10 best recipes for kids under 3 years old

If your child is under 3 years old and loves getting messy in the kitchen then you've come to the right place. We've rounded up our best recipes for under 3's including cupcakes, mash potato and rocky road too...

Basic cupcakes
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

If your child is under 3 years old and loves getting messy in the kitchen then you've come to the right place. We've rounded up our best recipes for under 3's including cupcakes, mash potato and rocky road too...

If you're looking for delicious little recipes to whip up with the little ones, we've got some lovely ones enjoy in our 10 best recipes for kids under 3 years old.

If your child is under 3 years old and loves getting messy in the kitchen, you've come to the right place. As part of our cooking with kids guide, (opens in new tab) we've rounded up our best recipes to make with under 3's including cupcakes, mash potato and rocky road.

When it comes to cooking with under 3 year olds it's all about the senses - taste, touch and smells are a great way of getting your child curious about food. They can help mix, mash and stir with a large wooden spoon and a plastic bowl.

Forget about the mess and just let them enjoy themselves - it's the perfect way to spend the day together and an excuse to get the camera out too!

Take a look through our 10 best recipes for under 3 year olds and choose your favourite...

Basic cupcakes

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

These basic cupcakes are a great starter recipe as they use only a few ingredients and are really easy to make. You can be in charge of the oven whilst your child can be in charge of the mixing!

Tasks for the kids

  • Mixing the ingredients together with a wooden spoon
  • Spooning the mixture into the cases
  • Decorating the cakes with icing, sprinkles etc.
  • Get the recipe: Basic cupcakes (opens in new tab)

    Quiche Lorraine

    Quiche Lorraine

    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    Quiche is much easier to make than you may think and it's so simple you can even make it with your 3 year old's help! This recipe makes the pastry from scratch which means your tot can have fun playing around with the dough.

    Tasks for the kids

  • Mixing the ingredients together with their hands to make the dough
  • Rolling out, kneading and playing with the dough
  • Mixing the filling together with a whisk (just make sure none of the raw egg goes anywhere near their mouths.)
  • Get the recipe: Quiche Lorraine (opens in new tab)

    Mash potato

    Mash potato

    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    If you're making dinner for the rest of the family and mash potato is on the menu then get your 3 year old to help with the mashing. Turn your potatoes into a creamy delight by adding butter and milk. Just make sure the potatoes are chilled before handing them over (you can always warm it up again once they’ve finished their mashing fun!)

    Tasks for the kids

  • Mashing the cooked potatoes (when cooled) with a fork or masher
  • Get the recipe: Mash potato (opens in new tab)

    Rocky road bars

    Rocky road bars

    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    Your child can help out at pretty much every stage when making this rocky road recipe, and you don't even have to use the oven.

    Tasks for the kids

  • Breaking up the ginger biscuits with their hands or the back of a spoon
  • Spooning the golden syrup into the mix
  • Mixing all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon (once chocolate has cooled down)
  • Helping to pour the mix into the tin
  • Get the recipe: Rocky road bars (opens in new tab)

    Quick strawberry ice cream

    Quick strawberry ice cream

    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    This recipe only uses 3 ingredients; strawberry preserve, vanilla custard and ice cream cones so it's a great one to make with your tot, plus they can sample some of their work afterwards too!

    Tasks for the kids

  • Mixing and beating the ingredients together
  • Putting scoops of ice cream onto cones with your guidance
  • Get the recipe: Quick strawberry ice cream (opens in new tab)

    Pizza dough

    Pizza dough

    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    Making pizza dough from scratch is a great way of developing your cooking skills and getting your young one using their senses so they can touch and play with the dough.

    Tasks for the kids

    • Mixing the ingredients together with a spoon or their hands
    • Rolling out, kneading and playing with the dough
    • Shaping the dough into pizza bases and covering it in different toppings

    Get the recipe: Pizza dough (opens in new tab)

    Chocolate cornflake nests

    Chocolate cornflake nests

    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    A handful of cornflakes and some melted chocolate make the perfect combo. You could try different cereal too like Shredded Wheat or Rice Krispies - whatever is your child's favourite!

    Tasks for the kids

    • Breaking up the chocolate so it's ready to be melted by you
    • Mixing the cereal and chocolate together once the chocolate has cooled
    • Spooning the mixture into cases
    • Decorating with chocolate sweets like Mini Eggs, Smarties or M&Ms

    Get the recipe: Chocolate cornflake nests (opens in new tab)

    Apple flapjacks

    Apple flapjacks

    (Image credit: TI Media Limited)

    You can take charge of the apple cooking and they can take charge of the mixing in this recipe. If you leave the mix to cool in a bowl before adding the oats, you won't have to worry about any heat related incidents!

    Tasks for the kids

    • Stirring the oats into the apple, butter and golden syrup mix once cooled

    Get the recipe: Apple flapjacks (opens in new tab)

    Gingerbread house

    Gingerbread house recipe

    Make a gingerbread house as the ultimate Christmas bake with little ones. Decorate it carefully ready for the big reveal on Christmas Day, or make it as a little project with the kids and you’ll have fun afternoon baking and decorating even it doesn’t turn out perfectly!

    Tasks for the kids

    • Sifting the flour, baking powder, ginger and spice into the bowl
    • Cracking the egg into the bowl
    • Rolling the dough
    • Decorating with icing

    Get the recipe: GIngerbread house (opens in new tab)

    Raspberry chocolate cupcakes

    Raspberry chocolate cupcakes

    (Image credit: Terry Benson)

    This no-bake recipe is perfect for making with the kids and it's an excuse to get your hands dirty too! This recipe combines melted chocolate with Madeira cake to make cheat's cupcakes!

    Tasks for the kids

    • Mixing all the ingredients together once the chocolate has cooled
    • Crumbling the Madiera cake
    • Spooning the mix into cupcake/muffin cases
    • Topping the cakes with raspberries

    Get the recipe: Raspberry chocolate cupcakes (opens in new tab)

    Where to next?

    More recipes to cook with the kids (opens in new tab)

    Jessica Dady
    Jessica Dady

    Jessica Dady is Senior Content Editor at Goodto.com and has over 10 years of experience as a digital journalist, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to baking sets, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends much of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family - particularly for her two lucky children.