ATK Kids

A New Cookbook for the Youngest Chefs

Looking for kid-friendly recipes for your 5- to 8-year-old? My First Cookbook is the perfect place to start.

Published Mar. 9, 2020.

After publishing The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs and The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs for kids ages 8 to 13, our team at America’s Test Kitchen Kids knew that we wanted to create a cookbook for younger kids just starting to cook and bake. Enter My First Cookbook. Designed to introduce kids ages 5 to 8 to the kitchen (with some help from their grown-ups, of course), this book is full of approachable, fun, and delicious recipes. 

Every recipe in the book is, as always, kid tested and kid approved by our large group of at-home kid recipe testers (and their grown-ups). But keeping in mind the younger age of our new audience, we made a few changes to our recipe style:

  • Every recipe step includes a photograph, so that early readers (and non-readers) can still follow along. 
  • Some instructions include an “Adult help!” sticker that appears on recipe steps where kids need grown-up support. This lets adults quickly glance at a recipe to learn exactly where their young chef will need a helping hand. 

My First Cookbook is broken down into four chapters: After-School Snacks; Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner; Sweet Treats; and Holidays and Celebrations. Each chapter has a variety of recipes to choose from, plus a “Make It Your Way” feature in every chapter that encourages young chefs to get creative. Make Smoothie Bowls and Cheesy Zucchini Crisps from the After-School Snacks chapter. Try starting off your day with Sheet Pan French Toast for breakfast and ending it with a Make It Your Way Baked Sweet Potato Bar for dinner (both from the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner chapter). In the Sweet Treats chapter, you can go classic with Blondies, or make individual serving Key Lime Cups. Finally, our Holidays and Celebrations chapter has you covered for many major holidays with recipes such as Easy Biscuits for Thanksgiving and Egyptian Spice Cookies for Eid. 

All of the recipes in My First Cookbook also maximize kid participation in the kitchen. There’s plenty of mixing, scrunching, smashing, and squishing, and rolling, like in these Cranberry-Almond No-Bake Energy Bites. They’re a healthy, tasty snack, and were a hit among our kid testers (and among the test kitchen staff). Recipe tester David, age 5, summed them up perfectly: “Delicious and fun to make. Whenever I eat one I want to eat a hundred.” Get the recipe below, and try making them with the young chefs in your life.

Cranberry-Almond No-Bake Energy Bites

Difficulty: Beginner
No Safety Considerations
Yield: Makes 12 bites
Total Time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time

You can add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flax seed to oat mixture in step 1, if desired. Energy bites can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.

Gather Equipment

  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large bowl
  • Rubber spatula
  • Plate
  • Plastic wrap


Prepare Ingredients

  • ¾ cup (2¼ ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats 
  • ⅓ cup peanut, almond, or sunflower butter 
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds 
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries 
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt


Start Cooking!


Step 1: Mix

Stir all ingredients in bowl with rubber spatula until well combined.

Step 2: Shape

Use your wet hands to roll mixture into 12 balls (about 1 tablespoon each). Place balls on plate and cover with plastic wrap.

Step 3: Chill

Refrigerate balls until firm, at least 30 minutes.

My First Cookbook

From simple after-school snacks such as Yogurt and Berry Swirl and English Muffin Pizzas to family meals like Cheese Pupusas and Rice Noodle Bowls, these beginner recipes wil inspire chefs ages 5 to 8 (and beyond!) to enter the kitchen and engage their creativity.
Buy the Book

If you're looking for more information on cooking with kids, check out these articles:

Introducing the 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.
Learn More

This is a members' feature.