Five Tips for Cooking with Kids

Hello everyone! I am absolutely thrilled to be here at The Southern Institute!  Jenny is an inspiration and what she has done with this space, making it a community where we can all share our creativity, has been a gift to the online crafting world!

Thanks so much for having me, Jenny!

Today, what I would like to do is share with you some tips for cooking with small children. I have four little ones, ages 6, 5, 3 and 20 months old and (believe it or not) I absolutely love to cook with them.
But, with that being said we have come a long way from the beginning of our cooking experiences together. Even though we still have the occasional cooking disaster, we’ve learned from our mistakes.
I now have a few tricks up my sleeve that make cooking with the kids look a lot less like this:


Would you like to know what works for me?
 Hooray, because it just so happens that I have a list for you!

5 Tips for Cooking with Kids: 

Set-up is key. 

I know it’s not always possible to have all the ingredients pre-measured like they do on cooking shows but if you do take an extra minute to have things prepared it really does make the experience flow better. The thing is, with kids every activity just takes a little more prep-time and cooking is no exception. 
Here’s another trick for you: when baking, lay down a towel flat across the counter. You can lay your mixing bowls, etc on top of the towel instead of directly on the counter. Once you finish mixing roll up the towel and toss it in the laundry. You’ll be amazed how this helps reduce the clean-up time. 
Be prepared for the unexpected.

No matter how prepared you might be, remember that you are cooking with children and not tiny adults. It will be messier than usual so brace yourself and remind yourself that you are allowing them to embrace their creativity. If you go into the situation expecting there will be some bumps along the way you are much more likely to go with the flow. 


Worried about cooking with raw eggs? There are ways around it!

It’s important to note that if you want to make your cooking experience “salmonella safe” you shouldn’t allow the kids to “lick” the batter. Even though it’s old-fashioned fun, one spoonful can harbor harmful bacteria. But baking without eggs is not for everyone so here’s one thing that may help: I’ve found that if I let the kids mix together the dry ingredients, I can mix the wet ingredients in later on my own. For older children who understand and follow instructions, just teach them the importance of waiting until cookies are baked to taste a sample. 
 And of course, there are also many, many egg substitutions you can use. For example when baking, to substitute 1 whole egg use 2 tbsp water and 1 tbsp oil and 2 tsp baking powder. I’ve used this substitution in my favorite vegan Magic Chocolate Cake. And the best part about this recipe is that the kids can lick the batter! 

Use simple recipes.

Simple baking recipes (like oatmeal cookies and banana bread) are the best to use with small children. Look for recipes that don’t require lots of separate bowls for mixing or don’t have to be mixed in a precise order. 

Pretend you’re a kid again and just have fun!

I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but if you just let go and have fun, it will be! Kids live very much in the moment and if we try to do the same with a specific task like cooking, the process will be much more fun!
Bottom line: let go and have fun! Any spill can easily be cleaned up in a few minutes. 


  1. Sue says:

    Thanks, Caroline! I learned a few things…the towel idea is great, and I never knew about the egg substitution.

    Well done.


  2. rebecca says:

    I love cooking with my children and one tip that works for us is letting them mix stuff in the bowls that are sitting in large cookie sheets and sitting the cookie sheet on top of a big bath towel. The towel and cookie sheet catches most of the messes. :)

  3. Caroline says:

    I love that tip, Rebecca!

    Thanks, Sue–I am so glad you enjoyed it!

    And thank you jenny for having me today! :)

  4. Great tips! I’m going to try that towel trick! I love the splat glop pic, and the reminder to have fun!

  5. Great tips. I love the towel trick. I will definitely try that.

  6. Kellie says:

    I just recently did the prep work before I baked with my kids and was amazed how much more fun we had. I was less stressed/uptight and the kids had more fun. Probably because I was more relaxed. :) Thanks for the other tips!


  1. [...] can learn and grow.  It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I’m doing my best.  Here are Five Tips for Cooking with Kids if you too need a little help in this [...]

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