It never ceases to amaze me how much kids love watching cooking shows—even picky eaters. Though baking shows seem to be the most popular with kid viewers (go figure), my kids have, on occasion, watched a cooking show that prepared some healthy dish that they unexpectedly ask to try afterwards. Now that’s screen time I can get down with. Here are our 5 favorite YouTube cooking shows for kids, plus 2 honorable mentions.
These aren’t made for children, but we think that your kids will love them as much as our kids do. In any case, it’s worth a shot to find out: It just may mean they try something new. Or you’ll get pressured into making an elaborate Minecraft cake for their Minecraft birthday party. Hey, life’s a gamble. And it’s better than them watching something where things are getting blown to smithereens.
Related: 5 must-have cooking apps.
Nerdy Nummies with Rosanna Pansino
My kids cannot get enough of the adorable Rosanna Pansino and her cooking show Nerdy Nummies where Rosanna whips up treats inspired by popular fantasy, sci-fi, comic books, anime, movies, and video games. It’s geeky goodness combined with a funny host and mostly sugary sweets. What could be better? Nothing, if you ask my boys. They can watch video after video and have regularly for over a year now. With easy to follow how-to’s for Tetris Tater Tots, Pokemon Pokeball Cake Pops (above), a Frozen Princess Cake, and Angry Bird cupcakes (top), I can’t imagine that your kids won’t get hooked, too.
The only downside is that easy-to-follow translates into make-it-for-me-mom.
Cook With Amber
When it comes to watching someone bake, if the treat looks good, my kids will happily watch whether the host is a kid or a grown up, but healthy cooking videos aren’t as sure a hit. A compelling host is key and 12-year-old Amber of Cook with Amber (top) is just that: fun, relatable, and passionate about healthy eating in a way that’s downright contagious.
Amber started Cook with Amber after being teased at school for not having “cool” pre-packaged foods in her lunches. Determined to show other kids that healthy eating could be delicious and cool, Amber hit the kitchen with a camera and the rest is history. With videos for recipes like Taco Lettuce Cups, Dark Chocolate Coconut Fondue (above), and a whole playlist of school lunch and snack videos, it’s no wonder that Amber won a contest to join Jaime Oliver’s network FoodTube, dined with First Lady at the Kids’ State Dinner, and got a chance to cook on The Food Network. Amber also started a new series, Amber in Japan, which I love for the way it’s made my picky eater more interested in Japanese food.
Charli’s Crafty Kitchen
From where I stand, Charli’s Crafty Kitchen (top) has some serious Willy Wonka appeal. The videos feature two kids—Charli, who started the channel when she was 6, and sometimes her little sister Ashlee—making kid treats that are, well, perfectly kid inspired. Think Minnie Mouse Oreo pops, LEGO cookies using 3-ingredient cookie dough, and Rainbow Donuts (above). There’s even an entire playlist dedicated to Frozen party ideas and recipes. You get the gist.
Of all the YouTube cooking channels that my kids watch, I have to admit that this one holds the least appeal for me. It might have something to do with the, uh, catchy, theme jingle. Or maybe it’s the fact that I have no interest in eating the recipes and they don’t have the wow factor to balance that out the way the videos on Nerdy Nummies do. (I mean, c’mon, Rosanna makes Carol’s Cookies from Walking Dead!). But, strangely, I think this is part of the appeal of Charli’s Crafty Kitchen for my kids. This is stuff for kids by kids. They’d never have exposure to recipes like the ones on this channel through me and the girls approach them in a way that’s attainable. It’s all about the kids for once and, well, that’s fun.
My Cupcake Addiction
I know, more baking and sweets. I told you that most of my kids’s favorite YouTube cooking shows were about sweets, but I’m cool with it since it’s better than them watching videos of things exploding. (Or is that just in my house?) Elise started her channel, My Cupcake Addiction, back in the day to feature her love of—you guessed it—cupcakes. With the growth of her channel, though, has come the the growth of her expertise, and now Elise bakes up wild sweets from cakes to candies to cake pops. Of course, my boys love the character-themed recipes like these Minon Twinkie treats and “super cool” specialty cakes like this smoking volcano cake (above).
Their favorite videos don’t do it for me, but I love Elise’s Foundations series that features videos on things like how to make fondant, how to make ganache, and—something I’d wondered about for years—the difference in how to treat chocolate versus candy melts. The playlist is a goldmine of tips for that one time a year when you take on the homemade birthday cake. Or at least pretend that you will.
Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.
This channel makes up for the all the artificial food coloring and sugar I’ve served up so far. (Sorta.) I can’t remember how my boys discovered Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.—they must have been watching over my shoulder—but it only took one video for them to get hooked. The food in these video really is enticing with recipes like Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches, Baked Falafel, and Oven Roasted Tomato Soup. To be completely honest, though, I think a huge part of the appeal is super pretty, super cheeky host Laura Miller. She’s adorable and she describes food as “not gross.” My boys like that. A lot.
I also like Laura. She cooks up vegan food that holds appeal to even this cheese-loving mama. And while my kids don’t ask for vegan food after they’ve watched Laura’s videos, they do spend time engaged in learning about a whole new kind of vegetable-based cuisine. I like the exposure. And, speaking of exposure, I can’t talk about Laura and her love for vegetables without sharing her hysterical and also really pretty Froobs series of portraits where she poses with fruits as boobs. Get it: Fruits + boobs. Ha! I admit that I shared these with my boys, too, and, of course, the loved it.
Like I said, anything to advance the positive perception of fruits and vegetables.
There are two YouTube cooking shows that I feel deserve honorable mentions. One is Cooking With Dog, a very strange, very Japanese cooking series hosted by (and I use the phrase loosely) a dog named Francis and the “mysterious lady” Chef. I can’t say that this series will inspire adventurous eating, but it sure will entertain—at least for 2-5 videos. Perhaps it has something to do with the voice they use to narrate Francis the dog, who’s seen sitting next to Chef the whole time. It sounds a whole lot like a computer speaking with a Japanese accent which is, really, the icing on the cake in these bizarrely compelling videos.
Follow Cooking With Dog on Twitter, too.
A more serious nod goes to Everyday Food with Sarah Carey. I fully admit that my children developed a love for Sarah Carey and her easy home cooking through me. I love this series. In fact, I wrote about the “new” Everyday Food YouTube channel and newsletter back in 2012 when it debuted. I still watch it regularly and, now, so do my kids. (For the record, I know other kids who love this show, too.)
There’s something about Sarah that’s very familiar and cozy. She’s funny, relaxed, and cooks the kinds of meals that my kids are used to, meals that they can request for dinner knowing that I might actually make them. It’s empowering, really, and makes life easier for me. Because when they ask for it, I can kindly request that they eat it. And they do. For the most part. (Thanks, Sarah.)