From chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, to cheese crackers, chicken tenders, and fish sticks, I rounded up the best homemade kids food to help you DIY some of their favorites! These recipes are all kid-tested for flavor and vetted for straight-forward recipe methods.
The term “kids food” can be loaded and I think sometimes it makes us feel like there is a whole separate category of food that we need to be feeding our kids…which I don’t think is very helpful. To me, this idea actually means any food that tastes good, has nutrition, and is easy for the kids to eat.
Which is broad and so much more inclusive!
And since I know that our unique kids have their favorites, I wanted to put together a list of homemade versions of classic kids food to help expand accepted foods and to make it a little easier to make foods that the whole family will enjoy eating.
I rounded up 50 of my very favorite recipes for nutritious, easy, and fun recipes for kids. I hope that these give you some new ideas for what to cook for your kids to keep them both well nourished and happy at the table!
Contents hide 1 Kids Food 2 Breakfast Ideas 3 Lunch Ideas for Kids 4 Nuggets, Tenders, & Tots 5 Pasta, Pizza, and Burgers 6 Homemade Crackers, Granola Bars, Cookies, and More 7 Favorite Desserts for Kids
Find favorite breakfast foods including breakfast bars, toaster pastries, egg sandwiches, flavored milks, and more.
Easy Breakfast Burritos These are called “breakfast” burritos since they have eggs, but you can serve them for any meal of the day! Get the recipe Favorite Spinach Eggs (Green Eggs Recipe) Packed with spinach (and iron!), these bright green eggs are fun and delicious. You can serve them as you would scrambled eggs, or use in a breakfast burrito or egg sandwich. Get the recipe Healthy Breakfast Bars with Jam Use Sunbutter to make these nut-free. You can cut these into smaller bars if desired. If you want them a little softer, serve them at room temperature rather than chilled. Get the recipe Favorite Strawberry Milk Creamy and delicious, you can make this with fresh strawberries or freeze-dried ones. The version with freeze-dried berries tastes more similar to store-bought strawberry milk; the one with fresh berries tastes more like fresh strawberries! Get the recipe Baked Banana French Toast Sticks You can use any sliced bread that you like. I typically use whole grain or sourdough. You can also bake full slices of bread, then cut into sticks with kitchen scissors. See Notes for allergy-substitutions. Get the recipe Best Homemade Chocolate Milk You can make this right before serving or make it up to 24 hours ahead. Get the recipe Easy Instant Oatmeal You can make a handful of containers ahead of time, then pull them out for easy breakfasts when you need them. Or, make and serve all at once. Get the recipe Strawberry Smoothie with Yogurt You can use fresh or frozen berries in this simple Strawberry Smoothie and the results will have a texture that is similar to drinkable yogurt. To make it thicker and to try different flavor options, see the Notes at the end of the recipe. Get the recipe Favorite Blueberry Mini Muffins Fluffy and perfectly moist, these little muffins have protein and calcium—plus bursts of delicious blueberries. (Like Little Bites, but with more nutrients and for less $$.) See Notes for allergy variations. Get the recipe Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins (Little Bites Copycat) Moist tender Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins that taste as good as store bought, but have a little extra nutrition? Sign. Me. Up. These muffins are seriously delicious and are a must-make if you have fans of Little Bites in your house! Get the recipe
Lunch Ideas for Kids
Check out these homemade versions of lunch staples including quesadillas, Pizza Rolls, homemade Lunchables, Uncrustables, and more.
Banana Sushi (3-Ingredient Kids Lunch) Banana Sushi is a seriously fun and fast lunch for kids—that’s filling too! Plus: You only need three nutritious ingredients to make this lunch. Get the recipe Homemade Hummus (Without Tahini) With just 5 minutes and basic pantry ingredients, you can make the yummiest Homemade Hummus without tahini. This means that it’s nut-free, so it’s an option for school and allergy families, and it’s just perfect for dunking crackers or spreading on bread. Get the recipe Favorite Pizza Recipes for Kids The kids can help make these easy English Muffin Pizzas by spreading on the sauce and adding the cheese, or you can quickly do them too. Add any other toppings you like (precooked options are best since we’re basically just toasting these quickly.) The recipe of my go-to recipes are linked in the Notes. Easy Turkey Wrap Recipe (to Share with the Kids) Roll up a few simple ingredients to make this delicious Turkey Wrap recipe in minutes. It’s a great lunch wrap for home or school, and you can easily adjust the ingredients to suit the preferences of your child. This makes one wrap, so scale up as desired. Get the recipe Vegetarian Rice and Beans Burritos You can make and serve these at the same time, or prep them ahead of time and warm up quickly for an easy meal. You can vary the beans in these simple burritos. Serve them with salsa and/or sour cream. Get the recipe Quick Sandwich Roll Ups (2-Minute School Lunch) Pair a soft sandwich bread with your filling of choice to make this easy toddler lunch or school lunch. You can even make them the night before. Get the recipe Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwich (to Share with the Kids) With just 4 ingredients, including a veggie that blends right in, this Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a yummy kids lunch to share. It packs extra nutrition in the filling, yet only takes a few minutes to make. Such a great easy meal! Get the recipe DIY Pizza Lunchables Have more fun with lunch with this super quick and easy Pizza Lunchable idea. It’s one of our favorite copycat recipes that makes it less expensive to recreate Lunchables at home…that you can even customize! Get the recipe Favorite Pizza Rolls (with Spinach and Cheese) Be sure to grease your pan well and roll the dough up fairly tightly around the fillings for best results. (But it’s okay if they don’t look perfect when they go into the pan!) Get the recipe Easiest Homemade Uncrustables You can make one sandwich at a time, or make a batch of a few to stash in the freezer. Adjust this as needed for your preference. Get the recipe
Nuggets, Tenders, & Tots
These are some of our favorite easy homemade tots, tenders, and nuggets—made with both chicken and fish, and veggies. These are similar to freezer aisle favorites, only their often less expensive (and taste better!).
Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders These crispy Chicken Tenders are fast and versatile. To make these with panko breadcrumbs, use 1 cup and stir ¼ teaspoon salt into the flour before you dredge the chicken. Get the recipe Homemade Chicken Nuggets (with Sweet Potato) Crispy on the outside, tender in the middle, these Homemade Chicken Nuggets are both easy and delicious. You can prep the sweet potato up to 5 days ahead if that’s easier for you, too. Try serving these with ketchup, ranch, or marinara sauce. Get the recipe Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets These baked chicken nuggets have simple ingredients and a pleasantly crispy exterior. Aim to cut the chicken into similarly sized pieces so they bake evenly. Get the recipe Homemade Veggie Nuggets (with 3 Veggies!) I like to prep the veggies and rice ahead of time so that the process of making the nuggets is a little quicker. You can of course do it all at once though! Get the recipe Homemade Cauliflower Tots With quinoa, cauliflower, and cheese, these healthy little tots are a great finger food for kids. This recipe makes about 20 tots, which is 4-6 servings for toddlers—or 1-2 servings for adults. Get the recipe Homemade Broccoli Tots (Better Than the Freezer Aisle!) Crispy on the outside and tender in the middle, these tots are a seriously fun way to serve broccoli. You can cook the rice up to 5 days ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the tots. Get the recipe Crispy Baked Fish Sticks (to Share with the Kids!) We like to have these with simple sides such as Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, or Salad. They’re also great in tacos! Get the recipe
Pasta, Pizza, and Burgers
These are our favorite recipes for homemade pasta, pizza, and burgers. These recipes are all super easy and are so delicious to share with the kids.
Easy Mac and Cheese Bites (Mac and Cheese Cups) Learn how to make quick and easy Mac and Cheese Bites for an easy kids lunch or dinner. These bites are fun and a nutritious kids meal that can easily double as an appetizer! You can even add in veggies like broccoli for the most delicious mac and cheese cups. Get the recipe Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (5-Ingredient) With a simple cheese sauce—no standing and stirring over the stove here!—a solid dose of veggies, and a super creamy final result, this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a fast lunch or dinner option for toddlers. (And the rest of the family, too!) Get the recipe 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Use your family’s favorite shape and type of pasta in this recipe. (We like elbows or mini shells!) Get the recipe Easy Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese I like to use a small shape to keep this dish as fast as possible. Get the recipe 10-Minute Flatbread Pizza (Just 3 Ingredients!) For delicious homemade pizza without the work and in a lot less time, Flatbread Pizza to the rescue. Adjust this for allergies as you need. Get the recipe Pizza Bites (with Veggies!) Fluffy pizza bites are a delicious lunch or dinner option—and you can customize the filling to please your kids! We like these with a little side of warmed marinara sauce for dipping. Get the recipe Quick and Easy Pesto Pizza You can use any store bought crust for this recipe, or try my easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. I like making these as personal pizzas for the kids since they cook so fast, but you can also make one large pizza. See the Notes at the bottom for that info. Get the recipe Pizza Pockets with Broccoli and Cheese If you’re using Homemade Pizza Dough, make it at least an hour before you plan to assemble the pockets. If using store-bought, let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes so it’s not super cold when you try to form the pockets. Get the recipe Easy Zucchini Burgers Stretch your ground beef and add a veggie right into moist burger patties with this simple family dinner recipe. Get the recipe
Homemade Crackers, Granola Bars, Cookies, and More
These are some of the best homemade options for cheese crackers, granola bars, cookies, and more kids food favorites. All of these store well, so you can have them on hand for easy snacks throughout the week.
Easy Cheese Crackers Recipe Mix up this easy-to-work-with cracker dough, then let the kids help roll and cut their way to the yummiest homemade cheese crackers recipe. These crackers have whole grains and a delightfully crisp texture. So good! Get the recipe Easiest Animal Crackers Recipe If you use larger cookie cutters, you may need to bake on the longer end of the baking time—and mini cookie cutters on the shorter end. This makes a relatively small batch, so double it if you want extras to last all week! Get the recipe Sweet Potato Teething Biscuits (Easy Baby Rusks) This recipe has just a few healthy ingredients and is perfect for teething babies to chew on. They’re also a great cracker for older kiddos! This recipe is adapted and excerpted from The Big Book of Plant-Based Baby Foods by Tamika L. Gardner. Get the recipe Easy Homemade Granola Bars We like to have these granola bars as a snack or toddler breakfast with milk or a smoothie—and they’re an excellent lunch box component too. You can make them plain or choose a flavor to add! Get the recipe Quick and Easy No-Bake Granola Bars You can make these ahead and store in the fridge or freezer and have grab and go snacks on hand for days/weeks! Get the recipe Granola Bites (No-Bake, 3-Ingredients) A crispy dry granola, like this cinnamon flavor from Kind, works best in this recipe. Get the recipe Oven-Dried Strawberries You can do two baking sheets at once to get a slightly larger batch—definitely do this if you’re making these for more than one kiddo! Just be sure to swap the positions of the pans halfway through baking to ensure that they bake evenly. Get the recipe Easy Sugar Cookies (Healthy and Delish!) This makes a small batch of lightly sweet cookies. Double it to make more. If at any point the dough seems too sticky, pop it into the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up a bit. Or dust your parchment paper and cookie cutters with flour. Get the recipe Maple Coconut Chips Feel free to double the recipe and use two sheet pans to make more at once. Get the recipe Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies These classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies have lower sugar but all the flavor and texture you crave. Choose your add-ins based on the kinds your family enjoys most. Get the recipe Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls These no-bake bites taste like a cross between oatmeal raisin and peanut butter cookie dough. I use natural creamy peanut butter (like the kind from Smuckers), and it works really well. Get the recipe 3-Ingredient Cereal Bars Made with just 3 pantry staples, these bars make an excellent kids snack. They hold their shape best when stored in the fridge and served cold. Get the recipe
Favorite Desserts for Kids
From popsicles to frozen yogurt and ice cream cake, these are fun desserts to share with the kids. (These are so much more than just “kids food”, that’s for sure!)
So Good Fudge Pops (with Avocado!) Plan to make these in the morning of the day you want to serve them or the day before so they have time to freeze. See Notes for allergy-friendly substitutions. The amount of popsicles the recipe makes will vary according to the size of your mold. Get the recipe Chocolate-Covered Bananas (Frozen Pops!) These Chocolate Covered Bananas are frozen into popsicles that are so easy to make and so seriously fun. The chocolate pudding has a perfect texture once frozen, you can add sprinkles if you want, and use either paper lollipop sticks or popsicle sticks. Get the recipe Creamsicle Popsicles (3-Ingredients!) Make these freezer pops for a sweet snack or dessert. They’re loaded with probiotics and Vitamin C and taste super fresh. Get the recipe Favorite Strawberry Frozen Yogurt This Strawberry Frozen Yogurt is so fresh and so creamy. It does freeze firm, so plan to let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving. Get the recipe Homemade Ice Cream Cake Plan to start making this the day before you want to serve it so it has time to freeze. Get the recipe Healthy Chocolate Cake (Lower Sugar) This Healthy Chocolate Cake is egg-free, dairy-free, and SO darn delicious. It’s lower in sugar, but delivers on classic chocolate cake flavor you expect. (I use two 6-inch cake pans to make this cake, which is a perfect size for a small gathering or even to use as a smash cake. See the Notes for how to make this as a 9-inch cake and as cupcakes.) Get the recipe Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes (So Easy!) These Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes are light, fluffy, and moist. They’re also less sweet than most conventional cupcakes, both in the cake and in the pretty pink frosting, but they are still SO delicious! Get the recipe Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting I like to frost these soon before serving. You can make the frosting ahead, transfer it to a zip top bag, and store in the fridge until ready to add to the cupcakes. Get the recipe Easy Sweet Potato Brownies Plan to make the sweet potato ahead of time or use canned puree. Otherwise, this one-bowl recipe is super simple! Get the recipe So Good Chickpea Blondies These blondies are packed with just-sweet-enough flavor and nutrition.They are delicious chilled right out of the fridge with a glass of cold milk. Get the recipe Black Bean Brownie Bites You can add sprinkles to make these fun or leave them plain—either one works! Serving size is 2 brownie bites. Get the recipe Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake (with Oatmeal) If you prefer, you can use mini chocolate chips and skip the step of chopping the chocolate. Get the recipe
What did I miss? Chime in below in the comments with your kid’s favorite foods!
This post was first published April 2019.