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From chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, to cheese crackers, chicken tenders, and fish sticks, I rounded up the best homemade kids food to help you DIY some of their favorites! These recipes are all kid-tested for flavor and vetted for straight-forward recipe methods.
The term “kids food” can be loaded and I think sometimes it makes us feel like there is a whole separate category of food that we need to be feeding our kids…which I don’t think is very helpful. To me, this idea actually means any food that tastes good, has nutrition, and is easy for the kids to eat.
Which is broad and so much more inclusive!
And since I know that our unique kids have their favorites, I wanted to put together a list of homemade versions of classic kids food to help expand accepted foods and to make it a little easier to make foods that the whole family will enjoy eating.
I rounded up 50 of my very favorite recipes for nutritious, easy, and fun recipes for kids. I hope that these give you some new ideas for what to cook for your kids to keep them both well nourished and happy at the table!
You can make this with fresh strawberries or freeze-dried ones, depending on what you have on hand or access to. The version with freeze-dried berries tastes more similar to store bought strawberry milk; the one with fresh berries tastes more like fresh strawberries!
You can use any sliced bread that you like. I typically use whole grain or sourdough. You can also bake full slices of bread, then cut into sticks with kitchen scissors. See Notes for allergy-substitutions.
You can use fresh or frozen berries in this simple Strawberry Smoothie and the results will have a texture that is similar to drinkable yogurt. To make it thicker and to try different flavor options, see the Notes at the end of the recipe.
Fluffy and perfectly moist, these little muffins have protein and calcium—plus bursts of delicious blueberries. (Like Little Bites, but with more nutrients and for less $$.) See Notes for allergy variations.
Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins (Little Bites Copycat)
Moist tender Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins that taste as good as store bought, but have a little extra nutrition? Sign. Me. Up. These muffins are seriously delicious and are a must-make if you have fans of Little Bites in your house!
The kids can help make these easy English Muffin Pizzas by spreading on the sauce and adding the cheese, or you can quickly do them too. Add any other toppings you like (precooked options are best since we’re basically just toasting these quickly.) The recipe of my go-to recipes are linked in the Notes.
Easy Turkey Wrap Recipe (to Share with the Kids)
Roll up a few simple ingredients to make this delicious Turkey Wrap recipe in minutes. It's a great lunch wrap for home or school, and you can easily adjust the ingredients to suit the preferences of your child. This makes one wrap, so scale up as desired.
You can make and serve these at the same time, or prep them ahead of time and warm up quickly for an easy meal. You can vary the beans if you like in these simple burritos. Serve them with salsa and/or sour cream.
Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwich (to Share with the Kids)
With just 4 ingredients, including a veggie that blends right in, this Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a yummy kids lunch to share. It packs extra nutrition in the filling, yet only takes a few minutes to make. Such a great easy meal!
These are some of our favorite easy homemade tots, tenders, and nuggets—made with both chicken and fish, and veggies. These are similar to freezer aisle favorites, only their often less expensive (and taste better!).
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.
Homemade Broccoli Tots (Better Than the Freezer Aisle!)
Crispy on the outside and tender in the middle, these tots are a seriously fun way to serve broccoli. You can cook the rice up to 5 days ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you're ready to bake the tots.
These are our favorite recipes for homemade pasta, pizza, and burgers. These recipes are all super easy and are so delicious to share with the kids.
Easy Mac and Cheese Bites (aka Mac and Cheese Cups)
Learn how to make quick and easy Mac and Cheese Bites for an easy kids lunch or dinner. These bites are fun and a nutritious kids meal that can easily double as an appetizer! You can even add in veggies like broccoli for the most delicious mac and cheese cups.
You can use any store bought crust for this recipe, or try my easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. I like making these as personal pizzas for the kids since they cook so fast, but you can also make one large pizza. See the Notes at the bottom for that info.
If you’re using Homemade Pizza Dough, make it at least an hour before you plan to assemble the pockets. If using store-bought, let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes so it’s not super cold when you try to form the pockets.
Homemade Crackers, Granola Bars, Cookies, and More
These are some of the best homemade options for cheese crackers, granola bars, cookies, and more kids food favorites. All of these store well, so you can have them on hand for easy snacks throughout the week.
Homemade Cheese Crackers
Try to get them about 1/4-inch thick so they bake uniformly. If your milk, cheese, and butter are cold the dough should be easy to roll out between parchment paper. (If the dough seems too sticky, stick it into the fridge for 5-10 minutes.)
If you use larger cookie cutters, you may need to bake on the longer end of the baking time—and mini cookie cutters on the shorter end. This makes a relatively small batch, so double it if you want extras to last all week!
This recipe has just a few healthy ingredients and is perfect for teething babies to chew on. They’re also a great cracker for older kiddos! This recipe is adapted and excerpted from The Big Book of Plant-Based Baby Foods by Tamika L. Gardner.
You can do two baking sheets at once to get a slightly larger batch—definitely do this if you’re making these for more than one kiddo! Just be sure to swap the positions of the pans halfway through baking to ensure that they bake evenly.
This makes a small batch of lightly sweet cookies. Double it to make more. If at any point the dough seems too sticky, pop it into the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up a bit. Or dust your parchment paper and cookie cutters with flour.
These no-bake bites taste like a cross between oatmeal raisin and peanut butter cookie dough. I use natural creamy peanut butter (like the kind from Smuckers) and it works really well. (Recipe updated slightly in June 2021 to ensure the best texture.)
From popsicles to frozen yogurt and ice cream cake, these are fun desserts to share with the kids. (These are so much more than just “kids food”, that’s for sure!)
So Good Fudge Pops (with Avocado!)
Plan to make these in the morning of the day you want to serve them or the day before so they have time to freeze. See Notes for allergy-friendly substitutions. Amount of popsicles the recipe makes may vary according to the size of your mold.
These Chocolate Covered Bananas are frozen into popsicles that are so easy to make and so seriously fun. The chocolate pudding has a perfect texture once frozen, you can add sprinkles if you want, and use either paper lollipop sticks or popsicle sticks.
This Healthy Chocolate Cake is egg-free, dairy-free, and SO darn delicious. It's lower in sugar, but delivers on classic chocolate cake flavor you expect. (I use two 6-inch cake pans to make this cake, which is a perfect size for a small gathering or even to use as a smash cake. See the Notes for more options.)