26 Winter Dishes and Holiday Treats for Kids

These easy and fun recipes will keep the kids busy over winter break.

Christmas tree pretzels

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

When kids have time off from school in the winter, they love the break—but then after a day or so, they often complain of boredom. This winter holiday season, why not keep the kids in your household busy by inviting them into the kitchen to help you cook up a batch of Christmas cookies, festive candies, or yummy comfort food? They'll not only assist in making some kid-friendly winter recipes and fun treats, but they will also be able to eat and enjoy all of their hard work.

You'll find everything from a hot dog potato puff casserole you can serve at a playdate to Rudolph's nose cookies for Santa's cookie plate. Many of these recipes are also great gift ideas for family, friends, and neighbors.

  • 01 of 26

    Easy Candy Cane Popcorn

    Candy cane popcorn

    The Spruce 

    Here's a fun and irresistible Christmas treat recipe that kids can easily help with. Popcorn is coated in white chocolate and crushed candy canes for a sweet, minty treat that's a perfect party food or edible gift idea. Make a giant batch of easy candy cane popcorn to munch on during the holidays at home—it's an ideal munchie for when you're watching your favorite holiday movie—or bag some as a great take-along gift when you're visiting friends and family.

  • 02 of 26

    Peppermint Bark

    Peppermint Bark

    The Spruce

    Peppermint bark is a classic holiday treat that's scrumptious, pretty, and just fabulous for gifting. Who can resist dark chocolate, white chocolate, and the crackling crunch of minty candy cane bits? Best of all, you can make it in less than an hour, with only three ingredients. Peppermint bark also makes a wonderful teacher or hostess gift during the Christmas holiday season.

  • 03 of 26

    Homemade Turtle Candies

    Turtle candies with pecans and caramel

    The Spruce

    Homemade turtle candies are classic, beloved winter holiday treats often found in Christmas stockings. And you won't believe how easy it is to make these decadent candies at home. With just three ingredients and the microwave, you and the kids can put together these adorable treats in no time.

  • 04 of 26

    Magical Reindeer Chow

    Magical reindeer chow recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Kids of all ages will love to make and eat this magical reindeer chow. Made from cereal, pretzels, chocolate, and dried fruit, all coated with white chocolate and then dusted with glittery gold sprinkles, this Christmas holiday candy treat looks as festive as it tastes. It makes a pretty holiday gift too, packaged in cellophane bags and tied with ribbon. Kids will love munching on this treat and then leaving some out for Rudolph and his friends to enjoy.

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  • 05 of 26

    Popcorn Snowmen

    Popcorn Snowman

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    Kids will have so much fun making and eating these cute little popcorn snowmen. Put them out on your holiday buffet table as adorable edible accents or let kids make their own at your holiday party—just set up a table with all the ingredients and instructions. This recipe makes one large snowman or several smaller popcorn figures.

  • 06 of 26

    Christmas Tree Brownies

    Christmas tree brownies on a sheet of parchment paper

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter

    Imagine a child's surprise when presented with Christmas tree brownies on a stick. They have green frosting, sparkles, and a pretzel trunk (or edible handle, if you will). These beat cake pops any day.

  • 07 of 26

    Crock Pot Candy

    crockpot-candy-4769002-06

    The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    Spend an afternoon in the kitchen making crock pot candy with the kids. This easy recipe uses the slow cooker to melt almond bark and chocolate chips with peanuts. Get your little helpers involved by dropping spoonfuls onto parchment and adding sprinkles before the candy sets up.

  • 08 of 26

    M&M Christmas Cookie Bars

    M&M Christmas Cookie Bars

    The Spruce Eats / Gwen Squires

    Let the kids help finish these M&M Christmas cookie bars by topping the unbaked bars with red and green M&M candies. The standard cookie dough batter also includes dark chocolate chips, and they're baked in a pan instead of batches, which saves a lot of time.

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  • 09 of 26

    Maple Cookies

    Maple Cookies

    The Spruce Eats / Jennifer Perillo

    This recipe for maple cookies makes six dozen, which gives plenty of opportunities for kids to use the cookie cutters. They're fun and festive little treats and you only need five ingredients for the dough. For the best taste, be sure to choose high-quality pure maple syrup.

  • 10 of 26

    Thanksgiving Punch

    Thanksgiving Punch for the Family
    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    This is a better-for-you addition to all the sweet desserts on this list. Packed with vitamin C to balance out all those low-in-nutrient desserts, this colorful, fruity punch is perfect for both young and old alike. This non-alcoholic punch has a base of apple cider, sparkling blood orange juice, and sparkling grape juice, and is brightened up with fresh orange and cranberry. Kids will love how colorful it is, and the rainbow of fruits within. Serve in a sippy cup with a straw, or, for the adults, in martini glasses garnished with a slice of orange.

  • 11 of 26

    Christmas Tree Cupcakes

    Christmas Tree Cupcakes

    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

    Kids will absolutely love these Christmas tree cupcakes. Adding sour cream and buttermilk to the batter ensures the chocolate-flavored cakes are super moist, and the green "tree" piping is sure to delight everyone. The kids can help finish decorating them by adding the sprinkles.

  • 12 of 26

    Football Cupcakes

    Football Cupcakes

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    Winter is not just about the holidays, and there are a lot of football games to watch. An enjoyable themed treat, these football cupcakes are sure to be a hit at any gathering, especially among the kids. They're not difficult and begin just like any other chocolate cupcake. The football shape comes from piping the chocolate frosting in zigzags, then adding a few white lines for the laces.

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  • 13 of 26

    Christmas Tacos

    Christmas Tacos

    The Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer 

    Give taco night a seasonal twist with these delicious Christmas tacos. The meat is slow-cooked short ribs seasoned with pomegranate juice, chiles, and cinnamon. The kids can help you seed pomegranate for the fresh pico and gather all the toppings. They'll also enjoy building the tacos in tortillas with cotija cheese and crema to make it look like a snowfall.

  • 14 of 26

    Chocolate Milkshake

    chocolate milkshake

     Leah Maroney

    If you think of milkshakes as a summertime treat, think again. These chocolate milkshakes are the perfect holiday treat when topped with powdered candy canes, red and green sprinkles, and peppermint syrup. This is a classic chocolate milkshake recipe with three ingredients, all of which you probably have in your kitchen right now—milk (non-dairy milk also works great), chocolate syrup, and vanilla ice cream. That's it. The sky's the limit when it comes to topping your milkshake. You can even through a whole candy bar in. (It's the holidays, after all.)

  • 15 of 26

    Christmas Bark

    Three Chocolate Peppermint Bark Recipe

     Elaine Lemm

    Fun, festive, and easy to make, Christmas bark is the ideal treat to have on hand during the holiday, whether to serve at gatherings or give as gifts. Dark chocolate is melted and mixed with peppermint extract, then poured onto a baking sheet and drizzled with milk and white chocolates. Feel free to get creative and use a variety of holiday candies to decorate.

  • 16 of 26

    Meatloaf Muffins

    Meatloaf muffins recipe

    The Spruce

    Kids love these tasty meatloaf "muffins"—and you'll love that you're getting a nutritious meal into the kids. This easy meatloaf muffins recipe is baked in muffin tins to create cupcake shapes that kids will find fun to eat and can easily munch on the go. Got some extra time? Make mashed potato "frosting" for the tops.

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  • 17 of 26

    Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    Fluffy chocolate chip pancake recipe

    The Spruce

    Chocolate chip pancakes may win the top prize for kids' favorite breakfast food ever. With this easy recipe, there's no need for a premade pancake mix. Let the kids help cook up a fluffy batch of warm, pillowy pancakes, made extra special with the addition of mini chocolate chips. Perfect for a lazy winter morning.

  • 18 of 26

    Eggs in a Basket

    Eggs in a Basket

    Michelle McMahon / Getty Images

    Whether you call this kid-friendly breakfast recipe "eggs in a basket" at your house or your kids know it as "toad in the hole," once they've tried it for breakfast, they're sure to ask for it again. For a tummy-warming treat this winter, cook up this surprisingly quick and easy breakfast that also delivers protein and minerals that busy kids need. Younger kids can help you cut out the hole in the bread, and older ones can even make these eggs in a basket recipe themselves.

  • 19 of 26

    Sugar Cone Christmas Trees

    Sugar cone Christmas trees

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Sugar cone Christmas trees are a fun, festive project for adults and kids alike. Made using ice cream cones and an icing kit, they look especially festive on top of a white layer cake or coconut cake. Topped with white sprinkles or coconut, your cake will be transformed into a winter wonderland. They also make a lovely addition to a winter tablescape.

  • 20 of 26

    Reindeer Noses Cookies

    Reindeer Noses

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    Kids love chocolate, and they love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, so why not bring both together in a delicious cookie? Delight all the kids (and the young at heart) with a batch of these super adorable reindeer noses cookies that are just perfect for Christmas parties and family gatherings around the tree. Scrumptious chocolate fudge balls are topped with candied cherries to make Rudolph's red nose and then rolled in coconut for a magical, snowy winter effect.

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  • 21 of 26

    Chocolate Pudding Pie

    Easy Chocolate Pudding Pie

    The Spruce

    Watch your kids' eyes light up when you serve this delicious chocolate pudding pie. With a comforting, homemade graham cracker crust and an easy and rich filling made with instant chocolate pudding, this is bound to become a favorite recipe in your household—and easy enough to let the kids chip in. Top it with fluffy whipped cream for an extra special after-dinner treat.

  • 22 of 26

    Christmas Rice Crispy Treats

    Christmas rice crispy treats recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Every kid loves the gooey, sweet taste of squares made from crispy rice cereal and marshmallows any time of year. These rice crispy treats are much the same but with a festive spin just for Christmas. They're so easy to make and decorate, and the candy cane handles are extra fun to snack on.

  • 23 of 26

    Festive Christmas Tree Pretzel Pops

    Christmas tree pretzel recipe

    The Spruce  / Julia Hartbeck

    What could be better for munching on by the tree than these adorable festive Christmas tree pretzel pops? This Christmas treat is super easy to create, with only two ingredients, plus whatever sprinkles or toppings you choose to add. Green candy is melted in the microwave and then drizzled over store-bought pretzel rods to look like trees. The kids can then decorate the trees any way they like.

  • 24 of 26

    Chocolate Cherry Mice

    Chocolate Cherry Mice

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    If The Nutcracker is a family favorite during the holiday season, then you will love these adorable chocolate cherry mice. Made from chocolate-covered cherries and decorated with chocolate kisses and almonds, these treats will make kids smile for days. They're so easy to make with kids because they don't require any cooking and only minimal assembly is needed. Enjoy them on their own or use them to decorate your cakes and cupcakes this winter.

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  • 25 of 26

    Vanilla Sugar Cookies

    Sugar Cookies
    Sugar Cookies.

    David Bishop Inc. / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    This classic vanilla sugar cookie recipe is so easy and makes your kitchen smell heavenly while it bakes. Kids love to help cut the cookies into shapes and to decorate them with icing and sprinkles. It's a festive, favorite Christmas cookie recipe for kids and the young at heart.

  • 26 of 26

    Gingerbread House

    Close-Up Of Gingerbread House At Home
    Olga Osipova / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Forget about the gingerbread house kit. Making your own homemade gingerbread house is such fun—and makes your kitchen smell so good. Whether the kids help bake or not, they will love decorating this winter holiday tradition. With a delicious gingerbread house recipe for fresh gingerbread, links to gingerbread house instructions and ideas, and helpful tips on decorating and storage, this is sure to become your go-to gingerbread house recipe that you'll use every year.