a bowl topped with chives.

This potato salad recipe is special because we encourage kids to make it without actually following a recipe at all. Check it out!

12. Pressure Cooker Mac n Cheese

homemade Instant Pot mac and cheese in bowls.

That’s right, pressure cooker mac and cheese is another Instant Pot recipe that kids can make after they learn to use a pressure cooker safely like we teach in the premium content of the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. This recipe, along with this one and two others, is used to teach pressure cooker safety.

13. Homemade Rolls

homemade bread rolls on a cast iron pan and in a glass closed container.

We call these “Homemade Happy Rolls” and kids are totally capable of making the dough and roll them out. Depending on their age, they may need a little help putting them in and taking them out of the oven, but oven safety is one of the skills we teach our advanced students in the course.

14. Gellies
Stainless steel bento box featuring homemade grape jigglers.

Like Jello, but without the food coloring, artificial sweeteners, or loads of added sugar. Homemade Gellies are fun to make and even more fun to eat. Moreso, making this recipe with your little ones gives them an opportunity to practice the pouring skills they learned in the beginner lesson of the KCRF ecourse.

15. Fried Rice
Easy Egg Fried Rice in a bowl.

This fried rice recipe is a great way to use up leftovers or can be made from start to finish without too much effort.

16. Muffins

Easy Gluten free Pumpkin Muffins on a red towl.


Muffins are the first recipe we encourage our kids to make completely independently because they’re very forgiving. Try these gluten-free pumpkin muffins (or the whole wheat version), or your kids might like these peanut butter applesauce muffins.

17. Oven Baked Apple Crisp

Homemade Baked Apple Crisp on a plate


Gotta do something with those apples on the day our big kids finish up knife training and begin oven safety – what better than to bake the apples? Winking smile

18. Vegetarian Chickpea Wraps

Meatless Chickpea Wraps like falafel but not deep fried on a tortilla topped with shredded cheese, lettuce, and tomato


Kids of all ages and skill levels can team up to make this vegetarian meal because of the multiple components that come together to make this meal.

19. Homemade Popsicles

kids eating and making homemade popsicles

Homemade popsicles are a better alternative to store-bought because they’re cheaper, can be made healthier, and of course, they’re just as delicious. Your kids might also want to try these chocolate filled frozen banana bites, too. Just be careful not to eat them all after the kids go to bed.

20. Fruit Pizza

kids making healthy fruit pizza hands mixing the dough, pressing into the pan and then holding the finished product

The frosting on this fruit pizza is probably healthier than most kid’s lunches. We even went on the news to show you how easy it is to make this snack (or dessert)!

Well, that just makes me hungry.

There might be more than the 20 recipes there that I promised since some of those are twofers, and I’m sure you and your kids will find something for them to make from that delicious looking list.

Too bad our day for the kids to cook each week is Saturday night. I guess tonight, I’ll have to do the cooking.

Get a day from your kids, too, with our incredible eCourse. Since I spend the most time in the kitchen at the cutting board chopping, I know that knife skills are the place to start.

Hope to see you in the cooking class!

Do your kids get to help cook? At what age will you let them use sharp knives or work at the stove?

This list of easy kid-made lunches is especially handy to have around on the weekends, or any time the kids are home from school.

Pin for Later: Recipes for Kids to Make

Kids making salad dressing, pizza crust, cutting sweet potatoes and stirring Instant Pot mac and cheese

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Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

9 thoughts on “20 Recipes Kids Can Make (That Aren’t Braindead Easy)”

  1. wow they all look good i can’t wait to try and i love to cook so i think this will be a good idea i think um…. mac and chesese yummmy it look so good i want to eat thhe whole thing

  2. Carol Massier

    When my sons were young, we used to do a ‘restaurant night’ at least once a month. I have three sons and on restaurant night, one son got to help with the cooking, one son would serve the meal and one son was responsible for cleanup with Dad. All three got to help make the menus to hand out at the table – they were very inventive with the menu items and the server was always able to steer his ‘table’ to order the chef’s choice. We had a lot of fun doing it and it also taught them to have good restaurant manners for nights we did go out for supper.

  3. This is all great. Now, I just wish my kid would want to come spend time in the kitchen. I have tried to include from a very young age, like 2 or 3 years old. She is now almost 13 and would rather pull out all her hair than cook. In response to the recent email sent out about summer challenge to alleviate the “I’m bored” complaint, my child is even more bored and complaining when she’s in the kitchen than doing nothing at all. So you are very fortunate that your kids enjoy spending time in the kitchen. But just like not all adults enjoy cooking, not all kids do either.

    1. This is very true, Nancy, not all kids enjoy it. 🙁 She may have to learn when she has to cook in order to feed herself, but at least she’ll know who to call? One tip I give parents is to provide a chance for kids to cook to serve others, like a dinner party or friends coming over. It won’t work for everyone, and 13-16 can be a particularly hard age for ANYthing that is Mom’s idea to go well, but it’s another tool in your toolbox.
      Best, Katie

  4. My kids should be cooking dinner by now, but I haven’t finished the course with them yet (despite their pleading to do more “cooking class”) :p. That ranch mix is a favorite though – we mix it with straight sour cream (well, actually my daughter does that on her own) and use it as a dip for veggies – I like it MUCH better than storebought ranch (next step, try mixing it in yogurt instead of just sour cream).

  5. Katie Kennington

    These all look so tasty and fun to make! Since our dishwasher broke, my kids (ages 8,6,4 and 2) have all been helping more in the kitchen with clean up time. They always want to try cooking too, so I’m excited to get them going on these yummy meals. We watched a few of your sample knife training videos that you posted from the mom conference. It really is so fun to help your kids learn for themselves these life skills, but also get some awesome family fun time together making lasting memories! Thanks so much for what you do to support families!!

  6. My 6 year old has always wanted to help, so from the time she was about 2 she’s helped and now can make a few dinners on her own. For her birthday last month, I gave her a recipe book and some cooking accessories. She has asked to help out or make dinner herself several times a week since. I’m glad she feels comfortable and confident. These will be great additions to her recipe book. 🙂

  7. My son was adding ingredients to a pot on the stove at about 20 months, the age my daughter is now. He started using a sharp knife at 3. But he’s been absurdly well-coordinated from birth, AND he showed an early interest in learning to do what adults do–from the time he could sit up, if I was cooking he needed to hold a spatula; if I was cleaning the bathtub he needed to hold a rag, etc. My daughter is more typical in her coordination and more independent. I’ve tried having her help wash dishes (which her brother did from 15 months, standing on his high chair) but she wasn’t all that interested in being involved at all, let alone interested in keeping the water in the sink! So I’m expecting to wait another 6-12 months before I get her involved in cooking.

    My son is now 11 and cooks dinner for the family one night a week. This has typically been easy one-pot meals, but we’re nudging him to expand his repertoire.

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