17 Tasty Recipes to Get Your Kids Comfortable In the Kitchen

January  5, 2018

Growing up, I had a limited role in the kitchen: stir muffin batter. It’s not that my mom and dad weren’t great cooks (they are!), it’s that they didn’t trust me around sharp knives, hot ovens, or simmering pots. I can appreciate their abundance of caution—it’s important to teach kids kitchen safety—but I can’t help but wish they would have let me in on the cooking sooner. Maybe then I would have learned to scramble eggs before college.

There’s no exact science of when kids can start cooking, but the earlier the better. Not only does mixing and stirring and baking and boiling teach valuable skills, it also gives a boost of confidence they can carry outside of the kitchen. Don't worry about sending them off to whip up dinner. Begin with projects where they can pitch in—even little hands can help shape meatballs or mash bananas. For some inspiration, here are 17 recipes kids can help cook.

Mix & Stir

Mash & Smash

Press & Shape

What are recipes you or your kids learned to cook with? Anyone too ambitious?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • BerryBaby
  • Jennifer
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


BerryBaby January 7, 2018
When daughter was about 4 she wanted to help cook. Started making the salad. She was able to tear the lettuce and I would cut additional vegetables and she would toss it together. It was her idea to sprinkle it with club soda and put it in the fridge to get cold. She started caliing it “My Famous Salad”. Thirty three years later she is a dynamic cook! Makes up recipes as she goes along. I love when she visits and we cook together.
Jennifer January 7, 2018
I especially encourage inviting kids to participate in preparation of food about which they're iffy. Not food they dread, but food they have not yet learned to love. Learning how food is made and getting credit for helping bring a meal to the table go a long way to helping kids because more adventurous eaters. (But know your child's limits--a child who has expressed interest in becoming a vegetarian probably doesn't want to stick little hands into a bowl of ground pork/lamb for meatloaf.)