The 8 Best Cookbooks for Kids in 2021

It’s never too early to get in the kitchen

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs at Amazon

"Recipes like blueberry pancakes and avocado toast with fried eggs will get young chefs excited to help with meals."

Best for Basics: Cooking Class at Amazon

"Step-by-step photos and creative bonus features like perforated labels and recipe cards will get kids more involved."

Best Classic: Food Network Magazine The Big, Fun Kids Cookbook at Amazon

"This covers it all, from breakfast through dessert, and has color photos, cooking tips, fun food games, coloring pages, and more."

Best International: In the French Kitchen with Kids at Amazon

"Make French classics approachable for young cooks—like omelettes, croque monsieurs, profiteroles, and crème brûlée."

Best Vegetarian: The Forest Feast for Kids at Amazon

"Thoughtfully designed to combine mouthwatering photos with creative illustrations and fun fonts."

Best Healthy: Super Foods for Super Kids Cookbook at Amazon

"This book stresses ‘super’ foods like avocados and walnuts and includes tasty ways for kids to incorporate them into cooking."

Best for Baking: The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs at Amazon

"This book also helps kids learn counting, reading, science, self-confidence, and patience—all key skills."

Best for Teens: The Super Easy Teen Cookbook at Amazon

"With ‘no crazy prep work, no boring flavors,’ teens will be empowered to cook meals like shrimp tacos and spaghetti carbonara."

One way to ensure your child ends up comfortable in the kitchen as an adult? Start them young! Exposure is key, and there’s so much a kid can do in the kitchen (supervised, of course) to start getting them used to the meal-planning process, cooking the meal itself, and everything in between. While an expert-level dish out of a fancy cookbook may lead to an unpleasant kitchen experience for all involved, there are plenty of family-friendly cookbooks out there to help adults and kids of all ages collaborate and develop the skills and confidence that will benefit them in the years to come.

Here, our top picks for cookbooks for kids.

Best Overall: The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs: 100+ Recipes that You'll Love to Cook and Eat

the-complete-cookbook-for-young-chefs
Courtesy of Amazon.

This bestseller is America’s Test Kitchen’s first-ever cookbook tailored to kids. It includes over 100 recipes (from breakfast and snacks to beverages and desserts) that “were thoroughly tested by more than 750 kids to get them just right for cooks of all skill levels.” Step-by-step photos provide helpful visuals, and testimonials from other young chefs throughout the pages encourage readers. Recipes like fluffy blueberry pancakes and avocado toast with fried eggs will cater to the whole family and get young chefs excited to help prepare meals. According to the publisher, “by empowering young chefs to make their own choices in the kitchen, America's Test Kitchen is building a new generation of confident cooks, engaged eaters, and curious experimenters.”

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

This collection of 50-plus recipes is the perfect first cookbook for 6- to 12-year-olds interested in gaining basic kitchen experience. Approachable and tasty recipes like cheesy bean quesadillas, popcorn chicken, and homemade peanut butter will excite kids and provide “inspiration and confidence to the chefs of the future.” Step-by-step photos help demonstrate techniques, and bonus features like perforated labels, recipe cards, and place cards provide an additional creative element to get kids more involved. A thorough introduction section teaches all the essentials, from a kitchen vocabulary lesson to basic kitchen rules (e.g., use a pot holder, set a timer, and more).

Best Classic: Food Network Magazine The Big, Fun Kids Cookbook: 150+ Recipes for Young Chefs

For those who are fans of the popular TV network and magazine, Food Network has a new kid-friendly cookbook with 150-plus recipes that “gives young food lovers everything they need to succeed in the kitchen.” This book covers it all, from breakfast to dessert, and includes color photos, cooking tips, fun food games and quizzes, bonus coloring book pages, and more. Even the book’s jacket is cleverly desired as a removable cheat sheet that includes cooking tips and tricks, as well as substitutions. There are recipes for everyone and for any occasion, ranging from Hawaiian chicken kebabs to Candy Bar Cake to broccoli cheddar soup.

Best International: In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy

French food is notoriously not the simplest of cuisines to cook, but, according to author Mardi Michels, “French food doesn't have to be complicated.” This book makes French food approachable for young cooks and introduces the French classics—both sweet and savory—like omelettes, croque monsieurs, steak frites, profiteroles, madeleines, and crème brûlée. The introduction section includes a foreword by Dorie Greenspan, as well as a thorough French pantry explanation and essential equipment list. There are even chapters for special occasions and basic pastries. As an added bonus, this book also introduces kids to some French language basics.

Best Vegetarian: The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make

The Forest Feast, the popular vegetarian blog and cookbook series known for its watercolor illustrations and hand-lettering, has a kid-friendly edition for those in fifth grade and aboveand will also appeal to adults and look beautiful on any countertop or table. This book offers 20 recipes that are vegetarian and “full of fresh and lively flavors that will appeal to kids,” like butternut quesadillas, shortbread cookies, and watermelon smoothies. In true Forest Feast fashion, each page is a sophisticated yet approachable work of art, thoughtfully designed to combine mouthwatering photography with creative illustrations and fun fonts. In addition to recipes, this book offers table decoration crafting tips, party ideas, a kitchen safety guide, and a culinary term glossary.

Best Healthy: Super Foods for Super Kids Cookbook: 50 Delicious (and Secretly Healthy) Recipes Kids Will Love to Make

Authored by a registered dietitian, this cookbook will not only get kids excited to cook but also to cook healthy food. Cleverly designed using an approachable superhero theme, this book stresses “super” foods that are powerful and make kids feel strong, outlining ingredients like avocados, grapes, and walnuts, and simplistically explaining their benefits and some tasty ways to incorporate them into cooking. The book also includes a pantry section and nutritional information. Knowing that safety is always a concern when kids are in the kitchen, recipes were thoughtfully designed to “let you know when it’s time to call in your adult assistant for a little extra help.” With recipes like breakfast pizza, burrito salad bowl, and creamy cauliflower pasta, kids will be excited to make and eat healthy foods.

Best for Baking: The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs: 100+ Sweet and Savory Recipes that You'll Love to Bake, Share and Eat!

America’s Test Kitchen has expanded its kid-friendly cookbook line to include a baking book, which includes over 100 recipes that have not only been tested vigorously by the Test Kitchen but also by 5,000-plus kids to ensure they’re foolproof and approachable. This book isn’t just about baking cupcakes; you’ll find a comprehensive collection ranging from pizzas and soft pretzels to breads and cookies, alongside “step-by-step photos of tips and techniques [that] will help young chefs feel like pros in their own kitchen.” An introduction section dives into some baking secrets, as well as ingredient basics, weighing and measuring tips, and essential prep steps (like melting butter and cracking eggs). Recipes like tahini-banana snack cake and spiced applesauce muffins will appeal to both kids and adults.

Best for Teens: The Super Easy Teen Cookbook: 75 Simple Step-by-Step Recipes

This new release geared toward teens is perfect no matter the skill level, whether they already have some cooking knowledge or their kitchen skills are limited to microwave-cooking. With “no crazy prep work, no boring flavors, and no help from adults required,” teens will be empowered to prepare their own meals, whether it be shrimp tacos, spaghetti carbonara, or a matcha-pineapple smoothie. The introduction section includes safety tips, a common term glossary, and conversions, and recipes are also thoughtfully organized by various allergens, as well as by the following categories: “fast” (20 minutes or less), “five ingredients or less,” “no heat,” and “really fast" (under 10 minutes).

Final Verdict

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs, by America's Test Kitchen, takes our top spot because of its wide range of kid-tested recipes and helpful visuals (view at Amazon). If you and your little one are vegetarian, try The Forest Feast for Kids. Both of you are sure to enjoy the beautiful watercolor images in addition to its fresh, fun recipes (view at Amazon).

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

The Spruce Eats writer Alyssa Langer is a cookbook enthusiast herself, collecting dozens over the years and always turning to them for inspiration, whether it’s a time-consuming weekend baking project or just a quick Monday night dinner. Having worked in the cookbook publishing world in the past, she knows what it takes to create a quality book that delivers something new and exciting to readers—particularly in an increasingly online world.

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