I’ve been cooking with kids in professionally and at home for over 12 year now. When cooking with kids, recipes need to be easy, nutritious, and fun. Baking is always a win but don’t forget about savory main course like pasta and soup too. Cooking is such a great way to introduce kids to new foods and make fruits and veggies more enticing. Here is a list of over 75 Best Recipes to Cook with Kids from my blog and a few other sites I trust. Happy cooking!
Criteria for the Best Recipes to Cook with Kids:
- EASY: Quick to execute and short ingredient list. Kids’ attention spans are short, which is completely normal. If you are struggling to have your child make a recipe from start to finish, it is totally ok to just invite your child to just help with one step. Any cooking is a positive and, with practice, kids will want to cook for longer and longer periods of time. Also, adults need practice to make cooking with kids easier. So just keep trying!
- NUTRITIOUS: I’m not saying baking up some traditional sugar cookies or brownies from a box is a bad thing. Any cooking with your kids is quality time spent together and much more. However, getting kids into the kitchen is one of the best way you can expose them to new ingredients and lots of fruits and vegetables. I believe, cooking with kids is the best way to show them that healthy food can be fun and delicious! So all the recipes in this list are made from wholesome ingredients and usually include fruits or veggies too.
- FUN: Mashing, chopping (but not too much), mixing, dumping, using various tools…all excited and novel for kids! To keep them interested, we need to find ways to give them hands-on learning in the kitchen. They definitely don’t just want to watch! It’s ok if you lose your patience or get annoyed with the mess sometimes. I cooking with kids for a living and I lose my patients with my own kids all the time. I just try my best to keep a positive attitude and have fun. Make clean up part of the teaching process. Your kids will thank you for it…someday. 😉
When I poll parents and kids about their favorite recipes to make together muffins are always at the top of the list. And I totally understand why: they are delicious, super kid-friendly, easy to pack with nutritious ingredients, and quick to make. Here are some of my essential muffin recipes to cook with kids as well as some awesome muffins from other foodie mama blogs.
- Banana Pumpkin Blender Muffins: this is the most popular recipe on my blog and I’ve gotten rave reviews from many people about them. So easy, gluten-free (made from oats), and fun for kids to put toppings on.
- Super Green Mini Blender Muffins: a banana-free easy muffin recipe, packed with goodness from applesauce, canned pumpkin, and spinach. Oat based and easy to whip up with kids since you just all everything to a blender.
- Banana Blueberry Muffin Tops: Great recipe if you only have one overripe banana hanging around. Super easy and made in one bowl. Gluten and dairy free.
- Sweet Potato Gingerbread Muffins: Can use canned sweet potato or pumpkin in this recipe. Whole wheat, no refined sugar, and full of yummy, sweet spices.
- Vegan Carrot Muffins (with lentils): The Natural Nurturer
- Healthy Chocolate Muffins (with butternut squash): The Natural Nurturer
- Easy Veggie Muffins (with carrots and broccoli): Yummy Toddler Food
- Best Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins: Yummy Toddler Food
These are super simple recipes for nutritious snacks that kids can help make. If you want more interactive snack ideas be sure to get my FREE ebook, Easy Snacktivities. The guide contains 8 snack recipes to get kids excited about healthy ingredients. Some of the snacks included: Pink Piggie Smoothie Bowls, DIY Banana on a Stick, Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Skewers, and Polar Bear Bagels. Some other great snack recipes from other sites:
- Roasted Peas: Healthy Little Foodies
- Ants on a Log (and many variations): Healthy Little Foodies
- Roasted Honey Cinnamon Chickpeas: Weelicious
- Healthy Yogurt Parfaits: Yummy Toddler Food
- Master Trail Mix Recipe: Yummy Toddler Food
Have a kiddo that’s crazy about spaghetti, noodles, or Mac and cheese? Get into the kitchen and make some together!
- Baked Spaghetti Cups (with Veggies!): one of my kids’ favorite recipes to make and eat!
- Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese: So easy but so flavorful! Definitely have the kiddos help prep the cauliflower since they can break it apart into little pieces with their hands.
- Rainbow Noodle Bowls: not technically pasta, but noodles are a great vehicle for any veggies you might have on hand. Kids can stir together the peanut sauce for an easy way to help. (can be made nut-free too)
- Rainbow Fried Rice: I know, not pasta, but still so fun to make with kids! Can use whatever veggies or protein options you have on hand.
- Easiest Broccoli Pesto for Pasta or Pizza: Yummy Toddler Food
- Butternut Squash Mac and “Cheese”: (dairy-free and gluten free) The Natural Nurturer
- Green Mac and Cheese: Weelicious
Quick and simple, smoothies are a great activity for the youngest little helpers or when you are short on time. My favorite smoothie recipes for kids involve some chopping or prepping of fruits and veggies. Although everything is going to be blended, take a little extra time to let you child slice a banana or chop up an apple. It’s great practice and gives them even more positive exposure to the foods.
- Rainbow Smoothie: One of our favorite smoothies at home and so fun to make together! You can change up the fruit and veggies depending on what you have on hand. Add all the colors to the bender and guess what color the end result will be.
- Tropical Carrot Smoothie: raw or cooked carrot can easily be blended into a smoothie for a sweet veggie boost. This smoothie is like sunshine in a glass!
- Green Apple Pie Smoothie: Have the kiddos chop those apples then add them to the blender for this refreshingly delicious smoothie.
- Healthy Chocolate “Milkshake” (with cauliflower): Have a chocolate lover? This such a yummy way to get lots of goodness into one glass.
- Easy Green Smoothie for Kids: The Natural Nurturer
- Chocolate Banana Smoothie (with veggies): The Natural Nurturer
- Ants on a Log Smoothie: Motherhood and Meals on VBC
What kiddo wouldn’t jump at the chance to make cookies? Here are some healthier options that combine wholesome ingredients and fun in the kitchen. Here are some of the best recipes to cook with kids:
- Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Cookies: if you have 2 spotty, brown bananas to use up, these are the treat to make together!
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Zucchini: low in added sugar and full of goodness, these cookies are such a fun recipe to make with kids! If you don’t have zucchini, add grated carrot or feel free to leave the veggies out.
- Chewy Ginger Cookies (gluten-free and vegan): one of my family’s favorite treats to make together! Ginger cookies definitely aren’t just for Christmas time.
- Beet Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: if you have beets on hand, this is a fun, healthy treat to make with kids! Made with wholesome ingredients, these cookies are so healthy you can eat them for breakfast.
- Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies: The Natural Nurturer
- Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies (with pumpkin): The Natural Nurturer
- Healthy Sugar Cookies: Yummy Toddler Food
- Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies: Yummy Toddler Food
- Nature Cookies: Weelicious
We love to bake with kids, but don’t forget to get kids involved in cooking meals too! Making soup together provides lots of opportunity to practice knife skills and learn to like lots of new foods.
- Easy Alphabet Veggie Soup: Chopping all the veggies for this hearty soup is a great activity for kids. Alphabet noodles make it super fun but it is also great with broken spaghetti or any pasta you have in the pantry.
- Creamy Celery Soup: Only a few simple ingredients like potatoes and celery make up this simple, delicious soup. Kids will love to help chop the veggies and stir in ingredients in a big pot.
- Kid-Friendly Vegetable Soup: The Natural Nurturer
- Super Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup: Yummy Toddler Food
- 7 Dwarf Chicken and Pasta Soup: Weelicious
- One Pot Curry Lentil Soup: The Natural Nurturer
Pancakes, Waffles, and other Breakfast Items
So many fun breakfast recipes to cook with kids. Don’t just make them for mornings either…breakfast for dinner or lunch is always a great idea!
- Banana-Spinach Pancake Pizza: This grain-free baked pancake recipe is such a fun one to make with kids. If you have pancake mix on hand, you can blend spinach in with the wet ingredients and follow the baking instructions in this recipe.
- Heathy Sweet Potato Pancakes: these are a throw-everything-into-the-blender kind of recipe. We love using canned sweet potato or pumpkin. Gluten and dairy free.
- Baked French Toast Sticks: A recipe a created for Veggie Buds Club using spinach blended into the eggs, but you can leave that part out or even stir in some pumpkin instead.
- Easy Banana Granola: Low in sugar and easy to adapt with whatever nuts/seeds/mix-ins you like.
- Healthy Green Bagels: Such a great baking project for kids. Green food is fun all year long!
- Rainbow Veggie Pancakes: these are savory pancakes so they are great for any meal or snack. You can make a dip for them or serve them as is. Use whatever fresh or frozen veggies you have on hand.
- Blender Banana Spinach Pancakes: The Natural Nurturer
- Chocolate Waffles: The Natural Nurturer
- Healthy Banana Bread: Yummy Toddler Food
- Fruity Baked Oatmeal Cups: Healthy Little Foodies
- Peanut Butter Trial Mix Breakfast Cookies: My Diary of Us
Pizza is definitely a kid-favorite and there are so many easy ways to make it at home! Have kids help prep some veggie toppings that adults may enjoy even if the kids prefer to leave them off their own pizzas. Chopping peppers or slicing mushrooms helps them learn to eat them in the future.
- Easy Homemade Pizza: pizza night with no planning or waiting for dough to rise because this recipe for whole wheat easy pizza crust is yeast-free. This is the ultimate cooking-with-kids dinner to make at home!
- Spinach Pesto Pizza Toasts: These are such a fun pizza variation to make with kids. They don’t have to be made into trees (like above). Just keep the toast whole and top as desired.
- Mini Veggie Pizzas with Broccoli Crust: If you have a lot of broccoli on hand, this is a great recipe to make together!
- Easy Pizza Toasts: Healthy Little Foodies
- Mini Spinach and Cheese Pizza Rolls: Yummy Toddler Food
- Homemade Pizza Pockets (Also an easy dough recipe): Yummy Toddler Food
- Tortilla Pizzas: Healthy Little Foodies
Desserts and No-Bake Treats
So many great sweet recipes to make with kids that also use wholesome, nourishing ingredients! Kids get excited to make desserts so making something sweet is a great way to spend quality time in the kitchen together. Here are some of the best recipes to cook with kids:
- Banana-Beet Cupcakes with Easy Cream Cheese Frosting: My easy cupcake recipe is low in added sugar and full of whole grains. You can easily leave the beet out or sub in some canned pumpkin.
- Frozen Fruit Pops: These frozen treats were designed for Halloween, but you can make them any time of year for a no-sugar-added snack. Or dip any fruit you have in some melted chocolate for an easy, delicious treat!
- Pumpkin Pie Parfait Cups: Pumpkin is a nutritious ingredient that we always have in the pantry. Layer in up with some yogurt and toppings for an easy treat kids will love to help make.
- Double Chocolate Spinach Brownies: Chocolate with added veggies! Yes, these are so good and they have black beans for an added protein and fiber boost too. (And all you taste is the chocolate!)
- Leftover Cereal Granola Bars: My Diary of Us
- Vegan Healthy Brownies (with veggies too): Yummy Toddler Food
- Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake: Yummy Toddler Food
- Homemade Strawberry Fruit Leather: The Natural Nurturer
- Easy No-Bake Energy Bites: Yummy Toddler Food
- Healthy Homemade Granola Bars: Yummy Toddler Food
- Frozen Banana Treats: Healthy Little Foodies
Share the fun!! Make something from this list? Send me a picture of your kiddo(s) in the kitchen either through email ([email protected]) or on Instagram or Facebook. I love to see what you’re cooking up! Plus, that way other parents can find the best recipes to cook with their kids too!
Looking for the best kitchen equipment for cooking with kids? Check out my Amazon store for all my recommendations and favorite tools (affiliate link).