Help get the kids in the kitchen with these affordable picks for the best cookbooks for kids. With options for toddlers, preschoolers, elementary, and middle schoolers, these are great cookbooks to use again and again—and give as gifts or birthday presents!
Best Cookbooks for Kids
Buying a cookbook for a child can be such a fun milestone, so to help you sort through the many, many options out there, these top four picks are great places to start for kids of all ages.
I’ve included these by ages and stages, so you can start with the toddler/preschooler stage, then add a book as the kids grow into middle school!
TIP: These books are for kids to actually get cooking in the kitchen, not recipes to make for the kids. If you want recipes to make for the kids, my website is here for you!
Best Toddler and Preschool Cookbook: Busy Little Hands Food Play: Activities for Preschoolers
This is my book! It’s designed for kids aged 3-5, but has easy activities that kids aged 1 and 2 can do too. Each recipe doesn’t involve actual cooking, but is easy to assemble, stir, and mix to help the kids explore and have fun with their food.
The pages are water and rip resistant and the pages have fun illustrations too. (Early readers can read the kid steps too!)
Best Elementary Age Cookbook: Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!)
We’ve had this book since my oldest kiddo was 5 and it’s been a great introduction to using the oven and stove. Each recipe has step by step images and the spiral bound format helps the book lie flat while using it.
There’s a nice mix of recipes too, so you can do some savory options and then try some baked goods!
Best Elementary Baking Cookbook: Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake
Once you know the kids are into cooking, this is a great one to add to the set. It’s all baked goods with options to make breads, muffins, pies, cakes, and more. There are fun decorations to try, as well as the same step by step images in Cooking Class. We love this one!
(The author also has a third book in this series called Global Feast, which has lots of awesome new flavors and dishes to try from around the world.)
Best Middle School Cookbook: America’s Test Kitchen Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs: 100 Recipes that You’ll Love to Cook and Eat
This award-winning book has 100 recipes to try that are great for slightly older kids. (The description says grades 4-8.) I love that it has so many options to give the kids plenty of choice for their culinary adventures and that it’s from America’s Test Kitchen—which has a really thorough testing process for their recipes!
P.S. If you want a slower entry into cookbooks for kids, check out this new Food Faces board book. Each critter is made with food for a see-and-do (or just see and talk about it!) take on the idea of playing with your food.
Best Tips for Picking a Cookbook for Kids
- Read through the age recommendation to make sure you choose one that’s the right stage for your child.
- Let your child explore the book at their own pace. Maybe looking at it is enough for them for a while—some kids are naturally more interested in cooking than others!
- Let it be okay if your child just wants to do one or two steps. Real life isn’t Top Chef and it’s okay if they have to work up to making full recipes on their own.
- Until a child is at least 8 and likely older in many cases, you need to be with them to help as needed, so plan these activities when you have the time (and energy!) to do them together.
- Include clean up as part of the cooking experience so the kids understand everything involved.
- Make it fun, keep it light, and avoid pressure! There’s no perfection here—and it’s okay if things don’t turn out perfectly!
You May Also Like
- Best Kids Aprons
- Best Toddler Books About Food
- Best Toddler Shopping Carts
- Best Kitchen Utensils and Tools for Little Kids
This post was first published September 2020.