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! :)

Below are my top 10 recipes for sharing the cooking duties with your kids (click the name for the full recipe). But before we get to those, I want to mention a full resource that’s super helpful for getting kids in the kitchen. Camp Kitchen, a 5 day at-home cooking camp for kids, offers a structure that has 5 themed days, each with 3 recipes each. You get shopping lists and images, too, and tips that can help you along the way. Kiran on our team has put together this ebook that has been enjoyed by so many. Check out the recipes below and for a structured plan, check out Camp Kitchen!

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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  1. Thank you for the tips! There are so many benefits of letting kids help cook with you. Both of my kids are little and I decided to start allowing them to help me cook so they can learn good habits. was a great article that helped explain the benefits. It is a great read, which led me to research different tips to use and stumbles upon your blog! So thank you, I will be using it tonight!

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

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

  6. 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!

  7. My 8 yr. old LOVES to help with this dish. From cutting it all up to stuffing the chicken! (That’s her favorite part actually =) and yes, I place the chicken in the dish and yes I wash her hands thoroughly before and after she handles the chicken. =) )

    Rosemary Chicken

    1 whole pastured Chicken (4-5lb)
    1 apple small (cut up)
    2 onions (cut up)
    1 celery stalk (cut up)
    several sprigs of rosemary
    Olive oil
    sea salt and pepper

    Rinse chicken and place in Glass dish
    drizzle olive oil in chicken cavity and then stuff with 1 sprig of Rosemary, apple, celery, and one onion.

    Scatter one onion chopped around Chicken in dish, drizzle olive oil and Rosemary

    rub olive oil and salt and pepper into skin of chicken

    Cook at 350 for 1 1/2 – 2 hrs.

    Let sit for 10 – 15 min. before cutting and serving (allowing the juices to settle back into Chicken)

  8. I have 4 granddaughters and they love to help me bake:) They range in ages, from 1 to 10 years old and there is something for each one of them to do, they like licking the spoon and even like cleaning the kitchen together, this is truly quality time spent together as a family.

  9. My six year old twins just got mini baking sets for their birthday, which including little mini baking shaped baking pans (butterfly, heart etc) which we use to make individual crustless quiches – they put some chopped feta and sliced olives in the bottom of the pans, whisk and egg and pour it on top and then I put it in the oven for them – they come out looking great!

  10. My 28 year old coworker doesn’t know how to cook from scratch. As in, “I don’t know how to cut vegetables.” I was so excited for her when she made a pizza herself (store-bought crust, but still impressive). And I talked her into agreeing to learn how to make her mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese to bring to the Christmas potluck at work next month. I’m also thinking of getting together with the other people at work and putting together a bunch of simple recipes for her.

  11. It would seem that making a top 10 healthy recipe would be easy with 1000s of healthy options out there. I can not understand how so many wheat products made the list. Also, how is it that fudgcicles and ice cream made the top 10? In my opinion, if these are the first 10 recipes we are teaching our kids we are in a lot of trouble.

    (and I don’t want to be a negative nelly. I love 99.9% of your posts and articles. I was just shocked to see the contents of this list)

  12. All of these meals seem like a great place to start. I was wondering though… Every time you bake/cook with whole grain, are you grinding your own wheat?

  13. My 13yo son makes a killer chicken noodle soup. He takes seasoned chicken from the freezer (I cube it, season w/garlic, s&p, parsley, whatever else looks good and freeze in meal size packages), adds veggies (both fresh and some that I’ve dehydrated) and cooks in water. He cooks whole grain noodles on the side. You put the noodles in the bowl and ladle the soup over so the noodles don’t get nasty if you have leftovers. He loves cooking for us. Our next step is to teach him how to prepare the seasoned chicken for the freezer.

  14. I love following your posts!! We are on our own journey to clean eating! We just discovered the best milk, we seriously LOVE it! It looks like you buy the same milk!!! Is that the non-homogenized whole milk from earth fare?!? We LOVE it!!

  15. My daughter has been in the kitchen with me since she was an infant. As corny as it sounds, I’d have her in a bouncy seatand talk to her as if I were hosting a cooking show, telling her what I was doing and why. I knew I was getting through when she started putting her play food into a “hot degree oven”as soon as she was old enough to play kitchen with her dolls. Now that she is eight, she is a huge help in the kitchen, and she’s starting to teach her baby brother all she knows right alongside mama! She likes to make up her own recipes and she even cooks dinner all by herself from time to time. Plus, the kitchen is a great place to reinforce math and science skills.