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!

kids cookbooks in stack against tile.

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!

These books are for kids to actually get cooking in the kitchen, using ingredients that are accessible and as kid-friendly as possible. They can work for a range of types of eaters, as they include recipes that span the range from favorites like pizza and mac and cheese, to cookies and snacks, and beyond with new flavors to try.

We vetted these kids cookbooks with three kids of varying ages to ensure that the kid-friendly recipes are easy to use, have clear step-by-step instructions, and that the recipes turn out deliciously.

(You may also like my collection of story books about food for kids.)

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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 color photos and 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 in their own kitchen. Each recipe has step by step images and the spiral bound format helps the book lie flat while using it.

It’s a fun kids cookbook due to the range of recipes, so you can do some savory options and then try some baked goods!

There is also a Cooking Class Global Feast edition, which has a wider range of international recipes so kids can make their own choices about new foods to try.


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 book pages lay flat so you can clearly see all of the step-by-step photos, which is essential for young bakers.


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 from America’s Test Kitchen Kids 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 from breakfasts to desserts, and that it’s from America’s Test Kitchen—which has a really thorough testing process for their recipes!

milk bar kids cookbook cover.

MILK BAR, KIDS ONLY, by Christina Tosi

This book has 85 fun recipes for kids to make for dessert that includes clear instructions, photographs, and the most yummy combinations of flavors. This is great for elementary aged kids who like their cooking experiences to be over the top fun.

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!

Related Posts

I’d love to know if you have any other cookbooks for kids that you love that I didn’t include here. Please comment below to share!

This post was first published September 2020.

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