With schools closed indefinitely in many places due to coronavirus and kids suddenly spending all their time at home (parents too), it’s a great time to teach them how to cook. We’ve covered general tips on cooking with kids and fun ways to teach math and science in the kitchen, rounded up adorable edible crafts, and even curated the best kitchen tools for little chefs—but here we’re spotlighting the best cookbooks for kids, so they’re never short on inspiration. And maybe they’ll start making you dinner on the regular…
When I was in second grade, my aunt gifted me a copy of “The Fisher Price Fun with Food Cookbook” by Lisa Demauro. On the cover was an illustration of a black and white dog wearing a chef’s hat; mixing bowl in hand. I was in cookbook love at first sight.
Prior to this, I’d never expressed much interest in food (I preferred telling stories at lunch hour or the dinner table over finishing what was on my plate), but I’d spend hours looking through the pages of “Fun with Food,” studying recipes for things like “Dilly Dip and Tomato Dippers” (veggies and dip) and “Maple Peanut Softies” (a no-bake square). Thirty years later, not much has changed. I’m still wholly obsessed with food thanks to this cookbook.
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Here are some of the best cookbooks geared towards children today.
Calling all young chefs! For any young people who’ve ever fantasized about wowing their loved ones with ridiculously fluffy pancakes or the perfect breakfast tacos, this #1 New York Times Bestseller is sure to provide hours of inspiration. While creating the book, recipes were thoroughly tested by more than 750 kids to ensure they worked for cooks of all skill levels―including recipes for breakfast, snacks and beverages, dinners, desserts, and more. Designed to help kids learn kitchen skills from the best cooks, it also includes testimonials from kid test cooks who worked alongside America’s Test Kitchen, giving the book a “for kids, by kids” feel.Buy Now
“Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls” by Betty Crocker and Gloria Kamen (Illustrator), $10.29 on Amazon
Amazon ratings don’t lie. With close to 2,000 near perfect reviews, parents still stand by this classic Betty Crocker cookbook for children that was originally published in 1957. It’s easy to see why it’s still popular 45 years later. It’s packed full of recipes for kid-friendly favorites like Ice Cream Cone Cakes and Pigs in Blankets to Cheese Dreams, Cinnamon Muffins, and Sloppy Joes. The original mid-century modern illustrations give the book retro appeal, while the updated concealed wire binding allows the book to lie flat for easy use while cooking.Buy Now
“Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!)” by Deanna F. Cook, $13.99 on Amazon
Award winning author Deanna F. Cook has created a collection of 50+ recipes designed to teach kids basic cooking techniques using kid-friendly language. Inside this colorful book you’ll find recipes for favorites like applesauce, French toast, popcorn chicken, pizza, and more—all made with fresh, healthy ingredients. You’ll even find a few whimsical touches like a recipe for “egg mice” (a staple you might remember from childhood birthday parties).Buy Now
“MasterChef Junior Cookbook: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Cooks” by MasterChef Junior and Christina Tosi, $17.99 on Amazon
Described by one parent as “a fantastic compromise between dumbed down kids books and real cooking instruction,” this MasterChef Junior companion cookbook contains tons of helpful cooking techniques alongside favorite recipes from the beloved show. In other words, don’t expect to find a recipe for peanut butter and banana sandwiches in this one. Instead, think easy but elevated recipes for things like Gnocchi with Brown Butter–Sage Sauce and Tomatoes, Seared Scallops, Crostini with Shrimp, and Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie. There’s even a recipe for Filet Mignon with Lobster (because you’re never too young to enjoy a gourmet take on surf and turf).Buy Now
Don’t be put off by the cover and title, this Disney princess inspired cookbook actually has a lot to offer budding cooks. Inspired by the Princesses’ many adventures (with lots of helpful cooking tips from the Princesses themselves), this illustrated collection is a big hit with parents and kiddos alike. Unlike what the royal title may suggest, people praise this book for its encouraging, down-to-earth tone. Also, the recipes are easy to make and just plain fun. Fancy one of Ariel’s Sea Turtle Cupcakes or serving of Jasmine’s Homemade Hummus, anyone?Buy Now
“The Cookbook for Kids (Williams-Sonoma): Great Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook” by Lisa Atwood, $12.49 on Amazon
Described by one parent as “recipes your family would want to eat,” this kid-centric cookbook from Williams and Sonoma features plenty of easy-to-make classic recipes that feature just enough whimsy to keep kids interested. Designed to be a cookbook your little chef can grow with, inside you’ll find tasty looking recipes for everything from Berry Yogurt Parfaits and Cinnamon Swirl French Toast to Tortellini Alfredo. You might even pick up a few tips yourself.Buy Now
“In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy” by Mardi Michels, $16.49 on Amazon
It’s not uncommon to find author Mardi Michels—French teacher and the well-known blogger behind eat. live. travel. write—holed up in her school’s science lab teaching children to slice, dice, mix, knead, and, most importantly, taste. Shortlisted for the 2019 Taste Canada Awards, Mardi’s book has one goal in mind: show that French cooking isn’t complicated, but rather something that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The cookbook features easy, approachable recipes tailored for young chefs. Perfect for Francophiles of all ages, inside you’ll find savory favorites like Omelettes, Croque-Monsieurs, and Steak Frites, along with sweet treats like Profiteroles, Madeleines, and Crème Brûlée.Buy Now
“The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory—More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Wizards and Non-Wizards Alike” by Dinah Bucholz, $10.95 on Amazon
With this wildly popular cookbook, cooking your Hogwarts favorites is now “as easy as Banoffi Pie.” Perfect for Harry Potter fans big and small, this cookbook shows how to make over 150 different dishes pulled right from the pages of the series. Expect to find magically easy recipes for things like Molly’s Meat Pies, Kreacher’s French Onion Soup, and Pumpkin Pasties (a staple on the Hogwarts Express cart). Fans of the series are sure to love this collection, like a young wizard loves treacle.Buy Now
“American Girl Baking: Recipes for Cookies, Cupcakes & More” by Williams-Sonoma and American Girl, $14.51 on Amazon
Designed to help young people “bake like you mean it!,” this is the perfect book for the girl (or boy!) in your family. The book highlights essential baking techniques, covering everything from cookies and cupcakes to madeleines, squares, and blondies. While the recipes are geared towards kids, confections like cinnamon-sugar snickerdoodles, rocky road fudge, and red velvet cake are likely to appeal to sweet tooth havers of all ages.Buy Now
If you’ve ever caught your curious kiddo pouring the contents of the fridge into the sink because “they wanted to see what color it would turn,” this book is just what you need in your life. Cobb and Carpenter’s cookbook demonstrates scientific principles that underpin the chemical reactions we witness every day—just by cooking. Full of contemporary information that reflects changes in the world of processing and preserving foods, this cookbook uses simple recipes for things like popcorn and meringues to make science accessible to children. Even better—after they’ve tested their theories and completed their experiments, they can eat the results.Buy Now
Header image courtesy of Amazon