Combining cooking and kids might sound like a disaster waiting to happen. But actually children relish in independence, and with the right cookbook at their fingertips, your budding chef will have you saying “bon appetit” in no time at all.
If you can turn a blind eye to the impending kitchen mess – teaching them to clean up after themselves is another challenge entirely – having an enthusiastic sous-chef can be a lovely way to spend a few hours with your children.
Rustling up a meal together – or if they’re old enough allowing them to cook independently – is the perfect way to get children interested in the food they have on the plate. It also gets them learning about nutrition and the task of cooking and we found that they were more inclined to try different food if they’d been involved in the preparation process.
When finding a good kids’ cookbook, you need to choose a book that interests your child. If they have a penchant for pizza let them learn about Italian cuisine, they’re far more likely to engage with delicacies they enjoy eating.
Recipes can also be difficult to follow as an adult, so having books clearly designed with easy to follow steps is of huge importance. Clever illustrations, handy tips and bright photography go a long way when you’re acquiring a new skill. Cookbooks shouldn’t intimidate young chefs and by keeping them lighthearted and fun, should engage them.
How we tested
That’s why we decided to test out a range of recipe books. We had the helping hand of an 11-year-old and five-year-old, both admittedly very new to the workings of a kitchen. For our younger tester we were looking for books that piqued an interest in cooking, rather than recipes to cook, in the hope to kickstart an interest in the kitchen.
The best kids cookbooks in 2022 are:
- Best overall – 'The Silver Spoon for Children New Edition: Favourite Italian Recipes’ by Amanda Grant: £17.95, Phaidon.com
- Best for sweet treats – ‘The Cadbury Mini Eggs Cookbook’, published by Harper Collins: £9.99, Harpercollins.co.uk
- Best for beginners – ‘The Usborne First Cookbook’ by Angela Wilkes: £12.99, Usborne.com
- Best for vegans – ‘Be More Vegan’ by Niki Webster: £11.99, Whsmith.co.uk
- Best interactive book – ‘Cook in a Book Tacos!’ illustrated by Lotta Nieminen: £13.50, Mexgrocer.co.uk
- Best range of recipes – ‘Real Food Kids Will Love: Over 100 simple and delicious recipes for toddlers and up’ by Annabel Karmel: £11.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for outdoor cooking – ‘Wild Child: Adventure Cooking With Kids’ by Sarah Glover: £19.99, Waterstones.com
- Best for weaning – ‘Young Gums: Baby Food With Attitude’ by Beth Bentley: £11.25, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for themed parties – ‘This Cookbook is Gross: Revolting recipes to freak out your friends’ by Susanna Tee: £9.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best rhyming recipes – ‘Cook me a Rhyme: In the Kitchen with Mother Goose’ by Bryan Kozlowski: £9.99, Amazon.co.uk