Check out these staff-tested cookbooks for kids, and find inspiration to create something wonderful in the kitchen!

National Geographic Kids Cookbook by Barton Seaver

Kids ages 7-12 who like a challenge are sure to enjoy National Geographic Kids Cookbook: a year-round fun food adventure by Explorer and Chef Barton Seaver. Organized as a 12-month plan, this is more than a book of recipes. It’s a challenge to explore new foods and customs, and have fun together as a family.  The pages are packed with mouth-watering photos and information like People profiles, kitchen skills, and the science behind the food. Monthly challenges range from building a marshmallow snowman to a family chef competition, and projects like making a birdbath for your garden extend the learning beyond the kitchen. Recipes take advantage of seasonal ingredients and celebrations, so kids will be prepared to create a Valentine’s Day dinner in February and a harvest feast in the fall. National Geographic Kids Cookbook is a great way to get kids interested in preparing food.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and eat!) by Deanna F. Cook

Organized by meals (including snacks and dessert), the author’s approach to cooking is colorful and fun for kids ages 8-12. Recipes are rated from 1-3 spoons so readers know the skill level needed to complete it, but all are accessible to beginners. Photos on every page feature children doing the work, building confidence in young chefs and reinforcing the fun. Recipes include meat (super sliders) and vegetable options (spinach pinwheels). Playing with your food is encouraged! For example, build a “veggie world” by gathering fresh veggies and designing a landscape with cauliflower clouds, broccoli trees, and bell pepper birds. Cooking Class is both a cookbook, and a challenge to try new foods and have fun in the kitchen.


Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake! by Deanna F. Cook

Following the success of Cooking Class, author Cook put together a beautiful baking book for the same audience. Similar in format and design, recipes include breakfast treats, crackers, breads, cookies, pie, cake, and cupcakes. Step by step instruction with photos is still the rule, and playing with your food is still encouraged! Mix & Match Bread Art demonstrates how to make bread in the shape of a turtle or hedgehog, for example. Sections on sugar cookie tricks and cake decorating basics make this a perfect first baking book for creative grade-school chefs.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Hoopla)

Kids Bake! 100+ Sweet and Savory Recipes by Good Housekeeping Institute

You can trust Good Housekeeping to provide Kid tested recipes with clear, easy to follow instructions. Chapters cover the expected Cookies, Brownies & Bars; Cakes & Pies; Quick Breads & Muffins – and then move on to cover Pizza, Holidays and Special Bakes. Often a section begins with a basic recipe that can be modified to create several variations. For example, Pizza-Tastic Dough not only serves as the base for many pizza recipes, but also for glazed cinnamon rolls and cheesy monkey bread. From classics like pound cake and blueberry muffins to creative flowerpot cupcakes and pumpkin patch cakes, kids will find plenty of mouth-watering recipes to try. Color photos and step by step instructions make this a perfect baking book for kids ages 8-12 who enjoy creating in the kitchen.

Try the companion book: Kids Cook! 100+ Super-easy, delicious recipes by Good Housekeeping Institute

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen

In both the cookbook and baking book, professional chefs invited young bakers to work alongside them in the test kitchen to create recipes that kids can not only make, but will also enjoy.

From breakfast to desserts, The Complete Cookbook includes plenty of culinary instruction for kids ages 9-13. For example, the Knives 101 section explains the use of a chef’s knife and a paring knife, including how to hold the knife properly, basic cutting motions, and safety. Recipes include meat (Apple Cider-Glazed Pork Chops) and vegetable options (Rice and Bean Bowls with Corn and Avocado Crema). As with every good cookbook, pictures are included with each recipe, along with step by step instructions. A great addition is the “Gathering Cooking Equipment” section in each recipe, as it helps young cooks check for everything they need before they start.


The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen

The Complete Baking Book follows the same format, with sections on Cake Prep 101 that show you how to line a cake pan with parchment paper, and How to Weigh and Measure Ingredients. Chapters on Yeast Breads and Fruit Desserts like pies and tarts take this baking book to the next level for kids with a little experience.

Both titles include conversion tables, nutritional information for each recipe, and an index, as well as quotes from kid chefs about each recipe. Practical tips help young chefs get things right the first time. For example, when making cinnamon rolls you would normally spread butter and cinnamon-sugar on a large rectangle of dough, then roll it up into a long tight log. For easier rolling, the book suggests cutting individual strips of buttered and cinnamon-sugared dough and rolling them up one at a time.

Whether you want to cook or bake, upper elementary and middle school students will find plenty of recipes and culinary know-how in these titles.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

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