Find the absolute best kid-friendly recipes to make and share with your family, from breakfast ideas to snacks and dinner. With easy methods, nutritious, ingredients, and hundreds of five stars from readers, these are here to help make feeding your family easier.
I know firsthand from my work on this website, hearing from parents everyday, and the reality of feeding my own kids that cooking “kid-friendly” recipes is no easy task. Every child is so unique and our preferences can really span a range. And while I will never guarantee that any of my recipes will be beloved, I am here to share the MOST loved ones on my website right now.
This is a great place to start if you’re new to Yummy Toddler Food (hello and welcome) or if you’re just looking for a recipe that thousands of other families have had success with.
I picked the top recipes for breakfast, snack, and even dinner ideas to give you the best of the best. And while it was very hard for me not to make this list longer, I wanted to make it easy for you to scroll and find options to share with your kids. I cannot guarantee that all kids who fall under the so-called label of “picky eaters” will like each of these, they’re a great place to start.
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Kids Meal Ideas
In our house, we all eat the same meal for dinner, but I aim to have 1-2 foods on the table that the kids usually enjoy. Which means that I often add simple sides to the table such as applesauce, sliced apples, thinly sliced carrots and ranch, or cheese to round things out.
I firmly believe that no family needs to cook separate meals for their kids unless you actually want to. So know that these recipes and easy dinners are meant to be enjoyed by parents and kids, and most have suggestions on how to add more grown up flavor—with herbs such as parsley or cilantro, diced red onion, hot sauce, extra garlic, etc as needed.
Greek Yogurt Pancakes
We are huge fans of yogurt pancakes, so I’ve been wanting to try them with protein-rich Greek yogurt as another easy breakfast option. It works SO well. These are a great way to fuel up in the morning, they are easy to stir together, and they work with just about any diced fruit your family likes. (They’re also one of our go-to kid-friendly dinners.)
With the most delicious fluffy texture and protein from Greek yogurt, these Greek Yogurt Pancakes are a breakfast win. You can add any fruit you like to the batter, too!Get the recipe
Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins (Copycat Little Bites)
Every time I go to our local big box store, I always walk by a giant stack of Little Bites muffin boxes. And while I almost never have the urge to do copycat recipes, this one stuck with me—because I just knew I could make an equally tender little muffin that the kids would love.
And with the inclusion of yogurt and a little less sugar, and a super simple method, these are exactly the kind of homemade snack that makes me excited. (Especially since I love to snack on these too!)
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
Sweet Spinach Muffins with Banana
These Spinach Muffins with Banana are a super healthy and yummy toddler or big kid breakfast or snack. Each bite is packed with nutrients from greens and fruit—and the interior is so moist that even babies can enjoy these easy blender muffins!
These healthy muffins taste like a delicious banana muffin, but with the added nutrition of a big handful of spinach. These store well, so you can make them ahead of time and pull them out of the fridge or freezer to serve.Get the recipe
ABC Baby Muffins (with Apple, Banana, and Carrot!)
Made with a nutrient-packed ingredient list, these tender Baby Muffins are a perfect first muffin. They are easier to chew than a regular muffin, have three kinds of produce, are added sugar free, and they boast a solid dose of healthy fats—exactly what the littles need!
These are deliberately very moist (and moister than regular muffins) to ensure they are easy for baby to chew and swallow, so expect that from the interior. If you’d like to make them sweeter for older kiddos, add ¼ cup sugar to the batter.Get the recipe
Favorite Toddler Smoothie (with Veggies!)
This yummy toddler smoothie method is simple to blend up and even easier to customize for breakfast or snack time. It’s a perfect smoothie for kids since it’s naturally sweet, loaded with nutrition from fruit and veggies, and tastes great! Plus: The one master recipe can be made 10 easy ways.
Learn to customize yummy smoothies for your toddler by starting with one simple recipe, then adjusting based on which fruit and veggies you’d like to use.Get the recipe
Healthy Breakfast Bars with Jam
With wholesome ingredients and not a lot of added sugar, you can quickly bake up Healthy Breakfast Bars to serve for breakfasts or snacks throughout the week. And they are SO good!
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
Quick Pastina Soup
Tiny star pasta soup was one of the staples of my Italian-American childhood, and it’s something my kids adore eating now. The shape of the tiny pasta, or pastina, is so fun, and the rest of the ingredients add plenty of cozy flavor. I love how fast this soup for kids cooks up, how easy it is to adjust (sometimes I omit the onion and use more carrot, for example), and how much it helps us all feel satisfied and nourished.
If you can’t find pastina, try another small shape of noodles or pasta.
With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can make this cozy Pastina Soup to share with the kids in under 30 minutes. Look for little star “pastina” pasta in the pasta aisle.Get the recipe
Favorite Pizza Rolls (with Spinach and Cheese)
This Pizza Roll recipe is packed with nutrition—and even greens!—but the cheese, and silly spiral shape makes them much more appeal to toddlers and big kids for a delicious kid-friendly meal. And: You can make them in about 30 minutes and stash them in the fridge or freezer for future meals.
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
Easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken
Shredded chicken thighs made incredibly tender in a rich tomato sauce with hints of Indian spices…oh yes! This Instant Pot Butter Chicken is an easy family dinner that everyone at the table (babies on up) can enjoy. Top with cucumbers, yogurt, or sour cream as you like.
Forget takeout—deliver this popular Indian dish to your table instead. Shredded chicken thighs are coated in a rich, buttery sauce with hints of tomatoes, ginger, and garam masala—a messy but very flavorful finger food. Adapted from The Multi-Cooker Baby Food Cookbook.Get the recipe
5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
If your family loves creamy, cheesy pasta and you’re looking for a simple way to up their veggie intake—because aren’t we always?!—this super simple 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese needs to be on your menu asap.
Use your family’s favorite shape and type of pasta in this recipe. (We like elbows or mini shells!)Get the recipe
Easy Egg Bake (with Broccoli)
Transform just a few simple ingredients—including a pile of broccoli—into this protein-packed Egg Bake to share with the kids. It’s an easy breakfast or lunch that stores well and is simple to make ahead. It would be great with a side of crusty bread, too.
Transform just a few simple ingredients—including a pile of broccoli—into this protein-packed Egg Bake to share with the kids. It’s an easy breakfast or lunch that stores well and is simple to make ahead.Get the recipe
Easy Quinoa Patties
With just a few ingredients, including quinoa, broccoli, cheese, and eggs, and a super fast method that allows you to make a batch in under 10 minutes, these Quinoa Patties are a favorite meal (even for weeknights) to share with the kids.
These quick Quinoa Patties are a delicious way to serve quinoa to kids—and adults! Plan to make the quinoa ahead of time so these come together in minutes.Get the recipe
Easy Yogurt Chicken
We love Baked Chicken Tenders and Chicken Nuggets, and I wanted to try to have another easy option in the rotation that wasn’t breaded. This version, which uses yogurt and pantry spices to make a quick marinade, is incredibly tender and perfect for shredding. That makes it one of our favorite easy dinner ideas for babies, toddlers, and really anyone who’s interested!
The most tender, flavorful, delicious chicken? This Yogurt Chicken is in the running! The easy chicken recipe is delicious on its own, shredded for kids, or added to pasta, rice, or another favorite meal. Plus, it stores well and can be served cold or warm.Get the recipe
Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders (Easy & So Crispy!)
With just a few simple ingredients and a super quick baking time (about 20 minutes), these Baked Chicken Tenders are perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They’re a total hit with kids and adults when they show up on the dinner table and you only need 4 simple ingredients to make them.
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
Best Healthy Meatball Recipe (with Veggies)
With three kinds of veggies and the texture and flavor your kids expect, this Healthy Meatball recipe is a perfect family dinner option. And since the baked meatballs taste so good, the kids will be happy when you tuck one onto their plates! (Bonus: These freeze well, too.) Top with mozzarella cheese for extra yum and freeze some to quickly heat and serve on busy weeknights.
With the texture you expect from a traditional meatball but added nutrition from three types of veggies, your whole family will love these.Get the recipe
Side Dishes to Add
Best Tips for Cooking for Kids
Remember that it’s normal for kids to be hungrier some days than others, at some meals more so than others.
Try not to focus on “getting” the kids to eat, and instead, see how you can work on making meals less fraught. Music, chatting with the kids, focusing on your own food can all help.
Zoom out to look at the big picture of what the kids are eating for a more accurate view than bite by bite.
Remember that it takes time to learn to eat, both from a texture perspective and also just from the perspective that it’s not actually normal for every child to like every food.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please comment below to share.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water toward the end of the cooking. Drain the pasta.
Return the pasta to the pot. Add the butter and a little of the cooking water at a time as you toss the pasta.
Add in any sauce, if using, and chicken or other add-ins as you like.
Add the Parmesan.
Continue tossing until the butter and Parmesan are melted, adding a little more cooking water as needed to make a light sauce. Serve warm with pepper and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, portion into a heat-safe bowl and sprinkle with water. (This helps to add a little moisture so the pasta isn’t dry.) Warm in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until warmed through.
- This works best with wheat-based pastas as the starch from the pasta cooking water helps create the smooth sauce.
- To make this gluten-free, use your preferred pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain (and rinse if the package says to). Swap in very hot water for the pasta cooking water, adding just a little at at time. Be gentle when stirring as this type of pasta can be more likely to break.
- Top with additional Parmesan cheese or cracked black pepper.
- Serve with any sides you prefer.
- Little kids may have an easier time eating spaghetti if you cut it quickly with a pair of kitchen scissors.
- See the post above for additional easy kids meal ideas.
Serving: 2ounces, Calories: 310kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 575mg, Potassium: 429mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 656IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 102mg, Iron: 2mg