Best cookery books for kids
Look I’m a Cook
Ideal for getting pre-schoolers and EYFS children started in the kitchen, Look I’m a Cook has an emphasis on the sensory side of cooking. Kids are encouraged to think about the smell, texture and appearance of food, as well as how it looks and tastes: for example, smelling fresh mint and kneading bread dough. All of the recipes are satisfying to prepare and eat, such as frozen yoghurt lollies and an impressive salad vegetable train.
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Science You Can Eat by Stefan Gates
Children’s TV presenter Stefan Gates is renowned for his explosive and interactive live science shows. In Science You Can Eat, he brings his madcap science into the kitchen and helps kids explore how to extract iron from breakfast cereal and how to make invisible ink from lemon juice, amongst many other fascinating experiments. The focus is on exploring rather than eating, but the book will spark your child’s imagination and help them understand the science behind baking, boiling, ripening and more.
Cooking Step Step by Step
Cooking Step Step by Step is packed with family favourites including omelettes and soup, as well as more advanced recipes like sweet potato fries and baked falafel. The instructions are brilliantly clear, with photos of the equipment and ingredients needed for each dish, and there’s a huge range of vegetarian and vegan recipes. There’s also advice on basic kitchen safety and hygiene, and a really helpful pictorial guide to cooking equipment and utensils and what they’re used for.
Cool Kids Cook by Jenny Chandler
(£14.99, Pavilion Books)
Cool Kids Cook gives children an excellent grounding in essential cooking skills that they can build on as they get older. Aimed at kids aged seven to 14, it’s full of useful information about basic techniques such as how to chop an onion, use spices and steam veg. The recipes are clearly grouped by category, like Bowl Food and Bountiful Baking, and will teach your child to cook staples such as mashed potato and scrambled egg, as well as family meals like chilli and stir-fry.
Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook by Joanna Farrow
(£14.99, BBC Books)
A cookery book based on the perennially popular Doctor Who may seem an unlikely spin-off, but Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook is full of weird and wonderful recipes for kids (and big kids!). Step-by-step instructions teach you to make gross, gruesome and downright bizarre recipes such as Who-Gazy Landmines (a fish pie with potato hands bursting through the crust) and Dalektable Army cupcakes. It’s a great way to get sci-fi fans interested in cooking, as well as providing recipe inspiration for a Doctor Who party.
Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch: Tilly’s Kitchen Takeover by Matilda Ramsay
(£22, Hodder & Stoughton)
Gordon Ramsay’s teenage daughter Tilly’s first cookbook is based on the third series of hit CBBC reality cookery show, Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch. Heavily inspired the by series’ California location, Tilly’s Kitchen Takeover features healthy recipes like Fro-Yo Cooler, LA Nachos and Vitamin Packed Power Bowls, with recommendations for sleepover feasts and big bakes. There are also tips and tricks from Gordon, and added extras that are full of tween-appeal, such as instructions on taking great food photos for your blog.
The Usborne Beginner’s Cookbook by Fiona Watt
The Usborne Beginner’s Cookbook is an excellent starter guide for kids who want to learn to cook independently (with adult supervision). Aimed at children age nine and over, it’s full of simple recipes such as Bolognese sauce, homemade pizza and traditional scones. It doesn’t presume any existing knowledge and explains techniques like chopping, grating and breaking an egg, and every recipe is illustrated, step-by-step. A particularly nice feature is that it’s spiral bound so it’s easy to lay flat while your child follows the recipe.
Paddington’s Cookery Book by Michael Bond, Lesley Young and RW Alley
Paddington’s Cookery Book introduces young children to cooking through story, with recipes punctuated by anecdotes from the loveable bear from darkest Peru. While the recipes themselves can be a little complicated, they’re great for cooking together, making time in the kitchen a real shared experience. The recipes centre around traditional comfort food like beef stew and apple tarts, and of course, Paddington’s speciality: orange marmalade.
The Unicorn Cookbook by Alix Carey
If your child is mad about everything magical and sparkly, they’ll love delving into The Unicorn Cookbook. It’s full of ideas that are perfect for parties and sleepovers, including Rainbow Cheesecake Brownies and Unicorn Popcorn. Many of the recipes are quite technical with a number of steps, but the photography is beautiful and, with patience, the end results can be spectacular. Make sure you stock up on sprinkles and edible glitter!
The Usborne Children’s Book of Baking Cakes
Many children’s first hands-on experience in the kitchen is baking cakes and cookies. The Usborne Children’s Book of Baking Cakes will help them develop their skills, with 64 pages of classic bakes like cupcakes, tray bakes and whoopee pies – great for school cake sales. Baking techniques like beating eggs and creaming butter and sugar are explained, and recipes are clearly written, with illustrations as well as instructions. The spiral-bound format makes the book easy to handle in the kitchen, too.
Jolly Good Food
(£9.99, Hodder Children's Books)
We've all dreamed of a picnic like the ones Enid Blyton's characters enjoy – washed down with lashings of ginger beer, of course! If your family has gorged on Famous Five adventures and feasted on The Secret Seven's food descriptions, turn the words into delicious meals with chef Allegra McEvedy's kids' recipe book, inspired by some of Britain's best-loved stories. From jam tarts and pop cakes to peppermint creams and dreamy hot chocolate (for the midnight feasts, for course!), Jolly Good Food's recipes are perfect for children to have a go at themselves.