How to Encourage Teens to Cook

If children have had positive experiences in the kitchen, they have a better chance of becoming teenagers who like to cook.

When Teens Haven’t Cooked Before

If they have never tried their hand at cooking, but suddenly, as teens, want to learn to cook, there’s no time like the present to begin. They will be considerably more independent at 18 if they can handle a variety of simple recipes. Talk to them about what they would like to eat, and find a recipe for one or more choices.  Work through the recipe with them, filling in all the detail that the recipe doesn’t print.

When Teens Already Know How to Cook

Teenagers can go far with encouragement and the right tools.  As with any age child, providing the equipment will draw them in.

Cooking is an art and a craft that they will enjoy showing off to their friends. It is also a great activity for them when friends visit.  If you know in advance that a friend is visiting, or a sleepover is looming, seize the opportunity to get them all cooking something they want to eat as a snack. It’s a wholesome activity for all and one that fosters cooperation, experimentation, and keeps them busy.

Ask them (with friends present) to be sure to clean up after themselves.

By the time they are teenagers with a little experience, here are some ideas to help them learn to cook more complicated things.

  • Colorful cookbooks make great gifts and lure them into the kitchen, even when cell phones and friends beckon. Choose cookbooks with great photographs of the finished product.  Great cookbooks are available at Half Price Bookstores, on Amazon, at yard sales, library book sales, and many other sources.
  • Buy one issue of Martha Stewart Living, Sunset Magazine, Bon Appetit, or any of several dozen cooking magazines available at the grocery store. They often have detailed instructions and wonderful photographs of the completed dish.
  • Look for Party and Sleepover Cookbooks (also widely available) to provide ideas for really clever things to make.  Theme cakes are only one idea.  They can make themselves great snacks


3 Responses to How to Encourage Teens to Cook

  1. Missy says:

    I feel so much happier now I understand all this. Thanks!

  2. Laurie King says:

    Awesome recipe, i’m going to test it with my girl tonight. Hope i get it right! Cheers

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