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.”
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
A few years ago I hired a professional video crew and together with my kids and some of their friends, we created the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. 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.
A lot of the healthy 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.”
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
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.
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.
A gift from our family to yours!
My 4 kids and I created the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse to help bring real food and independence to families all over. Over 10,000 kids have joined us and we want to share the love – please grab your FREE copy of
10 Snacks Your Kids Can Make
Packed with our favorites for the road, like
- Pumpkin Pie Bars (grain-free)
- Homemade Granola Bars
- Fruit Juice “Gellies” (like gummy snacks but real food!)
- Energy Bites (pictured below)
Read more about it here…and a little tip – you may also get a chance to grab a knife skills class for kids for a ridiculous discount, so watch out for that!!
4. Mexican Rice
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
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
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.
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.
8. Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
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
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 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
This potato salad recipe is special because we encourage kids to make it without actually following a recipe at all.
12. Pressure Cooker Mac n Cheese
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
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.
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
This fried rice recipe is a great way to use up leftovers or can be made from start to finish without too much effort.
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
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?
18. Vegetarian Chickpea Wraps
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
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
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 class!
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.