Whether you love cooking or loathe it there is no denying that teaching children how to prepare and make a home cooked meal is one of the most important life skills you can give them. Helping kids feel comfortable in the kitchen – from preparing foods, following recipes and of course, tiding as they go – is ultimately the first step to building their confidence in what can become a lifelong pleasure, hobby, profession or even, obsession.
Yes, cooking with children is not easy. It’s messy, it always take much longer than normal, you need eyes in the back of your head … but, one thing is for sure it is never disappointing. Watching you little ones get excited about food, use some of their maths skills (with weighing and measuring), encouraging them to taste and try new flavours and of course, the ultimate reward of seeing them eat what they have cooked for the first time is really what makes all the initial ‘chaos’ worthwhile.
To further encourage a lifelong love of cooking – or, at least some cooking basics – (so when they leave for college or move into their first home you know you have helped them on their way to looking after themselves with a perfectly made home cooked meal or snack) – take a look at our round-up of our best ever children’s cookbooks to get you all started.
Best Cookbooks for Children to inspire them to get in the Kitchen
Basics to Brilliance Kids By Donna Hay
As one of Australia’s leading cookbook authors, Donna Hay would be one of our first choices when it comes to helping children master the basics of cooking. This cookbook celebrates making fresh, healthy food for children and all the family. With 120 fun-filled, simple and family-friendly recipes – including ideas for birthday parties, picnics, school fairs and bake sales, family and celebration dinners, brilliant breakfasts, beach days, backyard movie nights and sleepovers – this is the ultimate book to encourage a joy of cooking and eating from an early age. Check out her Mean Green Pesto and Popcorn Bags for starters.
Ideal for: 6+ years
BUY HERE>> Basics to Brilliance Kids By Donna Hay
Kids in the Kitchen by Amanda Grant
Let the kids loose in the kitchen with this great cookbook from one of the UK’s leading children’s food educators, authors and founder of the Cook School Club, Amanda Grant. With more than 50 recipes. what is great about this book is it teaches core cooking skills by age range – for children aged 3–5 years, 5–7 years and 7–11 years – therefore offering age-approiate lessons to suit a child’s development, self-confidence and independence level. With step-by-step photographs, it also explains hygiene and kitchen safety. A must for all budding young homecooks and chefs.
Ideal for: 3+ years
BUY HERE>> Kids in The Kitchen by Amanda Grant
Williams-Sonoma the Cookbook for Kids: Great Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook by Lisa Atwood
Packed with more than 60 easy to follow recipes for yummy treats like crepes and cookies to fish tacos and nachos and granola bars for after-school snacks, this Williams-Sonoma (a popular kitchenware retailer in USA) cookbook for kids will help make cooking loads of fun for all. Filled with colorful illustrations and fun facts – this will fast become one of their favourite books to whip up a storm in the kitchen.
Ideal for: 6+ years
Silver Spoon for Children: Favourite Italian Recipes
This is the 10th anniversary edition of the Silver Spoon for Children (a specially adapted children’s verison of The Silver Spoon – one of the most influential Italian cookbooks of the last 50 years) and, features a fabulous collection of quick, wholesome, Italian dishes that kids can easily prepare themselves. With a fresh new layout, beautiful specially commissioned illustrations and elegant photographs of the finished dishes – it’s also reassuring to know this edit of authentic regional Italian dishes – have been chosen by a nutritional expert for their simple instructions, achievability, and balanced nutrition. This has been a firm Junior fave for years. Check out this Classic Lasagne, Home-Made Focaccia and Banana Cream Pudding for starters.
Ideal for: 7+ years
Super Skills: How to Cook in 10 Easy Lessons by Wendy Sweetser
This is a perfect first cookbook for any young chef as it teaches the fundamental ‘ten super skills’ needed to become an expert chef in your own kitchen. From advice on how to safely hold a knife to learning how to fry onions and tips on how to knead dough and whisk egg whites – this book explains how to use kitchen equipment properly and safely in a way children can easily understand. With over 35 mouth-watering recipes, easy-to-follow explanations and clear, step-by-step graphics throughout this is much more than just a recipe book – it’s a personal cooking class for young readers keen to find their way around the kitchen and give cooking a try. Also, available in a spiral bound edition for easy page flipping.
Ideal for: 7+ years
In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy by Mardi Michels
For budding Francophiles this gorgeous cookbook by French teacher, writer and recipe developer behind eat. live. travel. write blog, Mardi Michels comes fuss-free guide to proving French food doesn’t have to be complicated. Full of French classics like Omelettes, Croque-Monsieurs and Steak Frites and, yummy sweet treats like Profiteroles, Madeleines or Crème Brûlée this approachable cookbook is filled with warm, empowering and encouraging instructions to give any child confidence in the kitchen. With helpful timetables to plan out baking projects, as well as tips on how to get kids involved in the cooking, this book breaks down any preconceived notion that French cuisine is too fancy or too difficult for kids (and us adults for that matter) to master.
Ideal for: 9+ years
Look I’m a Cook (Look! I’m Learning)
Bursting with exciting, easy-peasy recipes for kids, Look I’m a Cook lets little chefs explore and discover the wonderful world of food with all their senses. Younger children will delight at putting together ‘fragrant sunshine strawberries’, ‘crunchy vegetable stick trains’, and ‘melt in the mouth meringue mountains’. The perfect cookbook for tiny chefs to learn, play and make as they touch, smell, see, hear, and taste their way to delicious food, learning and those all important first flurry into the kitchen.
Ideal for: 3+ years
BUY HERE>> Look I’m a Cook (Look! I’m Learning) by DK
The World in My Kitchen: Global Recipes for Kids to Discover and Cook by Sally Brown and Kate Morris
From the co-devisors of CBeebies’ I Can Cook, The World In My Kitchen encourages children to discover recipes from around the world. With simple to follow recipes, full colour pictures for each recipe – and our favourite bit, interesting facts about the countries and continents in question, their cultures, how to say the recipe name in the countries own language and beautiful map illustrations showing you exactly where the recipe comes from. A cooking and geography lesson all rolled into one. This book would be the ideal way to introduce and encourage kids to try new foods and some global flavours as well as discovering, among many other facts how children in China eat squiggly noodles without knives and forks!
Ideal for: 4+ years
The Ultimate Kids’ Cookbook by Tiffany Dahle
This really is the ultimate cookbook. A cookbook written for children that actually teaches them how to cook real meals that are healthy, varied, and the whole family can enjoy. Turning mealtime into a fun family activity with kids at the center of the action chopping veggies, stirring the pot or adding ingredients – and inspiring confidence in the kitchen along the way. This cookbook includes 75 one-pot recipes (meaning less mess, less cleanup and less work) that are based on familiar foods but with an interesting flavor twist or variation helping families avoid getting stuck in a rut making the same foods week after week (we all do it!). For example you can rustle up a Cheesy Egg Breakfast Casserole, Peanut Butter and Jelly Waffles, Pork Picadillo Burrito Bowls, Crustless Chicken Pot Pie for Potsticker Stir Fry – and then happily enjoy the finished dish all together.
Ideal for: 6+ years
BUY HERE>> The Ultimate Kids’ Cookbook by Tiffany Dahle
20 Recipes Kids Should Know by Esme Washburn and Calista Washburn
This cookbook features twenty classic recipes that are fun, easy to prepare, healthy, and adaptable – but, with a twist. As this cookbook is written and photographed by a pair of young sisters, making this a clear and accessible style of book that kids will find enjoyable to follow and appealing at the same time. With recipes for banana bread and the perfect grilled cheese to breaded chicken and apple pie this is the sort of book kids will turn to time and time again. Buy one for your child and one for their best friend too.
Ideal for: 10+ years