Looking for something to do with kids while sharing some additional time together indoors, maybe? Get them to help you cook! With the right projects and tools—and some patient instruction—you can help your kids learn about the art and science of cooking.
Here are a few kid-approved projects from the ThermoWorks demo kitchen to get you up and running.
Note: These posts were written for our adult blog readers, not kids, so you’ll want to be there to interpret and supervise. But we chose these projects because they…
- Are cooks that should naturally interest kids
- Teach important basic cooking principles that will help form a foundation for a child’s interest in cooking
- Are each easily within the grasp of a child’s ability to help, if not execute the entire recipe by themselves—depending upon their age and ability
- Provide a range of different experiences in the kitchen from the stovetop to the oven to the grill
Let us know what your kids liked and didn’t like in the comments below!
First Food Safety Principles
Every kid who wants to learn how to cook should begin by learning a little about food safety. The idea of the Food Danger Zone is straight-forward and easy to understand: 40 to 140! Take a moment to discuss these basic principles with your aspirant cook.
Project #1: Pasta, Time, and Temperature
Pasta is one of the staples of family cooking and cooking pasta is a great place to start with a kid who wants to learn to cook. Careful control of temperature and time produces perfect al-dente noodles. Kids also learn to be careful around stovetops and hot water.
Project #2: Crepes and Surface Temperatures
French crepes are a fancy way to introduce your culinary kid to the magical world of eggs and how they give structure to so many foods. This recipe is suited to the youngest of kids (who love flipping things) and also teaches the importance of surface temperatures in browning.
Project #3: Cinnamon Rolls and Proofing and Baking
Yeasted doughs and how they rise are another kitchen magic trick that kids find fascinating. It takes careful temperature control, but try these brioche cinnamon rolls with your young chefs and watch their eyes go wide as the rolls grow larger. They’re also so fun to eat!
Project #4: Meatloaf and Working with the Smoker or Oven
Smoked (or oven-roasted) meatloaf is the perfect introduction to meat and longer cooks in an oven or smoker—all the ingredients get put into one bowl and mashed together, which is kind of silly and really fun. Kids of all ages can take credit for the main course and learn about leave-in thermometers and smoker or oven temperatures.
Project #5: Chicken Paprikash and Braising (or Putting it All Together)
If your young cooks are looking for something a little more challenging, this should do the trick. You’ll definitely want to take care of the knife-work yourself, but the simmering and braising of the vegetables and chicken come together in such a spectacular way with this recipe. Add the pasta (see Project #1) and it all comes together.
Take a look at some of the thermometers we used in these cooks:
Marcus Thoendel says
The crepes are an excellent idea for kids! We make a chicken crepe recipe and it is always our 2 girls’ “job” to make the crepes and they love it. The biggest key to them is not to make them too thick, otherwise they end up like pancakes. Still good, but not the same texture as a crepe.