This article is updated twice a year with our latest picks.
Ask any adult to remember a few warm memories from their childhood, and more often than not, the conversation will lead to food. Taste is a sense that seems to have a direct tie to our pasts, conjuring up recollections of long-ago scenery with every bite. And that nostalgia gets even stronger if those flavors are wrapped up in home-cooked meals.
Needless to say, today's kids are growing up with smartphones. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from the screentime, and cooking together is a great way to do so.
We've collected the ten best kids' cookbooks to try with little ones that will introduce them to the pleasures of making their own food. From pizza and apple sauce to French toast and tacos, these recipes can be a way to bond with your kids away from the easy distractions of a smartphone's screen, while also teaching them how to safely whip up a meal. So consider these cookbooks to help teach some valuable life skills.
Here are our picks for the best kid's cookbooks to share with the whole family.
Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!) by Deanna F. Cook
If there's one surface-level detail to immediately love about this book, it's that it's spiral-bound. But aside from that practical aspect—and others like recipe cards, labels, and game cards—this book lives up to its name for the wide array of kid-approved recipes inside. Depending on their age and level of interest, kids can learn how to make French toast, applesauce, pizza, a mug cake, and more using Cooking Class.
American Girl Cooking: Recipes for Delicious Snacks, Meals & More by Williams-Sonoma and American Girl
Adults and kids will likely recognize the American Girl credit on this cookbook, since the brand's dolls have been popular for ages. This cookbook is part of a popular series, and we like this one for its slightly more advanced recipes that everyone in the family can participate in creating. Examples include spaghetti and meatballs and chicken noodle soup, as well as snacks like popcorn and chips with guacamole.
Fanny in France: Travel Adventures of a Chef's Daughter, With Recipes by Alice Waters
There's a certain whimsical quality to this book, in which celebrated chef Alice Waters of the restaurant Chez Panisse and her daughter Fanny recount a trip to France based on the food Fanny helped create. Stories are told from Fanny's point of view, and share tales of cooking chicken and making cheese from scratch. Fanny in France will make your children want to explore, too.
The Silver Spoon for Children: Favorite Italian Recipes by Editors of Phaidon Press
If your kids love Italian food, then this cookbook should have them more than excited to learn how to make traditional recipes like rigatoni and meatballs or minestrone soup. The Silver Spoon for Children has a classic margherita pizza, too, which is sure to become a weekend staple in your household.
Honest Pretzels: And 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Cooks Ages 8 and Up by Mollie Katzen
Of all Mollie Katzen's cookbooks for kids, this one is probably our favorite—and not just because of the name. We like how her language is particularly geared to boost excitement in kids about the wonders of cooking, whether they're jazzed to make cinnamon swirl sticky buns or maple yogurt fruit dip. Every single recipe in Honest Pretzels has been kid-approved, so your little one is bound to love what they create, too.
Tacos!: An Interactive Recipe Book by Lotta Nieminen
As part of a series for young chefs that also includes the likes of pancakes and pizza, this colorful book is a winner because of its focus on the flavors and creativity involved in tacos. That includes cutting chicken, warming tortillas, mashing avocados, and then digging in.
Complete Children's Cookbook: Delicious Step-by-Step Recipes for Young Cooks by DK
Once younger chefs have grown a bit older, this cookbook shares the techniques they'll need to continue their craft—particularly, how to hold a knife, the names of often-used equipment, and how to be safe in the kitchen. There are more advanced recipes to learn, too, like jambalaya and a tomato and basil tart in the Complete Children's Cookbook.
A Grandfather's Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shore by Jacques Pépin
Odds are your kids love cooking with their grandparents, and so does Shorey—except that her grandpa Jacques is actually a famous cooking teacher. In this cookbook, Jacques teaches 12-year-old Shorey (and your kids) all of the basics. Your kids will enjoy whipping up recipes like curly hot dogs and raspberry cake using A Grandfather's Lessons.
The Young Chef by Mark Ainsworth
Any aspiring young chef needs this cookbook by the Culinary Institute of America. In it, chef-instructor and parent Mark Ainsworth teaches your 10 to 14 year olds cooking techniques and recipes like Chinese takeout chicken and broccoli and Mexican street corn salad.