Favorite kids’ cookbook? Talk amongst yourselves.

My daughter is expressing a keen interest in cooking, and I’m finding myself rifling though my cookbooks looking for simple recipes she and I can follow together. I’m a big fan of Mollie Katzen’s cookbooks for kids: Pretend Soup, Salad People, and Honest Pretzels. But I know there are more good ones out there. Care to share?

One lucky commenter (chosen at random) gets the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook, by Georgeanne Brennan. I’ll choose the winner at 5pm on Valentine’s Day.

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  1. says

    I like What Shall I Cook? from Usborne. It’s more of a treats-based cookbook, but it’s good for the 5-8 year old set. (We’re also fans of Mollie Katzen’s.)

  2. says

    When I was a kid I had two great cookbooks: Science Experiments You Can Eat and Arts and Crafts You Can Eat. I looked them up on Amazon and they are by Vicki Cobb and still available.

    I think that Science Experiments is still in print, but Arts and Crafts is in the used section.

  3. hedra says

    Is it really sad that I don’t have a kids cookbook that I particularly like?

    I don’t generally cook with my kids from cookbooks. Oh, wait, I don’t usually a) cook with my kids (something about 2-year-old-twins and almost anything either hazardous or messy…), and b) I seldom cook from a cookbook at all, unless it is a completely new concept/recipe. And even then, I rarely do the whole thing as listed. Love to read them, don’t much *use* them.

    I do *have* a few kids cookbooks, but all I could tell you about them is that one has a purple cover (I think), and is whole-foods oriented. Another is an old spiral-bound with a yellow cover…

  4. mrs gryphon says

    My little daughter (just turned 1) loooooooves to watch and ‘help’ in the kitchen – waving her wooden spoon around and spilling things!

    I’ve already started collecting cookbooks and kid-friendly recipes – thanks for the tips!

  5. says

    I am new to all cooking books for kids… My son is only 2 years old. But I am thinking that he might eat better if he helps me cook some things ??? haha… yeah a toddler who won’t eat… REAL original LOL… I will be watching for more suggestions!!! :D

  6. Analilia says

    My daughter’s and my favorite is Look and Cook: A Cookbook for Children by Tina Davis. The illustrations are wonderful. It has real recipes that kids like. It also teaches kids about the different supplies a cook uses and how to measure for cooking. It’s the kind of book that will become a cherished possesion.

  7. says

    My 7.5 yo *loves* Emeril’s There’s a Chef in my Family http://www.amazon.com/Emerils-Theres-Chef-Family-Everybody/dp/0060004398/sr=8-1/qid=1171392350/ref=sr_1_1/002-4867688-7472035?ie=UTF8&s=books

    He is on the picky side; yet if he chooses a meal from this book he will eat it. I know that if I had made a similar meal that he would not eat it. Who knows, I’m convinced the book has magical abilities :) I’m not a big fan of Emeril’s tv persona, but the recipes are tasty and easy.

    I have two treasured cookbooks from my childhood (which is probably why I own about 100 cookbooks as an adult), Betty Crocker for Kids, and the Better Homes and Gardens Kids cookbook. I used to read the Betty Crocker one constantly as a kid. My mom was not an adventerous cook or baker, so I mostly dreamed of preparing things from it. We did make some things out of the BHG one but it is rather limited.

  8. sarah e. says

    I’m not sure of the Green Eggs and Ham cookbook but boy we’ve been reading Green Eggs and Ham a lot this last week to my 3 year old son. He loves it.

  9. Pamela Frohn says

    The only kids cookbooks that we’ve found that we love are the Mollie Katzen books. We do use a book called “Kids Cook Microwave” that I actually had when I was little. Simple and good. We’ve tried a couple of the Usborne books but they always seem too busy for her to follow easily.

  10. says

    I’m still using Super Baby Food — it’s not just for babies. There are tons of recipes for kids in the back, and she’s thrown in things like how to decorate cakes, make playdough, and other toddler/preschooler activities.

  11. says

    I grew up on “Kids are Natural Cooks,” published in 1972 by Parents’ Nursery School in Cambridge, MA. It’s still pretty easy to find used. The recipes are gently instructional and emphasize natural, seasonal ingredients with projects kids can do themselves. Lady McGrady’s illustrations are terrific.

  12. Shevvi says

    We love Mollie Kazen! The other cookbooks that I use with my 4 yr old are the adult 1-2-3 ingredient cookbooks. Some have more pictures than others. Also the The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook is great. It has lots of step by step pictures. Don’t limit yourself to kids cookbooks. My kid will pick recipes out of cooking light and other magazines that we can make together.

  13. kelly says

    To respond to the earlier Kelly, my daughter is just about to turn two and she definitely tries more things when she’s helping me cook. She takes a bit out of every ingredient that we use (even the flour!). Sometimes that means that she is full that she doesn’t eat much of the dish once it’s actually prepared but I figure that’s ok if this gets her to try new things.

    No kid cookbooks here, she just helps me with whatever I’m cooking. But I do want to get some for when she’s old enough to start picking out her own recipes.

  14. says

    One of my favorite kid cookbooks is from my childhood. It is a Disney kids cookbook. Don’t even know if they still make it.
    My almost 3 year old likes looking through Rachel Ray’s little cookbook for kids and picking out pictures he likes.

  15. Shauna says

    Like Hedra, I typically don’t use a cookbook. I keep a “journal” of the recipes I try and the family likes – but that’s more of a list of meals – I created out of “thin air”.

    There is one really fun thing that my daughter (3 yo) cooks. If you take a boxed cake mix, add one 12 ounce can of soda (preferably diet soda) you can bake the cake (for apx. 5 minutes less than you do with all the regular ingredients) and it is super moist and delicious. With just two ingredients, DD feels totally successful!

  16. says

    My daughter is only 2 1/2 so we haven’t been doing much cooking together yet. I’ve begun taking her into the kitchen with me when i fix lunches and her daddy or I will sometimes cook dinner with her there to keep us company. (I avoid taking her into the kitchen with me if I need to use the stove because our stove is… um… well… Let’s just say that our stove drives me to verbal outbursts that include language inappropriate for toddlers…)

    I’m hoping to replace the stove soon and will begin enlisting Sprout’s assistance. I have a collection of bookmarks for recipes that she’ll enjoy making with me… Those include the ziplock omelets posted here on Parent Hacks.


  17. says

    So far our best experiences with parent-child cooking have been inspired by cooking shows where we liked something we saw, then looked up the recipe on the show or network’s website. We subscribed to Cook’s Illustrated magazine after watching its companion TV show, America’s Test Kitchen, on PBS and we make recipes out of the magazine and show cookbooks a couple times a week. We’re big fans of the Mollie Katzen kids’ cookbooks too.

    The summer that she turned 6, my daughter loved Simple 1-2-3 Cooking for Kids (ISBN 141272175X). Every recipe has three steps and the pictures are great, but it is brand-name oriented and some recipes start with convenience items like ready-to-bake doughs.

    The Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cook Book (ISBN 0696220008) is very similar with the use of convenience items, only its layout is much busier with cartoon illustrations and bright page colors. It’s too busy for me to look at for long, but the first-graders we’ve shared it with love it.

  18. LizP says

    My 18 month old knows that we cook in the kitchen and he keeps begging for my wooden spoons. But he hasn’t asked to be a part of the process.

    My 13 year old stepson likes to watch cooking shows with me. If we see something we like I’ll print out the recipe and we’ll try to make it. Rachael Ray recipes have been the favourite so far. He loves her Fake Baked Ziti!

  19. Vivian says

    My favorite cookbook as a kid was Clever Cooks by Ellin Greene, a collection of global fairy tales and recipes for the dishes in the stories. It’s out of print but I’ve been able to find many copies online and have given them out to my friends with kids. My favorite story was Pinto Smalto, about a girl who made her perfect man out of marzipan. And would you believe that I had Green Eggs and Ham read at my wedding ceremony?

  20. says

    I really like pretend soup, too. I think my kids favorite is the basic Better Homes Cookbook. They like to flip through and suggest meals. They like all of my cookbooks though. I don’t think they need to be directed towards kids. Any cookbook will do in our house!

  21. says

    They have both been mentioned already…but we love the Rachel Ray kids cookbook and the Williams Sonoma book (the pictures in the W.S. book are worth it, alone). I even use the books myself and let my kids pick out meals, then I can get my daughter to help.

  22. Deirdre says

    My girls are 8 and 10, and their current favorite cookbooks are the cookbooks that go along with the historical American Girl Dolls. We’ve been getting them out of the library. Most recently, we made several things from the Molly (WWII) cookbook. The “volcano potatoes” were a big hit. I love trying historical recipes, so this is fun for me, too.

    They also like my America’s Test Kitchen Family cookbook. There are lots of photos, and the food in there tends to be very appealing to kids.

    They like some of the other cookbooks mentioned, too, but these are the most used, currently.

  23. says

    I grew up with one called “For Good Measure, a cook book for children” and still have my copy, simple recipies and directions that even early readers can read. We love it!

  24. Jen says

    I really like “The Petit Appetit Cookbook” by Lisa Barnes. It’s a step by step guide on how to make your own baby food, plus includes healthy recipes for toddlers and the rest of the family.

  25. Sara says

    Thanks for the recommendations! My 2 year old loves it when I let her “help” cook, and I have been wanting to do more of it. All these books sound great!

  26. says

    Anything from the MCC rocks in my opinion. I was remembering a cookbook my mom got for me as a tyke: something about Loaves & Fishes. I googled it and kept coming up with links to gourmet stuff such as the Barefoot Contessa: now I *know* I was not a gourmet kid-o. A little more digging, and I found a cookbook with that title by Linda Hunt. How much do I dig the description: A cookbook emphasizing eating one’s fair share of healthful food in a world of limited resources. Sweet! And if I remember, there’s fun illustrations, including a ladybug on each page.

  27. says

    I’m so happy for this hack. My daughter loves to cook and the only cookbook I have for her is in Chinese (which I can’t read). I’m making a list from the books recommended here for the next time we go to Canada.

    The book I have, well, the pictures are interesting and the title is “Let children fall in love with vegetables”
    isbn 9578295987
    http://www.books.com.tw/exep/prod/booksfile.php?item=0010283090 (link is in chinese, you won’t need to install a language pack if asked)

  28. says

    I have a recipe-book system that I love: 3 ring binders with plastic sheet protector pages. I collect recipes from everywhere- websites, friends BBQ’s, clipped from magazines etc.
    I started a recipe binder for the kiddos, and they love it! (Plus the plastic sheet protectors work well with kids in the kitchen!)
    I sort with tabbed dividers into Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks and Treats.

  29. Laura says

    The munchkin and I like First Meals by Annabel Karmel. Loads of heathy recipes and suggestions for infants, toddlers on up.

  30. says

    My oldest son (almost 7) loves the Children’s Step by Step Cookbook by Angela Wilkes for Dorling Kindersley.

    The recipes work and the pictures are great. It has illustrated techniques too.

    He’s also recently become a fan of Nigella Lawson – especially the cakes!

  31. says

    We use the adult cookbooks, but explain every step of the way to our 5 year old. He’s quite good in the kitchen now, using our pie slicer to cut mushrooms and cucumbers, and will stir things on the stove if we’re with him. Very good at the micro too, but we have to be there as well.

    Best part? He likes doing dishes. Go boy!

  32. Michelle Levine says

    Check out Kosher by Design: Kids in the Kitchen by Susie Fishbein. She has wonderful cookbooks with gorgeous photos, and this book just for cooking with kids is adorable and colorful and has everything from drinks and snacks to meals and desserts. (Don’t be scared about the kosher thing, it just means there won’t be a chesseburger in there, it’s still food you know and love : )

  33. Naomi says

    We have a Star Wars cookbook that was my husband’s when he was little. Our daughter, who will be three in March, likes the wookie cookies.

  34. Meredith Hooper says

    My daughter received “Kitchen For Kids: 100 Amazing Recipes Your Children Can Really Make” by Jennifer Low http://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-Kids-Amazing-Recipes-Children/dp/1552854558/sr=8-10/qid=1171476604/ref=pd_bbs_sr_10/102-3758201-9297765?ie=UTF8&s=books, and we love it. What I think is great is that it’s a no-flame, no-knife recipe book with amazing pictures. My 3 year-old just picks out a picture and we make it. Also, we love the Little Partners Learning Tower http://www.amazon.com/Little-Partners-Learning-Tower/dp/B000GV40ZO/sr=8-3/qid=1171476944/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/102-3758201-9297765?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products . It’s like a giant stool that brings my daughter up to counter height so that she can really help out!

  35. Buphie says

    Despite the Ratatoille tie-in, What’s Cooking is a very nice first cookbook. It has a very well-done step-by-step omelet, and quite a few recipes that are easy, tasty, and teach the basics of quality cookery. Thomas Keller of The French Laundry was involved (edited it? wrote one recipe? something like that). What I like about it is that it’s not dumbed down for kids, it’s just the very first steps of learning to cook.