Even though I don’t plan my menu around what my children will or will not eat, over the years I have noticed little things that help make a kid-friendly meal. Que my go-to list of Dinner Ideas for Kids!!
More Collections: Sunday Dinner Ideas, Quick Dinner Ideas, Family Dinner Ideas
Kids can be picky!
There’s not really a hard fast thing that makes things kid-friendly, and the more children I have, the more I realize how incredibly different they all are. Including what they will eat.
I have some who will try anything I put in front of them and others who turn their noses up at just about everything.
Even then, what they love one day could be hated the next. There are picky eaters who are reluctant to try new foods or even snub certain colors of foods (I’m talking to you, “green” food.)
One thing I decided long ago is that I will not be a short-order cook and my family will eat what I serve. Fortunately, we have plenty of yummy kid friendly dinner ideas that even the pickiest kids will love!
Enjoy these easy dinner ideas for kids!
Some of our Family Favorites
Aside from my own children, I have over 30 nieces and nephews and friends of all ages coming through my door and I have found that any one of them will generally eat the following:
- Chicken is usually liked by most children. It doesn’t have a strong flavor and pairs well with different ingredients. It can be grilled, baked, pan-fried, and served as a stand-alone ingredient or added to soups, salads, or casseroles.
- Pasta dishes tend to be kid friendly. They are often cheesy or have a flavorful sauce.
- Pizza is easy to make, easy to customize to the preference of your family, and easy to eat.
- Rice is another ingredient that most children will eat. Neither white nor brown rice has much flavor on its own and both pair well with all kinds of other ingredients.
- Fruit is often the preferred produce. I typically always have some type of fruit available at meal times.
- Vegetables that can be dipped in dressing, typically Ranch Dressing. They also tend to prefer roasted vegetables with a bit of cheese over other ways to prepare them.
Tips for dinner with littles
Eat together. Have you ever heard the phrase “All your children want for dinner is you?” I wholeheartedly believe this.
I know that everyone’s schedules are different and it might be really hard to do this on a regular basis, but even if you make time once a week to sit down together to eat I think you will find it will nurture their souls as well as their bodies.
Serving dishes. I have some fun plastic baskets that I’ll pull out when we’re having a BBQ or Picnic. I line them with napkins and all of a sudden that same lunch they always eat is new and fun.
There are all sorts of fun dishes, bowls, cups, utensils, and straws that you can use to “spice” up a meal.
Have Them Help
Having my kids help usually means more work for me. It’s definitely easier to just do it myself, BUT I have noticed that when they help make a meal they appreciate the effort put into making it. As a result, they are more apt to eat it.
Now, it will be easier to just do it yourself than to have a little helper in the kitchen… at first. Once your children have been properly taught, you will find they become self-sufficient and wonderful kitchen helpers.
The following ideas are just a guideline. You know your children best and can determine what they are ready to learn and when they are ready to do them on their own.
- Children 3-5 years old can help with cutting soft food with a butter knife, sifting, kneading & shaping, tearing lettuce, dipping & breading, washing produce, stirring ingredients (not hot), and dumping pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl.
- Children 5-7 years can help with cutting with sharper knives, using the grater, measuring out ingredients, beating & stirring, and peeling citrus and eggs.
- Children 8-11 years can help with reading a simple recipe, pulling ingredients out of the pantry, using a vegetable peeler, using an electric mixer, and opening cans. They can turn on and use the stove and oven with supervision.
- Children 12+ can do all of the above as well as take on more complex recipes and often without much help.
Be creative. You’ve probably seen Pinterest pictures of a fruit plate with fruit cut into stars and hearts, or perhaps you’ve seen the elements of a ham sandwich cut and put on kabobs instead of in between bread slices.
Being creative with a dish takes effort and time that many just don’t have on a regular basis, but every once in a while, it’s fun to be a little creative.
Little fingers. A kid-friendly meal often involves foods that are easy for kids to eat. Sometimes that means with their fingers, other times it means making it easier for them to use their utensils. For example:
- Instead of frying a large chicken breast, cut it up and make chicken strips.
- Spaghetti noodles are tricky for little kids to eat with a fork so I’ll substitute the spaghetti pasta with penne or wagon wheels.
Make it mini. Even I find mini versions of a dish irresistible, so it’s not surprising that children love mini versions of things. Easily make mini pancakes, mini muffins, mini cookies, mini quiche, mini corn dogs, mini pizzas, and so forth.
Family Favorite Dinners for kids
These dinner recipes are some of our go-to favorites. They are classic dishes the kids are always excited to eat!
Add a side of sheet pan veggies or a side salad for a complete dinner that everyone will love!
1. Copycat Chick Fil A Nuggets
1 Copycat Chick Fil A Nuggets Recipe
This recipe allows you to have the crispy, delicious chicken nuggets you love from Chick-fil-A without even leaving your house! These Copycat Chick Fil A Nuggets taste just like the real thing. Best of all, they’re ready in less than 30 minutes!
2. Ham And Cheese Sliders
2 Ham and Cheese Sliders Recipe
Everyone loves these Hot Ham and Cheese Sliders because they’re easy, cheesy and addicting! They don’t take long to make, and are perfect for any get together—always a crowd pleaser!
3. Corn Dogs
3 Homemade Corn Dogs Recipe
Hand-Dipped Corn Dogs recipe – copycat Disneyland’s! Hot dogs dipped in a honey cornmeal batter and fried until crispy!! So good!!
4. Pepperoni Pizza
4 Homemade Pepperoni Pizza Recipe
This homemade pepperoni pizza is wonderfully crispy every time. Achieve the perfect slice right at home!
5. Easy Spaghetti
5 Easy Spaghetti Recipe
This easy spaghetti recipe is kid-friendly and is made with a delicious homemade spaghetti sauce making it the perfect family dinner recipe!
6. Ritz Cracker Chicken
6 Ritz Cracker Chicken Recipe
Crispy Cheddar Chicken is coated in sour cream, cheddar cheese, and ritz cracker crumbs and baked to crispy perfection. Top it with a creamy sauce, and it’s to die for!
7. Chicken Quesadillas
7 Chicken Quesadilla Recipe
These easy, cheesy Chicken Quesadillas are a crowd favorite. They are not only filled with cheese and chicken, but a delicious homemade sauce that makes these hand-held goodies irresistible!
8. Homemade Hamburger Helper
8 Hamburger Helper Recipe
Hamburger Helper is filling and hearty. A perfect dish for the family that comes together in under 30 minutes!
9. Homemade Mac and Cheese
9 Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe
The cheesiest, CREAMIEST homemade mac n cheese you’ll ever make! Macaroni pasta covered in sharp cheddar cheese, melted into a warm cream sauce, and topped with a perfect panko crust.
10. Beef Enchiladas
10 Beef Enchilada Recipe
Shredded Beef Enchiladas are made with Just 6 ingredients! This easy dinner idea is a crowd pleaser filled with corn, beef, green chiles, and cheese, and covered in red sauce.
11. Crispy Chicken Tenders
11 Fried Chicken Tenders Recipe
Chicken tenders are one of our go-to weeknight meals around here. They are simple, always tasty, and my kids love ’em!
12. Sloppy Joes
12 Homemade Sloppy Joes Recipe
Saucy and savory homemade Sloppy Joes are a delicious meat loaded sandwich. They are quick and easy, perfect for feeding a crowd!
13. Popcorn Chicken
13 Popcorn Chicken Recipe
Crispy, delicious Popcorn Chicken is a family favorite!! Not only is it easy to make but it’s a hit with the entire family making dinner a cinch!
14. Ultimate Grilled Cheese
14 Ultimate Grilled Cheese Recipe
Thick slices of artisan bread oozing with three different cheeses make up this Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwich—inspired by Disneyland’s Toy Story Land Grilled Cheese!
15. Cheesy Baked Ravioli
15 Baked Ravioli Recipe
Easy Cheesy Baked Ravioli – a quick, simple and delicious dinner recipe that the whole family loves! It’s so cheesy and so tasty!
16. Easy Fettuccine Alfredo
16 Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe
Easy and Quick Fettuccine Alfredo that takes just 15 minutes to make! This family favorite recipe includes fettuccine, garlic, parmesan, and whipping cream and is sure to become a go-to dinner idea!
17. Sausage and Potatoes
17 Sausage and Potatoes Recipe
With sausage, potatoes, bell peppers, and onions, this hearty Italian Sausage and Potatoes bake is savory and filling! It’s simple, easy, and loaded with flavor.
18. Chicken Tacos
18 Chicken Tacos Recipe
Restaurant-style Chicken Tacos are filled with ingredients like shredded chicken, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes, all inside a fried corn tortilla. Serve with tortilla chips and salsa!
19. Chicken Noodle Casserole
19 Chicken Noodle Casserole Recipe
Chicken noodle casserole for the dinner win! It’s filled with chicken, noodles, broccoli, carrots, and more, and topped with a butter-y cracker crust making it a flavorful family favorite.
20. Bean Chimichangas
20 Bean Chimichangas Recipe
Easy and delicious Bean Chimichangas are filled with beans, cheese and ROTEL and they taste just like the ones at the restaurants!
21. Chicken Penne Pasta
21 Chicken Penne Pasta Recipe
A delicious and simple Chicken Penne Pasta that is the perfect family dinner. The entire family loves it!
22. BBQ Chicken Pizza
22 Barbecue Chicken Pizza Recipe
With barbecue sauce, mozzarella cheese, chicken, bacon, and cilantro, this Barbecue Chicken Pizza will be a new family favorite. Best of all, it’s made in less than 20 minutes!
23. Turkey Meatballs
23 Turkey Meatball Recipe
Put Turkey Meatballs on your dinner menu this week! Easy to whip up, full of flavor, and can be served with anything from rice to mashed potatoes or pasta.
24. Cheeseburger Casserole
24 Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe
Hearty cheeseburger casserole is filled with ground beef and pasta, and oozing with cheese! It really is everything but the bun.
25. Chicken Alfredo Pizza
25 Chicken Alfredo Pizza Recipe
This Delicious Chicken Alfredo Pizza is made with a homemade pizza crust, homemade white sauce and is topped with chicken and spinach.
26. Beef Stroganoff
26 Easy Beef Stroganoff Recipe
This Easy Beef Stroganoff recipe is simple and flavorful. Served with egg noodles, this creamy stroganoff is a classic Sunday dinner recipe Made in the slow cooker and is perfect to enjoy any night of the week.
27 Tostadas Recipe
Open face tostadas topped with all of your favorite Mexican ingredients! These tasty tostadas are a frequent meal in this house!
28. Baked Ziti
28 Easy Baked Ziti Recipe
Baked Ziti is an easy baked pasta recipe filled with a cream cheese and tomato sauce and topped with cheese! It’s great for feeding a crowd.
29. Stir Fry
29 Chicken Stir Fry Recipe
Simple, quick, and delicious Chicken Stir Fry is a tasty dinner that is simple and filling!
30. Hamburger Tater Tots Casserole
30 Hamburger Tater Tot Casserole Recipe
Homey & delicious hamburger tater tot casserole is layered with flavors everyone will love! It is kid friendly, easy, and freezes perfectly!
31. Cream Cheese And Chicken Taquitos
31 Cream Cheese and Chicken Taquitos Recipe
You will love these Cream Cheese and Chicken Taquitos filled with cream cheese, salsa, cheese, sour cream and spinach.
32. Mini Pizzas
32 Mini Pizzas Recipe
Mini Pizzas are bite-sized pizzas topped with cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil and more. They’re perfect for lunch, dinner, or even as an appetizer at parties!
33. Dorito Casserole
33 Dorito Casserole Recipe
Everyone loves this crunchy and flavorful Dorito casserole. It’s layered with lots of meat, cheese and (of course!) nacho cheese flavored Doritos!
34. Spaghetti Pie
34 Spaghetti Pie Recipe
Spaghetti Pie makes a hearty and delicious twist for a dinner time win! It’s a perfect recipe for busy weeknights and family-friendly dinners.
Healthy Dinner Ideas for Kids
There are a lot of ways to make a meal a bit healthier. One of my recent favorites is to use my air fryer instead of pan-frying in oil or simply baking a dish instead.
Add veggies. Another way is to sneak in some veggies.
- Zucchini has become more popular. Make zucchini noodles or shred them and put them into your baked goods.
- Cauliflower is a great rice substitute.
- Shredded carrots hide well in red sauces.
35. Baked Chicken Drumsticks
35 Baked Drumsticks Recipe
Oven baked chicken drumsticks are a healthy alternative for fried chicken lovers! They are seasoned to perfection and baked, not fried!
36. Baked Chicken Fingers
36 Chicken Fingers Recipe
A healthy way to eat chicken that kids absolutely love – Baked Chicken Fingers! Chicken dipped in flour, egg, and panko, then baked to a crispy perfection! Not to mention they’re SO easy to make!
37. English Muffin Pizzas
37 English Muffin Pizza Recipe
English muffin pizzas are a quick and easy meal the kids will love. They are savory, delish, and sized just right!
38. Baked Chicken Nuggets
38 Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe
Homemade chicken nuggets are easy to make and packed with flavor! Much tastier than the frozen or fast-food options, these nuggets are healthy and delicious.
39. Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
39 Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
This recipe for Homemade Chicken Noodle soup is one of the easiest, tastiest recipes full of chicken breast chunks, celery, carrots, and home-style egg noodles.
40. Flatbread Pinwheels
40 Flatbread Wrap Recipe
Three variations of delicious flatbread pinwheels are easy to assemble and make the best school lunches, or shareable appetizers!
41. Zucchini Chicken Alfredo Roll Ups
41 Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll Ups Recipe
Zucchini Chicken Alfredo Roll Ups are cheesy & comforting. This easy dish only needs six ingredients & takes only 30 minutes to make!
42. Flatout Monster Sandwiches
42 Flatout Monster Sandwiches recipes
Fun and delicious Flatout Monster sandwiches filled with your favorite meats, cheese and veggies are a hit with the entire family!!
43. Turkey Chili
43 Turkey Chili Recipe
Warm up on a chilly fall day with this spicy and flavorful turkey chili. It’s packed with veggies, beans, and topped with a little cheese. You’ll love every delicious bite!
44. Baked BBQ Chicken
44 Baked BBQ Chicken Recipe
Easy and healthy Baked BBQ Chicken – You can whip up the sauce, pour it over some chicken breasts, pop it in the oven and you’re done!
Easy meals for Kids to Make
Kids can be taught how to safely use the stove and oven to make simple meals. You will need to be there to help teach them, but soon they’ll be able to make them on their own.
(You know your children best so use your best judgment to determine when they are ready to be making meals on their own.)
- Many soups are dump and simmer. Kids just need to learn how to use a can opener, chop simple vegetables, and how to simmer on the stove.
- Waffles and pancakes are easy for kids to master and who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner!
- Pasta is easy to cook and can be combined with many different pre-made sauces.
- Pizza is fun and simple, especially when using refrigerated pizza dough.
- Sandwiches and Sliders are tasty and simple to make.
- Salads are easy to prepare and customizable to everyone’s preference.
- Ground beef is easy to cook for dishes like Tacos and Sloppy Joes.
- An air fryer is a great alternative and safer than deep frying.
Our Kids’ Favorites
These tasty dishes are not only kid-friendly dinners, but easy dinner ideas that the kids can be involved with the cooking process!
45. Pizza Roll Ups
45 Pizza Roll Ups Recipe
Crazy fast and easy to make, these pizza roll ups are oozing with cheese and pepperoni. They are tiny pockets of big flavor!
46. Mini Deep Dish Pizzas
46 Mini Deep Dish Pizza Recipe
Mini Deep Dish Pizzas are our new favorite dinner recipe. They’re easy, quick and can be made custom for each person with their favorite toppings!
47. Heart Shaped Pepperoni Pizza
47 Heart Shaped Pizza Recipe
Adorable homemade heart shaped pizza is deliciously simple. This tasty dish is ready to enjoy in only 30 minutes!
48. Hot Dog Nuggets
48 Hot Dog Nuggets Recipe
Hot Dog Nuggets only require TWO ingredients and make a perfect for lunch, dinner or even a party appetizer! Kids and adults alike will love these little bites.
49. Walking Tacos
49 Walking Tacos Recipe
Walking tacos are an easy grab and go meal that is full of flavor! They are no mess, easy to make, and perfect for large gatherings!!
50. Corn Dog Muffins
50 Mini Corn Dog Muffins Recipe
Mini corn dog muffins are yummy and kid friendly. These tasty bite-size snacks are ready in under 20 minutes!
51. Easy Pizza Casserole
51 Pizza Casserole Recipe
A quick, easy and delicious dinner idea that the whole family will love. Prepped in 5 minutes and made in under 30 minutes!Pizza Casserole
52. Pigs In A Blanket
52 Pigs in a Blanket Recipe
A yummy lunch, dinner, or snack idea for the whole family! Homemade pigs in a blanket with delicious crescent dough and a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top!
53. Hot Ham and Cheese Roll Ups
53 Hot Ham and Cheese Roll Up Recipe
Crazy quick and easy hot ham and cheese roll ups require only 3 ingredients and are ready in minutes. Just be sure you make extras!
54. Lunch Kabobs
54 Lunch Kabobs Recipe
Kid-friendly lunch kabobs are filled with savory meats and fresh veggies. They’re perfect for parties, BBQs, Lunches and more!
55. Grilled Cheese
55 Best Grilled Cheese Recipe
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches are a classic in our family. Not only are they easy to make and loved by everyone but are easily changed up by the bread, cheese, fillings and spices used to make them!
So Many Choices!
With so many amazing choices you’re sure to find some new kid friendly favorites the whole family will love!
More Collections: Healthy Dinner Ideas, Pantry Staple Recipes, Beef Dinner Ideas
My kids are older, but still so picky! They would love everything in this post! Thanks for sharing these great ideas!
I love all the yummy food ideas for the kids. There’s really nothing here that the kids won’t eat. Everything is good and not hard to make. Sure to please everyone.
First, my kids LOVED Macaroni and Cheese recipe on here. I served it with the pigs in a blanket recipe (How my kids reached teen years with my never making these I don’t know). Next time I’ll use parchment paper since some of the “blanket” stuck to my pan.
Also, wanted to give shout out for your pizza dough recipe . i make it almost each week. My kids love using it to make their own personal pizzas.