Make toddler meals easier with favorite toddler pasta recipes you can rely on—with lots of nutrition and kid-friendly flavor! From no-cook sauces and easy skillet meals, to mac and cheese with veggies in the mix, these are easy pasta recipes for kids…that the adults can enjoy too!
Pasta is one of the easiest meals to make for kids and while I might go so far to say that plain pasta with butter is a classic for a reason, there are so many other options to try too!
I’ve pulled together all of my favorite kids pasta recipes in one spot for easy reference. There are recipes for pasta meals—that work well for toddler lunches and family dinners—and then stand alone sauces that offer a little more flexibility since you can freeze them and then use a little at a time.
Best Types of Pasta
There is a lot of pressure from marketing and our culture on eating the healthiest version of every food. And I want to say that you absolutely can eat a newer version of pasta if you and your kids like it, but there is nothing wrong with classic pasta. Regular semolina pasta has protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Also: It’s delicious.
You may also enjoy trying:
- Lentil pasta
- Chickpea pasta
- Whole wheat pasta
- Protein pasta
TIP: The lentil and chickpea pastas are a good source of iron if that’s a concern. Be sure not to overcook them (they get mushy fast!) and do rinse after boiling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Small shapes like ditalini, mini elbows, and mini shells are good for finger foods. Small shapes like stars, ABC pasta, and tiny wagon wheels are easy for kids learning to use a spoon to scoop up. And you can simply cut up any larger shapes with kitchen scissors.
It honestly depends on how you define “healthy”. All pasta has a mix of nutrients, but you can choose ones made with different ingredients if you’re looking for more iron, fiber, or protein.
Yes, though it will likely be softer when it’s thawed so try not to overcook it to start. Freeze in small freezer-safe containers in individual portions to make it easier for you on the other side to thaw them for easy kids meals.
Pasta Recipes for Kids
Below are some of my best easy pasta recipes. Whether you like mac and cheese, vegetarian pasta, pesto, or another option all together, you’ll find delicious options to try.
1. Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
Stirring in puree or leftover baby food is such a simple way to up the nutrition in mac and cheese.
2. Cherry Tomato Pasta
You don’t even have to cook the sauce to make this flavorful sauce. And there are two ways to serve it up.
3. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Try this no-fuss pasta the next time you want a vegetarian meal that’s packed with nutrition.
4. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
A little extra veggies go a long way and blend right into this creamy mac and cheese.
5. Spinach Pesto Pasta
Green is fun when it’s paired with pasta! This is an easy toddler lunch or dinner that the parents will love too.
6. Alphabet Soup
Just a few ingredients team up in this kid-friendly pasta soup. The ABC pasta of course makes it more fun!
7. Pesto Pasta Salad
Make this to share at a potluck or bbq or to pack in lunches. It’s an easy meal prep option.
8. Avocado Pasta
Super creamy and seriously easy, this pasta has loads of healthy fats and mellow flavor to appeal to everyone in the house.
9. Sausage Broccoli Pasta
We love Italian sausage in this recipe, but you could use whichever kind you prefer.
10. Pasta with Summer Squash and Beef
Put that summer squash or zucchini to good use in this easy pasta recipe to share with the family. Fresh basil on top is optional, but recommended.
11. Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage
This is an easy recipe for fall and winter and is a great way to use winter squash.
12. Broccoli Pesto
Transform fresh broccoli into a delicious pasta sauce with this super simple method. It’s a fun take on pesto!
13. One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese
Creamy, cheesy, and so super easy to make. This is a favorite vegetarian kids meal.
Easy Sauces for Pasta
If you’re looking for a simple, nutritious sauce to add to pasta—either for the whole family or just your toddler—these are great options. Each of them can also be made ahead of time and stored for future use.
To freeze any of these in smaller portions, divide the sauce among an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 6 months.
To thaw one cube at a time, place into an airtight storage container overnight or thaw at room temperature.
15. Spinach Pesto
This is a super mellow pesto that pairs really well with any kind of pasta (and can also be used on pizza). It also freezes well too.
16. Kale Pesto
Freeze some of this kale pesto, then break off a little at a time as you needed for fast sauces for kids pasta.
17. Marinara with Extra Veggies
Everyone into the pot with this easy recipe that goes beyond just tomato to add in more veggies for flavor and nutrition.
18. Fresh Tomato Sauce
Let the slow cooker do the work in this easy crock pot sauce that then becomes the most simple toddler pasta sauce.
19. Cheese Sauce
Blend cauliflower, cheese, and milk for a super yummy and delicious cheese sauce for any kind of noodle the kids like.
Best Tips for Kids Pasta
- Start with a small amount of sauce if it’s new to the kids, then add more as they get used to the new flavors.
- Use small shapes like ditalini, mini elbows, and mini shells as easy finger goods.
- Use small shapes like stars, ABC pasta, and tiny wagons to make it easy for kids to eat their pasta with a spoon.
- Use kitchen scissors to cut up any larger shapes of pasta and spaghetti-type noodles.
- You may also like Family Grocery List, Sample Toddler Meal Plan, Easy Kid-Friendly Dinners, and Make-Ahead Toddler Dinners.