22 easy recipes for kids aged 12 years and over

Delicious recipes for kids aged 12 years and over to learn how to cook, from favorite bakes to easy lunch dishes...

A selection of the best recipes for kids ages 12 years +
(Image credit: Future / various)

If you're looking for recipe inspiration for kids aged 12 years old and over, we have plenty to choose from.

These recipes are ideal for older children who are looking for something a tad more adventurous than Rice Krispie cakes and jam tarts - and other 'too easy' baking recipes for kids. You may need to supervise at some points – like helping with the oven or watching them with a knife – but, at this stage, your child could be well on their way to becoming a mini Masterchef. 

"By 12 years old, children should be able to bake a cake independently and cook simple meals, such as beans on toast, eggs, or porridge. Cooking and baking is a great life skill and being given the opportunities from a young age to cook and bake independently is important," says parenting consultant and early years specialist Kirsty Ketley, a mum of two. "Including children in meal prep is also a great way to introduce kids of all ages to new foods and can help with picky eaters."

Older kids can work towards cooking a big meal for the whole family by this age. "Cooking with kids, something like a roast chicken to create a meal will give children a huge sense of satisfaction and pride. It will ensure the family all sit together too, which will help kids with their social skills and give the family a chance to connect," says Kirsty.

Mini burgers

Dinner is served, and it's quite a treat

(Image credit: Future)

1. Mini burgers

Makes: 4 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Older kids can make these burgers independently – and the ingredients are much the same as those for meatballs, just molded into a different shape, so they get to learn to make two dinners for the price of one – result. 

You could even teach them to make their own homemade burger buns to go with them, taking things very much to the next level. They (may) never want to go to that certain well-known high street burger joint ever again…

Get the recipe: Mini burgers

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Combining the ingredients for the burgers together
  • Making and shallow-frying or grilling patties
  • Chopping and frying onions (some may need supervising on this)
  • Preparing salad and slicing cheese 

Skills learnt:

  • What goes into a burger and how to make it from scratch
  • How to prepare salad (including washing and slicing)
  • How to cook onions
  • The best way to cook beef

roast chicken

Mastering a roast chicken will make your kids very proud of themselves

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

2. Lemon and thyme roast chicken

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 1 hr 20 mins

Being able to cook Sunday dinner for all the family will have your child utterly beaming with pride. And quite rightly so. This recipe is relatively simple with step-by-step picture instructions for them to follow, but learning how to flavor a chicken and handle raw meat are important skills to master. 

Get them going the whole hog and put them on roast potato, veggies, and gravy duty. You're on to as much of a winner as they are if they can prepare a whole roast – while you put your feet up in true lazy Sunday style.

 Get the recipe: Lemon and thyme roast chicken

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Preparing the chicken, including zesting lemon and prepping herbs
  • Preheating the oven
  • Checking the chicken is cooked through
  • Making the gravy from the meat juices

Skills learnt:

  • How to flavor a chicken for roasting
  • Food hygiene
  • Handling poultry
  • How to make gravy
  • Working out when meat is cooked and ready to serve

spaghetti and meatballs

Meatballs are always a winner

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Spaghetti and meatballs

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

Meatballs and pasta are pretty up there as one of the first dishes many kids start within their cooking repertoire. They'll also learn how to make a great tomato sauce they can use in tons of other recipes, and master how to cook spaghetti so it's al dente and not either under-cooked or soggy. A brilliantly tasty and comforting dinner for all the family.

Get the recipe: Spaghetti and meatballs

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Combining the ingredients for the meatballs
  • Rolling into balls
  • Frying them in a pan (some will need supervision)
  • Preparing tomato sauce
  • Cooking the spaghetti
  • Grating Parmesan cheese

Skills learnt:

  • How to combine flavors with the meat
  • Cooking with herbs
  • Mastering a simple tomato sauce
  • Frying the meatballs, turning them over, and working out when they are cooked
  • Food hygiene
  • How to perfectly cook spaghetti or other types of pasta

cheese and ham omelette

A speedy and nutritious meal everyone needs in their cooking repertoire

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Cheese and ham omelette

Serves: 1 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

There aren't many speedier meals than an omelette when packing a nutritional punch, so it's an essential skill to master when learning to cook. That way, your kid can make themselves/you a quick meal that will also be very delicious. 

They can freestyle with their cheese of choice, add in any veggies, from mushrooms to peppers to onions, skip the ham or swap it for smoked salmon, and even dice some potatoes and go Spanish style. The world is their omelet-based oyster. 

Get the recipe: Cheese and ham omelette

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Beating the eggs together, grating the cheese, and adding seasoning
  • Heating the oil and cooking the eggs in the pan
  • Adding in the ham and any other ingredients they wish to throw in

Skills learnt:

  • Cooking with eggs
  • Frying with oil
  • How to make an omelette fluffy and light in the cooking process
  • Flavor combinations

whole wheat blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins, the breakfast of champions

(Image credit: Gordon Ramsay)

5. Blueberry muffins

Makes: 12 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

A treat breakfast or a welcome snack, kids will relish learning how to make these moist, sweet muffins. They're pretty simple too; mix the batter, add blueberries (hurrah for sneaky superfoods), pour into muffin cases, and bake. Easy. This an excellent intro to independent baking. 

Get the recipe: Blueberry muffins

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Creaming together the butter, sugar, and eggs, before folding in the dry ingredients
  • Preheating the oven
  • Pouring into cake cases before baking
  • Checking if they're ready and putting out to cool

Skills learnt:

  • Making a cake batter
  • Baking with fruit
  • Using the oven to bake

french toast with banana

Now that's what we call breakfast

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. French toast

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

It'll be in your kid's favor to learn how to make this because they get to eat it too. And it's downright delicious, as bread cooked in melted butter and covered in maple syrup and chocolate can only be. At least it contains bananas for one of their five a day, so that's something…

Get the recipe: Banana maple French toast

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Making the 'eggy bread' batter
  • Dipping the bread and then frying it in butter
  • Melting the maple syrup and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water (with supervision)
  • Slicing the bananas and arranging them on the toast,  before drizzling over the syrup

Skills learnt:

  • How to make a French toast batter
  • Melting chocolate
  • Frying bread

Build your own tarts

Cute pastry tarts with a yummy pizza-style topping

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

7. Build your own tarts

Makes: 8 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

A great one for brunch, lunch, or even dinner along with a big salad, this is a twist on pizza, using ready-to-roll puff pastry in place of dough, but with similar toppings. The kids can choose whatever they fancy – pineapple, olives, ham, sweetcorn, peppers – to go on top of pizza sauce, before sprinkling with mozzarella. Fun, interactive food they will really get on board with both cooking and eating.

Get the recipe: Build your own tarts

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Cutting out pastry shapes
  • Egg washing and baking with pastry
  • Grating mozzarella and slicing veggies of choice
  • Spreading pizza sauce and building toppings, before baking

Skills learnt:

  • Cooking with pastry
  • Experimenting with flavor combinations
  • Grating and chopping

chicken fajitas

Rainbow-coloured dinner joy

(Image credit: Getty Images)

8. Chicken fajitas

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

All kids love the fun, build-your-own nature of fajitas and now they're old enough to do the prep for them as well. Fajitas are a relatively easy dinner to cook, but there are a lot of different elements to put together, so it will help with their organizational skills, not to mention mastering that all-important multi-tasking! 

This recipe even involves making their own spice mix, no packet cheating around here… Get them to learn to make guacamole too, to add to the fajitas. 

Get the recipe: Chicken fajitas

Tasks for the kids:

  • Mixing the spices for the fajita seasoning
  • Thinly slice the peppers, onion, and chicken breast (with supervision)
  • Making a tomato stock
  • Grating the cheese
  • Warming the tortillas
  • Putting everything in bowls and laying the table

Skills learnt:

  • Cooking with chicken
  • Food hygiene
  • How to cook onions and peppers
  • Making a seasoning mix
  • Grating
  • Presentation
  • Organization and multi-tasking

pork stir fry

A speedy dinner packed with veggies

(Image credit: Getty Images)

9. Sticky pork stir fry

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

A great one to introduce to kids to help them learn about Asian flavors and cooking in a wok. They'll be working with lots of different veggies here too, as well as mastering speedy cooking and using sauces like soy and Sriracha – the second of which might want to be toned down if they can't handle much chili. 

Really, there are no rules with stir fry and anything goes – add other flavors like teriyaki sauce, oyster sauce, or fish sauce, and throw in some garlic (because is there anything that garlic doesn't go with?). Lime leaves would be a great addition too. The pork could be switched to beef strips, tofu, or prawns.

Get the recipe: Sticky pork stir fry

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Preparing the veggies and chopping the pork (with supervision if needed)
  • Heating the oil and browning the meat
  • Cooking the veg (while always stirring!)
  • Mixing the sauces with the lime zest and juice and sugar

Skills learnt:

  • Using new flavors
  • Speedy cooking in a wok
  • Cooking with pork
  • Food hygiene

pasta bake

Comfort in a dish, perfect after a long day of school and study

(Image credit: Getty Images)

10. Pasta bake

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

A good ol' pasta bake is always welcome, especially for a relatively straightforward mid-week dinner after a busy day. And if you can get your child to make it, all the better. A classic pasta bake is the tuna variety, where you pack veggies like sweetcorn, olives, or courgettes into the tomato sauce before topping with cheese and baking, but there are many varieties in our collection, including those made with chicken or with a bolognese sauce – and lasagne is a pasta bake too, after all. 

Get the recipe: Pasta bake

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Cooking the pasta
  • Making a tomato sauce
  • Grating the cheese
  • Preparing veggies and meat (if using)
  • Putting it all together

Skills learnt:

  • Cooking pasta
  • Grating
  • Sauce making
  • Veggie prep
  • Assembling a one-pot dish for baking


Kids will be more than happy to learn how to make pancakes, we're sure of that

(Image credit: Getty Images)

11. Pancakes

Makes: 6 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Whether they're a regular breakfast go-to or a once-a-year on Shrove Tuesday affair, kids love pancakes. Here, they can learn how to make their own batter and master the all-important flip. Teach them to make savory and sweet fillings too (that's if they can be dragged away from the jar of Nutella, of course…)

Get the recipe: Pancakes

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Measuring the ingredients and adding them to make the batter
  • Whisking the batter (supervise if using an electric whisk)
  • Heating the oil and pouring in the batter
  • Flipping the pancakes!
  • Preparing fillings
  • Setting the table

Skills learnt:

  • Making pancake batter
  • Cooking and flipping pancakes
  • Presentation
  • Time management (because it's a one-at-a-time situation)

Macaroni cheese

Mac and cheese, for a food hug

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

12. Macaroni cheese

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

You simply cannot beat a hearty plate of mac and cheese. It's a good one for teaching the kids how to make a bechamel sauce, a skill they can then use on other dishes like lasagne or moussaka. They'll also learn how to cook the pasta and put it all together ready for baking. Getting them to cook and adding cauliflower or broccoli to add into the bake is a great idea, for a well-balanced one-pot dinner.

Get the recipe: Macaroni cheese

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Helping to make a roux and creating a bechamel sauce (they're likely to need some guidance with this one)
  • Boiling the macaroni
  • Grating the cheese
  • Assembling it all in a dish

Skills learnt:

  • Cooking pasta
  • Making a bechamel sauce
  • Constructing as a one-pot dish ready for baking

chilli con carne

A vibrant, and versatile one-pot dish

(Image credit: Getty Images)

13. Chilli con carne

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 1 hr 30 mins

This a great recipe for teaching your kids about slow cooking, as well as flavoring and cooking with minced beef (which could be swapped for Quorn mince for vegans). It's also a good opportunity to get them to learn how to cook rice or prepare jacket potatoes or tacos, depending on your carb of choice. Don't forget the sour cream, of course.

Get the recipe: Chilli con carne

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Frying the mince and onions
  • Adding and mixing all the flavors
  • Opening the can of kidney beans and adding
  • Regularly stirring and checking on the cooking progress
  • Preparing rice or other accompaniments

Skills learnt:

  • Cooking with mince
  • Slow cooking meat
  • Food hygiene
  • Using a can opener
  • Chopping onions
  • Adding flavors and checking the seasoning

Apple crumble

The Sunday dinner dessert of champions

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

14. Apple crumble

Serves: 8 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

An apple crumble is a great place to start when learning to bake desserts, mostly because it's simpler than making pastry for a pie. Kids will also learn how to prepare fruit for baking. They can serve it up in bowls with custard or ice cream at the end of Sunday lunch. Anyone for seconds?

Get the recipe: Apple crumble

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Make the crumble by rubbing the butter into the mix of flour, sugar, and oats, using their fingers
  • Slice the apples (with supervision) and prepare the dish with the sugar and cinnamon
  • Assemble the crumble and put it in the oven to bake
  • Dish up into bowls at the table

Skills learnt:

  • Cooking with fruit
  • Making a crumble
  • Dishing up into bowls

chocolate fridge cake

A great recipe for doing independently

(Image credit: Getty Images)

15. Chocolate fridge cake

Serves: 8 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: No bake

An excellent bake that isn't a bake – because it requires no cooking, and therefore can be made fully independently. There are also handy picture instructions for kids to follow. A good one for them to have a go at when there's a school bake sale to show off their wares to a wider audience! 

They could add other elements, such as crushed Maltesers or M&Ms and glace cherries, or swap the Digestives for another biscuit – ginger nuts work well, for example. 

Get the recipe: Chocolate fridge cake

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Bashing the biscuits into crumbs
  • Melting chocolate, butter, and syrup
  • Stirring in the biscuits, dried fruit, and nuts (if using)
  • Lining to the tin and adding the contents

Skills learnt:

  • How fridge cakes are made
  • Melting chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water
  • Combining ingredients and assembling
  • Experimenting with ingredients

Cooking with kids: 10 best recipes for 12 years and over

Creative, cute, and a definite talking point

16. Bumble bee cupcakes

Makes: 24 | Prep time: 1 hour | Cook time: 25 mins

If your child is artistic and you want to encourage creativity, this is an excellent guide on how to decorate cupcakes brilliantly using fondant and modeling paste (take a trip to Hobbycraft or check out the baking aisle in larger supermarkets). It'll take a little patience, but the end result is worth showing off, that's for sure. They'll also need to make a batch of basic cupcakes and learn how to make buttercream.

Get the recipe: Bumble bee cupcakes

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Weighing out and mixing ingredients for the cake batter
  • Making a buttercream
  • Rolling and cutting out fondant
  • Making icing

Skills learnt:

  • Working with fondant and sugarpaste
  • Making cupcakes and buttercream
  • Creativity, precision, and patience!

Cooking with kids: 10 best recipes for 12 years and over

Your kids will be cuckoo for these cookies

17. Chocolate cookies

Makes: 10 | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 12 mins

You can't beat a great cookie, not too soft, not too crunchy, just the perfect level of gooey-ness. This recipe is seriously chocolatey, with cocoa powder in the mix as well as chopped dark chocolate (though you may prefer to switch this for milk or white choc to cater to younger taste buds). This might be a good time to teach them where the kettle is as well. Coffee and cookies, anyone?

Get the recipe: Chocolate cookies

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Creaming butter and sugar
  • Sifting flour and adding in the beaten egg and dry ingredients
  • Rolling out and shaping the cookies
  • Preheating the oven and checking on the cooking time

Skills learnt:

  • Making cookie dough
  • Using a rolling pin and cookie cutters
  • Being creative with ingredients (adding dried fruit or nuts etc)

Cooking with kids: 10 best recipes for 12 years and over

Knowing how to make a good curry is a life skill we all need…

18. Annabel Karmel's fruity chicken curry

Serves: 2 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

This fruity coconut-based curry is a perfect introduction to cooking our nation's favorite food. Using a shop-bought korma paste, kids can eventually go on to learn how to make their own curry paste and will be learning a lot about flavor combos. It's mild enough to serve to younger siblings too, so a great family meal, plus they can learn how to cook good rice (a skill often lacking in adults, actually!)

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel's fruity chicken curry

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Preparing vegetables
  • Chopping the chicken
  • Stir-frying and sautéing the chicken and veg
  • Opening the can of coconut milk and adding the other ingredients
  • Preparing the rice

Skills learnt:

  • Using a knife to chop the chicken and veg
  • Food hygiene
  • Using a tin opener
  • Cooking with coconut milk
  • Using a curry paste
  • Using stock cubes


Cream before jam, or jam before cream?

(Image credit: Future)

19. Scones

Makes: 9 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 12 mins

How do you eat yours? And more importantly, how do you bake them? We all love a cream tea on summer holidays, but not many of us bother making our own – yet it's a great recipe to teach kids, as it's pretty simple really. 

Just make sure you have a good strawberry jam in the cupboard – you could even teach the kids to make their own – and a tub of clotted cream is essential. If savory is preferred, try cheese scones instead, and serve warm in the oven.

Get the recipe: Scones

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Sifting the flour
  • Creating 'breadcrumbs' by rubbing the butter and flour together
  • Forming and kneading the dough with the addition of sugar and sultanas
  • Rolling out the dough and cutting it into shape
  • Brushing with an egg wash and baking in the oven

Skills learnt:

  • Rubbing butter and flour together
  • Kneading dough
  • Using a ruling pin and cutters to create scone shapes

Cooking with kids: 10 best recipes for 12 years and over

Sometimes you just can't beat a good jacket potato

20. Tuna, lime and coriander jacket potato

Makes/serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 1 hr 15 mins

A jacket potato is an easy, nutritious meal for kids to learn how to prepare – and a good one is definitely oven baked (though for speed, start it off in the microwave), while a really great one will have the skin rubbed with olive oil and seasoning, too. 

Fillings are important too, of course, and our suggestion here is a jazzed-up version of the more typical tuna mayo. Kids could also fill their jackets with their homemade chili con carne, try prawns and mayo, or the classic baked beans and grated cheese.

Get the recipe:  Tuna, lime, and coriander jacket potato

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Preparing the potatoes for oven baking
  • Chopping the pepper
  • Squeezing the lime
  • Opening the tuna can and combining it with the other filling ingredients

Skills learnt:

  • Oven baking potatoes
  • Using a microwave
  • Experimenting with fillings

Cooking with kids: 10 best recipes for 12 years and over

A true classic for a reason

21. Strawberry and mascarpone cream sponge

Serves: 8 | Prep time: 55 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Who doesn't love a classic Victoria sponge? And this recipe helps kids learn to take things to the next level, with the addition of mascarpone cheese in the filling. Once they've mastered this, there'll be no stopping them from expanding their cake repertoire. The Great British Bake Off, here we come…

Get the recipe: Strawberry and mascarpone cream sponge

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Beating the butter, eggs, and sugar together, before folding in the four 
  • Greasing baking tins and preheat the oven
  • Pouring in the cake mix and putting in the oven to bake
  • Checking the cake is cooked
  • Hulling and slicing the strawberries and mixing them with the jam
  • Preparing the cream
  • Assembling the finished cake and dusting it with icing sugar

Skills learnt:

  • Making a cake sponge
  • Preparing cake tins
  • Knowing when a cake is cooked
  • Creating cake fillings
  • Dusting icing sugar 

Banana smoothie

Teaching kids to make smoothies is a smart move nutritionally

(Image credit: Rights unknown)

22. Banana smoothie

Serves: 1 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: No cooking

Learning to make their own smoothies is an excellent way for older kids to get their own breakfast and start the day off well. There are only five ingredients in this recipe and once they've mastered it, they can add other fruits like blueberries (used as a topping here) and other berries, mango, or other tropical fruits – and even a touch of fresh ginger to give them a spring in their step that'll see them sparkle at school.

Get the recipe: Banana smoothie

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Peeling and chopping the banana
  • Measuring the yogurt
  • Adding the honey and crushed ice to a blender
  • Blending until smooth (you'll need to supervise while they learn to use the blender)

Skills learnt:

  • Using a blender
  • Experimenting with flavour combinations
  • Preparing fruit

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Lara Kilner
Food Writer

Lara Kilner is a writer and editor with two decades of experience in national newspapers, magazines, and websites. She writes about food, lifestyle, travel, health and wellness, and entertainment, and regularly interviews celebrities and people with interesting life stories and experiences. Her foodie content has included interviews with Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein, Queer Eye’s food expert Antoni Porowski, the Hairy Bikers, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Raymond Blanc, Andi Oliver, Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, and Nadiya Hussain.