Learning to cook is about more than just learning to make food – it teaches you how to properly nourish yourself, it forces you to look into where your food comes from and it is an amazing act of looking after yourself and others. It is for all of these reasons that it's never too early to start, but it can be difficult to know where and how to begin.
You want your child's first cookbook to be doable so they can feel like they are contributing, and you also want them to enjoy the finished result. Whether you want to cook with your teenager or bake with your toddler, introduce your children to the delights of the kitchen with our picks from Amazon and eBay by Great British Bake Off alumni, Ella's Kitchen and more.
In order not to put your child off the idea of cooking as soon as you try, you need to make sure that the book you buy is right for them. There could be a number of factors that influence whether a cookbook is worth buying or not, and in this buying guide we will help to steer you in the tastiest direction.
When kids are starting out in the kitchen, supervision is going to be necessary. But even when you or other adults are around, some cookbooks are going to be more suited to your children than others because they are pitched at certain ages.
Cookbooks for young kids are going to have simple recipes which avoid safety hazards. They are also going to have recipes that are more suited to their tastes and their nutritional needs.
Older kids can start exploring flavours and methods that are a bit more complex, and this will be reflected in the recipes and pieces of equipment they may be allowed to use in cookbooks written with their age bracket in mind. Luckily, most books will state their age suitability to keep you on track.
Kids might prefer just sticking to the same dishes they know and love, but it's important that from a young age they are exposed to different flavour combinations and textures as this will make them less fussy when it comes to food in the future.
By putting them in the centre, kids will be more excited to try making – and in turn, trying – new things. A cookbook with a broad range of recipes will give them the chance to perfect different techniques and skills so they'll build up a more rounded knowledge of cooking.
Most cookbooks come in hardback as they are more robust, which is especially necessary for kids' books that are going to be thrown around and have food splattered all over them. These books, however, are heavier and less flexible, making them harder for young users to handle. With this in mind, you might want to investigate if another option is available.
Unlike most other books, not all cookbooks are available in paperback form. When compared with hardbacks, paperbacks are the lighter option which makes them easier to hold and read.
They might be easier for young children to use but you do sacrifice the durability of a hardback, meaning a book bought in this form is more likely to get ripped and damaged over time.
Nowadays, you're not even limited to buying a cookbook in paper form. If you or your child has an eReader, they can download cookbooks onto it. It is the cheaper way of accessing books, often taking more than 5 pounds off the standard price, but there are disadvantages.
Firstly, there is something lovely about feeling a cookbook in your hands and seeing it get muckier over time – particularly the recipes you love. In addition to this, lots of cookbooks for children have beautiful illustrations that might be lost in digital form.
Many have adjusted so much to this new way of reading that they don't mind using it for recipes, and eBooks are definitely lighter to carry around than real books. On the other hand, plenty of purists might not be ready to move on.
Prepare to have your stomach rumble and your mouth water as we suggest our favourite cookbooks for getting kids into the kitchen. Filled with delicious recipes, with these books your child will be ready and raring to cater for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
|Suitable Ages||Not specified|
|No. of Recipes||50+|
|Suitable Ages||5-9 years|
|No. of Recipes||43|
|No. of Recipes||150+|
|Suitable Ages||9-12 years|
|No. of Recipes||50|
|Suitable Ages||3-9 years|
|No. of Recipes||24|
|Suitable Ages||4-7 years|
|No. of Recipes||60|
|Suitable Ages||12-17 years|
|No. of Recipes||60|
|Suitable Ages||Toddlers and up|
|No. of Recipes||100|
|Suitable Ages||3-10 years|
|No. of Recipes||-|
|Suitable Ages||7+ years|
|No. of Recipes||50+|
Cool Kids Cook: Delicious Recipes and Fabulous Facts to Turn You Into a Kitchen Whizz
Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street
Ella's Kitchen: The Cookbook
Matilda and The Ramsay Bunch: Tilly’s Kitchen Takeover
The Tickle Fingers Kids’ Cookbook: Hands-on Fun in the Kitchen for 4-7s
Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes: The Gruffalo Cookbook
The Vegetarian Cookbook: More Than 50 Recipes for Young Cooks
My First Cook Book: Bake, Make and Learn to Cook
The Kids Only Cookbook
A Complete Guide to Food and Cooking for Young Chefs
This Beautiful Creation Is More Than Just a Cookbook
Recreate Your Shop-Bought Favourites at Home
This TV Star Will Appeal to a Teenage Audience
The Perfect First Book for Very Young Cooks
Let Some Iconic Characters Teach Your Kids How to Cook
Explore the Delights of a Meat-Free Diet
The Ultimate Child-Friendly Baking Bible
Be Guided Through the Basics by a Bake-Off Winner
Recipes for Kids, by Kids
|Suitable Ages||7+ years||3-10 years||Toddlers and up||12-17 years||4-7 years||3-9 years||9-12 years||9-12||5-9 years||Not specified|
|No. of Recipes||50+||-||100||60||60||24||50||150+||43||50+|
Once your kids have had a chance to master the basics, it might be time to introduce them to other, more advanced books that explore different diets and cuisines. Or perhaps you've been inspired by your kid's enthusiasm and fancy picking up a wooden spoon yourself? Either way, use our recipe and cookbook guides to find your next family favourite!
The joy of cooking and the benefits that it can have on a person are undeniable. At its best, it is a learning experience, a bonding experience and a healing experience. Kids will have more of an appreciation of the work that goes into feeding hungry mouths when they play a part in the process, and hopefully these books will inspire them to keep cooking for the rest of their lives.
Author: Emma Cramp
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