Favorite Cookbooks My Kids Actually Use

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Affiliate Links About 5:30 in the evening I start imagining a fairy god-cook who whisks in and whips up a healthy meal. Since that’s NOT happening, I figured I better keep working on my kid’s cooking skills. Thus, I must find cookbooks my kids will actually like and use.

They already pack their own lunches and can make breakfast, pasta, frozen pizza, and hot dogs. But their idea of cooking a main course is coming up with an idea and having me help.

Which is NOT my idea of fairy god-cook independence. (You know, so I can lounge on the couch with a novel.)

Time to cut the apron strings.

Recently, when I was really extra tired, I decided it was time for my 13-year old to learn how to cook meat. I mean it’s practically an essential skill to cook ground beef or turkey, right? And was easier than I thought! “It’s just like cooking scrambled eggs,” my daughter said with confidence.


I eat paleo so I live on meat and veggies. Now I just have to get the kiddos up to speed on the veggies and more meat options and I’ll have my live-in fairy god-cooks. (The best laid plans . . . ?)

Of course, it’s always better received when my kids get ownership over the learning so I gave my daughters a stack of cookbooks and sticky notes with the direction, “Pick what you like. You’ll be cooking one recipe each week this summer.”

“And not all desserts, either. Main dishes.

Okay, maybe a few desserts.”

cookbooks kids

Being unorganized with my summer demands, this has not happened every week.

However, I have remembered to get them cooking — and because we tried out A LOT of cookbooks, I wanted to give you the scoop on which ones we preferred.

Some cookbooks didn’t have any sticky notes.

Some had a ton.

Which did we like the best?

Cookbooks for Kids

Favorite Cookbooks My Kids Actually Use

My goal was (and is) that my kids to know how to prepare some basics.

I encourage them to make notes in the margins so they can remember what recipes to make again or not.

Oh, and I must tell you. My kids are the WORLD’s pickiest eaters, are gluten-free, and hate all vegetables.Gluten-free became necessary for both girls after constant evening stomach aches. When we bake we use Pamela’s gluten free flour as a substitute for gluten flour.

Cookbook for Kids

1. Cooking Class
We really like this cookbook — it’s gorgeous with recipes that entice my kids! So far the favorite was hot chocolate popsicles. (See how great I’m doing on them cooking main dishes? LOL.)

2. The Best Homemade Kids Lunches on the Planet
Almost every page in this cookbook is marked because that’s how many kid-friendly recipes it includes. We think the wafflewich ideas ROCK but skip the soups. For now. Maybe one day?

3. Best Lunchbox Ever
The after school snack ideas are easy and delicious — as simple as an hard boiled egg!

4. Pinterest
It’s true, my kids love finding recipes on Pinterest probably as much as me. What a bargain, right?! Free recipes!

5. Weelicious
This is geared for young children but has recipes for older kids, too. Cottage cheese pancakes? Sounds good to me! We haven’t tried these recipes yet because I have the book on my Kindle. I don’t recommend Kindle cookbooks– it’s so much harder to flip through and use. Buy or borrow the actual book book.

Cookbooks to Skip – Who Eats This Stuff?

1. Chop Chop
Not a single recipe appealed to my kids. Or me.

2. Pretend Soup
I read tons of great reviews on this book but the lack of photos is a drawback to visual appeal and the recipe choices weren’t a match for my kids.

3. New Junior Cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens)
Is it just my kids or do yours also dislike cartoon pictures of food? Mine like real photos. With real food. This is okay but nothing special.

4. Kids Fun and Healthy Cookbook (DK)
Meh. Corn chowder. A few basics. Not for us.

5. Cooking Rocks (Rachel Ray)
No photos. Meh recipes. My kids don’t like traditional kid food though – no chicken nuggets or fries for them. Could be a hit for less picky kids.

Honestly, there are a lot more we put on the skip pile. For us, finding cookbooks was challenging!

write notes in your cookbooks

Do your kids cook yet?

What cookbooks do you or they use most frequently?

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One Comment

  1. Yes, this! I have been looking for a cookbook that will help me teach my kids how to cook. I’m a great cook, but sometimes it’s hard to break it down for a beginner. I homeschool my kids and want to add an actual focused “cooking class” to our curriculum this next year (they will be in second grade.) They cook with me in the kitchen from time to time, but I also want a time when I’m not just trying to get dinner on the table and for them to take ownership of their meal from start to finish.

    So many cookbooks for kids don’t have photos or have cartoons of food, which seems absolutely dumb to me. Thanks for the recommendations, I’m going to check it out!