30 Easy Cookie Recipes To Make With Kids

The ultimate list of over 30 healthy and easy school lunch box ideas for kids! In this guide, you will find 30 real-life school lunch ideas, 25 of our favorite school lunch recipes, a list of our favorite lunch boxes, tips on how to make packing school lunches easier, as well as allergy substitutions for gluten, dairy and nut-free lunches. Great for daycare, preschool or elementary school-aged kids!

Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).

Think of some of your fondest holiday memories. While trips to the Christmas tree farm and visits with Santa certainly top our lists, there is one activity that stands out: baking with our loved ones. We first learned how to use a stand mixer in Grandma’s kitchen, churning out batches of dough and pressing chocolate kisses into those famous peanut butter blossoms. The best way to pass on this tradition (and your love for baking) is to get the kids in the kitchen with you this holiday season.

When you’re baking with kids, there’s a bit of a learning curve. Rather than focus on achieving perfection, the fun of baking with family is in the process. These recipes are simple enough to execute alongside your favorite little elves, but most importantly, they’re built for family fun. From festive sprinkles and icing designs to classic family favorites, these recipes will help you pass on the joy of baking to the next generation.

We’ve compiled some of our favorite, tried-and-true easy baking recipes for kids to make. From buttery sweet sugar cookies to savory crackers, there’s a treat for every palate.

Our kitchens are the heart of our homes. Some of life’s most cherished memories happen there, whether it’s prepping for a family meal or baking with little ones. Welcoming kids into the kitchen is a fun, unique experience for them, and it allows you to subtly teach them a few things about kitchen essentials.

Whip up something delightful with these easy baking recipes for kids!

Birthday Cake Whoopie Pies

Cupcakes and cookies, step aside! These whoopie pies are the perfect handheld treat for kids’ parties or weekend sleepovers. With one bite, you’ll discover the sweet, smooth marshmallow crème filling. Don’t reserve these treats for birthdays only. Switch up the Jimmies to match the occasion or season!

Sugar Cookies 3 Ways

Look at these simple, kid-friendly sugar cookies as a blank canvas. Decorate them, top with chocolate candy pieces, or add colorful Jimmies to the batter. Unleash your imagination!

Crinkle Cut Cookie Fries

These imaginative cookie fries are made with a roll-out dough. Kids will love cutting out the fry shape and watching them bake. For an added decorative touch, dip an end in melted red Candy Melts Candy or drizzle the melted concoction across the top. You can also serve the “fries” with the Candy Melts Candy as a dip.

Gummy Worm Dirt Cake

Other easy baking recipes for kids don’t stand a chance against this creepy-crawly, chocolatey cake. Layers of chocolate cream filling and crushed chocolate cookies serve as the “dirt.” Let your kids unearth their creativity by topping the cake with colorful gummy worms!

Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

Vanilla is a classic for a reason, and it shines in these fluffy, sweet cupcakes. Worried that your kid added too much vanilla extract while your head was turned? There’s no such thing with this recipe! For older kids, this recipe provides the perfect teaching moment for working with icing

Glazed Dark Chocolate Cake

Take the classic sheet cake to the next level with this rich, velvety sweet confection! Mystify your kids by letting them add a touch of instant coffee to the batter. They will think it’s fun to mix in something outside of the routine eggs, flour, and butter needed when baking a cake.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ah, peanut butter and chocolate — a culinary match made in heaven! One of many fun baking recipes for kids, your little baking apprentices will love stirring in dark chocolate chips, peanuts, and peanut butter chips.

Brownie Dessert Pizza

A decadent brownie base is a delicious start to this sweet take on pizza. Slather on Wilton Naturally Flavored Warm Vanilla icing. Then, give your kids free rein topping the dessert pizza with fresh fruit.

Basic Muffins

Basic is anything but boring with these muffins. In fact, they’re the perfect base to make your own! You and your kids can decide what to add to the batter: blueberries, chocolate chips, or nuts — the possibilities are endless!

Celebration Angel Food Cake

If you’re looking for healthier baking recipes for kids, this light, airy angel food cake is it. Clear Imitation Vanilla Extract and confectioners’ sugar lend this treat its pleasant, sweet taste. Kids can level up this cake by adding in Rainbow Jimmies Sprinkle Decorations. With fun pops of color baked in, they’ll see their contribution in every bite!

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

Double the chocolate, double the fun! Chocolate lovers will rejoice with each bite into these moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a rich chocolate buttercream frosting. Give your kids a chance to ice the cupcakes. Hey, if they add too much icing, I promise you won’t hear any complaints!

Soft Sugar Cookies

These aren’t your regular, routine sugar cookies! Made with a cake-like batter, these soft, pillowy cookies melt in your mouth after baking. Little mouths will love the texture, and little hands will appreciate the freedom they have in decorating these baked delicacies.

Monterey Jack Cheese Crackers

Snack time just took a savory turn for the better. Kids and adults! of all ages will love these deliciously cheesy crackers. Use your kids’ favorite 1 in. cutter for a fun shape. Also, adjust the taste to your personal preference — Colby Jack or Cheddar or any firm cheese works well with this recipe.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Two words: Cookie cake. What’s not to love about this beloved classic? Put a personal touch on this thick, chewy cookie with a few simple vanilla buttercream decorations. This is a go-to treat when searching for quick, easy baking recipes for kids to make.

Tiny Vanilla Layer Cakes

Your young sous-chefs will enjoy helping with these “kid-sized” cakes. Grab two Daily Delights mini round pans and let the baking shenanigans begin. These three-layer mini cakes are a fun project to customize. A little icing and Rainbow Jimmies go a long way!

Fudgy Brownies

In just 10 minutes, you and your kids can have a pan of delicious, rich brownies baking in the oven. This recipe can serve as a fun lesson in using measuring cups. The secret behind this decadent dessert’s “wow” factor is a full cup of cocoa powder!

Fun Emoji Cookies

Make a statement with these fun-faced cookies. As the cookies bake, have your kids choose their favorite emojis. The How to Decorate with Fondant Shapes and Cut-Outs kit can help you easily replicate these faces.

Easy Brownie Ice Cream Cake

Brownies, ice cream, and whipped cream form a delicious trifecta layered with tasty textures. The assembly is half the fun with this cake, and it’s something kids will enjoy helping with. It’s one of those simple baking recipes for kids that’s also a hit with the adult crowd.

Color Block Heart Cookies

Kids of all ages will love helping with this eye-popping recipe! Use different colored Candy Melts and candy eyeballs to add variety and texture. The best part? There’s no wrong way to decorate. These treats are for everything from Halloween parties to weekend fun.

This buttery sweet confection is a perfect go-to recipe that can be decorated to fit any occasion with a touch of colorful icing and sprinkles. Keep a batch of batter frozen for fresh cookies on demand — perfect for a rainy afternoon or a last-minute gathering.

Which of these easy baking recipes for kids is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Spring break becomes even more fun with these kid-friendly breakfasts, snacks and desserts!

My sweet take on breakfast tacos swaps in pancakes for the tortillas! They’re so easy and absolutely delicious. Pick your choice of fruits and berries depending on what’s in season. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

Go to Recipe

Rainbow Gelatin Cubes

These layered jello cubes are fun to serve and to eat! I vary the colors to match the occasion. Kids of all ages snatch them up. —Deanna Pietrowicz, Bridgeport, Connecticut

Movie Theater Pretzel Rods

My kids and all their friends clamor for the large, chewy pretzel rods. They are fantastic fresh from the oven. —Lisa Shaw, Burnettsville, Indiana

Arts and Crackers

A bit of fun with some cookie cutters and a tasty fruit topping transform simple cheese and crackers into a treat kids will love. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Strawberry Shakes

Full of summer fruit, these thick berry blends are the perfect way to savor hot days. “I serve tall glasses with strawberry garnishes,” says Ruby Williams of Bogalusa, Louisiana.

Mini Burgers with the Works

I started preparing these mini burgers several years ago as a creative way to use up bread crusts accumulating in my freezer. They’re delicious. —Linda Lane, Bennington, Vermont

Parmesan-Ranch Snack Mix

Bee My Honey Fruit Dip

Orange, cinnamon and nutmeg round out this creamy spiced dip. I serve it with apples, pineapple and strawberries. —Carol Gillespie, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Surprise Monkey Bread

When my neighbor hosts brunch, she always asks that I make this monkey bread recipe. I also make a savory version with garlic and cheese for dinner. —Lois Rutherford, Elkton, Florida

Brownie Batter Dip

I’m all about the sweeter side of dips, and this brownie-batter variety fits in with my life’s philosophy: Chocolate makes anything better. Grab some fruit, cookies or salty snacks and start dunking. —Mel Gunnell, Boise, Idaho

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

It’s hard to resist a crescent roll, bacon and cream cheese in one bite! Kids, friends, everyone will scarf these cream cheese pinwheels down. Now I bake a double batch whenever we have a get-together. —Krista Munson, Sharpsburg, Kentucky

Kiddie Crunch Mix

This no-bake snack mix is a delightful treat for kids, and you can easily increase the amount to fit your needs. Place in individual bags, or pour some into colored ice cream cones for a fun presentation. —Kara de la Vega, Santa Rosa, California

Ice Cream Cookie Dessert

Our family loves dessert, and this chocolaty, layered treat is one of Mom’s most-requested recipes. It’s so easy to prepare this Oreo ice cream cake! —Kimberly Laabs, Hartford, Wisconsin

Easy Confetti Pie

Sugar cone crust makes a pie that tastes like birthday cake when you add a colorful, creamy no-bake confetti filling. —Gina Nistico, Taste of Home Food Editor

Lemon-Apricot Fruit Pops

With just 31 calories and less than 1 tsp. sugar per serving, these lemon ice pops are one light and refreshing summer dessert everyone can find room for! —Aysha Schurman, Ammon, Idaho

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

This blueberry pancakes recipe is a favorite in our home. My kids don’t even realize how healthy it is! —Kelly Reinicke, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

I never thought of using waffle-cut fries as a scoop for dip until a friend of mine did at a baby shower. They’re ideal for my cheesy bacon and chive dip, which tastes just like a baked potato topper. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

To make a dairy-free dessert, I created chocolate peanutty bars. My kids and their friends gobble them up. I’ve written about it on my blog, joyfulscribblings.com. —Dawn Pasco, Overland Park, Kansas

Fluffy Scrambled Eggs

When our son, Chris, wants something other than cold cereal in the morning, he whips up these eggs. Cheese and evaporated milk make them especially good. They’re easy to make when you’re camping, too. —Chris Pfleghaar, Elk River, Minnesota

Frozen Chocolate Monkey Treats

Everyone needs a fun, friendly way for kids to play with food. These rich bites are nutty and yummy. Just coat bananas in chocolate and dip them into peanuts, sprinkles or coconut. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin

Cheesy Snack Mix

Our love for Mexican food inspired me to make party mix with taco seasoning. The flavor is so mild that it’s even kid friendly. —Elizabeth Wynne, Aztec, New Mexico

Chocolate Malt Crispy Bars

These chunky, chewy squares are a feast for the eyes. Malted milk flavor coats this treat from top to bottom. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Bacon Breakfast Pizza

I used to make this bacon breakfast pizza for my morning drivers when I worked at a delivery place. And they just loved it. Breakfast pizza is a quick and easy eye-opener that appeals to all ages. —Cathy Shortall, Easton, Maryland

Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast

This tasty combo of fresh fruit and creamy orange-kissed yogurt is guaranteed to disappear fast from your breakfast table. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Carrot Cookie Bites

This recipe is a longtime family favorite. The cookies are soft and delicious, and the aroma while baking is absolutely irresistible! I’m always being asked for the recipe. —Jeanie Petrik, Greensburg, Kentucky

Grandmother’s Toad in a Hole

I have fond memories of my grandmother’s Yorkshire pudding wrapped around sausages, a puffy dish my kids called “the boat.” Slather it with butter and maple syrup. —Susan Kieboam, Streetsboro, Ohio

Ice Cream Cone Treats

I came up with this recipe as a way for my grandkids to enjoy Rice Krispies treats without getting sticky hands. You can also pack the cereal mixture into paper cups and insert a wooden pop stick to create cute pops. —Mabel Nolan, Vancouver, Washington

Rocky Road Fudge Pops

These sweet frozen treats are simple to prepare and guaranteed to bring out the kid in anyone. The creamy pops feature a special chocolate and peanut topping.—Karen Grant, Tulare, California

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola Bars

I make these chewy bars with cinnamon, raisin and maple for quick breakfast and road trip. You can use chocolate chips instead of raisins. —Kristina Miedema, Houghton, New York

Pizza Monkey Bread

I cannot throw a party without making this recipe. It’s fast and easy, and my kids love it. —Courtney Wilson, Fresno, California

Crunchy Candy Clusters

These cereal and marshmallow clusters are so simple that I make them for the holidays each year, as my family looks forward to them. —Faye O’Bryan, Owensboro, Kentucky

Cheesy Quesadillas

We serve these quesadillas as chili dippers or load them up with salsa and sour cream for a super starter. —Terri Keeney, Greeley, Colorado

Apple and Peanut Butter Stackers

The best way to get kids interested in cooking and eating right is to let them help. These apple and peanut butter “sandwiches” are one fun way to pique their interest and kitchen creativity. —Shirley Warren, Thiensville, Wisconsin

Neapolitan Crispy Bars

Talk about a conversation piece! These fun, yummy bars will get people talking. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Peanut Butter Granola Pinwheels

I came across this easy and tasty snack while searching online for healthy munchies for kids. Great for after school, it’s really quick to make and filling enough to hold the kids until dinner. To satisfy heftier appetites or to serve as a power lunch, cut each tortilla into fewer pieces or provide one per child. The recipe is easy to increase as needed. —Mary Haluch, Ludlow, Massachusetts

Ranch Popcorn

What’s movie night at home without some popcorn to munch? Try a big tub of this buttery, showstopping blend. It’s easy, cheesy and finger-lickin’ good. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

This chocolate frozen dessert is the perfect summer treat! Invite your kids into the kitchen to help you stir the pudding. —Ruth Ann Stelfox, Raymond, Alberta

Gooey Chocolate-Peanut Bars

These are so easy to make and take no time at all. They’re great to package up for those college kids looking for something from home. Everyone will want this recipe. —Elaine Grimme, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Creamy Frozen Fruit Cups

I love to prepare these cool, fluffy fruit cups to give a refreshing boost to many meals. They’ve been well received at family gatherings and summer barbecues. There’s no last-minute fuss since you make them well in advance. —Karen Hatcher, St. Amant, Louisiana

Cheese Fries

I came up with this recipe after my daughter had cheese fries at a restaurant and couldn’t stop talking about them. She loves that I can fix them so quickly at home. Plus, the frozen fry packets can be refrigerated and reheated. —Melissa Tatum, Greensboro, North Carolina

Princess Toast

I made these sparkly treats for my daughter’s Brownie troop and they’re great for princess parties. Sometimes I use lemon curd in place of the jam. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California

Sausage and Hashbrown Breakfast Pizza

Pizza for breakfast? Kids of all ages will love making—and munching—this hearty meal-in-one made with convenient crescent rolls and frozen hash browns. It’s even great for camping! —Rae Truax, Mattawa, Washington

Root Beer Float Fudge

My children have always loved root beer floats so I came up with this fudgy treat just for them. Sweet and creamy with that familiar root beer flavor, it’s always a best-seller at school bake sales. —Jennifer Fisher, Austin, Texas

Cathedral Window Cookies

Zoe Denenberg, Styling: Rachel Mulcahy

You can use regular mini marshmallows for this sugary recipe, but festive-colored marshmallows really replicate the look of stained glass. The kids won’t be able to get enough of these no-bake treats built for family fun.

Lunch Box Packing Tools

Besides having a lunch box, it’s great to have some of these tools on hand to make it easier to pack fun lunches.

  • Silicone Cupcake Liners: not just for muffins, these holders are great for sectioning off different foods from each other (i.e. crackers in one and cheese in another).
  • Small Cutters: these are great for fruits, veggies, cheese and small sandwiches.
  • Sandwich Shape Cutters: an easy way to turn any sandwich into a fun shape.
  • Uncrustable Cutters: just like the store-bought, at a fraction of the price.
  • Small Dip Containers: great for dips, sauces or small treats.
  • Ice Pack: helps keep your child’s lunch cold.
  • Water Bottle: to send cold water for lunch. Read my Buying Guide: Best Kids Water Bottles for a more in-depth look at our favorite brands.

Easy Brownie Cookies

These chocolatey cookies have that unmistakable chewy quality that is downright delicious. Melted butter gives additional richness alongside the semisweet chocolate chips scattered throughout the dough. But we had you at “brownie cookie,” right?

Cheesecake Cookies

These fluffy cookies are built to be bite-sized, which means your kids can snack on a few of them without slipping into a sugar rush. The recipe is quick to prepare and bake. After the cookies cool, add a dusting of powdered sugar and a bright and merry maraschino cherry.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep kids’ lunches warm in a lunch box?

The best way to keep your child’s lunch warm is to use an OmieBox lunch box, which comes with an insertable thermos.

How should I cut things in my kids lunch?

Depending on the age of your child, you may need to adjust some of the sizes that I have shown below. When in doubt, go with smaller bites for younger kids.

Chocolate Rice Krispie cakes

Whip up some tasty treats with a classic childhood cereal. These cute Rice Krispie cakes are so simple to make and don’t need an oven. Just leave them to set in the fridge for an hour and then get decorating with sweets, nuts or dried fruit.

Find out more ways to use Rice Krispies in our video on how to make fridge cake.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Micah A. Leal

If pumpkin pie is your go-to Thanksgiving dessert, these Pumpkin Spice Cookies will be a new household staple. And no pie crust is required to satisfy your hankering. This riff on the classic snickerdoodle cookie uses canned pumpkin and pumpkin spice mix.

Kid Lunch Box Recipes

Here are some of our favorite school lunch recipes that are great served in a lunch box for school or at home.

Simple iced biscuits

Use a simple biscuit dough to make some fun letter and number shapes. These tasty biscuits only take 20 mins to bake before they’re ready for decorating. So arm your kids with some coloured icing pens and let their creativity go wild!

Deck-of-card dodgers

These fabulous deck of card biscuits inspired by Alice in Wonderland might look incredibly impressive. Still, they’re super simple, making them perfect for kids’ parties or celebrating World Book Day.

Discover more recipes perfect for throwing a party with our kids’ party recipes.

Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies

If you’re in search of a big-batch Christmas party treat, look no further than these jumbo-sized, presidential Cowboy Cookies. This souped-up oatmeal cookie includes chocolate chips, roasted pecans, sweetened flake coconut, and a touch of cinnamon.

Find more fun foodie activities for kids.

Kids’ baking recipesFun baking projects for kidsTop 5 cupcakes to make with kidsCooking projects for kids10 half-term recipes for kidsGood Food Kids’ YouTube recipes

Many of us are paying more attention to our diets and how the food we eat can support our health. To help sort out the fact from the fiction, BBC Future is updating some of their most popular nutrition stories from their archive.

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Dress up that box of cake mix with this easy recipe, which results in chewy, Christmas-hued chocolatey cookies that your kids will adore. You’ll whip up the five ingredients in no time, and you can vary the recipe with other candies and confections.

Spritz Cookies

With a dough that takes five minutes to prepare and the endless fun promised by a cookie press, the kids won’t be able to get enough of these fool-proof holiday cookies. Allow your kids to choose their favorite shapes, and use basic colored sprinkles for decorating.

Garden carrot cake

This Peter Rabbit-inspired carrot cake is a great bake to inspire kids in the kitchen. You can pipe the grass for the garden scene or go for a messier approach and dollop on with a spoon. Let the kids take the reins with edible carrot and flower decorations to add their personal flair.

More like this

Discover more easy cakes to make with kids with our kids’ cakes recipes.

Kid Serving Sizes

  • 1/4 cup dry cereal
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 -1/2 slice of bread
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1 oz. meat
  • 1/2 piece of fresh fruit
  • 1/3 cup of yogurt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cooked veggies

Snowy Tree Cookies

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

These cookies may call for a bit of construction, but the resulting 3-D Christmas trees are so much fun. We use multiple star-shaped cookie cutters to build the layers. You can make the dough up to five days in advance, allowing the kids to focus on cutting, stacking, and decorating to their hearts’ content.

Red velvet cookies

Transform popular red velvet cake into cookie form, complete with cream cheese icing. These chewy biscuits are given their vibrant red hue with food colouring gel and packed with white chocolate chunks. Why not make double the dough to store in the fridge until your cookie cravings strike?

Check out more kids’ cookie recipes.

Treacle sponge pudding

Treat the whole family to an indulgent, gooey syrup pudding. Dig into the simple sponge to find a zesty, treacle sauce below. It’s best served hot with ice cream. Little sticky fingers won’t be able to keep away!

Discover more cakes perfect for an afternoon tea with our sponge cake recipes.

Benne Seed Thumbprint Cookies

Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

This dressed up version of a thumbprint cookie will be perfect for your kids’ next tea party. Use their favorite jam or an assortment of popular flavors. Benne is an heirloom sesame seed popular in Lowcountry cooking, but you can substitute sesame seeds instead.

Double-dipped shortbread biscuits

These deliciously buttery shortbread biscuits will go down a storm with family and friends. Dip them in melted milk and white chocolate for an indulgent treat.

Master the art of making buttery, crumbly biscuits with our shortbread recipes.

Favorite Lunch Boxes

I tested out the top 6 lunch boxes to help you find the perfect lunch box for your toddler, preschooler, or big kid that can go anywhere they go – school, preschool, a school pod, lunch at home, a playdate, or a fun outing. Here are my top 3 lunch boxes for kids:

Best Overall Lunch Box

We love the OmieBox because it has a built-in thermos that can be inserted into the lunch box for warm or cold foods that can be removed if needed. How brilliant is that? Plus, you can insert dividers in the 2 smaller sections to separate the food, and each section is leakproof.

Best Eco-Friendly Bento Box

We have been using the Planetbox Rover for years, and we all absolutely love it! The Rover holds a good amount of food for both my 5 and 7-year-olds, and I know I can pack it with even more food as they grow. My girls love the fun magnets, the carrying case, and the small colorful pods you can add into the bento for small amounts of food. This lunchbox is made completely without plastic – it is made with only stainless steel and food-grade silicone.

Best for Younger Kids

This is a great little lunch box for younger kids or kids who don’t eat very much. I loved that it is a compact, lightweight, and completely leakproof lunchbox. My kids loved the fun designs on the front. Plus, this lunchbox is super easy to open and shut for younger kids.

Best Value Lunch Box

A very basic bento that comes in a 4-pack with different colored lids. This set of Bentos comes with the smallest price tag, and you can get all 4 boxes for under $20. This bento is a great size for both kids and grown-ups which means you can use them for the entire family. They aren’t made with the highest quality of materials (BPA-Free Plastic), but we have had our bento boxes for over 6 years, and they are still going strong. I think every family should have a set of these. They are also a great option if your kid tends to misplace everything in their life;).

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

These drop cookies marry our favorite flavors of peanut butter and chocolate, and you’re likely to already have all the ingredients on hand. Plus, this large-batch recipe produces dozens of cookies that you can send home with the grandkids.

Reasons to Love these School Lunch Ideas

  • full of real, wholesome foods that your kids will love
  • easy to pack lunches
  • great for lunches at home
  • healthy
  • colorful
  • full of nutrient-dense foods to boost learning
  • can be made allergy-friendly – Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free or Nut-Free (see notes for each recipe)
  • no fancy recipes – I used leftovers or simple ingredients to make these lunches
  • great for daycare, preschool or elementary-aged kids
  • can be packed in any bento box style lunch box or any containers you prefer
  • healthy versions of school lunch food – pizza, nachos, and burritos – so your kid doesn’t feel left out
  • balanced lunches with a protein, fruit, veggie, and something fun

Butterfly cakes

These dainty cupcakes will cause a flutter of excitement in any household. Give your cakes wings by slicing off the tops and splitting into two small segments. Position the wings on top of vanilla buttercream and let kids finish them off with strawberry jam and sprinkles.

Discover more cute kids’ cupcake recipes.

Raspberry & pistachio tea cake

Traybakes are a simple, no-fuss way to create big portions of gorgeous cake. These pretty-in-pink pistachio sponge squares are topped with a zingy raspberry icing. Leave the little ones to decorate with sugar flowers, pearl sugar and sprinkles.

Check out more traybake recipes.

Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

This no-bake recipe evokes fond memories of classroom parties at school. The sweet, gooey recipe is made from just four ingredients and doesn’t even require refrigeration. If you’re packing them up for an event, remember to use layers of wax paper when stacking your cookies.

Super-easy birthday cake

Celebrate a special occasion with this simple yet stunning birthday cake. Split the cake mixture in two to make chocolate and vanilla sponges which children can help mix together. To complete this colourful showstopper, sandwich the two layers together and top with a pretty pink frosting. They’ll love experimenting with pink food colouring to make a shade of their choice.

We’ve got plenty more easy birthday cakes for kids.

Kitchen Sink Cookies

Sweet and salty, these creative cookies hit all the right notes. The recipe calls for chocolate chunks, almonds, corn chips, and oats for lots of texture. Feel free to toss in any of your family’s pantry staples (pretzels? potato chips?) to customize the recipe.

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

Hannah Zimmerman / Southern Living

Four ingredients and 35 minutes later, you’ll have a batch of scrumptious, naturally gluten-free cookies. This quick cookie dough solely depends on peanut butter, sugar, and egg for its shape. The oil in the peanut butter and the proteins in the egg blend together with the sugar to make a cookie with a soft texture.

Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Zoe Denenberg; Prop Styling: Rachel Mulcahy

Start with our Easy Sugar Cookies, a basic recipe unexpectedly flavored with almond extract. Whether you opt for intricate piping or a simple sanding sugar coating, these snowflake cookies are tailor-made for holiday fun. You don’t have to be a professional cookie decorator to whip up a batch of these beauties.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

These brownie-like cookies are packed to the brim with chocolate and coated with powdered sugar. AKA, they’re any kid’s dream. Roll the cookie dough balls in powdered sugar and gently press them down with a spatula in the middle of baking to create the crinkly effect.


Turkey + cheese bagel sandwiches on-a-stick with cucumber and tomatoes, plum halves, beet strawberry applesauce in squeeze pouch and a few dark chocolate candies.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Gluten-Free, use GF bread. To make Dairy-Free, use DF cheese and chocolate.

Almost Out of Groceries Lunch

Bean and cheese quesadilla with smashed avocado, sliced apples, cut kiwis, sliced carrots and chocolate raisins.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Gluten-Free, use GF or corn tortillas. To make Dairy-Free, use DF cheese and pack a DF treat.

Greek Lunch Spread

Greek Meatballs with feta dipping sauce, pistachios and roasted chickpeas, sliced olives, cucumber, feta and tomato salad, cut watermelon, and dark chocolate. I used pre-made organic Greek flavored meatballs that were gluten-free.

Allergy-Friendly: GF and NF. To make Dairy-Free, use DF dip, omit the feta in the salad and pack a DF treat.

Chicken Salad & Crackers

Curry chicken salad served with gluten free crackers and cucumber slices, watermelon stars and a mixture of freeze-dried blueberries and dye-free candy coated sunflower seeds.

Allergy-Friendly: GF and NT. To make Dairy-Free, use a vegan mayo in the chicken salad.

Is it Friday yet

Leftover cheeseburger and pickles, sliced mini peppers, raspberries and blueberries, cucumbers with ranch in a mini container (similar), and a piece of dark chocolate.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Gluten-Free, use a GF bun. To make Dairy-Free, omit the cheese and use DF ranch.

Gluten-Free Pizza Roll-Ups

Gluten-Free pizza roll-ups with marinara dipping sauce, carrots with ranch dip, grapes, berries, and chocolate-covered gummies.

Allergy-Friendly: GF and NF. To make Dairy-Free, use DF cheese, ranch and treat.

  • peanut or almond butter
  • strawberries and raspberries,
  • peeled and quartered
  • can cut lengthwise
  • Place the peanut butter and jam into small containers with lids. Add to one section of container with the crackers.
  • Add in the grapes, kiwi, olives, carrots, strawberries and raspberries to other sections in your lunch box or seperate contatiners.

Notes on Peanut Butter: you can use any nut butter you prefer – sunbutter, almond butter, cashew butter or peanut butter.

Gluten-Free: to make gluten-free, use gluten-free crackers

Chocolate chip muffins

Reinvent the flavours of your favourite cookies in the form of a fluffy chocolate chip muffin. They only take 15 mins to prep and are perfect for popping into lunchboxes as a break time snack.

Check out more kids’ muffin recipes.

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

Hector Manuel Sanchez

Forget about the chocolate chips—the raisins and pecans in this recipe will turn your kids into oatmeal cookie fans. Toast the oats ahead of time and bring in the kids for stirring, scooping, and baking. Serve with a wholesome glass of milk.

School Lunch Box Ideas for Kids

Are you burned out from packing the same pb&j and apple in your kids’ lunch day after day?

Then you’ve come to the right place! Here are over 30 real-life lunches that will help you find some school lunch inspiration. Plus, you will find over 25 easy lunch recipes, FAQs, our favorite lunch boxes and accessories as well as our top tips for making packing lunches even easier!

I refuse to spend a ton of time making school lunches so all of these lunches were packed in roughly 5-10 minutes⏲, all while I was making dinner. I usually pack school lunches at night while I’m making dinner because I just can’t get my sh*t together enough in the mornings.

TIP: To make simple, easy and fast school lunches I utilized leftovers and simple ingredients I can pull out of my fridge – no fancy labor-intensive recipes involved.

So if you see nachos in one of the lunches, we probably had taco night for dinner and I used the leftovers for a fun nacho lunch. Muffins – I had those leftovers from the weekend when I did have some time to make some fresh muffins, but you could also use store-bought. Same with pasta and pizza – all leftovers.

All the extra cute Pinterest-worthy items – animal or eyeball picks, sandwiches, fruit and veggies cut into shapes are ALL OPTIONAL. Please 🙏 do not feel like you have to go the extra mile here; they are just kids’ lunches, after all. I have a slight bento box accessory shopping problem 🙈, so I add in a few extras. But you will still be a fantastic parent and lunch-maker if you skip them altogether.

Pecan Snowball Cookies

Sometimes called pecan sandies, these balls of buttery vanilla shortbread have crunchy pecan pieces dispersed throughout their crumbly texture. Recruit the kids to roll these cookies in powdered sugar. The recipe makes 4 dozen, so you’ll be thankful to have a few elves to help out.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

This gorgeously moist blueberry cake can be prepared in just three steps. Kids can take the lead, tossing the frozen berries in flour and combining the wet and dry mixtures. They may need some help working the oven, but allow them to time the baking, so they get the satisfaction of successfully skewering the cake to test if it’s done.

Try more recipes using this fruit with our blueberry recipes.

All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Sometimes you just want the classic—nothing added, nothing fancy. If chocolate chip cookies are your little one’s favorite, this recipe will be requested often. (But if you do want your cookies to offer something extra, we offer versions like cranberry-white chocolate and almond toffee.)

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Suitable for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any cool fall day, our White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies are easy to prepare and quick to bake. Bake on the upper rack to avoid over-browning, and be sure to chill the dough before you scoop it.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can’t go wrong with chocolate chip. Every good baker should have a homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe in her back pocket, and this twist on the classic recipe will be passed down in the family for generations. Brown butter lends a rich, nutty flavor that sets these cookies apart.

How to Build a Healthy Lunch for Kids

  • Try to include at least 3 food groups
  • Make one food group protein to help keep them full
  • Avoid sugary drinks like soda, juice, lemonade, etc.
  • Serve foods in an age appropriate way (cut up v. whole) and in age appropriate serving sizes
  • Include different colors to make the meal more appealing
  • Limit high sugar and sodium foods
  • Serve a variety of foods instead of the same ones to encourage them to try new foods

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Pecan Cookies

This gluten-free recipe is filled with toasted chopped pecans and gooey pockets of melted chocolate. Whipped egg whites make the cookies airy and crisp on the outside and soft and brownie-like on the inside. And the kids only have to wait 15 minutes to eat them.

Grandma’s Chocolate Drop Cookies

Katie Strasberg Rousso

This one from Grandma’s recipe box is easy for novice bakers to make. And it’s easy to customize: Add in butterscotch chips or go without the nuts. The cream cheese-chocolate icing will satisfy the most discerning chocolate lovers.

School Lunch Tips

  • Find a good time for you to pack school lunches – this may be the night before or the morning of. Find a time and stick to it.
  • Get your kids involved – have them pick a few fruits or veggies they want to eat in their lunches for the week, help chop the veggies, make the sandwich, or even have them pick out the fun dip containers or food picks used.
  • Utilize leftovers – make sure you take advantage of using any leftovers that will work as a cold lunch – cooked chicken, pizza, pasta, sauces, etc.
  • Plan it out – using this handy printable, you can plan your kids’ lunches for the week.

Gluten-free lemon drizzle cake

Teach your children the wonders of baking with this gluten-free lemon drizzle cake. Wow them with the special ingredient which keeps the cake beautifully moist – mashed potato!

Discover more gluten-free cake recipes.

30 Lunch Box Ideas

Chicken “Fried” Rice

Chicken, rice, corn and carrots sautéed in a drizzle of sesame oil and coconut aminos. Edamame, peaches, broccoli and ranch, raspberries with apples cut out in the shape of hearts, and a few dark chocolate-covered raisins.

Allergy-Friendly – GF and NF. Use DF ranch and treat to make DF.

DIY PB&J with Crackers

Crackers are served with a container of peanut butter (or almond butter) and another container filled with jam as well as carrots, olives, golden kiwi, mini grapes, cut strawberries and raspberries and mini dark chocolate chips. Eye picks can be found here.

Allergy-Friendly: GF – use gluten-free crackers, DF – use dairy-free chocolate chips, NF – use sun butter instead of peanut butter.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin + Cream Cheese Sandwich

Pumpkin pancake sandwich with cream cheese and raspberry jam, cut yellow peppers, mini grapes, Chobani yogurt tube and a piece of dark chocolate. The pancakes were leftovers from a weekend breakfast, the pancakes were made from a gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix from Trader Joe’s, but any homemade, mix or frozen pancakes would work in this lunch box.

Allergy-Friendly: GF and NF. Use a Dairy-Free brand of yogurt tube (like Kite Hill).

Rainbows & Chocolate

Rainbow fruit skewer, plain Greek yogurt with a jam heart, and healthy chocolate zucchini mini muffins.

Allergy-Friendly: already NF, use a Dairy-Free yogurt and make the muffins with Gluten-Free Flour.

Turkey + Cheddar + Salami on a Stick, cut kiwi, red pepper, and carrot sticks with a side of ranch, strawberries, blueberries, and dye-free candy. Sandwich sticks can be found here and ranch containers -here (similar).

Allergy-Friendly: GF and NF. To make Dairy-Free use a Dairy-Free ranch and cheese.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Applesauce with cinnamon, salami with dinosaur pick, sliced and cubed cheese, turkey roll-ups, almond crackers, orange pepper slices, kiwi slices, mini grapes and chocolate raisins.

Allergy-Friendly: NF and GF. To make Dairy-Free use Dairy-Free treats and cheese.

DIY Hummus and Veggies

Build your own Hummus Lunch – carrots, broccoli, snap peas, peppers and pita chips with hummus, strawberries and chocolate coconut cookies.

Allergy-Friendly: NF and DF. To make Gluten-Free make sure to use Gluten-Free crackers.

It’s Friday and I’m Over School Lunches

Cream cheese with honey star sandwich, lentil puffs, cut grapes, cut carrots and dye-free candy.

Allergy-Friendly: NF and DF. For GF use GF bread.

Tortellini and Chicken

Spinach Tortellini, chicken and snap pea dippers with a pesto ranch sauce, grape, blackberry and blueberry fruit salad and a couple of dark chocolate-covered pretzels.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Dairy and Gluten-Free use Gluten-Free pasta and a Dairy-Free dip.

Pesto Pasta and Avocado Pudding

Spinach pesto pasta salad with chicken, mozzarella, corn and tomatoes, cut strawberries and raspberries and chocolate avocado pudding.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Gluten-Free, use Gluten-Free pasta. To make Dairy-Free, use a Dairy-Free cheese or omit the mozzarella.

Green Monster School Lunch

Pesto gluten-free pasta with parmesan, cut kiwi, grapes and avocado salad, roasted seaweed, cut cucumbers, and dye-free candy.

Allergy-Friendly: GF, NF and DF. If Nut-Free, make sure your pesto is nut-free.

Ground turkey and cheese quesadilla with homemade guacamole, try-color pepper slices, fruit salad (grape, pear and kiwi), and a couple of yogurt-covered cookies.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Dairy-Free, use a Dairy-Free cheese and dessert. To make Gluten-Free, use a corn or Gluten-Free tortilla.

Bean and cheese burrito with guacamole (I wrapped the burrito in the foil before packing the lunch up), corn, sliced carrots, watermelon balls, and dye-free candy. I used a frozen burrito for this lunch, but any homemade or frozen variety you prefer would work.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free you can use DF cheese and a GF tortilla.

Hidden Veggie for #thewin

Beet applesauce, cut tomatoes, sliced string cheese, snapeas, cut mild Italian sausage with outer-space picks, mini container of mustard, and a dye-free gummy.

Allergy-Friendly: NF and GF. To make Dairy-Free, use DF cheese or omit.

English Muffin Pizza

DIY Pizza Lunch – mushroom pizza on an English muffin, simple salad with carrots and tomatoes, blueberries and blackberries and a juice box.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Dairy-Free use DF cheese. To make it Gluten-free, use a GF English Muffin.

Gluten-Free Pesto Pasta with Chicken + Corn

Gluten-Free pesto pasta with chicken and corn, Pure Organics Apple Strip, cut cucumbers, blackberries and walnuts.

Allergy-Friendly: GF and DF. For Nut-Free, omit the walnuts and make sure you use nut-free pesto.

Breakfast for Lunch

A favorite in our house! Cinnamon maple syrup steel cut oats, hard boiled egg, spinach chocolate waffles, kiwi and blueberries and some orange slices.

Allergy-Friendly: DF, NF and GF.

DIY Cheese & Crackers

Laughing cow with two types of crackers in silicon muffin liners, chopped broccoli, chopped red and green pluots, snapeas, and a chocolate pretzel.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Gluten-Free, use GF crackers and treat. To make Dairy-Free, use DF cheese and treat.

Healthier DIY Nachos

DIY Nacho Kit – organic corn chips, lettuce, shredded cheese, taco turkey and guacamole all in silicon cups. Also in the bento is grapes with mandarin orange sections and allergy-friendly chocolate chips.

Allergy-Friendly: GF and NF. To make Dairy-Free, use DF cheese.

Crackers, turkey rollups, salami and 2 types of cheese cut into flowers (I used this cutter), apples and blueberries, olives and carrots with ranch dip.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Gluten-Free, use GF crackers. To make Dairy-Free, use DF cheese and ranch.

Tortellini + Chicken Dippers

Cheese tortellini and chicken dunkers with pesto dip, cut cantaloupe, cut cucumbers, popcorn and chocolate pretzel.

Allergy-Friendly: NF and DF. To make Gluten-Free, use GF tortellini and treat.

Happy Tummy School Lunch

Kefir pouch, snap peas and carrots with ranch (similar container here), sliced apples, crackers with cheese and salami, and dye-free candy.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Dairy-Free, use a dairy-free kefir pouch or replace it with an apple pouch and use DF cheese and ranch. To make Gluten-Free, use GF crackers.

Allergy-Friendly: GF. To make Dairy-Free, use DF yogurt. To make Nut-Free, use NF granola and make sure the pancake muffin mix is NF.

A Pizza the Puzzle

Leftover pizza cut into puzzle pieces, carrots, pepper slices, and snap peas with ranch in a mini container, strawberries and raspberries, Chobani yogurt tube, and dark chocolate raisins.

Allergy-Friendly: NF. To make Dairy-Free, use DF cheese, ranch, and yogurt tube. To make Gluten-Free, use GF pizza.

Flourless brownies

These simple brownies are easy to make and require only five ingredients – perfect for novice bakers. By replacing flour with ground almonds, they also become gluten-free. Eat as they are, or enjoy warm with ice cream for an effortless dessert.

Lemon curd & blueberry loaf cake

Kids can help make this simple springtime treat. Using extra lemon curd makes for a zesty bake, but it also adds moisture to this simple loaf cake.

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Zoe Denenberg; Prop Stylist: Rachel Mulcahy

These irresistible cookies are perfect for the inexperienced baker—or an impatient one who’s craving one-of-a-kind cookies that take 10 minutes to prepare. Mix together sugar, butter, chocolate, and oats. Drop onto wax paper and allow 30 minutes to harden.

Sprinkle Stocking Cookies

Decorating is made easy for even the youngest kids by simply dipping cookies in sprinkles. And there’s plenty of opportunity for getting fancy with icing, too. Make the dough ahead of time and let it chill for two to 24 hours.

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

These pinwheels may look tricky to pull off, but it couldn’t be simpler. Two tinted dough pieces are simply layered, rolled into a tube, and refrigerated. Once well-chilled, all you’ll need to do is slice and bake. Your kids will feel like master bakers once they see the results.

Birthday Cake Cookies

Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Christine Kelly, Food Stylist: Ali Ramee

Not just for birthdays, these versatile cookies can suit any occasion with a change in colored sprinkles. With a distinctive vanilla cake flavor, jimmies, and white chocolate chips, one bite will transport you back to childhood birthday parties where this cake was doled out in generous slices. A scoop of vanilla on the side is perfectly appropriate here.

Curly twirlies

These curly twirlies are wonderfully gooey and sticky, filled with chocolate chips and melted toffee. Kids will enjoy assembling the ready-made pastry with the filling as it takes some craftsmanship.

Feeling adventurous? Why not make delicious croissants from scratch using our croissant recipes.

Chocolate sweet traybake

Combine two childhood favourites to make this beautiful chocolate sweetie traybake. This American-style cake will satisfy the sweetest of tooths. It’s easy to make ahead and divides nicely into squares. Kids can decorate with their favourite toppings, as long as they’re bold and colourful!

Storecupboard chocolate hazelnut cake

Raid your storecupboard to make this lovely chocolate cake. Using ground hazelnuts delivers an incredible texture and flavour, or try almonds, if you prefer.

Peanut butter cookies

Fill your cookie jar with these simple, moreish biscuits. Using only three ingredients and no flour, this ingenious recipe is super-quick and perfect for young bakers.

Watch our video for step-by-step instructions on how to make these easy peanut butter cookies.

Melted Snowman Cookies

Shake up the sugar cookie decorating with these humorous melted snowmen. This is a fun project for any age since perfectly aligned decorations aren’t required when thawing weather takes its toll. Use our Easy Sugar Cookies and decorate with melted vanilla candy coating, some sprinkles, and black frosting.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Photographer: Isaac Nunn, Prop Stylist: Julia Bayless, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Plan to brown the butter about an hour before you call the kids to the kitchen. The nutty flavor a golden-brown butter imparts makes the extra step very much worth it. Not to mention the cinnamon and sugar scent that wafts from your oven—these cookies will be gobbled down fast.

Back to School Lunch Video

Take a look at this video that features a fun back-to-school lunch for your kids.

Banoffee flapjack crumble

Indulge in a banoffee flapjack crumble for a comforting dessert. It can be made in three easy steps and goes perfectly with custard or ice cream. Single cream would be equally delicious, too.

Discover more recipes using the great flavourings of banana and toffee with our selection of banoffee recipes.

Peppermint Divinity

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Making these fluffy, minty pillows of meringue will become a cherished holiday tradition with Mama. Traditionally studded with pecans, this version uses peppermint candies instead. Plan to make them on a dry, sunny day for the best results.

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