Cooking with kids is like parenting in general: you’ll need a lot of patience and a little creativity, and you never know exactly how it will turn out. Plus, it’s a learning and growing experience for everyone involved.
“If you’re cooking with kids,” says Jessica Battilana, cookbook author and staff editor for King Arthur Baking, “you just have to wait and plan for it to take longer, be messier and more chaotic, and possibly have a consequence than you would if you were cooking alone. it was different.”
Prepare new bakers for success with a little prep such as placing ingredients, preheating the oven, or prepping your bowls and utensils. Battilana then suggests bringing the kids to the “point of departure” where they can actively help by chopping or measuring or perhaps sneaking a few chocolate chips.
For Melissa Jameson, deputy editor-in-chief news feedBreakfast is a good place to start because it’s inexpensive (important if you need to redo a recipe) and has “lots of kid-friendly starter tasks like beating dough, cracking eggs, or making a yogurt parfait.”
She suggests thinking about imitation recipes where you’re trying to remake a dish at home from a restaurant. For Jameson’s six-year-old son, these were Starbucks’ easy-to-recreate egg bites with eggs cooked in muffin tins.
“Recreating something you love isn’t just fun,” says Jameson, who oversees the food and cooking ingredients for foodies. news feed and Tasty, “but it’s also valuable to teach that we can do this on our own. Plus, kids are almost guaranteed to swallow the final result.
The journey to the kitchen can even begin by watching children’s cooking shows in your living room. MasterChef Young or Is it cake? as a way to inspire budding young chefs. But don’t jump right into the most complex cakes or dinners. Instead, Jameson suggests smaller tasks like mashing avocados, blending a smoothie, or combining the ingredients for an English muffin pizza.
“Cooking and cooking together is about being together,” adds Battilana. “The food you make or have to compost later is just the cherry on top.”
The food editors we spoke with picked these 10 useful tools to help your kids get started in the kitchen.
Support kids with the Guidecraft Classic Kitchen Helper Stool. It has an adjustable platform (15 inches or 18 inches from the ground) and folds up for storage when not in use.
“Receive [kids] so they can fully see, touch and feel like they’re part of the process,” says Jameson. The utility stool (sometimes called the toddler tower) allows young children to reach a counter with guards that prevent them from falling before they’re ready to use a step stool or tall enough to stand on the floor.
Let your kids decide what they want to do My First Cookbook By America’s Test Kitchen Kids. Hardcover book with over 60 recipes (note: spills are easier to wipe up) break down snacks and meals into steps with clear photos and directions. Jameson appreciates “accessible, kid-friendly recipes” because “each is eye-catching, step-by-step photographed so younger cooks can visually follow – or even navigate on their own to find their next project.”
With its non-slip soles and wide pouring spouts, the OXO Good Grips Mixing Bowl Set deserves a place in your kitchen drawers. In sizes ranging from 1.5 liters to 5 liters, you and your helper can make some whipped cream or family-sized pancakes. The small bowl is easier to hold for little hands, while the large bowl can hold popcorn on movie nights.
The Lamson Stainless Steel Dough Scraper is a baker’s friend that functions as a knife and cleaning tool. With its easy-to-grip walnut handle and wide blade (less sharp than the other knives in your drawer), it’s also a great tool for kids. Battilana notes that “bench knives are great for a wide variety of tasks, from transferring ingredients into a bowl to cutting biscuits or muffins to cleaning your work surface.”
The Ateco Offset Spatula is a must-have if you are going to embark on the cake decorating business. The rounded, approximately 8-inch blade helps create neat edges and smooth frosting, while the narrow wooden handle fits within a child’s grasp. It can also be used to spread jelly on sandwiches, spread cream cheese on bagels at brunch, and flip tofu on a baking sheet.
Battilana recommends the Opinel Le Petit Chef set, as she believes children should be given “real tools for real work.” Featuring a rounded blade and one-finger guards, the y-shaped peeler features beech wood handles designed for a child’s hand. The included finger guard is a great way to show kids correct technique while protecting their hands.
“The blade, finger guard, and peeler are great because they are scaled for little hands, but they are similar to the one I use in every way,” Battilana adds.
Kids will be attracted to the bright colors of OXO’s silicone cookware, and Jameson loves them because “the gripping tabs on each make it easy for kids’ hands to maneuver.” She uses them for muffins, muffins and egg bites. Non-stick cups are reusable, flip them upside down for quick clean up and have a stuffing line to keep your muffins even.
Kids can roll dough, chop vegetables and savor soup with the JK Adams Kids Cooking Set. Battilina recommends this set of a maple rolling pin, cutting board and spoon. You can teach your kids how to prepare, cook and clean dinner by giving them a special collection of their own gadgets.
The Ove Glove Oven Glove is the way you can keep your kids comfortable while holding hot pans fresh from the oven and boiling pots on the stovetop. The Kevlar glove can be used as an adult’s grill mitt, but can also be used by children in the kitchen as the silicone handles and articulated fingers work better for smaller hands than a standard oven mitt. The gloves are rated to handle pans heated to 540 degrees Fahrenheit.
Zulay Milk Frother is a cheap dynamo. While it can be used to add body and lightness to an afternoon chai latte, it’s also an easy way to whip up a personal batch of whipped cream after dinner. With a wide range of colors and simple operation (you press a button on the top of the frother), this is a stylish little tool that kids will enjoy using.