Meal Plan

Your Best Advice for Cooking with Kids

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline—it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge—and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Kid-friendly recipes—that kids can help make. 

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Kids can be tricky to cook for: Broccoli is too green, eggs are too rubbery, and fish tastes too fishy. Unless you lucked out with an un-picky eater, and it's all rainbows and brussels sprouts, it's easy to get stuck in a rut of spaghetti with butter. And if you're new to the game, cooking for kids is even more intimidating.

Over on the Hotline, Franziska wants to know your suggestions for cooking with a 5-year-old—her best friend's daughter who she'll be spending part of the summer with. "As the 'honorable auntie' I would love to get her into my favorite past time, cooking and baking," she says. From pasta making to pizza topping, here are your best tips for kid-friendly cooking. 

  • C Sangueza says to make pasta. After kneading, let kids help roll the dough out—with either a rolling pin or pasta maker.
  • Nancy suggests teaching kids non-knife prep skills, like shelling peas, washing lettuce, and garnishing soup. 
  • lastnightsdinner's son loves to help make Merrill's cream biscuits

More: Check out Amanda's Kids' Lunch for some inspirational midday meals.

  • Dinner at ten thinks "mashed things would be a hit," like guacamole.
  • Make pizza dough, says keg72, and then let kids top their own personal pies with sauce, cheese, and whatever else they like.
  • "My 5-year-old son loves to make Merrill's banana bread," says jlhogan. "It's a great recipe to make with kids because it only needs one bowl and no special equipment, and it's very forgiving."

What are your favorite kid-friendly recipes and/or cooking projects? Tell us in the comments below! 

Photos by James Ransom and Mark Weinberg 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kerry
  • Beth Whitesell
    Beth Whitesell
  • Melissa Hogarty
    Melissa Hogarty
I fall in love with every sandwich I ever meet.


Kerry July 27, 2015
I think it is smart to let kids explore in the kitchen. We have kid-friendly plastic knives my 2 year old daughter uses! She loves to cut strawberries for baking and snack time. We keep her items in the fridge at her level and have a cabinet she can reach for her plates, etc. I'm always surprised what she can do if we give her a little space! I think kids are more inclined to eat/try new foods if they are involved in making them.
Beth W. July 26, 2015
I recently made carrot burgers and my 15-month old loved them. It was a great way to get a serving of veggies in! Also love banana cookies with oats since she stopped wanting to eat bananas. She will eat the cookies, though!
Melissa H. July 26, 2015
I love to bake with my kid! Any cookie, brownie, or cupcake will do. Here is a great tutorial on baking with little ones: