18 Winter Dishes and Holiday Treats for Kids

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

Christmas tree pretzel rods

The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

When kids have time off school in winter, they love the break—but then after a day or so, 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 recipes? 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 tater tot 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 18

    Easy Candy Cane Popcorn

    Candy cane popcorn

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

    Here's a fun and irresistible Christmas treat recipe that kids can easily help with. Make a giant batch of easy candy cane popcorn to munch on during the holidays at home, or bag some as a great take-along gift when you're visiting friends and family. 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. Ideal as a munchie when you're watching your favorite holiday movie, too!

  • 02 of 18

    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 18

    Homemade Turtle Candies

    Turtle candies with pecans and caramel

    The Spruce

    Homemade turtle candies are a classic, beloved winter holiday treat that's 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 18

    Magical Reindeer Chow

    Reindeer chow

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau 

    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 18

    Snowflake Marshmallows

    Snowflake marshmallows

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau 

    These melty little homemade marshmallow treats are just the thing for decorating steaming mugs of hot chocolate this winter, and kids will adore these cute, soft, and fluffy marshmallows cut into snowflake shapes to add to their hot chocolate after coming in from the cold. These sweet and sugary treats are also great for adding to a gift of homemade hot cocoa mix this holiday season.

  • 06 of 18

    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 set up a table with the ingredients and instructions for making them as a great kids' activity at your holiday party. This recipe makes one large snowman or several smaller popcorn figures.

  • 07 of 18

    Hot Dog Tater Tot Casserole

    Tater tot casserole


    bhofack2 / Getty Images 

    When you've got a house full of kids to feed for lunch or dinner this winter, make it easy on yourself and fun for them by serving this kid-favorite recipe that you can prepare and pop into the oven to bake in just 10 minutes. Loaded with plenty of crispy potatoes, savory baked beans, hot dog chunks, and melted cheddar cheese, you're sure to become the most popular house on the block when you serve this hot dog tater tot casserole to the kids.

  • 08 of 18

    Chicken Quesadillas

    Leftover chicken quesadilla

    The Spruce

    We all know the holiday season can be a busy time, so having a quick and easy recipe under your belt is ideal—and one that the kids can help make it even better. With only four ingredients, including store-bought rotisserie chicken (or leftover cooked chicken), chicken quesadillas are one of the all-time kid favorite foods. They're a snap to prepare and make a great lunch or dinner for kids this winter, served with prepared salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

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  • 09 of 18

    Meatloaf Muffins

    Meatloaf muffins

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    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!

  • 10 of 18

    Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    Chocolate chip pancakes

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Chocolate chip pancakes may win the top prize for kids' favorite breakfast food ever. With this easy recipe, there's no need for pre-made 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.

  • 11 of 18

    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 on lazy mornings at home 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 bigger ones can even make this egg in a basket recipe themselves.

  • 12 of 18

    Reindeer Noses Cookies

    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 nose 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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  • 13 of 18

    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.

  • 14 of 18

    Christmas Rice Krispie Treats

    Every kid loves the gooey, sweet taste of squares made from crispy rice cereal and marshmallows any time of year. This Christmas rice Krispie treats recipe is made for enjoying at Christmas, taking the usual, rice crispy treats and putting a festive spin on them. They are so easy to make and decorate, and the candy cane handles make these treats fun to snack on.

  • 15 of 18

    Festive Christmas Tree Pretzel Pops

    Christmas tree pretzel rods

    The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau 

    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 sticks to look like trees; the kids can then decorate the trees any way they like.

  • 16 of 18

    Chocolate Cherry Mice

    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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  • 17 of 18

    Vanilla Sugar Cookies

    Iced vanilla sugar cookies

    N8tureGrl / 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.

  • 18 of 18

    Gingerbread House

    Gingerbread house

    annaia / Getty Images 

    Forget about the gingerbread house kit! It's such fun—and makes your kitchen smell so heavenly—to make your own homemade gingerbread house. 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.