There comes a time in every parent’s life when #adulting is just too much, especially when faced with cooking yet another dinner after a long day. We could all use a hand sharing the cooking load, and if you have a willing army of minions (or one) to help – put them to work!

Cooking isn’t only super fun for most kids; it also carries some surprising benefits. The youngest children gain gross motor skills manipulating simple ingredients and combining them into concoctions. Older children learn math – especially fractions – by doubling and tripling recipes. And all along the way, kids are gaining self-esteem and a seriously important life skill – feeding themselves and others.

We’ve rounded up some great cookbooks to inspire everyone from the youngest cooks to emerging teen gourmands.

Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up

This thoughtfully written and beautifully illustrated cookbook by Mollie Katzen (of Moosewood Cookbook fame) is a great introduction to cooking for small children. Each recipe has detailed instructions for the grown-up helper, followed by step-by-step instructions and pictures for the child.


$17.99 – Available on Amazon or at your local bookseller.

Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cookbook

The highly-rated and best selling classic has a new look and 65 additional recipes for kids 5-12. The layout is appealing and easy to follow: each recipe has a photo of the dish and feature characters who “narrate” a story to go along with it. And most importantly for those kids who love to make their own versions, each recipe gives suggestions for ways that kids can put their own creative spin on the dish.


$16.99 – Available on Amazon or at your local bookseller.

The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook (Kids Can!)

Go beyond the basics and introduce kids 7-14 to flavors and dishes from around the world. This hands-on introduction teaches kids about global cultures and how to cook their simple dishes. Author Deanna Cook actually traveled the globe interviewing 4th graders about their favorite foods (some of these children are shown throughout the book).


$12.99 – Available on Amazon or at your local bookseller.

How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food

For older kids and teens that love to cook, Mark Bittman’s classic is the perfect way to expand into the world of “grown up” cookbooks. He literally teaches you to cook everything—from pancakes to pasta—using fresh ingredients and basic kitchen equipment. “Anyone can cook,” he says at the beginning, “and most everyone should.”


$17.60 – Available on Amazon or at your local bookseller.

Do you have a favorite kids cookbook of your own? Leave us a comment below!

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