chef Jennifer Aaronson's tips for cooking with kids

Our Culinary Director, Jennifer Aaronson knows a thing or two about cooking with kids.

By: Anna Decker / 11/19/2015

When she’s not hard at work in our test kitchen developing recipes for Marley Spoon, she spends much of her time at home in the kitchen cooking with her family, including her two kids. We asked her for her best tips for making cooking a fun family affair. Do you have any family traditions when it comes to cooking together? We’d love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!

A Few Key Tips for Cooking with Kids:

Mise en place Have all your ingredients out and ready to go. Little ones get easily distracted so best to keep things moving. Plus, turn your back to gather ingredients and you may have some rogue cooking going on before you’re ready.

Make sure everyone has a job When cooking with one or more kids, make sure you clearly define who’s doing what. Older kids can stir pots at the stove, do easy chopping, and crack eggs; younger ones can pick herbs, work a salad spinner and will always be happy to whisk. Let them know which tasks you’ll be doing and why so they learn good kitchen safety.

Pick a quick recipe Again, attention span is limited so fast recipes are best. Plan on 30 minutes or less.

Branch out Now’s the time to introduce them to new ingredients and flavors. Kids are more likely to try something new if they’ve had a hand in cooking it themselves.

Teach them to read and do math Take advantage of written recipe instructions by having kids read the steps aloud. They’ll love the idea of being the boss by telling everyone what to do next. When it’s time for measuring, work on fractions and when timing your recipe, have them read the clock and mark the time.

Taste A good rule of thumb for any cook is to taste as you go. Let kids taste and decide what the dish needs– a little more salt, a pinch more of spice. This will make kids think about what they are tasting and encourage creativity.

Let them get messy Aprons help.

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