ATK Kids

School's In: 5 After-School Snacks That Kids Can Prepare Themselves

Every cook has to start somewhere. Have your young chef start cooking with one of our 15-minute beginner recipes.

Published Sept. 14, 2018.

Snack food should be fun food. That’s why we’re sharing with you and your budding young chef five quick, beginner recipes that let them get in on the action. The best part? All of these after-school snacks easily double as sleepover party nibbles.

About America’s Test Kitchen Kids

We created America’s Test Kitchen Kids to show the young ones (and grown-ups!) that cooking is truly something everyone can do. America’s Test Kitchen Kids—our newest addition to the family—has everything from kid-tested and kid-approved recipes to hands-on activities. The goal? To help raise a new generation of empowered cooks, engaged eaters, and curious experimenters.

Let’s start with some tasty snacks.

America’s Test Kitchen Kids Newsletter

Get kid-approved recipes, hands-on activities, and more in your inbox from America's Test Kitchen Kids Editor in Chief, Molly Birnbaum.   

1. Cheese Quesadillas

Cheese Quesadillas

Quesadillas might just be the perfect after-school snack. Your young chef will need just three ingredients—flour tortillas, cheese, and some vegetable oil—to make this recipe come together quickly.

Kid-Approved Test Kitchen Tip: To make this recipe extra simple, use shredded cheese. [GET THE RECIPE]

2. Real Buttered Popcorn

Buttered Popcorn

Microwave popcorn is a great idea . . . in theory. Most packaged options have a long list of unnatural ingredients and don’t taste very good. This fun recipe takes a plain old brown paper bag and turns it into a microwave-safe package for popping corn kernels. 

Kid-Approved Test Kitchen Tip: Be careful when opening the bag with the popped kernels—there will be a lot of steam in the bag, so open it away from your face or hands. [GET THE RECIPE]

3. Fudgy Chocolate Mug Cakes

Chocolate Mug Cakes

These rich-and-gooey chocolate mug cakes make for the perfect after-school treat. The best part? The recipe takes only 15 minutes to prepare and it uses the microwave, so there's no need to be reaching into a hot oven.

Kid-Approved Test Kitchen Tip: Add whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream for a deluxe treat. [GET THE RECIPE]

4. Guacamole


If they already know where to find the chips in the cupboard, it’s time they learn how to whip themselves up a good batch of chunky guacamole dip. This recipe uses fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, and avocados to hold them over until dinner time rolls around.

Kid-Approved Test Kitchen Tip: To test the ripeness of everyone's favorite green fruit, place the avocado in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze—it should be a little soft. [GET THE RECIPE]

5. Hummus


Introduce them to the dipping life with this creamy spread, which is made with pureed chickpeas, tahini (it’s similar to peanut butter but is made from sesame seeds), lemon juice, and spices.

Kid-Approved Test Kitchen Tip: Use baby carrots, slices of cucumber, whole cherry tomatoes, crackers, pita chips, or tortilla chips (you can find our recipe for them in The Complete Cookbook For Young Chefs) as your "scooper" and you're good to go. [GET THE RECIPE]

Monthly Subscription for Ages 5+

Young Chefs' Club

Every month, young chefs ages 5 and up receive a themed box filled with kid-tested recipes, hands-on activities and experiments, and other creative items, such as art projects, achievement buttons, a kitchen tool or special ingredient, and more.  
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Recommended for Ages 8-12

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs

Kid-tested and kid-approved means there are thousands of other kids out there right now cooking these recipes, and loving the process and the results.  
A Comprehensive Equipment List

Best Cooking Items for Kids

To get this next generation of cooks started on the right foot, we put together a list of tools geared towards them.  
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What does your kid normally like to eat as an after-school snack? Let us know in the comments! 

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