Non-required reading: we share our favourite cookbook and online resources for families!
Time for some non-required reading: we're reviewing 7 of our favourite kid's cookbooks plus our favourite cooking blogs, all to help your family get inspired and get in the kitchen.
Feel like you’re falling into a bit of a meal rut? Or does trying to figure out something you and your kid can cook together leave you scratching your head? Get inspired with our cookbook reads and resources: our picks have fresh recipes (and approaches) that will boost your family’s confidence while they experiment with cooking together. Don’t forget to check out our other cookbook picks for more tried and true favourites.
- The Silver Spoon For Children (Amanda Grant)—This beautifully illustrated book features a section on cutting and knife skill techniques that is really clear and helpful. Lots of how-to illustrations and smart recipe selection (baked cod, chicken stew with olives, along with pasta and pizza!) make it easy for pre-literate kids to follow along.
- Cooking With Children (Marion Cunningham) —This is more than a cookbook: It’s a guide on how to teach your children to cook, starting with vegetables and salad and working up to cooking an entire chicken dinner. Bit by bit, children learn basic cooking skills from peeling, slicing, chopping to kneading to presentation. There is really nothing else quite like this book. A real gem.
- Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes For Inquiring Minds (Ann McCallum)—A companion to “Eat Your Math Homework”, this book has so many fun ideas for teaching science through cooking. While it’s squarely aimed at the elementary school set, younger kids will enjoy eating the experiments—which are genuinely tasty and well explained.
- Great Food For Kids (Jenny Chandler)—With a helpful intro section on kitchen rules and knife skills, along with step-by-step photos and surprising recipes (hello, fish packets), this book is full of ideas that will get kids experimenting with food you’ll love eating together. There is also a whole lunch section, which is helpful if you’re trying to encourage your kids to take an interest in making their own!
- The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids: 60+ Easy Plant-based Recipes Kids Can Make to Stay Healthy and Save the World (Ruby Roth) —This book is a stand-out pick for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free kids. Unique recipes like toasted mochi make this a great book for kids who are dealing with special diets and for families who just want to eat more plants. There’s also clear and helpful advice on cooking grains like quinoa that you might be unfamiliar with. One word of warning: this book does involve special ingredients like blue-green algae and spirulina that might be harder to get—but don’t let that stop you from trying no-special-items needed recipes, like their genius section on perking up your water bottle with fruit and veggie flavours.
- Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love To Make (And Eat!) (Deanna F. Cook)—If teaching your kid to cook feels a bit overwhelming, this book is a fun place to start. Kids who enjoy a project will really love this approach—however, a lot of the recipes involve a lot of chopping prep, so be aware of the time and chopping that will be involved when you pick projects. Includes sushi and spring rolls, as well as a fun snack section -- and of course it includes pizza and spaghetti. Sections on how to clean up the kitchen and set the table are helpful for establishing good kitchen manners and a special setting for enjoying the meal you prepared together.
- Garden To Table: A Kid’s Guide To Planting, Growing And Preparing Food (Katherine Hengel)—This book teaches kids how to grow food in a container garden and offers recipes to make with their harvest. There are plenty of pleasantly surprising recipes (think: citrus green beans!) and basic explanations. This book is for kids or parents who are already comfortable in the kitchen or garden and want to level up.
- Pretend Soup (Mollie Katzen) - This picture-based book (and its sequel, Salad People) lets pre-literate kids cook an entire meal by themselves using step-by-step pictures. From the beloved author of the Moosewood cookbooks, Pretend Soup is a children’s cookbook classic. More cookbooks for pre-literate kids can be found on our preschooler cookbook round-up.
And if you’re looking for more inspiration, don’t miss our list of great after-dinner reads - our list of classic picture and chapter books feature great food scenes (and we’ve tracked down recipes so that you can munch along as you read). We also have many more cookbook ideas for you here, including Alice Waters’ Fanny at Chez Panisse.
For help with teaching your kids to cook (and for learning new techniques yourself) we love these blogs:
- Food 52
- Kitchen Uncorked
- My Kitchen Love
- Simple Bites (enjoy our early interview with Aimee!)
- Sweet Potato Chronicles
- The Kids Cook Monday
And for fun cooking projects to get you started, try our school pack of cooking activities! Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we're always sharing new recipes and ideas...and our Pinterest boards have lots of inspiring ideas to draw on too!