Real Food Tips: 10 Recipes To Cook With Your Kids

There is no better time than now to spend some quality time in the kitchen with your kids. Despite all the learning our children do when they are off at school, a few things they are not being taught are some pretty important household duties like cooking, cleaning, and laundry – just to name a few. In Michael Pollan’s newest book, Cooked, he said himself that,

cooking from scratch

That’s a pretty strong statement – don’t you think? I personally want cooking to be second nature to my girls when it is time for me to send them off into the world, which means I need them to start learning these skills now! It’s no secret that getting your kids in the kitchen – even starting as young as 1 or 2 years old – can lead to many benefits like increased confidence, more adventurous eaters, and quality time together. But it’s also of course no secret that it’s more work for mom and dad to slow down the cooking pace and deal with more of a mess in the process, but I can assure you that it is totally worth it in the end. It does not need to be an every day occurrence …even cooking with your little one only once every week or two will go a long way!

kids in the kitchen

So it’s time for you to schedule a little cooking project with your kid(s) – no matter their age. From toddlers who stir pancake batter to kindergartners who can cook scrambled eggs on the stove (supervised of course) to 8-year-olds who follow and make entire recipes by themselves (we’ve just recently reached this milestone with our oldest daughter), the moral of the story is “better late than never.” So get in there and get cooking together! :)

Here are my top 10 recipes for sharing the cooking duties with your kids (click the name for the full recipe):

1. Whole-Wheat Pancakes and Waffles

Classic choice for involving kids, right? Well this is a great place to start for a reason. Let little ones stir the batter, 5 and 6 year-olds can man the waffle iron, and 7 and 8-year-olds can flip the pancakes on the stove. Everyone can help measure out ingredients :)

whole wheat waffles

2. Fudge Pops

If chocolate is involved – who wouldn’t be game? This is a great recipe for teaching your little ones how liquids should be measured in a glass measuring cup with a spout and dry ingredients in cups that can be leveled off.

fudge pops

3. Taco Salad

The great thing about tacos – either in the shell or over lettuce – is that there is a job for everyone. Someone grates the cheese, someone washes the lettuce, someone measures out the spices, someone cooks the meat, and then – voila! – you have dinner. And if you are lucky maybe your reluctant picky eaters will eat a piece of lettuce or two if it is mixed in with some yummy taco meat. :)

taco salad

4. Individual Whole-Wheat Pizzas

Yes, this is another classic one, but again – for a reason! Forget your old pizza routine and make this whole-grain dough together from scratch. Then come dinner time, divide up the dough so each person can roll out their own personal-sized pizza, and even put on their own toppings. Put plenty of healthy topping choices to choose from – like bell peppers and pesto –  in little bowls.

whole wheat pizza

5. Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie

This recipe is a fun one because it’s hard to mess up. Even if you put a little too much of this or not enough of that it will probably still taste great. And little hands can peel the bananas for you and throw a bunch of spinach in the blender and push the button, of course!

PB and J smoothie

6. Whole-Grain Zucchini Bread (or muffins)

This recipe is a great one for teaching kids how to find and use the right measuring spoon/cup. Don’t just hand them the 1/2 teaspoon – ask them to find it! And, with a little guidance, older kids can also help you grate the zucchini as well.

zucchini muffins

7. Whole-Wheat Biscuits

Who said biscuits had to be round? The fun part about this recipe is cutting the biscuits into different shapes before putting them in the oven. So get out your “cookie cutters” and go to town.

whole wheat biscuits

8. Scrambled Eggs

Okay, so there is no recipe link for scrambled eggs. You just crack a few eggs – great job for 3 and 4-year-olds – and whisk them together with a splash of milk and some salt and pepper. Let older kids melt the butter in the pan and stir the eggs until they are cooked all the way through (supervised of course). This dish is a very rewarding one and good for little ones without a lot of patience!


9. Homemade Ranch Dip

It’s no secret that most kids like to dip their food into something…so imagine their surprise when you help them make their very own flavored dip for veggies and whole-grain pretzels. And trust me this one is easy peasy.

ranch dip

10. Banana Ice Cream

Did you know you could make ice cream out of just straight-up frozen bananas? Yep, it’s true and you don’t need a special appliance to do it – just in your own blender! This is one where you do need to plan ahead though because the bananas need to be frozen in advance. Feel free to try different variations like peanut butter or chocolate – yum!

banana ice cream


What are your favorite “real food” dishes to cook with your kids? Please share (including links) in the comments. And I have one more cute picture of my oldest daughter to share with you :). Happy cooking!



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  • Comments

    1. Sara Erling |

      My 8 year old son makes the best guacamole!
      2 ripe avocados
      1/4 c chopped onion
      1 huge teaspoon of minced garlic
      A handful of cilantro chopped
      Juice from 1/2 a lime
      Sea salt to taste
      Put all ingredients into a bowl and mash with a pastry cutter! Yum! He loves to cook!

    2. Kelly W |

      My 2 year old made the whole wheat biscuits tonight by himself! And they turned out great. I measured everything in separate bowls, diced the butter, and then he climbed into his learning tower and took over (by force). He’s seen me do it enough times, I guess. He used a pastry cutter for the butter (HUGE MESS) and patted out the dough and made circles. I watched on sort of proud and horrified. All I had to do was put the biscuits in the oven and set a timer. Oh, and get a mop. And they really tasted good–talk about kidproof.
      Very proud mama and grateful for wonderful recipe!

      • Jessica |

        I love this comment! “I watched on sort of proud and horrified.” I have a sneaky feeling this will be me tomorrow.

    3. Momnivore |

      I know this is an old post – but I just recently purchased the Kids Kitchen recipe box for my 4 and 6 y/o boys and we love it. It’s all vegetarian, real recipes from scratch. A wide variety of snacks, desserts, and main courses. We’ve made lentil dal with yellow rice, and we’ve done bean burritos. It’s been great! So happy to have stumbled upon it and upon your website too. I LOVE it!

    4. Sarah |

      ehen I was doing my student teaching & living with my cousin’s family we all had a night to make dinner. Even the 7-8 year old. He would often make grilled cheese or homemade pretzels with soup (from a can) but it was great to take the pressure off of their mom. I plan on doing something similar when my kids are older (currently they are 3).

    5. Jennifer |

      My kids are 10 and 12. They started being responsible for dinner one night a week, each, during the summer a few years ago. At that time it was them choosing and helping me cook. Now they find their own recipes, look through the grocery ads for sales, check the pantry and fridge before making their shopping list, find the ingredients they need when we are at the store, and know that dad and I are available if they need help. Tonight the 12 y.o. made fish tacos from the fish her dad caught this weekend, with mango salsa, beans, and Spanish rice.

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