Find new (and easy!) ways to prepare chicken recipes for kids, from nuggets and meatballs to yummy Instant Pot and Slow Cooker options. (Bonus: Parents will enjoy them too!)

chicken recipes in grid of 6

Chicken Recipes for Kids

Chicken is a dinnertime staple and it’s so super versatile. It can also be a great texture for kids, and an easy way to offer up protein. To make it easier for you to find easy recipes, I put all of my chicken dishes together into this post.

This will make it easy for you to scroll through options to use the kind of chicken you have on hand, or to pick the preparation that your kids prefer.

Tips for Choosing Kids Chicken Recipes

When trying a new recipe, I would recommend taking the age of the kids into consideration—older babies and younger toddlers will find it easier to chew softer meats such as nuggets made with ground chicken and shredded chicken.

Older kids shouldn’t have any issues with chewing diced up breast or thighs, so you have more options the older the kids get.

Chicken thighs, either whole or in very thick finger-size pieces, can be a great option for Baby Led Weaning (they are high in iron and fat, which babies need). And they are often really moist and tender for any age.

Add a dip if your kids like to dip their food and remember that if a kiddo doesn’t like a certain kind of meat, first try to make sure that it’s easy to eat. And second, know that there’s no kiddo who likes every food. (The approach known as the Division of Responsibility can help with perspective on this.)

TIP: Learn more about healthy fats for kids and the nutrients they need in their weekly diets.

Easy Family Chicken Recipes

Each of these recipes is appropriate for a toddler, but should also be appealing to the entire family—kids and parents alike! I always aim to have recipes that appeal to everyone to help reduce the amount of overall cooking we have to do. Fingers crossed anyway!


1. Baked Chicken Nuggets

These have just a few basic ingredients and are so crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They’re a forever hit.

Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets
These baked chicken nuggets have simple ingredients and a pleasantly crispy exterior. Aim to cut the chicken into similarly sized pieces so they bake evenly.
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baked chicken nuggets on plate with ketchup.

2. Baked Chicken Tenders

Recreate chicken tenders at home with this super simple method. (There are 2 options for the crispy coating, so pick the one that sounds best!)

Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders
These crispy Chicken Tenders are fast and versatile. To make these with panko breadcrumbs, use 1 cup and stir ¼ teaspoon salt into the flour before you dredge the chicken.
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crispy baked chicken tenders on white and blue plate

3. Chicken Nuggets with Sweet Potato

These are a favorite chicken recipe for a baby and one year olds since they are super tender and super nutritious. The sweet potato pairs so nicely with the ground chicken.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (with Sweet Potato)
Crispy on the outside, tender in the middle, these Homemade Chicken Nuggets are both easy and delicious. You can prep the sweet potato up to 5 days ahead if that's easier for you, too. Try serving these with ketchup, ranch, or marinara sauce.
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homemade chicken nuggets

4. Baked Chicken Meatballs

This recipe is so straight forward and I love the option to add some shredded carrots. These were a staple in our lives when my youngest was one and otherwise ate no veggies!

4-Ingredient Baked Chicken Meatballs
With just four simple and affordable ingredients, you can make tender Baked Chicken Meatballs to share with the kids. Bonus: You can tuck a veggie into the mix if you want to and they are perfect to batch cook and stash into the freezer!
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baked chicken meatballs on cookie sheet.

5. Pan Seared Chicken

Put the chicken into the pan, turn on the timer, and you’ll have perfectly cooked chicken every time. I love this with chicken tenders but it works with any boneless cut.

Easy Pan-Seared Chicken
Try these quick and easy chicken tenders for a kid-friendly weeknight protein paired with a grain and a veggie (or fruit!)
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6. Sweet Potato Chicken Bowls

Whether you want an easy sheet pan meal or you want to prep ahead for lunch or easy dinners to store in the fridge, this is a great recipe to try.

Sweet Potato Chicken Bowls (Easy Meal Prep)
You can meal prep this recipe to have ready for future lunches or dinners to share with the kids or you can make it as a family dinner. Add flavor to your bowl with the optional ingredients.
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instant pot chicken sandwich

7. Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Let the instant pot do this work and serve up delicious barbecue chicken sandwiches or platters in no time.

Easiest Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
You can double this recipe and use 2 pounds of chicken if desired. Just do your best to spread it into an even layer in the instant pot. (Note: The nutrition facts will vary based on the bbq sauce that you use.)
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instant pot chicken sandwich

8. Slow Cooker Chicken and Bean Tacos

The beauty of this recipe is that the sauce is loaded with veggies so you don’t need to make anything else on the side! Oh and it freezes so well.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Bean Tacos
With a short ingredient list and a veggie-loaded sauce, these Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos are such a delicious family meal. (You can even make it in the Instant Pot for dinner in just 25 minutes.)
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Slow cooker chicken tacos on plate with sides.

9. Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Warm spices and a simple method make this one of our favorite chicken dinners to share with the kids. Add some rice and naan and you’re set.

Easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken
Forget takeout—deliver this popular Indian dish to your table instead. Shredded chicken thighs are coated in a rich, buttery sauce with hints of tomatoes, ginger, and garam masala—a messy but very flavorful finger food. Adapted from The Multi-Cooker Baby Food Cookbook.
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10. Pesto Chicken and Rice

Cauliflower rice, chicken, and pesto team up in this easy skillet dinner. It’s a one pan wonder that’s perfect for easy weeknight cooking.

One-Pot Pesto Chicken and Brown Rice
Add some warmed frozen peas, whole grain toast, or a side of fruit to add a few simple sides if desired. This recipe was updated in September 2019 to ensure the rice cooks through.
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healthy chicken and brown rice on kids plate

11. Pasta Salad with Chicken

Whether for an easy dinner or a make-ahead lunch to serve up throughout the week, this is easy and flavorful. And the kinds of chicken you can use are wide open!

Healthy Pasta Salad with Chicken
This works well anytime of the year, but the flavors are particularly great in summer
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healthy pasta salad in two bowls
chicken puree in small bowls with baby spoon

12. Chicken Puree

Learn how to make iron-rich baby food with this easy recipe for Chicken Puree with three flavor combinations and easy storage tips. This works as a Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3 baby food.

Easy Chicken Puree
This chicken puree is a nutrient-rich baby food that's easy to make and packed with flavor. It's a quick blend of chicken and sweet potato that's versatile, so you can make it as a Stage 1 or 2 baby food.
Get the recipe
chicken puree in small bowls with baby spoon

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I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please comment below to share!

This post was first published September 2021.

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