17 best recipes for kids aged 3-6 years old

Easy cooking ideas for 3 to 6 year olds, including homemade sausage rolls, banana muffins and funny face pizzas...

A selection of the best recipes for kids 3-6 year olds
(Image credit: Future/various)

Looking for easy recipes for cooking with kids aged 3-6 years? We've got loads of easy ideas for you and your little ones to make together.

Cooking with kids is always a good idea – it keeps them entertained while learning new skills and there is food to eat at the end of it – win, win. We've rounded up our best recipes for younger kids of 3-6-year-olds and there's everything from homemade sausage rolls to funny face pizzas to cupcakes and muffins, including ideas from children's cooking guru Annabel Karmel.

"Cooking and baking is a great way to spend time with your child on a 1:1 basis. It gives you the opportunity to communicate with your child and helps them to practice important gross and fine motor skills and mathematical and scientific skills – weighing, counting, and measuring. Having to follow a recipe helps strengthen their attention span, helps them learn to follow instructions, and also teaches them new language and vocabulary," says Kirsty Ketley, a parenting consultant, and early years specialist, who is a mum of two.

Cooking is one of the great things to do with kids - especially over the school holidays or a rainy day and a great way to spend quality time with your child. So, roll up your sleeves, get your hands sticky together, and enjoy (even if you will be the one clearing up the mess at the end of it all…)

Easy recipes for kids aged 3-6 years old

Apple and sultana muffins

Plenty of sneaky fruit for your small people in these baked delights

(Image credit: Annabel Karmel)

1. Annabel Karmel's apple and sultana muffins

Makes: 12 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Annabel Karmel combines the classic flavor pairings of apples and dried fruit with cinnamon and ginger to make this fruit muffin. You'll need to grate the apples and deal with the oven, but most other tasks can be handed over to your bundle of joy. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing they're getting one of their five a day when they eat them later.

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel's apple and sultana muffins

Tasks for the kids:

  • Measuring ingredients on the scales
  • Mixing with a wooden spoon
  • Spooning cake mix into cases
  • Sprinkling sugar

Skills learned:

  • Adding and taking away numbers
  • Flavour combination and pairings
  • Understanding what spices are and how they work to add flavour

white chocolate rocky road

Marshmallows, shortbread, white chocolate and dried fruit – simple, like so many of the best things are

(Image credit: Future)

2. White chocolate rocky road

Serves: 6-8 | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: No bake – leave in the fridge for 2 hrs

Rocky Road is always a winner. This white choc version is a particular hit with kids who will learn lots about flavor combos. Swap out the apricots and cranberries for other dried fruit like raisins and glacé cherries, if their taste buds prefer, and use milk choc if that's their chocolate of choice. 

Get the recipe: White chocolate rocky road

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Breaking up and weighing chocolate
  • Crumbling biscuits
  • Weighing fruit and marshmallows
  • Stirring the mixture

Skills learned:

  • Counting (they'll need to count out the dried apricots)
  • Understanding weight (the marshmallows are light so need much more volume than other ingredients)
  • How to combine ingredients

Rice krispie treats bites with marshmallow, small snack for kids

Simple, squidgy and very, very yummy

(Image credit: Getty)

3. Marshmallow crispy bites

Serves: 24 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

This simple, no-bake, three-ingredient recipe makes even chocolate cornflake cakes look complex by comparison. You'll need to melt the butter and marshmallows, but your small people can help with the rest – and we highly recommend decorating the tops with whatever floats their boat; hundreds and thousands, of grated chocolate, mini marshmallows, fudge pieces…

Get the recipe: Marshmallow crispy bites

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Weighing out the ingredients
  • Stirring the mixture
  • Adding toppings

Skills learned:

  • Basic maths
  • Ingredient combinations
  • Presentation (by using their artistic flair on the toppings!)

Annabel Karmel's farm animal cupcakes

Total joy in a cake case

(Image credit: Annabel Karmel)

4. Annabel Karmel's farm animal cupcakes

Makes: 12 | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

These adorable animal cupcakes look fabulously effective without much effort and, because the decoration – there are sheep, dogs, and pigs to create – is not exactly overly intricate, the kids can do it with a bit of supervision. It's a basic cupcake, topped with buttercream, and uses marshmallows, chocolate buttons, and biscuits to create sweet animal faces. A brilliant one for a kid's party.

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel's farm animal cupcakes

Tasks for the kids

  • Stirring the cake mix
  • Mixing the icing
  • Decorating the tops

Skills learned:

  • Creativity
  • Writing with icing

Colour in cupcakes

Art and baking combined in this creative activity

(Image credit: Future)

5. Colour-in cupcakes

Makes: 24 | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

The little ones will be utterly thrilled with this activity, which combines baking cakes with drawing and coloring, ticking all those creative boxes. A basic cupcake recipe is topped with piped buttercream and then double-topped with white modeling paste that can be decorated in designs using edible art pens (find them in Hobbycraft or in the baking aisle of larger supermarkets). 

Get the recipe: Colour-in cupcakes

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Cutting out the modeling paste 
  • Mixing and weighing out the cake mix
  • Coloring in the designs on the top

Skills learned:

  • Using a cookie cutter
  • Coloring in, and choosing designs and colors to create a cake topping

Roll up sandwiches

Making their regular sarnie for lunch more appealing – always a winner

(Image credit: Elena Elisseeva/Alamy)

6. Roll up sandwiches

Serves: 1| Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: No cook

Ideal as a task that will keep the kids engage and have lunch made at the end of it. Jazz us those usual dull sandwiches with a bit of flair by creating these swirly rolls together. Basically, flatten the bread with a rolling pin, add on toppings – could be grated cheese or cream cheese, tuna or ham, peanut butter or jam, or even Nutella for a treat – and roll it up before cutting it into chunks. 

Get the recipe: Roll-up sandwiches

Tasks for the kids:

  • Rolling out the bread
  • Sprinkling on and learning to spread different toppings
  • Rolling up the sandwiches

Skills learned:

  • How to make a sandwich
  • Flavor combinations – how well cheese and ham, or peanut butter and jam go together, for example – Nutella and tuna, not so much!

plate of fudge

Fudge, made in the microwave – who knew?

(Image credit: Getty)

7. Microwave fudge

Serves: 12 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

If you've never made fudge, you could be forgiven for thinking it a complicated task, but this version very much isn't – it simply involves three ingredients and a microwave. Condensed milk is the key ingredient, as well as a splash of vanilla extract, plus you can freestyle with the flavors, including milk or white chocolate, or add flavors such as raisins. This being cooking with kids, adding fun toppings like Skittles or M&Ms is always going to be a winner.  

Get the recipe: Microwave fudge

Tasks for the kids

  • Breaking up the chocolate
  • Stirring the mixture
  • Cutting out and decorating the fudge after chilling

Skills learned:

  • Using cooking cutters
  • Creativity 
  • Understanding how ingredients come together to create food

How to make sausage rolls

(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

8. Sausage rolls

Serves: 6 | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Who doesn't love a sausage roll? And if you're more likely to be found in the queue at Greggs than whipping up your own, the cooking with kids activity is a great reason to have a bash at homemade – it's so worth it. Of course, you could make your own pastry, but a shop-bought packet of shortcrust suffices perfectly well here. If you're not a pork eater, try beef or vegetarian sausages for the filling. 

Get the recipe: Sausage rolls

Tasks for the kids

  • Rolling out the pastry
  • Helping with the filling
  • Brushing the tops with egg wash

Skills learned:

  • Understanding food hygiene – the importance of hand washing, especially after touching raw meat
  • Using a rolling pin
  • Working with pastry

jam tarts

An icon of early years baking that harks back to our own youth

(Image credit: Getty)

9. Jam tarts

Makes/serves: 12 | Prep time: 30 | Cook time: 20

Simple, but wonderful, a good jam tart has the nostalgia factor for us and is a sweet recipe to pass on to the new generation. This one involves making your own pastry and the kids can do so much in creating these cute bakes. Using a range of jams, from raspberry to blackcurrant to apricot (lemon curd works well, too), will make them all look very visually pleasing on your best cake plate. Your little ones are going to feel exceedingly proud of the end result.

Get the recipe: Jam tarts

Tasks for the kids

  • Sifting flour 
  • Rolling out the pastry
  • Spooning the jam
  • Sifting icing sugar to decorate the tops

Skills learned:

  • Understanding how the pastry is made
  • Using cookie cutters
  • Creativity in choosing the jams and decorating

Banana muffins

Fruity muffins, perfect for lunch boxes or even for breakfast

10. Banana muffins

Makes: 12 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

A great way of using up those overripe bananas lurking in the fruit bowl, these muffins are a good one to do with the kids – and sneakily include one of their five a day, all wrapped up in a treat-like package. There are plenty of tasks they can get on board with here, so they will feel very involved and pleased with themselves, as they rightly should.

Get the recipe: Banana muffins

Tasks for the kids: 

  • Mashing the bananas
  • Weighing the ingredients
  • Stirring the cake batter
  • Spooning the mix into the cases
  • Topping with slices of banana

Skills learned:

  • Understanding how fruit can be used in baking
  • Basic maths skills from measuring on the scales
  • How to mash food into different consistencies

pizza with a funny food face

And we thought we couldn't love pizza any more than we already do…

(Image credit: Getty)

11. Funny face pizza

Makes/serves: 4 | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 8 mins

These funny-face pizzas are a great way to get the kids working together to make their own dinner – especially when they've got their friends around after school. This recipe shows you how to make the bases first, which they can get involved in, and then they can have free reign on decorating the tops – cue a lot of hilarity, especially when they go in the oven and come out looking all comical. This one is a rustic approach, definitely, no need to strive for perfection here!

Get the recipe:  Funny face pizza

Tasks for the kids:

  • Helping with creating and kneading the dough
  • Rolling out the dough
  • Spreading on the tomato sauce and sprinkling on cheese
  • Freestyling on the toppings – olives or cherry tomatoes for eyes, sliced pepper for the mouth, sweetcorn for teeth – you get the idea!

Skills learned:

  • Being creative with designs and flavors
  • How to make the dough

Mary Berry's iced fairy cakes

A sweet use for our favourite Dolly Mixtures

12. Mary Berry's iced fairy cakes

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

These charming old-school fairy cakes from the doyenne of baking, Mary Berry, are a wonderful choice to do with younger kids. It's a back-to-basics recipe, whereby the kids can learn how to make a cake sponge and a simple icing made from icing sugar and water. Top with whatever your sweets of choice are – we do love a Dolly Mixture here for its range of flavors and looks, but you're welcome to freestyle!

Get the recipe: Mary Berry's iced fairy cakes

Tasks for the kids:

  • Measuring out ingredients
  • Stirring the cake mix
  • Helping to make the icing
  • Spooning the icing
  • Decorating the tops with sweets

Skills learned:

  • Basic maths
  • How to make a cake mix and icing
  • The art of decoration

Annabel Karmel's chicken Caesar salad

We would like all of our Caesar salads to look like this from now on

13. Annabel Karmel's chicken Caesar salad

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: No cook

If you've ever wondered how to get your kids to eat salad, this is the way to do it. Not only is this Caesar dressing completely delicious, but they can help make it themselves, which means that they will surely also want to eat it. Using cooked chicken (though you could switch for salmon or even chopped hard-boiled eggs), there are plenty of tasks that younger kids can get on board with – and the star-shaped croutons will win over any doubters, that's for certain. You could also add this into a wrap for a school lunch box.

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel's chicken Caesar salad

Tasks for the kids

  • Cutting out the bread with cooking cutters
  • Mixing together the dressing ingredients and helping with measurements
  • Spooning into the lettuce cups

Skills learned:

  • How to combine flavors to make salad dressings
  • Using cookie cutters

Cheesey scrambled eggs with bacon

Scrambled eggs are a winner for breakfast, lunch or even dinner

14. Cheesy scrambled eggs with bacon

Serves: 2 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Scrambled eggs are often one of the first savory dishes that kids learn to master. These ones have cheese added for extra deliciousness and an extra protein and calcium hit. They're served with bacon which you would have to cook, but that can be easily omitted, or replaced with smoked salmon. 

Get the recipe: Cheesy scrambled eggs with bacon

Tasks for the kids:

  • Beating the eggs
  • Adding the grated cheese to the cooked eggs
  • Spooning onto the toast

Skills learned:

  • Understanding what makes an easy and nutritious meal
  • How to cook with eggs

Chocolate chip cookies

A classic, for a reason

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

15. Chocolate chip cookies

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

Kids can't get enough of chocolate chip cookies, so get them to make their own instead of scoffing at shop-bought varieties. The real skill (which is down to you) is in the cooking time, making sure they're just the right side of gooey, and not too firm – there lies cookie perfection – the type of sugar you use helps with this too, we recommend opting for brown as the molasses will make your cookies chewier. You could switch out the choc chips for M&Ms or Smarties, or you could consider raisins (granted, most kids would rather not) and use this basic recipe to add extra flavorings such as mixed spice, ground ginger, or cinnamon. 

Get the recipe: Chocolate chip cookies

Tasks for the kids:

  • Measuring out the ingredients
  • Stirring the cookie mix
  • Adding in the choc chips
  • Cutting out the dough

Skills learned:

  • Basic maths
  • How cookie dough is created
  • Using a range of cookie cutters to create different shapes

Phil Vickery's caramel swirl chocolate brownies

Gooey brownies, with swirls of caramel

16. Phil Vickery's caramel swirl chocolate brownies

Makes/serves: 16 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Telly chef Phil Vickery has created these next-level gooey chocolate brownies with caramel (which is handily shop bought – try Carnation, or you could even go for a salted caramel or dulce du leche). This recipe contains walnuts, which you will want to remove for younger kids and you may want to trade the dark chocolate for milk, otherwise, it may be a little strong and bitter for such young palates. Make them even more visually appealing by adding colorful M&Ms or Smarties into the mix. 

Get the recipe: Phil Vickery's caramel swirl chocolate brownies

Tasks for the kids:

  • Beating the eggs and the caramel
  • Weighing ingredients and mixing the brownie batter
  • Adding in the cooled melted chocolate

Skills learned:

  • Basic maths
  • Flavor combinations and how brownie mix is created

How to make soft brown rolls

Yes, your clever kids can even make bread now

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

17. Soft brown rolls

Makes: 12 | Prep time: 20 mins, plus 30 mins rising time | Cook time: 30 mins

Expand your kids' cookery skills – and quite possibly your own – by teaching them how to make these soft brown rolls thanks to this simple step-by-step picture recipe. They can get involved in the whole process, and then help make sandwiches or a simple soup to serve with them later, or even use as burger buns – lunch sorted, baking skills learned and they'll be as proud as punch. 

Get the recipe: Soft brown rolls

Tasks for the kids:

  • Measuring out and combining ingredients for the dough
  • Kneading (aka punching and stretching!) the dough
  • Shaping out the dough for baking

Skills learned:

  • Understanding how bread is made – and how yeast makes the dough rise
  • How to knead the dough
  • Basic maths

Video of the Week

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.