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10 Kid-Friendly Cookbooks for Your Junior Chef

All of us here at DFWChild really love food—in fact, our office snacktime is so important that we dedicated our entire April issue to all things culinary. While we will eat just about anything, we know that most kids fall somewhere between picky eater and foodie-phobic. To help inspire your little ones to get in the kitchen and whip up a meal or two, dig into our roundup of the best cookbooks for your baby Bourdain or mini Martha.

For junior chefs who want to expand their culinary education, be sure to check out our list of cooking and etiquette classes in Dallas-Fort Worth:

1. Williams-Sonoma The Cookbook for Kids: Great Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook by Lisa Atwood
Cookbook author Lisa Atwood partnered with gourmet kitchenware company Williams-Sonoma for this kid-friendly-yet-epicurean collection. While treats like cinnamon-swirl French toast and cheesy nachos are no-brainers, we love that The Cookbook for Kids also features no-fuss variations on more grown-up dishes like fish tacos, minestrone soup, sesame noodles, French crêpes and teriyaki chicken. The book also highlights fun food facts, kitchen safety and cooking basics to ensure your kiddo’s recipe for success.

2. Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls by Betty Crocker
Admittedly, some of the recipes in Betty Crocker’s classic cookbook, which was first released in 1957, haven’t stood the test of time (for a taste, check out this article from Food52). But there are plenty of timeless offerings in Cook Book for Boys and Girls, like sloppy joes, pigs in a blanket and the famous “Cheese Dreams”—a riff on grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato, bacon and English muffins. For a more contemporary offering (well, relatively speaking), check out Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cookbook, released in 1965.

3. The Disney Princess Cookbook by Disney
Disney lovers of all ages will love this kid-friendly cookbook inspired by Disney Princesses. Your little sleeping beauty can shake off the morning sluggishness by slathering Aurora’s homemade jam on scones, or pretend they’re in Tiana’s French Quarter café and dig into her baked caramel French toast.

The Disney Princess Cookbook serves up 50 recipes, from standard fare like Bullseye Pizza inspired by Merida to more whimsical offerings like Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo Magic Wand cookies and Ariel’s sea turtle cupcakes. The book isn’t just for the princesses in your life—recipes from male Disney characters are featured as well, like Chip Potts’ chocolate chip cookies, Abu’s monkey bread and even quiche courtesy of The Beast. The Disney Princess Cookbook was released in 2013, so if you’re hoping for Frozen treats from Anna and Elsa, we suggest you let it go.

4. Cooking Class by Deanna F. Cook
Children’s book author Deanna F. Cook hands the pots and pans over to kiddos ages 6–12 with her step-by-step guide to meals like pasta, popcorn chicken, pizza and pancakes. All 57 recipes in Cooking Class blend healthy ingredients with fun presentation—like flower-shaped fruits and mashed potato clouds. For your little one’s sweet tooth, grab a copy of Cook’s Baking Class with more recipes for pies, cakes, fruit crumbles and more.

5. The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make by Erin Gleeson
If your child is interested in adopting a vegetarian diet, consider The Forest Feast for Kids their expert introduction into plant-based living that is healthy and, more importantly, delicious. In her first kiddie cookbook, New York Times-bestselling author and food blogger Erin Gleeson offers a colorful look at vegetarianism, with recipes for everything from beverages and small bites to full meals and party foods that kids can pursue without the help of Mom and Dad.

6. Cooking Is Cool: Heat-Free Recipes for Kids to Cook by Marianne E. Dambra
If your junior chef is a bit too young to operate the oven, stove or microwave, you can still let them whip up some treats thanks to the over 50 heat-free recipes in Cooking Is Cool. To satisfy a sweet tooth, your little one can make smoothies, shakes, yogurt pops and even ice cream in a bag. Healthy options are plentiful, with recipes for salads and sandwiches and a full chapter called “Fun with Fruit.”

7. Eat Your U.S. History Homework: Recipes for Revolutionary Minds by Ann McCallum & Leeza Hernandez
“The dog ate my homework” gets a whole new meaning thanks to this book. Kids in second to fourth grades can learn about events in American history from 1620–1789 while stirring up historically-inspired recipes—like succotash served at the first Thanksgiving and honey cakes that would be perfect with a spot of tea, like that dumped in the harbor during the Boston Tea Party. Your kiddos can feed their minds and bellies with other books by McCallum & Hernandez, Eat Your Science Homework and Eat Your Math Homework.

8. The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz
Accio, measuring cup! While we love the adventures that Harry, Ron and Hermione get into during their time at Hogwarts, our favorite parts of J.K. Rowling’s series are the culinary creations served up in the wizarding world. This cookbook features 150 recipes for your little one to conjure up in the kitchen (no wand required), from Harry’s favorite treacle tart to Mrs. Weasley’s famous meat pies.

9. Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook by Melina Hammer
For the foodie kid in your life, check out Kid Chef. Absent are funny-face pizzas and cutesy cupcakes found in other youngster-friendly cookbooks. Kid Chef offers a real culinary education for your child to learn the basics of cooking, with advice on how to use kitchen tools like knives and stoves to cooking tips that even Mom and Dad forget (such as tip #1: “Read the recipe. Read it again.”).

Hammer outlines over 75 recipes that are child-friendly to make but with grown-up tastes—think mini quiches, rosemary shortbread cookies, salsa fresca and even (gasp!) salads. For aspiring baker babes ages 8–13, check out Kid Chef Bakes, which serves up over 75 recipes for sweet treats like cake pops, muffins, blondies and more.

10. National Geographic Kids Cookbook: A Year-Round Fun Food Adventure by Barton Seaver
Kids in third to seventh grades can travel the world without leaving their kitchen, thanks to this cookbook by Barton Seaver, a master chef and National Geographic explorer. Flip through the book to will learn recipes fit for an international feast—like West African maafe and asparagus salad from Italy—as well as cool foodie facts that Seaver has picked up from his global adventures. Also included in National Geographic Kids Cookbook are tips for school lunches, plus plenty of info about healthy eating, ocean conservation and how to start a home garden.

This article was originally published in April 2018.