Here are a few of my go-to recipes for kids to cook (with a little help!) when you’re in need of fun toddler activities to increase their exposure to a variety of foods, keep them busy, AND make foods to share at the next meal or snack.

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Recipes for Kids to Cook

I love to take advantage of the energy that little kids have to do things themselves and model what they see us doing. Which is why it can be really fun to get the kids in the kitchen cooking.

With little kids, of course, “cooking” will look a lot different than it does for older kids, but there are plenty of activities and recipe steps that they can master even as toddlers.

TIP: All of these ideas are meant to be done with an adult since little kids need help reading recipes and getting ready to make the food.

Tips for Cooking with Toddlers

I put together some of my best tips for cooking with toddlers—and perfect kitchen activities to start out with—which you can find here.

My best tips are to keep things simple to start in terms of the recipes you choose, isolate just one or two steps until you get the hang of having a little sidekick, and let them do as much of the job themselves so they can really get into it and have fun.

Oh and also: Try your best not to stress too much about the mess…or at least know that it’s a normal part of the process.

toddler mashing beans

Cooking with Kids: Recipes to Try!

These recipes are some of the ones I turn to regularly to make with my kids. They can’t always make the entire recipe on their own, but that’s why I’m right there with them to help, explain, and assist as needed.

Hummus

My kids love using a potato masher for everything they can, and we love it to mash up chickpeas for hummus. (Just warm them first to make it a little easier.)

Creamy Hummus Without Tahini
You can use regular plain yogurt, though I like the consistency that Greek yogurt yields a bit better.
Get the recipe
homemade hummus without tahini
healthy-oatmeal-cookies-on-platter

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

The kids can help stir the batter, and scoop out the batter. Easy and fun to snack on raisins as you go.

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
These soft cookies are a perfect afternoon snack (pair them with milk!) or dessert. (Recipe updated September 2020 to reduce the flour slightly to ensure the batter isn’t too dry.) These cookies are soft baked and very tender!
Get the recipe
healthy-oatmeal-raisin-cookies-with-toddler-hand
icing healthy sugar cookies

Easy Sugar Cookies

Rolling and stamping out dough is a classic way to cook with kids and this recipe is egg-free (so no worries there!) and easy to work with. If you prefer, you can also make the cookies yourself and just let the kids decorate them.

Easy Sugar Cookies (Healthy and Delish!)
This makes a small batch of lightly sweet cookies. Double it to make more. If at any point the dough seems too sticky, pop it into the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up a bit. Or dust your parchment paper and cookie cutters with flour.
Get the recipe
healthy sugar cookies
christmas-cookies-for-kids-on-counter

Cut-Out Cookies

This are one of our favorite cookies to make for the holidays, though you can use any cookie cutter you like!

Easy Christmas Cookies for Kids (Fun Cut-Outs!)
You can use any cookie cutters you like to make these Christmas Cookies for kids—the timing Is for 2-3 inch ones so scale up or down if yours are bigger or smaller. And feel free to make half of the dough at a time (and stash the other Into the fridge for a future day).
Get the recipe
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tiny-heart-chocolate-sugar-cookies-on-pink-plate

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Adding a little cocoa powder to this batter makes subtly flavored cookies that are still easy to make.

Easy Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Like a cross between an animal cracker and a sugar cookie, these less sweet cookies are easy to make with the kids. The amount of cookies you can make from one batch will depend on how large your cookie cutters are.
Get the recipe
chocolate-sugar-cookies-on-wire-rack

star-cheese-crackers

Easy Cheese Crackers

This dough mixes up in the food processor, so the kids can push the button, and is really easy to roll out. It’s a fun activity to do if you want to share the crackers at snack time!

Homemade Cheese Crackers
Try to get them about 1/4-inch thick so they bake uniformly. If your milk, cheese, and butter are cold the dough should be easy to roll out between parchment paper. (If the dough seems too sticky, stick it into the fridge for 5-10 minutes.)
Get the recipe
cheese-crackers-on-white-plates
trail-mix-for-kids-in-reusable-bags

Master Trail Mix Recipe

Technically, this isn’t cooking, but letting the kids assemble their own snack mix is a fun activity to do together.

Master Trail Mix Recipe
Mix and match ingredients to customize this mix for your kids.
Get the recipe
trail mix recipe for kids
rainbow-fruit-sticks-on-blue-plate

Rainbow Fruit Wands

Work together to wash and cut fruit, then push onto paper lollipop sticks to turn them into fruit wands for snack time.

Favorite Fruit Sticks (the Kids Can Make!)
You can use any fruit the kids like in these, though I most often do it with fruit that's lingering in the fridge—it helps the fruit suddenly become more fun! You can make as few or as many as you like—adjust the quantity of fruit as needed.
Get the recipe
rainbow-fruit-sticks-on-blue-plate

no bake cashew cookies

No-Bake Cashew Cookies

No-bake cookies are fun to roll into balls. And the little hands will get messy, but that’s just part of the fun!

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies
These cookies should be stored in the fridge, but know that they stay pretty soft even when cold, so even younger eaters can try them. They are ever so slightly sticky but generally have the texture of a truffle.
.
Get the recipe
no bake cashew cookies
graham-cracker-bites-in-counter2

Graham Cracker Peanut Butter Balls

Think S’mores without the open fire and you get the flavor of these no-bake cookies!

Graham Crackers Peanut Butter Balls
These should chill for 30 minutes before serving to allow the oats to soften up a bit. (You can eat them immediately, they’ll just be a little chewy.)
Get the recipe
graham-cracker-bites-in-white-paper-cups
banana-raisin-breakfast-cookies-on-pink-plate

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

With an easy batter that’s also free from eggs, these healthy cookies are fun to make together as a make-ahead breakfast cookie or a healthy cookie for snack time.

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
You can use peanut butter, almond butter, or Sunbutter in this recipe. Choose creamy unsweetened if possible.
Get the recipe
breakfast-cookies-on-white-plate
mini-animal-crackers-on-wire-rack

Animal Crackers

With just a few simple ingredients and a crazy easy method, this Animal Crackers recipe is a favorite kids snack to make and share. You can make them big or mini in whichever shapes you prefer!

Easiest Animal Crackers Recipe
If you use larger cookie cutters, you may need to bake on the longer end of the baking time—and mini cookie cutters on the shorter end. This makes a relatively small batch, so double it if you want extras to last all week!
Get the recipe
mini-animal-crackers-on-wire-rack
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Snack Dinners

Let the kids practice chopping veggies (find my best kids cooking tools here) to assemble their own snack plate dinner.

Easy Snack Dinner (to Share with the Kids!)
You can do a big family-style platter or individual ones for the kids depending on your preference. Add anything else that sounds appealing and know that the nutrition info will vary according to what you use.
Get the recipe
family-style-snack-plate
greek pita pizzas on pink plate with peaches

Greek Pita Pizzas

Let each kiddo spread hummus on a pita, then top with their desired toppings.

Easy Greek Pita Pizzas
Serve these assembled as shown, or with the toasted pita bread alongside the hummus and toppings depending on how your child will prefer it.
Get the recipe
greek pita pizzas on pink plate with peaches
pizza-rolls-on-kids-plate

Pizza Rolls

Have the kids help stretch out the dough and add the toppings to make these fun roll-ups.

Favorite Pizza Rolls (with Spinach and Cheese)
Be sure to grease your pan well and roll the dough up fairly tightly around the fillings for best results. (But it's okay if they don't look perfect when they go into the pan!) 
Get the recipe
pizza-rolls-on-kids-plate
tiny-heart-chocolate-sugar-cookies-on-pink-plate

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

We love playing with this dough—rolling it out, making fun shapes—and then sharing some with milk for snack.

Easy Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Like a cross between an animal cracker and a sugar cookie, these less sweet cookies are easy to make with the kids. The amount of cookies you can make from one batch will depend on how large your cookie cutters are.
Get the recipe
chocolate-sugar-cookies-on-wire-rack
applesauce-overnight-oats-in-jars

Overnight Oats

This recipe stirs up in a bowl, so even the youngest toddlers can help make this for breakfast.

Easy Overnight Oats with Applesauce
You can easily double (or triple!) the recipe to make more servings. It uses a 1 to 1 ratio of yogurt to applesauce so you can easily scale it up. Mix these up the night before you plan to serve them.
Get the recipe
applesauce-overnight-oats-in-jars
toddler-pouring-smoothie

Smoothies

A fun way to encourage kids to like smoothies and to know what goes in them is to get them involved in making them. Have the kids choose which color smoothie they want to make, then work together to add the ingredients and watch them disappear into the smoothie!

Favorite Healthy Toddler Smoothie (with Veggies!)
Learn to customize yummy smoothies for your toddler by starting with one simple recipe, then adjusting based on which fruit and veggies you'd like to use.
Get the recipe
toddler-smoothies-in-mason-jars
yogurt-parfait-in-storage-containers

Yogurt Parfait

Let the kids pick their fillings and toppings to make this a fun snacktivity.

Quick Yogurt Parfaits (10 Ways)
Try serving these parfaits for a fun breakfast or snack. Adjust the amount as needed for your child.
Get the recipe
healthy yogurt parfaits in small containers
lower-sugar-banana-bread-on-rack

Easy Banana Bread

A potato masher makes quick work of mashing the bananas in this favorite quick bread.

Lower Sugar Banana Bread (SO Good!)
Be sure to use super ripe bananas—the more black and brown spots, the better the flavor and sweetness will be!—for the best results here. Adapted from The Salty Marshmallow
Get the recipe
baked-lower-sugar-banana-bread

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Do you have a favorite recipe for kids to cook that you love? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

This post was first published November 2019.

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