The Best 20 Books to Read With Your Kids About Cooking

Updated Apr. 22, 2019

Whether you already have a little chef on your hands or are looking to drum up a little more interest, these fun books about cooking are a great introduction to the culinary world from a literary perspective. From the Strega Nona's classic magic pasta pot to board books that let you interactively make pizza as you turn the pages, there's something on this age group for every interest level and attention span. Get out your aprons and mixing bowls, because these will have you in the mood to do some cooking sooner or later!

Stone Soup book
#1
Stone Soup
Written and illustrated by Jon J Muth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An award-winning artist adds a Zen twist to a favorite tale. As three monks travel along a mountain road, they encounter villagers ravaged by harsh times, making them cold to strangers. When the monks entice them to make soup from stones, the villagers discover how much they have to give. Full color.

Strega Nona book
#2
Strega Nona
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Grammy

At our house, we have loved Tomie De Paola books for decades. The original Strega Nona is a big favorite! There are so many wonderful things about this book: the importance of listening carefully, trust, independence, natural consequences and having the punishment fit the crime, best of all, the magic in this book is really just three kisses. The color palate for DePaola's illustrations is right out of 'once upon a time' in Italy, as are the architectural details and costuming. It is a gentle cautionary tale with manageable consequences--which is a good thing because there is a little Big Anthony in all of us.

When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works in this classic Caldecott Honor book from Tomie dePaola. Strega Nona—"Grandma Witch"—is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results. In this retelling of an old tale, author-illustrator Tomie dePaola combines humor in the writing and warmth in the paintings as he builds the story to its hilarious climax.

Chicken Soup With Rice book
#3
Chicken Soup With Rice
Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

In this beloved classic, Maurice Sendak blends his signature artwork with rhymes you’ll want to read over and over—in every season.

Too Many Tamales book
#4
Too Many Tamales
Written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Ed Martinez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Maria tries on her mother's wedding ring while helping make tamales for a Christmas family get-together. Panic ensues when hours later, she realizes the ring is missing.

What's Up Tiger?: Food book
#5
What's Up Tiger?: Food
Written and illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I'm a big fan of this Cocoretto series of books with big sturdy flaps that my toddler can easily open himself as often as he wants with pretty much zero chance of them every ripping off. This book introduces a little bit of ethnic food, along with some fan favorites (like pepperoni pizza!) and it's a fun introduction to different types of baking and cooking. My two year absolutely adores this one right now and can "read" the whole thing himself, which is completely adorable!

What are the animals up to? There are lots of clues to help us decide, and we can lift the flap to see if we’re right.

The Seven Silly Eaters book
#6
The Seven Silly Eaters
Written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marla Frazee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Seven fussy eaters find a way to surprise their mother.

Even Aliens Need Snacks book
#7
Even Aliens Need Snacks
Written and illustrated by Matthew McElligott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In the follow up to his breakout picture book, Even Monsters Need Haircuts, Matthew McElligott brings back the young monster barber in a new tale where his culinary concoctions bring him galaxy-wide fame. Creating snacks that make most humans queasy, this chef has found a new clientele--aliens. Readers will delight in McElligott's gently offbeat humor and unique artistry as spaceships full of hilarious creatures line up for a taste of the intergalactic cuisine.

Tacos!: An Interactive Recipe Book book
#8
Tacos!: An Interactive Recipe Book
Written and illustrated by Lotta Nieminen
board book
Recommend Ages: 5-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is such a fabulous interactive book, though I'd recommend it being for a little bit older children, as there are a lot of pieces you can take out of this book. This interactive book is perfect for little ones interested in food and cooking, and I love that it has an actual recipe full of directions!

For kids who cook in a play kitchen or a real kitchen, this interactive recipe book invites readers to chop the vegetables, mash the avocado, warm the tortillas, and more - all inside the book! Step one: Cut the chicken into cubes and toss it in a bowl with the spices. Step two: Warm oil on a skillet on the stove, then add the chicken. Step three: While the chicken cooks, chop the scallions, slice the radishes, shred the cabbage, mince the cilantro. Simple yet accurate recipe text takes readers through the steps of cooking tacos, while the interactive novelty features such as pull tabs, sliders, wheels, and pop-out pieces invite them to participate in the process. Perfect for kids who love to help in the kitchen, or any child who prefers to "do it myself." This is the third title in the COOK IN A BOOK series.

We're Going to the Farmers' Market book
#9
We're Going to the Farmers' Market
Written and illustrated by Stefan Page
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is one of my favorite board books! You can't beat the vivid, bright, beautiful colors and illustrations in this book, and I love that it talks kids through where their food comes from, starting with the farmers and ending up on their plates.

In this story, readers get to visit local farmers, fill baskets with fresh fruits and vegetables, and then head home to cook a feast, all with goodies from the farmers' market! Featuring Stefan Page's graphic art, this delightful board book is filled with bold splashes of color and unique patterns.

Soup Day book
#10
Soup Day
Written and illustrated by Melissa Iwai
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This is a very unique book.I really enjoyed reading it. The little girl gets to help her mother make soup, and while it's cooking they get to play, and then clean up and then eat the delicious soup together. I loved that it showed how children can help their parents and then, often, their parents have time to play with them. When there is order there is enjoyment by all. It also has a recipe at the end which is a very fun touch.

Now in board book! A young girl and her mother shop to buy ingredients for vegetable soup. At home, they work together—step by step—to prepare the meal. A little later, the family sits down to enjoy a special dinner. Melissa Iwai's Soup Day celebrates the importance of making a nutritious meal and sharing in the process as a family. A Christy Ottaviano Book

Tony's bread book
#11
Tony's bread
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A baker loses his daughter but gains a bakery in the grand city of Milano after meeting a determined nobleman, in a tale that explains the origin of the the name "panettone"--a traditional sweet bread of Italy.

Pizza! book
#12
Pizza!
Written and illustrated by Lotta Nieminen
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a delightfully original take on a "cookbook" for kids, that combines the text of a recipe with minimalist illustrations and sturdy interactive elements that are 100% the pizzazz factor and without which it would be quite boring. WITH the interactive elements, however, kids get to experience a recipe and what it means to follow one while staying involved and doing some mess-free cooking!

Cook pizza from scratch in this fully interactive recipe book that allows readers mix the ingredients, knead the dough, spread the sauce, and more! STEP ONE: Stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water, and set aside until bubbly. STEP TWO: Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. STEP THREE: Add the oil and yeast mixture into the large bowl and mix until the ingredients turn into a large clump of dough! Simple yet accurate recipe text takes readers through the steps of cooking pizza, from dough to toppings, while the interactive novelty features invite them to participate in the process! One hundred percent adult-free, knife-free, oven-free, and mess-free, cooking pizza has never been so independent! Perfect for kids who love to help in the kitchen, or any child who prefers to 'do it myself'. This is the second title in a series of interactive recipe books.

Pete's a Pizza book
#13
Pete's a Pizza
Written and illustrated by William Steig
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Pete's father starts kneading the dough. Next, some oil is generously applied. (Its really water.) And then some tomatoes. (They're really checkers.) When the dough gets tickled, it laughs like crazy.

The Cook and the King book
#14
The Cook and the King
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The king searches his kingdom far and wide for the perfect cook. He’s very particular, and none of the cooks can get the job done just right. Until the king meets Wobbly Bob. The king thinks Wobbly Bob might be the perfect fit, but there’s just one small hitch—Wobbly Bob is afraid of everything. He’s afraid that he’ll nick himself with the sharp kitchen knives, and he’s afraid he’ll get dirt from the vegetable garden on his new apron. Wobbly Bob needs a companion to help him feel brave, so the king himself tags along every step of the way. This tale of unlikely friendship is a fun and hilarious romp from a bestselling team.

Junie B., First Grader book
#15
Junie B., First Grader
Written by Barbara Park and illustrated by Denise Brunkus
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Junie, an outspoken, sometimes exasperating, first grader is thrilled when she is told she can help out Mrs. Gutzman in the school cafeteria and imagines what it will be like to be a professional lunch lady. Reprint.

Pie book
#16
Pie
Written and illustrated by Sarah Weeks
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

After the death of Polly Portman, whose award-winning pies put the town of Ipswitch, Pennsylvania, on the map in the 1950s, her devoted niece Alice and Alice's friend Charlie investigate who is going to extremes to find Aunt Polly's secret pie crust recipe. Includes fourteen pie recipes.

Lights, Camera, Cook! book
#17
Lights, Camera, Cook!
Written by Charise Mericle Harper and illustrated by Aurelie Blard-Quintard
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A zesty new series for fans of MasterChef Jr. and Kids Cook-off! It's "lights, camera, cook!" for four tween contestants--energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver--who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition. What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on and off camera? Which junior chef will have the grit--and maybe the grits--to make it through each elimination challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good?

All Four Stars book
#18
All Four Stars
Written and illustrated by Tara Dairman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A zesty new series for fans of MasterChef Jr. and Kids Cook-off! It's "lights, camera, cook!" for four tween contestants--energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver--who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition. What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on and off camera? Which junior chef will have the grit--and maybe the grits--to make it through each elimination challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good?

The Boy Who Wanted to Cook book
#19
The Boy Who Wanted to Cook
Written by Gloria Whelan and illustrated by Steve Adams
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Ten-year-old Pierre dreams of being a chef at his parents' restaurant, La Bonne Vache, in the south of France but is told he is too young; however, when an important guest comes to visit, Pierre sees an opportunity to prove himself. Includes notes about dining in France and a glossary.

Yasmin the Chef book
#20
Yasmin the Chef
Written by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Yasmin's family is hosting a big party, but Yasmin is worried that the traditional food her family is cooking is too spicy--so her family challenges Yasmin to come up with a dish of her own.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!