Teaching Kids to Cook Safely

Kitchen safety where it counts.

Joanne Adirim, Founder and Pastry Chef of Cookie Chips

Joanne Adirim

Founder & Executive Pastry Chef

Feb 28, 2022

For 25 years, Joanne served as the Founder and Executive Pastry Chef at HannahMax Baking. In 2012, she launched the original Cookie Chips® brand of thin snacking cookies. In 2022, she’s launching the Cookie Chips® Baking Mix, the first ever mix that makes pastry chef quality, thin snacking cookies right from home. With her new brand, she is excited to bring her 25 years of expertise to the at-home baking community.


Joanne Adirim

Founder & Executive Pastry Chef

Feb 28, 2022

For 25 years, Joanne served as the Founder and Executive Pastry Chef at HannahMax Baking. In 2012, she launched the original Cookie Chips® brand of thin snacking cookies. In 2022, she’s launching the Cookie Chips® Baking Mix, the first ever mix that makes pastry chef quality, thin snacking cookies right from home. With her new brand, she is excited to bring her 25 years of expertise to the at-home baking community.


How can learning to cook benefit kids?

Cooking and baking are amazing life skills. For kids to grow up and know their way around any kitchen is a life skill.

Baking, in particular, also reinforces math skills. It teaches how to make precise measurements, use a scale, and practice addition and multiplication. There is also a chemistry element to baking depending on how far you go with the teaching.

cute little boy baking cookie chips

My 9 year old loves to get into the kitchen and create recipes especially baking. He has learned over the past year that he can’t just add anything he wants to make a cake and expect it to turn out as a cake. As a mom and chef, I let him experiment with key missing ingredients and inaccurate proportions. 


In the end, there is more mess than cake, but he has so much fun and it’s a great learning experience. He now works with me by using real recipes and is learning how to follow the directions precisely.

What's a good age to get kids in the kitchen to learn how to cook? Why?

Probably 5 and older is the best. They are just a year before going into 1st grade. At this age, they are excited just to make anything. Often, they have already done this in school with simple baking or cooking projects. My kids would get bread dough in school to make challah on Fridays and in summer camp they would often do some sort of baking project.

What are some safety tips you'd give parents for teaching their children to cook?

Safety is twofold. It’s physical safety and food safety practices. You definitely want to teach both. The first thing you can do is give a kid oriented tour of the kitchen. Show them the equipment and what it all does. Show them the oven and the cooktop. Teach them how to keep their little fingers out of moving equipment as well as hot ovens and stoves. Explain the consequences of these actions.


For food safe practices, you want to give age appropriate information.

cute little boy tasting the cookie dough

The older they are the more information you can share. Basic food safety starts with handwashing and understanding that key ingredients like eggs and flour are raw and can give them a tummy ache. So you don’t want to encourage eating raw cookie dough or brownie batter. 


With regard to handwashing, they already know the importance of this after going to the bathroom. This should be further incorporated into food safety practices in the kitchen.


If you are cooking with fresh ingredients like vegetables, I always use a veggie wash and wash these items well. Letting your kids do this and explaining to them that this step is also very important in not getting a tummy ache. You can teach older kids about salmonella and listeria. 


Another real biggie is teaching kids about food-safe practices with raw meat. Personally, I’m really careful about how I handle raw meat in my own kitchen. I always wear nitrile gloves and clean all my surfaces after I’m done. Teaching this and showing the kids how to do this is of the utmost importance. Lastly, teaching them about cooking temperatures. This can be fun for little kids. Showing them a thermometer and letting them help make sure you reach a safe temperature on whatever you are cooking.

When looking for tools for kids learning to cook, what should parents keep in mind? Should they buy cooking gear aimed at kids? Knives with certain safety features? What would you recommend they keep in mind?

mom and son baking cookie chips together

The only thing I ever bought my kids is their own apron or chef's jacket. I always taught my kids using the same tools I use, but under close and constant supervision and on an age appropriate basis. There are definitely kid-safe knives, small cutting boards, and other tools you can purchase for little hands that would definitely be helpful. And, the kids may actually enjoy using these items.


How should parents keep cooking lessons age-appropriate?

The younger the child, the simpler the project. The older they get the more complicated you can make it. Little kids only need verbal instructions. Older kids, you can give them a recipe to follow and learn from.


Are there any other safety precautions you think parents should keep in mind?

Safe cooking and baking should be kid-specific. Understanding your child or the children you are teaching is critical in helping to design a learning format. The factors to take into consideration are age, abilities, social or learning issues, and cooking or baking skills previously learned.

Crispy-crunchy cookies in 15 minutes.

Make pastry chef quality, thin & crispy cookies in 15 minutes. These easy-to-bake, Cookie Chips® are irresistibly delicious.


Like everything else that I bake, this mix uses artisan, non-GMO, simple ingredients, and no artificial junk.


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