Cooking with children? 10 of the best kids’ cookbooks

If your little ones love helping – and getting messy – in the kitchen, these books could be for you

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Cooking with children can be immensely rewarding. You can watch them learn new skills, try different flavours and celebrate their own achievements. Yes, your kitchen may look like a bag of flour has exploded in it afterwards and you’ll need a good bit of patience to get through the experience, but it’s a great way to encourage them to get creative. And you never know, you may be able to enjoy some edible cake at the end of it too!

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With this in mind, we’ve scoured the shelves for some of the best children’s cookbooks on the market. From Gruffalo-inspired recipes and interactive board books, to veggie offerings and back-to-basic guides, we’ve got the lowdown on the best ones for you.

Here’s our pick of the best cookbooks for kids…

1. Ella’s Kitchen The Big Baking Book, £14.99 – best for toddlers

Age: 2-5

Packed full of 100 savoury and sweet bakes, this book is a must for your kitchen bookshelf. There’s a huge variety to try in here – from veggie scones and tip-topped lamb pie to plum cobbler and tropical twirl buns.

Kids will love the bright and colourful pages which feature Ella’s Kitchen’s trademark illustrations and there are also stickers included at the back to make the cooking process more interactive. Fun activities are also peppered throughout, including instructions on how to make your own chef’s hat and create a fizzy volcano.

The recipes are all fairly healthy, simple-to-follow and feature basic ingredients that will be easy to find in your local supermarket. We also like the simple-to-read icons included on each page which show how long the recipe will take and how much it makes – it’s ideal for those cooking with toddlers.

Available from:WH Smith, The Works and 
Amazon

2. The Vegetarian Cookbook, £12.99 – best for veggie families

Ages: 9-11

Containing more than 50 veggie recipes, this is a great book for older children to get stuck into. There are recipes they can try themselves – like avocado mash on sourdough toast and bircher muesli – and others that may require a bit of a helping hand – like lentil burgers with halloumi, and veggie goulash with herby dumplings.

There’s a nice introduction to kitchen rules at the beginning as well as key information about how to enjoy a balanced diet as a vegetarian. It’s nicely split up into breakfast recipes, super snacks, lunches, drinks, main meals and sweet stuff and there are easy-to-follow step-by-step pictures which are really useful.

There’s not as much choice with the recipes included here as some of the other books on this list but it’s well worth investing in if you want to encourage your kids to get cooking.

Available from: Waterstones, Amazon and WH Smith

3. Fantastic Eats & How To Cook Them by Angellica Bell, £15 – best for meals you’ll love too

Age: 8+

Known for winning Celebrity Masterchef in 2017 as well as her various roles on children’s TV, Angellica Bell is the perfect person to help you enjoy cooking with children. The recipes are a bit more complex than some of the others included in this list, but are perfect for older kids and those adventurous with their tastes.

What’s great is that many of these meals would be just as perfect at an adult dinner party feast as they would be at a family gathering. We love the sound of lamb koftas, houmous and flatbreads, popcorn chicken and parmesan wedges with garlic sauce.

As well as the more unusual recipes you’ll also find time-honoured classics like shepherd’s pie and tuna and sweetcorn pasta bake.

It’s full of beautiful photography and at the beginning there are easy step-by-step guides to kitchen tasks such as separating eggs and peeling and destoning an avocado. Buy it for yourself, if not your kids!

Available from: Waterstones, Amazon and WH Smith

4. Start To Cook by Abigail Wheatley, £14.99 – best for learning the basics

Age: 7+

This is a great choice if you’re looking for a really good book of basics, covering everything from beef stew, chilli con carne, roast chicken and fish cakes. This practical ring binder collection (which even features useful tabs separating the chapters) is a great introduction to kitchen know-how.

The recipes are nicely laid out and there are easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions as well as useful guides on tasks such as beating butter and sugar.

There aren’t many unusual recipes in here unlike with some of the other books in this list such as Angellica Bell’s. But it’s a really great starting point if you want to begin cooking with children and you might just find some of the classic recipes will become your new favourites.

Available from: Amazon, WH Smith and Waterstones

5. My First Cookbooks by Lotta Nieminen, £49.95 – best for heaps of fun

Age: 2-4

This brilliant set of 4 board books is unlike any other children’s cookbook. Beautifully designed and full of fun, each one features recipes for a different type of food: pizza, pancakes, tacos and cookies.

With wheels, tabs, sliders and various textures, your kids can engage in every step of the ‘cooking’ process while reading the books and learn more about creating food. And there are even ‘pop outs’ of the finished dishes so you can show off your creations.

Although not strictly recipe books as we know them, they’re a great way to introduce the idea of cooking to toddlers. They are expensive as a set, but you can buy each book separately and it’s ideal as a special gift or a keepsake. As an added bonus, your kitchen will stay clean and tidy too!

Available from: Amazon and Blackwells

6. Nadiya’s Bake Me A Story, £14.99 – best for bakers and book fans

Age: 4-9

Created by Great British Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain, this unique combination of stories and recipes brilliantly blends two of life’s great pleasures – reading and cooking.

Make delicious butter bean patties and enjoy the story of Jack and the Bean-Patty Stalk while they cook, or try your hand at the very-berry muffins while you read about Ruby Red and the 3 bears.

If you like to have a whole stash of recipes to choose from, it’s worth noting there are only 15 included here, quite a lot less than the likes of Ella’s Kitchen’s Big Baking Book, but as each one produces delicious treats you might not mind!

Available from: Waterstones, WH Smith and Amazon

7. Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes by Julia Donaldson, £12.99 – best for fans of Julia Donaldson

Age: 3+

Does your child love The Gruffalo? Then this is for you! With simple meals and sweet treats inspired by the much-loved tale, this is about to make cooking with children even more fun.

There are 24 recipes included and while other books on this list may feature more meals, your children are bound to have a whale of a time choosing between scrambled snake, fox’s sandwiches and toadstool pizzas – and you’ll have fun eating them too.

The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and we love the tips, tricks and twists included along the way too. If you like this book, it’s worth knowing there’s a range of other Julia Donaldson children’s cookbooks including The Room On The Broom Cookbook and What The Ladybird Heard Cookbook.

Available from: Amazon, Waterstones and The Works

8. The World In My Kitchen by Sally Brown and Kate Morris, £12.99 – best for food from across the world

Age: 8+

If you’re keen to introduce your children to meals from across the globe, The World In My Kitchen is a must-buy.

Designed to encourage children to go on a journey across the world, trying different tastes and flavours as they go, it’s packed full with brilliant recipes as well as tons of interesting information about the geography and history relating to the other cultures.

Make a baked brown paella from Spain, ricotta and spinach lasagne from Italy or cardamom bread from Finland. With a really engaging and fun tone, it’s sure to get kids interested in cooking and eating and we love the playful illustrations too.

Available from: The Book People and Amazon

9. Kids Cook!, £16.99 – best for lots of recipes

Age: 8+

This is a great beginner’s guide to the kitchen, and includes a lovely introduction at the beginning with chef’s lingo explained and top tips on how to get the most from your recipes.

There are more than 100 different meals, snacks and sweet treats in this book (more than any other book on this list) and there’s a great choice – try the honey-lime ramen salad for something a little different or the triple-decker tortilla pie for a sure-fire crowd pleaser.

Just be aware that as an American book the ingredients are in cups and ounces, so you may have to convert over to metric measurements.

Available from: Amazon and Blackwells

10. Super Foods for Super Kids by Noelle Martin, £11.51 – best for health-conscious families

Age: 8+

Looking for a way to make cooking with children fun as well as healthy? This is a brilliant option. With wacky superhero-themed illustrations and playful language referring to your sidekick (aka us adults) and your headquarters (the kitchen), it’s just the ticket for youngsters.

We love the way the author talks about healthy foods giving us super powers to get youngsters thinking about how the right foods can help our bodies, and the fact so many basic skills are touched upon at the beginning.

In terms of recipes, choose between the likes of radical raspberry chia pudding, ba-bam bagel pizza, save-the-day salmon with butternut squash and avocado and pea brownies.

The only downside is that as an American book, the ingredients are in cups and ounces – and a few of the ingredients aren’t easily found in UK supermarkets. But overall it’s a fantastic way to get kids into the kitchen and we love it.

Available from: Amazon

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