I love middle-grade books about food almost as much as I love actual food. Actually, not just foodie middle-grade books, but all kinds of books about food are right up my alley.
All the picks on this list of middle-grade books about food feature a main character with a love either for cooking or baking. Some of them are part of a series (I’ll indicate in such cases). But in all of these books, food is a central theme — they’re bound to make your mouth water. Ready? Let’s get cooking!
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The Best Middle-Grade Books About Food 🌭 🌮 🌯 🍔 🍝 🍜 🥙 🍰 🍳 🍽 🍲
Here are 41 best middle grade books about food:
One Hundred Spaghetti Strings
This brave and heartwarming middle grade novel will leave your belly rumbling and your heart full. Because when life hands you lemons, it’s time to get cooking! Perfect for fans of Sarah Weeks, Leslie Connor, and Lynda Mullaly Hunt.
Since Steffy was little, she and her older sister, Nina, have lived with their beloved Auntie Gina. But when the girls’ dad comes home to live with them, everything changes. So Steffy does what she does best: She cooks her way through the hardest year of her life.
Sometimes it feels like everything but the kitchen sink is being thrown at her—too many ingredients that don’t quite work. And all Steffy wants is for her family to be whole again. Can her recipes help bring them back together?
Chef Yasmina and the Potato Picnic (Graphic Novel)
Yasmina isn’t like the other kids in her city. Maybe it’s the big chef hat she wears. Or the fact that she stuffs her dad’s lunchbox full of spring rolls instead of peanut butter and jelly. She might be an oddball, but no one can deny that Yasmina has a flair for food. All she needs to whip up a gourmet meal is a recipe from her cookbook and fresh vegetable form the community garden.
But everything changes when the garden is bulldozed and replaced with a strange new crop of potatoes. Her neighbors can’t get enough of these spuds! And after just one bite their behavior changes―they slobber, chase cats, and howl at the moon. What’s the secret ingredient in these potatoes that has everyone acting like a bunch of crazed canines? Yasmina needs to find a cure, and fast!
Stef Soto, Taco Queen
Estefania “Stef” Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family’s taco truck. She wants nothing more than for Papi to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be a distant memory. Then maybe everyone at school will stop seeing her as the Taco Queen.
But when her family’s livelihood is threatened, and it looks like her wish will finally come true, Stef surprises everyone (including herself) by becoming the truck’s unlikely champion. In this fun and heartfelt novel, Stef will discover what matters most and ultimately embrace an identity that even includes old Tia Perla.
All You Knead Is Love
Twelve-year-old Alba doesn’t want to live with her estranged grandmother in Barcelona.But her mother needs her to be far, far away from their home in New York City. Because this is the year that her mother is going to leave Alba’s abusive father. Hopefully. If she’s strong enough to finally, finally do it.Alba is surprised to find that she loves Barcelona, forming a close relationship with her grandmother, meeting a supportive father figure, and making new friends. Most of all, she discovers a passion and talent for bread baking. When her beloved bakery is threatened with closure, Alba is determined to find a way to save it–and at the same time, she may just come up with a plan to make their family whole again. From the author of How to Make Friends with the Sea comes a heartfelt story of finding one’s chosen family, healing, and baking.
The Thing About Leftovers
Fizzy is a good Southern girl who just wants to be perfect. And win the Southern Living cook-off. The being perfect part is hard though, since her parents’ divorced and everything in her life has changed. Wary of her too-perfect stepmom and her mom’s neat-freak, dismissive boyfriend, she’s often angry or upset and feels like a guest in both homes.
She tells herself to face facts: She’s a “leftover” kid from a marriage that her parents want to forget. But she has to keep all of that to herself, because a good Southern girl never yells, or throws fits, or says anything that might hurt other people’s feelings—instead she throws her shoulders back, says yes ma’am, and tries to do better.
So Fizzy tries her best, but it’s hard to stay quiet when her family keeps getting more complicated. Fortunately, the Southern Living cook-off gives her a welcome distraction, as do her new friends Miyoko and Zach, who have parent issues of their own.
David can eat an entire sixteen-inch pepperoni pizza in four minutes and thirty-six seconds. Not bad. But he knows he can do better. In fact, he’ll have to do better: he’s going to compete in the Super Pigorino Bowl, the world’s greatest pizza-eating contest, and he has to win it, because he borrowed his mom’s credit card and accidentally put $2,000 on it.
So he really needs that prize money. Like, yesterday. As if training to be a competitive eater weren’t enough, he’s also got to keep an eye on his little brother, Mal (who, if the family believed in labels, would be labeled autistic, but they don’t, so they just label him Mal). And don’t even get started on the new weirdness going on between his two best friends, Cyn and HeyMan.
Ways to Grow Love
Ryan Hart and her family are back in another installment of stories about a Black girl finding her way and her voice as she grows through change and challenges. In this book, Ryan finds herself waiting on lots of things — like for her new sister to be born healthy, for her new recipes to turn out right, for that summer camp trip to go better than she fears! And of course Ryan is facing these new challenges and new experiences in her classic style — with a bright outlook and plenty of spirit!
Three unlikely friends join forces to win a baking competition and save their school’s culinary classroom. Isaac, a nationally-ranked runner; Jane, a shy artist; and J.C., a rebellious scooter rider—all have a secret passion for cooking.
The promise of a cupcake contest lures them to an unusual classroom on the outskirts of campus. As they share friendship and a love for cooking, the pressures of the contest start to boil over—a recipe for disaster that could destroy their chances at winning! The heat is on, and Isaac, Jane and J.C. must figure out a way to salvage their cupcakes, save the culinary classroom from being demolished, and protect their secrets before the judges cast their final votes.
All Four Stars
Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.
But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?
Alice Fleck’s Recipes for Disaster
Alice Fleck’s father is a culinary historian, and for as long as she can remember, she’s been helping him recreate meals from the past — a hobby she prefers to keep secret from kids her age. But when her father’s new girlfriend enters them into a cooking competition at a Victorian festival, Alice finds herself and her hobby thrust into the spotlight.
And that’s just the first of many surprises awaiting her. On arriving at the festival, Alice learns that she and her father are actually contestants on Culinary Combat, a new reality TV show hosted by Tom Truffleman, the most famous and fierce judge on TV! And to make matters worse, she begins to suspect that someone is at work behind the scenes, sabotaging the competition.
It’s up to Alice, with the help of a few new friends, to find the saboteur before the entire competition is ruined, all the while tackling some of the hardest cooking challenges of her life . . . for the whole world to see.
Summer of a Thousand Pies
When Cady Bennett is sent to live with the aunt she didn’t even know she had in the quaint mountain town of Julian, she isn’t sure what to expect. Cady isn’t used to stability, after growing up homeless in San Diego with her dad.
Now she’s staying in her mother’s old room, exploring the countryside filled with apple orchards and pie shops, making friends, and working in Aunt Shell’s own pie shop—and soon, Cady starts to feel like she belongs.
Then she finds out that Aunt Shell’s shop is failing. Saving the business and protecting the first place she’s ever really felt safe will take everything she’s learned and the help of all her new friends. But are there some things even the perfect pie just can’t fix?
Katie and the Cupcake Cure
(Cupcake Diaries #1)
This first book in The Cupcake Diaries is told through the perspective of Katie Brown. We find Katie miserable on the first day of middle school. Her best friend Callie came back from camp boy-crazy and part of a whole new group of friends. When it’s made clear that Callie is in the PGC (Popular Girls Club) and Katie is not invited to join, Katie suddenly feels incredibly alone.
Katie realizes if she’s going to survive middle school she needs to seriously regroup and find some new friends. But how? She bites into the cupcake her mother packed her for lunch and for a second closes her eyes. The sweet treat makes her happy—finally something goes right! Looking around her table, Katie notices the other students seeming a bit lost, as well. Which gives her an idea…With three new friends Katie forms a club as a way to spread the cupcake love and earn some cupcake cash.
The Last Super Chef
For as long as he can remember, Curtis Pith has been obsessed with becoming a chef like Lucas Taylor, host of Super Chef. And Curtis has a secret: Taylor is actually his long-absent father.
So when Taylor announces a kids-only season of Super Chef, Curtis finally sees his chance to meet his dad. But after Curtis wins a spot in the competition and arrives in New York to film the show, nothing goes as smoothly as he expected.
It’s all riding on the last challenge. If Curtis cooks his heart out like he knows he can, he just might go home with the top prize—and the truth.
Stir It Up
A Trinidadian-American girl’s dream is challenged by her family
Thirteen-year-old Anjali’s life is rich with the smell of curry from her parents’ roti shop and an absolute passion for food. More than anything, Anjali wants to be a chef who competes on a kids’ cooking reality TV show. But Anjali must keep her wish a secret from her family, who thinks Anjali’s passions are beneath her.
Thank goodness for Deema, Anjali’s grandmother, whose insight and love can push past even the oldest family beliefs. Woven with recipes that cook up emotions and actual culinary recipes that make food, this novel is as delicious as it is satisfying.
Save the Cupcake!: A Wish Novel (Confectionately Yours #1)
Confession: My life is soooo not sprinkles and sunshine…Hayley’s world is far from perfect: Her parents have divorced, her mom has lost her job, and she and her sister Chloe are stuck sharing a bedroom in their grandmother’s apartment. Luckily, Hayley has a knack for baking cupcakes — and cupcakes always make life just a little sweeter! But when she and her best friend Artie start drifting apart, she realizes that it’s going to take more than sugar and spice to make things nice.
Recipes for Disaster
Hannah Malfa-Adler is Jew . . . ish. Not that she really thinks about it. She’d prefer to focus on her favorite pastime: baking delicious food! But when her best friend has a beyond-awesome Bat Mitzvah, Hannah starts to feel a little envious …and a little left out.
Despite her parents firm no, Hannah knows that if she can learn enough about her own faith, she can convince her friends that the party is still in motion. As the secrets mount, a few are bound to explode. When they do, Hannah learns that being Jewish isn’t about having a big party and a fancy dress and a first kiss — it’s about actually being Jewish. Most importantly, Hannah realizes that the only person’s permission she needs to be Jewish, is her own.
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
Twelve-year-old Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don’t always get along, that’s true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her interesting stories and family recipes. She understands from experience that life’s twist and turns can’t rattle the unique bond between two lifelong pals.
Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech cooks up a delightfully tender novel filled with homemade dishes and secret recipes. It’s easier to remember what’s important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup.
Cake Pop Crush: A Wish Novel
Sometimes friends, school, and boys can be a recipe for disaster! This sweet treat of a read is irresistible.
Alicia Ramirez has always loved baking. Her family owns Say It With Flour, the small bakery in town. And Ali’s specialties are cake pops: delicious confections on a stick. But Ali’s sweet life turns sour when a sleek coffee shop opens across the street, giving her bakery a run for its money. Worst of all, the owner’s son, Dane McGuire, likes to bake, too. He’s the new kid in Ali’s school … and happens to be annoyingly cute.
When Dane and Ali engage in a bake-off to prove who is the cake-pop master, it’s Ali’s chance to save Say It With Flour. But will she be able to rise to occasion … and ignore what her heart might be telling her?
Measuring Up (Graphic Novel)
Twelve-year-old Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, and the only thing she wants more than to fit in at her new school is to celebrate her grandmother, A-má’s, seventieth birthday together.
Since she can’t go to A-má, Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket! There’s just one problem: Cici only knows how to cook Taiwanese food.
And after her pickled cucumber debacle at lunch, she’s determined to channel her inner Julia Child. Can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite with A-má, a way to fit in with her new friends, and somehow find herself too?
Sprinkles and Secrets
Twelve-year-old Sophie has always dreamed of becoming an actress and being in front of the camera. So when she’s offered an opportunity to audition for a TV commercial spot—and a chance to make her dreams come true—she’s over-the-moon happy.
But then she finds out what exactly she’ll be advertising: the scrumptious, ever-popular brownies from Beatrice’s Brownies. And there’s just one problem with Beatrice’s Brownies….the brand is the number one competitor to It’s Raining Cupcakes, the shop owned by her best friend Isabel’s family.
Sophie has a tough choice to make: Follow her dreams or betray her best friend. What’s a girl to do?
Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners
Most kids would dread the start of middle school and the year-long Explorations project that comes with it, but Ana knows that her + her best friend Lily + their plan to write and sell their own cookbook is a recipe for success. Lily’s not just the perfect partner in culinary crime—she’s also the only person in the world who understands Ana’s need to wash her hands five times before picking up a spatula, and would never make fun of her for it.
But Ana and Lily’s plan for edible entrepreneurship turns into one big baking disaster when they’re assigned to different partners for their projects. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Lily seems more excited to get to know her new partner than bummed about being separated, Lily and her new friend plan to use the cookbook idea for themselves—and they didn’t even ask! Worse, Ana’s partner is Dasher, the strange new girl from Alaska, and she wants to do their project on the weirdest thing imaginable: sled dog racing.
Cupcake Cousins (Cupcake Cousins #1)
Baking a fluffy pink cupcake is awesome, but wearing a dress that looks like one? No, thank you! Cousins Willow and Delia can’t wait to spend a week vacationing together with their families. Their aunt is getting married, and Willow and Delia are hoping their tasty baked goods will be enough to get them out of being flower girls in the wedding.
But with a mischievous little brother, a bacon-loving dog, and a misbehaving blender in the mix, their treats don’t exactly turn out as planned. When a real emergency threatens to ruin the wedding, will their baking skills be enough to save the day? Join Willow and Delia in the kitchen by following their scrumptious recipes for whoopee pies, peach pancakes, and other tasty treats!
What Momma Left Me
Serenity is good at keeping secrets, and she’s got a whole lifetime’s worth of them. Her mother is dead, her father is gone, and starting life over at her grandparents’ house is strange. Luckily, certain things seem to hold promise: a new friend who makes her feel connected, and a boy who makes her feel seen. But when her brother starts making poor choices, her friend is keeping her own dangerous secret, and her grandparents put all of their trust in a faith that Serenity isn’t sure she understands, it is the power of love that will repair her heart and keep her sure of just who she is.
Renée Watson’s stunning writing shines in this powerful and ultimately uplifting novel.
Lights, Camera, Cook!
It’s “lights, camera, cook!” for four tween contestants—energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver—who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition.
What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on- and off-camera? Which junior chef will have the grit—and maybe the grits—to make it through each challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good?
Bonus: Includes real cooking techniques for the aspiring young chef!
The Baking Life of Amelie Day
Thirteen-year-old Amelie Day loves to bake so she’s thrilled when she’s invited to compete in the Best Teen Baker of the Year contest. But Amelie has Cystic Fibrosis, and some days she can barely breathe. Determined not to let her condition or her mom stop her from taking part, Amelie musters all her Flour Power. But will it be enough to get her to the top?
A Place at the Table
Sixth graders Sara and Elizabeth could not be more different. Sara is at a new school that is completely unlike the small Islamic school she used to attend. Elizabeth has her own problems: her British mum has been struggling with depression. The girls meet in an after-school South Asian cooking class, which Elizabeth takes because her mom has stopped cooking, and which Sara, who hates to cook, is forced to attend because her mother is the teacher. The girls form a shaky alliance that gradually deepens, and they make plans to create the most amazing, mouth-watering cross-cultural dish together and win a spot on a local food show. They make good cooking partners . . . but can they learn to trust each other enough to become true friends?
Kitchen Chaos (The Saturday Cooking Club #1)
Can their friendships take the heat? A trio of mothers and daughters will find out when they sign up for a cooking class from a famous chef in the first book of the Saturday Cooking Club series—it’s mother-daughter bonding and so much more!
Liza and Frankie have always been best friends. But when new girl Lillian arrives from San Francisco, suddenly three’s a crowd. Especially after the trio is grouped together for a big sixth-grade social studies project—can they put aside their animosity long enough to succeed? When Liza suggests they all take a cooking class with the chef from her favorite cooking show for the project, the girls are on board, but they need an adult to take the class with them. It seems like the perfect opportunity to snag some quality time with their overscheduled, overstressed mothers…if they can convince them to sign up!
Several headaches and close calls later, the girls at last find themselves in Chef Antonio’s kitchen with their mothers in tow—but the drama is only just beginning!
Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish-brown hair and she was the “Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects.
Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador”. She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to make their traditional kim-bap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year!
The Great Peach Experiment
Sweet summer has taken a rotten turn . . .
After a tough year, Lucy, Freddy, and Herb Peach are ready for vacation. Lucy wants to read all of the books on the summer reading list. Freddy wants to work on his art projects (when he isn’t stuck in summer school). Herb wants to swim every day.
Then their dad makes a big announcement: one of the inventions their mom came up with before she passed away has sold, and now they’re millionaires!
But Dad has bigger plans than blowing the cash on fun stuff or investing it. He’s bought a used food truck. The Peaches are going to spend the summer traveling the country selling pies. It will be the Great Peach Experiment–a summer of bonding while living out one of Mom’s dreams. Summer plans, sunk. And there’s one more issue Dad’s neglected: none of them knows how to bake. . . .
A perfect blend of humor, heart, and family antics, When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie is a delectable treat to be gobbled down or savored slowly. (Slice of pie on the side, optional, but highly recommended.)
It’s 1944, W.W. II is raging. Jayna’s big brother Rob is her only family. When Rob is called to duty on a destroyer, Jayna is left in their small town in upstate New York with their cranky landlady. But right before he leaves, Rob tells Jayna a secret: they may have a grandmother in Brooklyn. Rob found a little blue recipe book with her name and an address for a bakery.
When Jayna learns that Rob is missing in action, she’s devastated. Along with her turtle Theresa, the recipe book, and an encouraging, ghostly voice as her guide, Jayna sets out for Brooklyn in hopes of finding the family she so desperately needs.
The Teashop Girls
Annie, Genna, and Zoe have been hanging out at the Steeping Leaf since elementary school. The Teashop Girls do everything together — at least they used to. With the end of eighth grade approaching, Genna’s too busy with theater, Zoe’s always at tennis, and Annie feels totally left out. What happened to tea every week, no matter what?
When Annie convinces her grandmother to give her a job as a barista at the Leaf, things begin to look up. In between whipping up chai lattes for customers, and attempting to catch the attention of her Barista Boy crush, Annie is finally beginning to feel as grown-up as her best friends. But an eviction notice spells trouble for the Leaf and unless they can turn the business around, the teashop will have to close its doors forever.
Fresh, honest, and sweet, Laura Schaefer’s debut novel is sure to resonate with readers everywhere.
Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai
“Heartbreak is for suckers.”
When Jenna Sakai gets dumped over winter break, it confirms what she learned from her parents’ messy divorce: Relationships are risky and only lead to disappointment. So even though she still has to see her ex-boyfriend Elliott at newspaper club, Jenna is going to be totally heartless this semester — no boys, just books.
But keeping her cool isn’t always easy. Jenna’s chief competition for a big journalism scholarship is none other than Elliott. Her best friend Keiko always seems busy with her own boyfriend. And cute-but-incredibly-annoying Rin Watanabe keeps stealing her booth at the diner she’s been hiding at every day after school. Rin is every bit as stubborn and detached as Jenna. And the more Jenna gets to know him, the more intriguing a mystery he seems. Soon Jenna is starting to realize that being a loner is kind of, well, lonely. And letting people in might just be a risk worth taking.
When Alice’s Aunt Polly, the Pie Queen of Ipswitch, passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily fat, remarkably disagreeable cat, Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice.
Suddenly, the whole town is wondering how you leave a recipe to a cat. Everyone wants to be the next big pie-contest winner, and it’s making them pie-crazy. It’s up to Alice and her friend Charlie to put the pieces together and discover the not-so-secret recipe for happiness: Friendship. Family. And the pleasure of donig something for the right reason.
Close to Famous
Foster McFee dreams of having her own cooking show like her idol, celebrity chef Sonny Kroll. Macon Dillard’s goal is to be a documentary filmmaker. Foster’s mother Rayka longs to be a headliner instead of a back-up singer. And Miss Charleena plans a triumphant return to Hollywood. Everyone has a dream, but nobody is even close to famous in the little town of Culpepper. Until some unexpected events shake the town and its inhabitants-and put their big ambitions to the test.
The Great Wall of Lucy Wu
Lucy Wu, aspiring basketball star and interior designer, is on the verge of having the best year of her life. She’s ready to rule the school as a sixth grader, go out for captain of the school basketball team, and take over the bedroom she has always shared with her sister. In an instant, though, her plans are shattered when she finds out that Yi Po, her beloved grandmother’s sister, is coming to visit for several months — and is staying in Lucy’s room.
Lucy’s vision of a perfect year begins to crumble, and in its place come an unwelcome roommate, foiled birthday plans, a bully who tries to scare Lucy off the basketball team, and Chinese school with the annoying know-it-all Talent Chang. Lucy’s year is ruined — or is it?
A wonderfully funny, warm, and heartfelt tale about the ways life often reveals silver linings in the most unexpected of clouds.
The Truth About Twinkie Pie
Take two sisters making it on their own: brainy twelve-year-old GiGi and junior-high-dropout-turned-hairstylist DiDi. Add a million dollars in prize money from a national cooking contest and a move from the trailer parks of South Carolina to the North Shore of Long Island. Mix in a fancy new school, new friends and enemies, a first crush, and a generous sprinkling of family secrets.
A Thousand Questions
Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.
The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?
Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most.
Pie in the Sky (Graphic Novel)
When Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao.
To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she’s at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they’ll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama.
Fantasy middle-grade books about food:
There they are! 41 stunning middle-grade books about food! Just their covers have made me hungry! I recently bought a few of these food books and am looking forward to devouring them.
Do you like books about food? Which of these books have you read? What are your favorite middle-grade books about food? Let me know — there’s always room in my TBR!