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11 Summer Recipes Kids Can Make On Their Own

These light but delicious summer recipes are perfect practice for your junior chef.

Erica Silverstein


Your garden is bursting with tomatoes, squashes, and cucumbers, and your farmer’s market haul is a colorful jumble of fruits and berries. It must be summer — and time for kids to have some fun in the kitchen. While the youngest family members might not be ready to manage the backyard barbecue, they can certainly tackle simple desserts and sides. Slap a toque on their heads, hand them a wooden spoon, and don’t be surprised when the results are <chef’s kiss>. Whether you’re planning a picnic or dinner on the deck, check out these 11 summer recipes that kids can make on their own.

1. Peach Cobbler


Photo: Brown Eyed Baker

Take juicy hot fruit topped with chewy biscuits, add a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you have hands down the best summer dessert: cobbler. Peach cobbler in particular takes advantage of summer-only fruit and is simple to make. Mix up the ingredients, layer them in a pie pan, and bake. No stovetop required. The Brown Eyed Baker shares a kid-friendly recipe, but notes that peeling the peaches can be a pain. Solution? Sub frozen for fresh; no one will ever know.

2. Cucumber Tomato Salad


Dinner Then Dessert

Mistress Mary, quite contrary, does your garden grow cucumbers and tomatoes? Gather the bounty, dice it up, splash on a homemade vinaigrette, and you’ve got a simple summer side. Kids with basic knife skills can prepare Dinner Then Dessert’s easy cucumber-tomato salad, and perhaps discover that eating vegetables isn’t a chore after all.

3. Fruit Confetti Popsicles


Photo: Macheesmo

Nothing quenches your thirst on a hot day like a fruity popsicle. Skip the artificial flavors and excess packaging by making your own. Kids who can manage a food processor or blender (parents might need to help with setup) can whip up healthy, multi-flavor ice pops with Macheesmo’s fruit confetti popsicle recipes. All you need is Greek yogurt, honey, and a few types of fruit.

4. Summer Veggie Pizza


Photo: Baby FoodE

School’s out, so it’s the kids’ turn to make dinner! Since cereal for dinner doesn’t always fly with Mom and Dad, try this easy veggie pizza instead. Baby FoodE’s recipe uses premade dough and store-bought pesto for simple prep. While she tops her pie with cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and fresh corn, you can adorn yours with your favorite summer veggies from eggplants to squashes.

5. Mini S’Mores Pies


Photo: Our Kid Things

Summer and s’mores go hand in hand, but not everyone has a fire pit at home for easy marshmallow roasting. Get that finger-lickin’ combination of melted chocolate, crunchy graham crackers, and piping-hot marshmallows with Our Kid Things’ s’mores pie recipe. Kids will have no problem mixing up brownie batter and scooping it into mini graham cracker crusts, to be topped when hot with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Adults might need to supervise the baking sheet transfers and conduct a taste test … for safety reasons, of course!

6. Pineapple Watermelon Salsa


Photo: The Soccer Mom Blog

Level up your chips and salsa with this summer-ific fruit salsa starring watermelon, mango, and pineapple. (And no tomatoes for those of you who object.) Just slice, dice, mix, and go with The Soccer Mom Blog’s easy recipe. If you want to go all in on the fruit snack, swap your usual tortilla dippers for plantain chips. Put your feet up — you’ve just been transported to the tropics.

7. Cookie Monster Ice Cream


Photo: Sugar Spice and Glitter

Kids, you don’t need an ice cream truck to keep you in cool, creamy treats. You can make your own ice cream! And when kids are in control, who’s to tell them the ice cream can’t be blue and studded with cookies, in homage to their favorite Muppet? Sugar Spice and Glitter’s no-churn Cookie Monster ice cream recipe requires neither ice cream maker nor grownups. It does take some patience to let the ice cream chill to the perfect consistency rather than eating it straight from the mixing bowl though.

8. Zucchini Cheese Bites


Photo: Healthy Little Foodies

Some kids think they don’t like zucchini. But we bet those same kids LOVE pancakes. And cheese. Put any misplaced skepticism aside for Healthy Little Foodies’ zucchini cheese bites. They’re baked-not-fried crispy pancakes involving a mere five ingredients: cheese, eggs, herbs, flour, and those zany zukes. One bite in and you’ll forget the snack even involves vegetables. We promise not to say “I told you so” when you ask for seconds and thirds.

9. Summer Fruit Dip


Photo: The Seasoned Mom

Your family loves to take a dip in the pool on hot days; let your fruit do the same. Instead of eating berries by the handful, dunk them first in The Seasoned Mom’s creamy fruit dip. The cream cheese- and yogurt-based dip is like a lighter, unbaked cheesecake. Yum! Even better: Kids who do all the mixing get first dibs on licking the beaters before they get washed.

10. Gazpacho


Photo: Family Food on the Table

Remember that tomato cucumber salad? If you chop less and blend more, you can turn that salad into soup, namely cool tomato gazpacho. Soup-loving families will love the chill flavors for hot days. Family Food on the Table recommends pairing with grilled cheese sandwiches, toast, or garlic bread — so, kids, put your parents to work at the stove while you man the blender.

11. Raspberry Smoothie


Photo: Live Well Bake Often

Raspberries are a favorite summer treat, but they often get smushed in the container. Don’t waste those luscious berries! Instead, follow Live Well, Bake Often’s example and magic them into a smoothie. The versatile raspberry-banana smoothie can be breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert, and kids can change up the recipe to include their preferred type of milk or whatever fruit they can find in the fridge. Bottoms up!