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.
Recipes for Kids to Cook
I love to take advantage of the energy little kids have to do things themselves and do what they see us doing. That’s 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 they can master even as toddlers.
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. I have ideas for baking with kids, too.
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Tips for Cooking with Toddlers
I put together some of my best tips for cooking with toddlers—and perfect kitchen activities to start with—which you can find and see if they help.
Mainly, 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 it’s a normal part of the process.
And a learning tower can help get the kids to counter height, without worrying about a fall.
Cooking with Kids: Recipes to Try
These recipes are some of the recipes 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.
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.)
Healthy Oatmeal Cookies
The kids can help stir the batter and scoop out the batter. It’s easy and fun to snack on raisins as you go.
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.
This is one of our favorite cookies to make for the holidays, though you can make them for any holiday you like— just change the cookie cutter accordingly.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Adding a little cocoa powder to this batter yields subtly flavored cookies that are still easy to make.
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!
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.
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.
Graham Cracker Peanut Butter Balls
Think s’mores without the open fire for the flavor of these no-bake cookies!
Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
With an easy batter that’s also free from eggs, these healthy cookies are fun to bake together as a make-ahead breakfast cookie or a healthy cookie for snack time.
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!
Let the kids practice chopping veggies (find my best kids cooking tools here) to assemble their own snack plate dinner.
Greek Pita Pizzas
Let each kiddo spread hummus on a pita, then top with their desired toppings.
Have the kids help stretch out the dough and add the toppings to make these fun roll-ups.
This recipe stirs up in a bowl, so even the youngest toddlers can help make this for breakfast.
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!
Let the kids pick their fillings and toppings to make this a fun snacktivity.
Easy Banana Bread
A potato masher makes quick work of mashing the bananas in this favorite quick bread.
Best Tips for Success
- Start small with single steps of a recipe or break things up as needed.
- Try to help the kids be comfortable at the counter or the kitchen table with a learning tower, safe toddler stool, or in their high chair.
- Allow extra time and expect a mess that will need to be cleaned up. Realistic expectations can help make the whole process a lot smoother.
- Try my tips for baking with kids, too.
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.