Cooking Tips for Kids

Photo of family preparing food together.

Kids love to cook. Have fun in the kitchen with these simple tips!

Ask an adult before starting a recipe. Some of the recipes are great for new cooks. For other recipes, you will need an adult to help.

Read the recipe twice so you understand all the steps.

If you have questions, ask an adult. The recipes in a cookbook will tell you:

  • The name of the recipe.
  • How much the recipe will make – how many servings (Servings) and how big each serving should be (Serving Size).
  • How long it will take you to make the recipe (Time).
  • What foods you need to make the recipe (What You Need). Some ingredients are optional. That means you can choose if you want to add them.
  • The steps to follow to make the recipe (Get Cookin’).

Gather all kitchen tools (like measuring spoons and cups) needed for the recipe.

Check that you have all the ingredients before you start. Put all the ingredients in one place so they are easy to grab while cooking.

Some ingredients in the list may tell you things you need to do before you even get to the directions. You may need to peel, grate, or cut foods or thaw frozen foods.

  • Peeling: Hold the fruit or vegetable tightly in one hand. Use the peeler in the other hand to peel off the skin. Always move the peeler away from you. Make sure to avoid your fingers with the sharp blade.
  • Grating: Place box grater on a plate or cutting board. Hold firmly with one hand. With the other hand, hold the item you are grating. Press it against the large holes on the grater and push from top to bottom. Keep your fingers away from the sharp holes.
  • Cutting: Use a cutting board every time you cut. Clean as you go. Put measuring spoons, cups, and other kitchen tools in the sink when you are done using them. Wash your hands, knives (carefully!), and cutting boards between tasks.
  • Measuring: Choose the correct measuring cup or spoon. Cooking is a good way to learn more about fractions. You will need measuring cups and spoons to measure fractions. Fill the measuring cup or spoon right to the top but not over. Do not pack down the ingredient.
Photo of mother cooking with daughter.


Always wash your hands with soap and hot water before you begin.

Start with a clean work space. Clean countertops and kitchen tools are an important part of keeping food safe.

Wash fruits and vegetables with water even if you will remove the peel. Rinse the tops of cans with water before you open them.

When you are using a knife:

  • Be sure to have an adult working with you.
  • Always put the food you are cutting on a cutting board. It is best to have one cutting board for fruits and vegetables and another for ingredients like raw meat, poultry, and fish.
  • Choose a knife that feels comfortable in your hand.
  • Hold the knife firmly by the handle. With the other hand, hold the item you want to cut. Keep your fingertips away from the blade. Make a “claw” with your hand to keep your fingertips curled under.
  • Cut straight down, not toward yourself or another person.
  • To slice, cut in thin or thick pieces. To chop, cut into squares. Try to make all the pieces close to the same size.

Clean means safe. After touching meat, eggs, chicken, or fish, carefully wash the counter, your cooking tools, and your hands with soap and hot water.

Always use clean, dry oven mitts whenever you use the oven. You may want to have an adult help you.

When cooking on the stove: Be safe when cooking on the stove. Make sure pot handles are turned away from the front of the stove so they are not accidentally bumped or knocked off.

When uncovering a pot on the stove or a container from the microwave, open the lid away from you to let the steam out.

When using a blender, keep the lid on. Turn the blender off before putting any utensils inside the blender container.

Keep foods at the right temperature. Hot foods need to stay hot, and cold foods need to stay cold. Cold foods such as milk, cheese, and eggs need to be refrigerated.

Separate uncooked and cooked foods. Raw (uncooked) meat, poultry, and eggs can have harmful bacteria that is killed during cooking. Keep these foods away from uncooked foods like fruits and vegetables. Also, wash cutting boards, countertops, and knives that touch raw meats, fish, and eggs.