Cooking is a life skill that’s invaluable. If you can cook for yourself, you’ll never have to depend on anyone for your meal. And it also helps people make healthier food choices.
Like most essential skills, it’s best to learn to cook when one is young. Which is why you can never go wrong if you encourage your kids to learn how to cook and kids cookbooks are a helpful tool for doing so. Not only is cooking a great way to bond with them, but it’s also a way of getting them to appreciate food and nutrition.
Cooking forms character and instills a sense of responsibility among children. It also builds up their basic language, math, and science skills as they navigate with the culinary measurements in the kitchen.
And to get them started, it helps to have a good cookbook that’s child-friendly. A good one makes the recipes fun and engaging for them. But the right one can kick start a lifelong love affair with cooking.
There’s no particular age for a child to get involved with cooking. In fact, there are cookbooks that are geared for toddlers. These combine story telling with very basic recipes that stimulate the senses and brain development of kids.
Then there are cookbooks that cater to preschool and school age kids. Some of them may feature recipes that require some parental supervision but for the most part will have recipes that are basic and easy to do like teaching a kid how to make a sandwich or how to assemble a vegetarian salad.
And then there are the overachievers. With the success of cooking shows like MasterChef Junior, the public has now become aware of very talented kid chefs who can give professionals a run for their money. If you’ve got one in your family, the best cookbook that you can give is one that sufficiently challenges their skill and stimulates their creativity.
In this list, I’ve rounded up the best ones I could find on the internet that are just right for kids. Whether you’re looking for something basic or something interesting enough to keep your children preoccupied in the kitchen, this list covers it all. Here are my top 10 kids' cookbooks on Amazon.
Best Kids Cookbooks
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs: 100+ Recipes that You'll Love to Cook and Eat Hardcover
- Kid in the Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Tips for Young Home Cooks: A Cookbook Hardcover – Illustrated,
- The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make Hardcover – Illustrated
- Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up Hardcover – Illustrated
- Chef Junior: 100 Super Delicious Recipes by Kids for Kids! Hardcover – Illustrated
- Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!) Spiral-bound – Illustrated
- Kid Chef Bakes: The Kids Cookbook for Aspiring Bakers Paperback
- MasterChef Junior Cookbook: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Cooks Paperback – Illustrated
- The Vegan Cookbook for Kids: Easy Plant-Based Recipes for Young Chefs Paperback
- Complete Children's Cookbook: Delicious Step-by-Step Recipes for Young Cooks Hardcover
1. The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs: 100+ Recipes that You'll Love to Cook and Eat Hardcover
This is a collection of recipes that have been simplified to make it easy for children to do. There’s a variety of dishes here from all meal types, including breakfast, snacks, beverages, desserts, and dinner recipes.
More importantly, these recipes have been tested by more than 750 kids so that any child can do it whatever the skill level. Like other American Test Kitchen (ATK) books, there are step-by-step photos of tips and techniques that will help build a young chef’s confidence in making the dish.
The recipes are marked as easy, medium, or advanced. The book also has testimonials from kid test cooks who’ve worked with ATK in developing the recipes. Readers like this cookbook because it easily covers the basics and explains familiar American flavors. It’s a great reference cookbook for kids interested in learning how to cook.
2. Kid in the Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Tips for Young Home Cooks: A Cookbook Hardcover
This is a cookbook written by a mother who’s been cooking with her own kid for years. The author will take you step-by-step in understanding and creating each dish, whether it's a sandwich, a one-pot meal, or a gooey dessert.
Recipes are written easily but some readers noted that these are geared to the kid that already has some cooking skills. Nevertheless, each recipe has really clear explanations and how-tos.
There are also sections in the book that explain the most helpful kitchen tools and how to use them. For example, it will teach the young chef how to properly hold a kitchen knife so he doesn’t get injured. It will even point out which recipe rules one can break when making the recipe or how to snap Instagram worthy photos for sharing.
3. The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make Hardcover – Illustrated
This is the children’s version of the vegetarian cookbook “Forest Feast”. Most of the recipes there are included here but are scaled down so that any kid can do them. It also includes 20 new recipes.
The recipes are easy to do and come with lavish visual illustrations. The pictorial instruction style makes it easy for the kids to follow the recipes. Every kind of meal type is featured here, from meals and party food, to snacks and beverages.
There’s also a section here for crafty table decorations and party ideas. An illustrated guide on kitchen safety and a glossary of culinary terms round up the book
Readers liked this book because its a cookbook written for kids and not for adults to guide kids. There are also fun and unusual ideas for creating healthy and beautiful food out of the simplest ingredients.
4. Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up Hardcover – Illustrated
This is a cookbook designed for children as young as three years old and features classroom-and home-tested recipes.
Each recipe starts with instructions for the supervising adult, along with hints and safety tips. These are all easy recipes that are written with each step clearly broken down. They are also accompanied by a step-by-step picture recipe that a non-reader can use.
All the ingredients are easy to find and there’s also a substitution list for healthier options. Readers liked that the book does a good job of explaining what kitchen projects a particular age group will want to try. For instance, cracking an egg or stirring a mix would be something a three-year-old can do, while making a pancake mix would appeal more to a five-year-old.
5. Chef Junior: 100 Super Delicious Recipes by Kids for Kids! Hardcover – Illustrated
This cookbook was written by five young cooks between the ages of 12 and 15. It includes plenty of advice for making recipes allergy-friendly and a blueprint for making easy meal plans.
Recipes are written with detailed instructions and range from easy to advanced. There is also a section that teaches kids how to set up a working pantry as well as another chapter on how to use kitchen tools safely and skillfully. It also features tips on how to shop for healthy, high-quality ingredients.
Readers liked that the book is also adult-friendly; one grandmother was able to pick a few useful tips from it while using it with her grandchildren. Some older kids, meanwhile, liked the individual stories of the authors which are included in the book. This is good book to inspire kids and their parents in making healthy meals.
6. Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!) Spiral-bound – Illustrated
This is a collection of cooking projects designed for children ages 6-12. The recipes featured here are a mix of favorites like French toast and pizza to more imaginative dishes like fruit flowers and mashed potato clouds.
The book is divided into seven sections covering the basics, meals, snacks, and desserts. There are pull-out perforated pages that provide useful components like labels or homemade sauces and other goodies, recipe cards, place cards for special meals, and fun food-oriented games.
Recipes are easy to follow and are categorized into 1, 2, or 3 spoons. 1 spoon means the recipe can be made by a kid, 2 spoons means the kid has to be helped by a sibling and 3 spoons means that there should be adult supervision because the recipe will require some kitchen tools.
There are also sections on how to fold a fancy napkin and how to set the table. Readers like this book for its step-by-step photos and because it isn’t just about teaching kids how to crack an egg but also how to prepare healthy foods.
7. Kid Chef Bakes: The Kids Cookbook for Aspiring Bakers Paperback
This book is for aspiring kid bakers ages 8 to 12. More than just easy recipes, it also offers tutorials for developing basic cooking skills like measuring liquids and solids.
The opening sections cover baking basics, essential ingredients, and kitchen safety. Then there is a series of seven recipes that are the equivalent of a little Baking 101 course. It will provide tips on prepping and how to set-up, along with the essential safety tips on using an oven and stove. Finally, there is a set of advanced recipes for your budding chef to experiment and enjoy.
Readers liked the book because it bridges the gap between too simple kid recipes and a high-quality baking book. They also liked the sidebar notes which highlight the common fails in each recipe so that the kid can easily figure out what went wrong.
8. MasterChef Junior Cookbook: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Cooks Paperback – Illustrated
This is a cookbook geared for kids who are training to become professional chefs. It features 100 recipes that are inspired by the dishes developed by the MasterChef Junior contestants during the first five seasons.
These are real recipes that require some expensive ingredients. If you’ve got kids who have mastered the basic cooking techniques or are talented enough to join a season of MasterChef Junior, then they’ll love this book. But average kids will find this difficult to follow.
Still, the book offers techniques, tips and advice that any aspiring cook will find useful. Readers liked this book because it’s a great compromise between creating delicious adult recipes and making them easy for a skilled kid to follow.
9. The Vegan Cookbook for Kids: Easy Plant-Based Recipes for Young Chefs Paperback
This is a book of vegan recipes for young chefs ages 8-12. There are 50 tasty recipes here; some of them include plant-based dishes from different cuisines.
The opening sections introduce the kid to common plant-based ingredients, essential kitchen tools and cooking safety guidelines. They’ll learn how to accurately measure, safely chop and slice, and even prepare tofu.
The recipes, meanwhile, are easy to follow and involve quick prepping times. Most of the recipes use easy-to-find and inexpensive ingredients.
What this book lacks are step-by-step photos which should be a standard in kid-friendly cookbooks. Readers like this book for the variety of easy vegan recipes. It’s a good book for introducing the child to eating healthily.
10. Complete Children's Cookbook: Delicious Step-by-Step Recipes for Young Cooks Hardcover
This is a good starter cookbook for 10- to 12-yr-olds. There are 150 tasty recipes here that cover all meal types, including dessert.
Each recipe has step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow and are accompanied by photos that illustrate each stage of cooking. There are pages that feature guides on how to break down different cooking techniques and how to use them.
Readers found the tips scattered all the book to be useful. Children will be able to distinguish the difference between dicing and grating or boiling and simmering after they’ve gone through the book. Many also liked the number of pictures on each page.
Overall, this is a user-friendly book for budding chefs and kid foodies.
THE COMPLETE COOKBOOK FOR YOUNG CHEFS: 100+ RECIPES THAT YOU'LL LOVE TO COOK AND EAT HARDCOVER by the America’s Test Kitchen
Unlike most kids' cookbooks, the recipes here are not limited to smoothies, pizzas, or pasta. There’s enough variety here to interest all sorts of kids. They’re not all super basic but are easy to do and use common ingredients.
The first pages of this book are full of techniques, tips and secrets which are designed to build up their foundational skills. And as is typical with an ATK book, there are several sections on measurement conversions and healthy eating suggestions that kids will find instructive.
It also has a lot of photos which should make learning more easier. Most importantly, the recipes have been kitchen-tested and are delicious. This is a great cookbook for kids who are serious about learning the cook the right way.