June 23, 2021
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If you have a child eager to help out with the cooking in your house, count it a blessing! And if you aren’t sure where to start, no worries, this post includes recipes for kids to make, plus tips to help them get started and become a reliable helper in the kitchen.
From elementary to middle school and beyond, getting kids of all ages in the kitchen is a great way to teach them recipe basics and develop an appreciation for food.
What Can Kids Cook?
Have a kid who always seems to want to help you make dinner? I’m sure you wouldn’t mind the help, but if you don’t know where to start, below, I’ve provided examples of tasks kids can complete based on age as well as recipes that will help them get more confident in their ability to help out.
Once they’ve mastered these recipes, you can feel more comfortable delegating some of the cooking on nights when you need “an extra pair of hands.
Keep in mind that the list is a general overview, but every child’s capabilities will look different, assess where your child’s abilities best fit and modify as needed. Download this list as a printable here!
3-5 YEAR OLDS
- Washing and putting away produce
- Prep Lettuce
- Stirring, mixing, and folding batter
- Dough: kneading, rolling, cutting
- Greasing pans or baking dishes
- Cracking eggs
5-7 YEAR OLDS
- Using a small knife for soft foods
- Using a small pair of kitchen scissors
- Grating skills
- Setting the table
- Measuring dry and wet ingredients
- Seasoning and rubs
- Whisking eggs
8-11 YEAR OLDS
- Follow a simple recipe
- Wrapping & storing leftovers
- Making salads
- Opening cans, draining & rinsing
- Using heat: stove, toaster oven, griddle (supervised)
12+ YEAR OLDS
- Oven cooking
- Eggs, brown meat, sauté
- Cooking pasta
- Cooking rice & grains
- Using food processors, slow cookers, instant pots
- Cleaning meats
- Cooking from a Recipe
Free Kids Cookbook!
Download the list above as a printable checklist plus a mini-cookbook for kids here! This free resource includes 5 easy recipes kids can make, plus cooking videos so they can follow along.
Recipes for Kids 7 and Under to Make
While jobs in the kitchen can seem limited for this age group, simple recipes like the ones in this category are easy enough for young kids to undertake.
Things like spreading sauce onto a tortilla, adding toppings, assembling a parfait, and placing ingredients onto the proper dinnerware create a strong base before they begin to learn more advanced tasks.
*As for any kitchen tasks involving 12 years and under, adult supervision is needed as some steps will require assistance.
Recipe: Tortilla Pizza
A fun lunch or quick and easy dinner, these personal-size pizzas are a simple recipe kids can use as a “starter” recipe.
Will Need Help With: Preheating the oven and inserting the baking sheet into the oven.
Recipe: Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits
A sweet and creamy snack, or a fun breakfast, homemade parfaits are a great way to build your child’s confidence in the kitchen. They’ll create layers of yogurt, their favorite fruits and maybe even nuts and granola.
Might Need Help With: Chopping the fruit.
Recipe: Microwaving Bacon
Tasty bacon in a matter of minutes? YES PLEASE! Kids will love being able to prep their favorite breakfast food for themselves.
Might Need Help With: Setting the correct time on the microwave.
Recipe: No-Bake Blondies
This simple dessert comes together in just one bowl, and doesn’t require any heat, so it’s a great recipe kids can make from start to finish.
Might Need Help With: Measuring ingredients and spreading the mixture into the pan.
While teaching kids to cook is a great experience, I don’t recommend trying it if you are overly tired or pressed for time.
Instead, take advantage of the weekend or evenings when you have a few minutes to spare. This creates a more relaxed environment in which you can instruct and they can learn.
Recipes 8 to 11-Year-Olds Can Cook
You child’s motor skills are more developed at this age, which means they can take on tasks such as shaping, forming, and measuring. They will still need guidance and gentle reminders when working with dishes like scrambled eggs or properly operating a high-speed blender (don’t forget the lid!) but this is a great time to start working on bigger dishes in the kitchen.
Rainbow Fruit Skewers
This rainbow snack is cute and fun! Who doesn’t love eating snacks from a stick?
Might Need Help With: Slicing the fruit and skewering the fruit.
This quick breakfast is a great one for kids to start using the skillet. Bonus: I’ve never met a kid who didn’t love whisking eggs!
Might Need Help With: Properly heating the skillet.
Another fun egg recipe, this one bakes the eggs into adorable little cups that kids can eat for breakfast, munch on for a snack and even pack in a lunchbox.
Might Need help with: Preheating the oven.
Triple Berry Smoothie
Sweet, healthy and delicious, this smoothie is full of fruit and amazing flavor. Always a winner.
Might Need Help With: Adult supervision with the blender.
A breakfast recipe kids can prep-ahead for themselves the night before? Oh yeah! Overnight oats make mornings a breeze when your kids make them the night before.
Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches
From mashing eggs, to watching the salad turn green as everything mixes together – this recipe couldn’t be more fun to make. It’s one kids will ask to make again and again.
Might Need Help With: Hard-boiling and peeling the eggs.
Cobb Pasta Salad
This recipe is an impressive one that kids can prepare for parties and gatherings. They’ll be proud to point out that they made this epic side dish themselves!
Might Need Help With: Boiling and draining the pasta.
Slow Cooker Meatballs
Serve them for an appetizer, prep them for snacks, or even make them for dinner. There’s literally never a bad time for kids to make this fun and easy meatball recipe!
Might Need Help With: Placing the ingredients in the slow cooker and setting to cook.
Recipes Tweens and Teens (12+)Can Cook
If you have a teen or tween ready to step up their game in the kitchen, the recipes below are a perfect way to get them comfortable making entire meals independently. A few may need adult supervision on a few steps, while others they can do entirely solo if you are both comfortable with that idea.
The MOMables YouTube channel is also an excellent source for young adults eager to help out in the kitchen. The videos show you how to make incredible meals from start to finish, along with tips and videos on proper techniques for basic kitchen skills.
Now, let’s get on with the recipes!
A total crowd-pleaser and basic one-pot wonder that requires browning beef, stirring ingredients, and baking.
Baked Sausage & Peppers
From slicing peppers and onions to arranging the ingredients on the baking sheet, sheet pan dinners are great to get young adults comfortable with the oven. Not to mention, it’s a dinner that’s easy to perfect.
You can’t teach them this basic recipe soon enough! Perfecting the fried egg takes a few tries, but they’ll be set for Huevos Rancheros and brunch time favorites for life once they get it.
Making hummus from scratch is a very satisfying experience for younger kitchen and hummus enthusiasts.
A lasagna that needs no assembling and can be cooked on the stove. This recipe is a simple and good way to get them cooking over an open flame or electric heat.
If you find this type of material helpful in teaching your kids how to cook, this post goes more in-depth on the types of tasks and responsibilities you can designate based on age.
Recipes for Kids to Cook (By Age)
- 4 flour tortillas
- Olive oil or cooking spray
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- ½ cup shredded cheese
- Chopped basil
- Preheat the oven to 375F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Brush the tortillas with olive or spray with cooking spray.
- Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over each tortilla.
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese over each tortilla and top with desired toppings.
- Place the tortilla onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven, slice, and serve. If packing for lunches, allow the pizza slices to cool down to room temperature before packing into lunch containers.
i love all of the recipies on here thankyou ;)
I am 12 and this was all so fun to make!!!!<3