From decorating the table to preparing the feast, there’s always a long list of things to get done on Christmas day. But, there’s no reason you have to do it all alone! Asking the kids for help in the kitchen is the perfect way to involve them in the festivities. Not only will you score a few extra helping hands, but it’s a fun and educational activity for them, too.
If your children are young, you’re unlikely to put them in charge of cooking the turkey or roasting the vegetables. But, the good news is, there are some great, kid-friendly Christmas recipes where they can take the lead.
With very little slicing, dicing and cooking involved, they require minimal supervision. That means your little sous-chef can get to work on these dishes while you prepare the mains.
Read on for 9 fun and easy Christmas recipes the kids can cook.
1. Christmas Popcorn
Popcorn is one of the easiest things for kids to prepare by themselves — all they need to do is pop it in the microwave (literally!). They can give it a festive spin by adding in a few simple ingredients. For a delightfully crunchy combination, mix through some pretzels and red and green M&Ms. Peppermint and marshmallows make delicious additions too! If the kids want to amp up the Christmas spirit, they can also dye the popcorn in some red and green food colouring.
2. Snowman Sticks
While building a snowman may not be on the cards this year, there’s no reason they can’t do it in the kitchen! There are a few ways the kids can whip up this White Christmas-inspired treat. The first is by placing marshmallows on a skewer, using pretzels for the arms and chocolates and nuts for the snowman’s face. They can also make a larger version with white sugar-dusted doughnuts.
3. Christmas Cookie Houses
For a no-bake Christmas dessert dish, you can’t go past this simple recipe. It’s like an adorable, mini version of a gingerbread house! To make the house structure, take three rectangular cookies (store-bought does the trick!). One creates the bottom foundation, while the others sit on top diagonally — meeting in a V-shape. Use icing to secure and lollies to decorate!
4. Christmas tree salad
This recipe achieves the impossible — getting the kids excited about salads! You can use whatever green vegetables you have on hand to form the leaves, such as spinach, cucumber or rocket. Dark vegetables like parsnips work well to create the ‘trunk,’ as do savoury biscuits. Use assorted vegetables like capsicum and olives as the tree decorations and garnish with your dressing of choice.
5. Skewered Christmas Bites
Put the kids on canapé duty with this simple recipe. It layers fresh crudités on skewers to create a bite-sized Christmas entree. For a festive, savoury option, cherry tomatoes, soft cheese, olives and salami work well. For a sweeter treat, grapes, watermelon and rockmelon recreate the classic colours of Christmas. All the kids need to do is layer their choices onto skewers, then serve!
6. Sponge Finger Trifle
With no heat or baking required, trifle is one of the easiest desserts for kids to make by themselves. For a classic Christmas trifle, you can go with raspberries, strawberries or cranberries. Or, give it a more tropical spin for summer with stone fruits like mango and nectarines. Instead of cooking with alcohol, the kids can soak the sponge fingers in liquids like fruit juice. Then, they can have fun piling it high with layers of jelly, fruit and creamy!
7. Rocky Road
Rocky road is fun to make and even more fun to eat! Make it nice and easy for the kids by starting with store-bought blocks of chocolate, rather than making it from scratch. Place it in the microwave to melt the chocolate, then add in all the trimmings like marshmallows, dried fruit and nuts. Turkish Delight is also a great addition. Then, spoon the mixture into a pan, and spread into a thin layer. Place in the fridge to set, then enjoy biting into the gloriously firm-yet-gooey creation.
8. Pastry Christmas Trees
Cooking with puff pastry is almost like a craft project for the kid, but in the kitchen! They’ll have a jolly great time cutting out Christmas trees onto the pastry sheets. Once you have the shape, spoon a mixture of pesto and goats cheese or ricotta onto the top. Then, add halved cherry tomatoes and basil leaves to ‘decorate' the treat. Place in a baking tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden crispy.
9. Christmas Sleigh Desserts
Cute, delicious and oh-so-easy — you can’t go wrong with this sweet treat. It requires only three steps and three ingredients, making it perfect for younger children. Start with a soft, square-shaped chocolate as the ‘seat’ of the sleigh — Milky Way and Mars Bar work perfectly. Add two candy Canes along the bottom to create the ‘skis’ on the underside. Grab a ‘character’ like Tiny Teddy or a Freddo Frog, and secure it upright into the sled seat to create the ‘Santa!’
With these kid-friendly recipes up your sleeve, you can turn cooking the Christmas feast into a fun, family bonding experience.