A mom and her children with freshly baked cookies in a home kitchen.
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These Children's Cookbooks Will Get Your Little Chef Even More Excited About Cooking

Kitchen confidential.

Even for those who love to cook, the burden of feeding a family can be overwhelming and exhausting. The best solution? Teach your children to cook for themselves. Then you can share the responsibility and no one has an excuse for being hungry. You might be wondering where to start. Once your child has mastered the fundamentals of preparing their own PB&J it’s time for you to grab one of these best children’s cookbooks.

Each is designed to not only give kids the tools and techniques necessary to work with food, but the inspiration to get truly excited about doing so. And these books begin with even some of the tiniest beginners. That’s right, preschoolers can learn to how to cook according to these recipe books.

It’s all a matter of arming them with the right information and a helpful adult to guide the way. For example, one cookbook introduces kids to recipes via fairytales. Each classic children’s story showcases a recipe and every time adult supervision is needed, a wand image sits next to the instruction. How cute is that? But included on this best children’s cookbook list are also some recipe books for those who have graduated from make believe so kids can continue to grow in their love of making meals as they get older.

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American Girl Around The World Cookbook

American Girl Dolls have been a women’s history teaching tool since the historical figure dolls were launched in 1989. Now your child can channel their love of learning about the past with an American Girl Cookbook that takes them on a culinary tour around the world. There are recipes for Swedish meatballs and Japanese hand rolls, Greek souvlaki and Vietnamese banh mi. The 50 kid-friendly recipes will introduce children to new flavors while helping them explore the world all from the comfort of their own kitchen. And they’ll never know they’re getting a history/geogrpahy lesson in the process. “Easy to use for my seven-year-old daughter. We are excited to incorporate it in this year's eLearning / homeschooling as we discover other countries and cultures in our learning units,” as one Amazon reviewer wrote.


Bring Me Some Apples & I’ll Make You Some Pie

In terms of towering American culinary figures, Edna Lewis truly stands apart. The granddaughter of emancipated enslaved people, Lewis redefined Southern cooking and its African American heritage. She’s someone that anyone who enjoys cooking — children and adults alike — should be aware of and appreciate. Which is why this book is so great for kids. It tells the story of Lewis’ in folks rhymes while interweaving five recipes, including her apple pie. Cooking really is all about storytelling. It’s how we pass on important aspects of our family histories to the next generation and this is one of the best children’s cookbooks for illuminating young chefs to one of the greatest individuals to change culinary history.


The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

If your child is already fascinated with the idea of making their own potions and concoctions, help them cast a spell with something you all can actually eat by using the The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Easily one of the best children’s cookbooks, this one features 150 recipes all inspired by the Harry Potter series, including Kreacher's French Onion Soup, Pumpkin Pasties, and Treacle Tart. What could be a more imaginative afternoon than cooking up a mess of cauldron cakes before tucking in the Sorcerer’s Stone? As one Amazon reviewer put it, this book is “perfect for muggles of all ages,” so even if you’re just a kid at heart, you can become a wizard in the kitchen using this easy to use tome.


Milk Bar: Kids Only

Leave it to the preeminent genius behind Milk Bar, Christina Tosi, the head of of New York City’s incredible bakery, to come up with an epic baking book for kids. Tosi doesn’t just make desserts, she makes magic with recipes like Berry Loco Cupcakes, DIY Ice Cream Sandwiches, and Choco Crunch Cookies. And naturally, the James Beard award-winner for Outstanding Pastry Chef used plenty of kid recipe testers to ensure the book actually works. Kids will love it because the recipes are so playful. It has a sort of “go big or go home” aesthetic for optimum sweetness. And parents will love it because they’ll want a bite just as much as the kids. If your kid wants to be a mad scientist in the kitchen, have them start here.


Pizza: An Interactive Recipe Book

Need a gateway ingredient to get your kid to taste new things? Try Pizza: An Interactive Recipe Book. If your child is already a ‘za lover, then they might be more open to experimenting with new toppings especially since this book is entirely interactive. That’s right, it’s a popup book with tabs to pull and pieces to remove all to encourage kids to explore cooking. The instructions and illustrations are incredibly simple so that even young sous chefs can understand. Although you’ll still need to provide adult supervision. This is cooking after all and pizzas will have to go into the over. But from kneading the dough to spreading the sauce, kids can participate in nearly every aspect with the guidance of the best children’s cookbook.


The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs

The biggest selling point for The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs is that it’s the work of America’s Test Kitchen. And as the name suggests, that means the recipes have been thoroughly vetted. Unlike other cookbooks for kids that are heavy on illustrations, this one is all about the photos, which can help guides see if their finished products actually look right. The book is divided into Breakfast, Snacks & Beverages, Cooking for Family & Friends, and Dessert, so there’s plenty of options whether you have a savory or sweet toothed child. Plus, that adds up to 120 recipes total. Enough to keep them busy for days.


Cook Me A Story

As aforementioned, Cook Me A Story is basically a fairytale book with a side of dinner. How fun is that? With every tales comes a matching recipe pulled from the story, so you little one can inhale a book with their eyes, ears, and mouth. Naturally the stories each have a little culinary twist: Goldilocks and the Three Pears, Cinnarella, and Plumbellina for instance. And it all begins “Once upon a kitchen… ” Draw your child into the magic world of making food with a book that understands that the way to a kid's stomach begins with their imagination. And a magical story doesn’t hurt either.


This Cookbook is Gross

Let’s be honest, kids love to be grossed out. It’s part of the fun of childhood. So imagine their glee when you present this with an entire cookbook all about nasty food. Of course, here’s the thing, none of it is actually nasty, it’s just made to look that way. Think gummy worm jello, (dyed) rotten eggs, buttercream brains. For kids with overactive imaginations, this is the perfect cookbook to let them get super playful and prep your treats for Halloween at the same time. But don’t worry, the recipes included are in fact edible and designed to be really tasty at that. So even if your gag reflux is sensitive, you might actually find yourself going back for seconds when your kid uses this best children’s cookbook.


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

While clear photography might be great for older chefs, some little kids respond better to illustrations and the illustrations in this cookbook are absolutely charming. Let kids play with their food and use Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes as a guide. Made for ages 3 to 7, this is clearly one of the best children's cookbooks thanks to its simple instructions and home run dishes. “This is an exceptionally helpful first cookbook. The recipes are easy, the drawings colorful, and the food tastes amazing,” wrote an Amazon reviewer. Wait until your kiddo gets the green light to make Noodle Pudding and Green Spaghetti (they’ll be hooked!).


Honest Pretzels: And 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Cooks Ages 8 & Up

Written by the same author as Pretend Soup, consider this cookbook the next step in your child’s culinary library. Filled with the same sweet illustrations, it takes their cooking education a step further with recipes like spaghetti pie and cinnamon swirl sticky buns. The 65 recipes were all kid tested so you don’t have to worry that the copy will be above their heads. It gets great reviews from parents too. “And there are lots of practical, creative-yet-simple lunch ideas; grilled cheese and broccoli sandwich, for example, or macaroni minestrone. All the things that other kid-cookbooks do wrong, this one does right,” writes one Amazon reviewer.


Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake!

Baking is a great way to encourage kids to get into the kitchen. Who could say no to a super sweet reward for their work? But where to begin? After a few batches, kids may want to move beyond the classic chocolate chip cookie and when that happens, point them to Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake!. One of the best children’s cookbooks, this spiral bound (for easy use) book is made for kids ages 8 to 12 and includes recipes like Peachy Keen Crumble, Bursting with Blueberries Muffins, and Brownie Magic. If that’s not enough to sell you, consider that it won the following: 017 NPR's Best Books of the Year, 2017 IACP Cookbook Award Winner, 2017 National Parenting Product Awards Winner, 2018 ​Mom's Choice Award Gold Winner, 2019 New York Times "Best Cookbooks for Kids." How’s that for an award-winning cookbook?


Kid's Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual

If you’re familiar with Klutz books, you know they’re are some of the best DIY instructional manuals for children in the publishing industry. So you can imagine that Klutz’s Kid's Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual would be an equally great best children’s cookbook. Another spiral recipe book, the Klutz book also comes with four color-coded measuring spoons, so children have a jump start on their kitchen tools. Super cute illustrations accompany each recipe and everything has a playful focus. For instance, “Darrell’s Forget-the-cookie-just-give-me-the-batter” is about as kid-friendly as it gets. But it’s not all sweet treats in this tome. Parents will appreciate that there are real dinner recipes like Chile Con Carne and One Pot Spaghetti as well.


Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!)

Cooking should be fun and that’s what this cookbook aims to show kids. It does so by taking the mystery out of the kitchen with clear instructions and information. For instance, there’s an entire section that introduces children to kitchen vocabulary with definitions for terms like “prep work” and bake versus roast. Armed with their new cooking language, children can better follow recipes for dishes like Very Vanilla Pudding, Nutty Noodles, Breakfast Sundaes, and Popcorn Chicken. Sure, parental guidance is still advised, but armed with their new cooking confidence, kids can begin to be more independent in the kitchen (which means more free time for parents who don’t have to drop everything to make them food!).


The Complete Cookbook For Teen Chefs

If your little sous chef eventually becomes a teen and still maintains their love of cooking thanks to these foundational best children’s cookbooks, you’ll need something for them to graduate to and for that there’s The Complete Cookbook For Teen Chefs. Another America’s Test Kitchen original, this one is great because it really seems to understand what teenagers want to eat. Today’s teens are curious eaters and exposed to so many international dishes thanks to, you guessed it, social media. So a cookbook full of traditional American recipes just wouldn’t do. This book brings new flavors to teens with 70 recipes like Pajeon, or Korean scallion pancakes, pasta with sausage ragu (because bottled red sauce is so last year), and spicy burrito bowls.

Want to set your child on a lifelong love of cooking? Then order up a fresh batch of the best children’s cookbooks and get them started in the kitchen with these great reads.