Everyone who knows me knows that I love books about food and cooking. These picture books about cooking feature a diverse range of style, cuisines, and cultures. Whether you want a book about cakes, dumplings, ramen soup or apple pie, there’s a book for you on this list!
📚 Disclaimer in the books: Just so you know, Reading Middle Grade uses affiliate links. This means that when you shop via the links in our posts, we may earn a cent or two at no extra cost to you. Thanks for adding to our book buying fund.
30+ Scrumptious Picture Books About Cooking and Food
Here are 30+ great food picture books:
Dumplings for Lili
Published: June 1, 2021
Lili loves to cook baos, and Nai Nai has taught her all the secrets to making them, from kneading the dough lovingly and firmly to being thankful for the strong and healthy ingredients in the filling. But when Nai Nai realizes that they are out of cabbage (Secret #8: line the basket with cabbage leaves!), she sends Lili up to Babcia’s apartment on the sixth floor to get some. Babcia is happy to share her cabbage, but she needs some potatoes for her pierogi. . . .
What follows is a race up and down the stairs as Lili helps all the grandmothers in her building borrow ingredients for different dumplings: Jamaican beef patties, Italian ravioli, Lebanese fatayer, and more. Energized by Melissa Iwai’s engaging artwork and kinetic storytelling, Dumplings for Lili is a joyful story of sharing food, friendship, and love in all their forms. Full color throughout
Bilal Cooks Daal
Published: June 4, 2019
Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does?
Tofu Takes Time
Published: April 19, 2022
Homemade tofu is good, and good things take time.
CLICK CLACK WHIRRRR . . . Lin and her grandma, NaiNai, are making tofu from scratch! When NaiNai goes through each step, from blending soybeans with water to molding curd into shape, Lin gradually becomes impatient. But she soon discovers that making tofu not only takes time, but also takes the whole universe! It takes the seed from soil and sunshine, the cloth from thread and fiber, weight and space, books of words and pictures. And most of all, it takes spending lovely time with her beloved grandmother.
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
Published: October 22, 2019
Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.
Fry bread is food.
It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.
Fry bread is time.
It brings families together for meals and new memories.
Fry bread is nation.
It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.
Fry bread is us.
It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.
Tomatoes for Neela
Published: August 31, 2021
Neela loves cooking with her amma and writing down the recipes in her notebook. It makes her feel closer to her paati who lives far away in India. On Saturdays, Neela and Amma go to the green market and today they are buying tomatoes to make Paati’s famous sauce. But first, Neela needs to learn about all the different kinds of tomatoes they can pick from. And as Neela and Amma cook together, they find a way for Paati to share in both the love and the flavors of the day.
Published: June 1, 2021
Ring! Ring! Ring! Can you hear his call? Paletas for one! Paletas for all!
What’s the best way to cool off on a hot summer day? Run quick and find Paletero José!
Follow along with our narrator as he passes through his busy neighborhood in search of the Paletero Man. But when he finally catches up with him, our narrator’s pockets are empty. Oh no! What happened to his dinero? It will take the help of the entire community to get the tasty treat now.
Our Little Kitchen
Published: September 22, 2020
Tie on your apron! Roll up your sleeves!
Pans are out, oven is hot, the kitchen’s all ready!
Where do we start?
In this lively, rousing picture book from Caldecott Honoree Jillian Tamaki, a crew of resourceful neighbors comes together to prepare a meal for their community. With a garden full of produce, a joyfully chaotic kitchen, and a friendly meal shared at the table, Our Little Kitchen is a celebration of full bellies and looking out for one another. Bonus materials include recipes and an author’s note about the volunteering experience that inspired the book.
Soul Food Sunday
Published: November 16, 2021
On Sundays, everyone gathers at Granny’s for Soul Food.
But today, I don’t go to the backyard or the great room.
I follow Granny instead.
“You’re a big boy now,” Granny says. “Time for you to learn.”
At Granny’s, Sunday isn’t Sunday without a big family gathering over a lovingly prepared meal. Old enough now, our narrator is finally invited to help cook the dishes for the first time: He joins Granny in grating the cheese, cleaning the greens, and priming the meat for Roscoe Ray’s grill. But just when Granny says they’re finished, her grandson makes his own contribution, sweetening this Sunday gathering—and the many more to come.
Evocatively written and vividly illustrated, this mouthwatering story is a warm celebration of tradition and coming together at a table filled with love and delicious food.
Published: December 10, 2019
The shake-shake of maracas vibrates down to my toes.
Ti Gran’s feet tap-tap to the rhythm.
Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup — Freedom Soup — just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle’s family is from. In this celebration of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next, Jacqueline Alcántara’s lush illustrations bring to life both Belle’s story and the story of the Haitian Revolution. Tami Charles’s lyrical text, as accessible as it is sensory, makes for a tale that readers will enjoy to the last drop.
How to Feed Your Parents
Published: August 7, 2018
Matilda Macaroni loves to try new foods, whether it’s her grandma’s jambalaya or sushi at a sleepover. But, in this fun, twisted picture book, it’s finicky mom and dad—not the child—who eat only pizza with pepperoni (delivered), burgers from a bag, or noodles from a box. Eager to experience new flavors, Matilda secretly sets out to learn how to cook, satisfy her hunger for something more . . . and expand her parents’ palates, too.
May Your Life Be Deliciosa
Published: September 14, 2021
“What is the recipe?” I ask. Abuela laughs. “It is in my heart, Rosie. I use mis ojos, my eyes, to measure. Mis manos, my hands, to feel. Mi boca, my mouth, to taste. My abuela gave it to me, and I am giving it to you.” Each year on Christmas Eve, Rosie’s abuela, mamá, tía, sister, and cousins all gather together in Abuela’s kitchen to make tamales—cleaning corn husks, chopping onions and garlic, roasting chilis, kneading cornmeal dough, seasoning the filling, and folding it all—and tell stories. Rosie learns from her abuela not only how to make a delicious tamale, but how to make a delicious life, one filled with love, plenty of spice, and family.
A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale
Published: September 5, 2017
In the magical land of fairy tales, William doesn’t quite fit in. He’d rather poach pears than pursue princesses, and he values gnocchi over knighthood. . . .
When he stumbles on a delivery of food destined for Fairy-Tale Headquarters (a pumpkin, apples, and a few measly beans), he decides to spice things up and whips the paltry ingredients into delectable dishes. But as you might have guessed, Snow White’s wicked stepmother doesn’t exactly want her magic apple baked and drizzled with caramel.
Published: September 28, 2010
On a cold, snowy day, a young girl and her mother shop to buy ingredients for vegetable soup. At home, they work together―step by step―to prepare the meal. While the soup is cooking, they spend the time playing games and reading. Before long, Daddy’s home and the family sits down to enjoy a home made dinner.
Cora Cooks Pancit
Published: May 31, 2014
Cora loves being in the kitchen, but she always gets stuck doing the kid jobs like licking the spoon. One day, however, when her older sisters and brother head out, Cora finally gets the chance to be Mama’s assistant chef. And of all the delicious Filipino dishes that dance through Cora’s head, she and Mama decide to make pancit, her favorite noodle dish. With Mama’s help, Cora does the grown-up jobs like shredding the chicken and soaking the noodles (perhaps Mama won’t notice if she takes a nibble of chicken or sloshes a little water on the floor). Cora even gets to stir the noodles in the pot carefully– while Mama supervises. When dinner is finally served, her siblings find out that Cora did all their grown-up tasks, and Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking.
Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Published: October 1, 2019
Meet the funny, fierce, and fearless Amy Wu, who is determined to make a perfect bao bun today. Can she rise to the occasion?
Amy loves to make bao with her family. But it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keep coming out all wrong.
Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance…Will Amy ever make the perfect bao?
Published: March 5, 2019
Every day, Momofuku Ando would retire to his lab–a little shed in his backyard. For years, he’d dreamed about making a new kind of ramen noodle soup that was quick, convenient, and tasty for the hungry people he’d seen in line for a bowl on the black market following World War II. Peace follows from a full stomach, he believed.
Day after day, Ando experimented. Night after night, he failed. But Ando kept experimenting.
With persistence, creativity, and a little inspiration, Ando succeeded. This is the true story behind one of the world’s most popular foods.
No Kimchi for Me!
Published: September 5, 2017
Yoomi hates stinky, spicy kimchi―the pickled cabbage condiment served at Korean meals. So her brothers call her a baby and refuse to play with her.
Yoomi is determined to eat kimchi. She tries to disguise it by eating it on a cookie, on pizza, and in ice cream. But that doesn’t work. Then Grandma shows Yoomi how to make kimchi pancakes. This story about family, food, and a six-year-old “coming of age” has universal themes, and at the same time celebrates Korean culture. A kimchi pancake recipe and other back matter are included.
Every Night Is Pizza Night
Published: September 1, 2020
Pipo thinks that pizza is the best. No, Pipo knows that pizza is the best. It is scientific fact. But when she sets out on a neighborhood-spanning quest to prove it, she discovers that “best” might not mean what she thought it meant.
Join Pipo as she cooks new foods with her friends Eugene, Farah, Dakota, and Ronnie and Donnie. Each eating experiment delights and stuns her taste buds. Is a family recipe for bibimbap better than pizza? What about a Moroccan tagine that reminds you of home? Or is the best food in the world the kind of food you share with the people you love?
Every Color Soup
Published: January 23, 2018
All you need is a pot, a spoon, an adult helper, and vegetables of many colors to make a very special soup—Every Color Soup! Learn colors and vegetable names in this bright and colorful picture book with minimal text perfect for the beginning reader. Jorey Hurley’s bright, graphic art and simple text make this vibrant book a perfect read-aloud for budding cooks and their families. This lively picture book also comes with a recipe!
Published: July 29, 2014
Julia and Simca are two young friends who agree that you can never use too much butter — and that it is best to be a child forever. Sharing a love of cooking and having no wish to turn into big, busy people who worry too much and dawdle too little, they decide to create a feast for growing and staying young. A playful, scrumptious celebration of the joy of eating, the importance of never completely growing up and mastering the art of having a good time, Julia, Child is a fictional tale loosely inspired by the life and spirit of the very real Julia Child — a story that should be taken with a grain of salt and a generous pat of butter.
Thank You, Omu!
Published: October 2, 2018
Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu’s delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?
A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins
Published: January 27, 2015
In 1710, a girl and her mother in Lyme, England, prepare a blackberry fool, picking wild blackberries and beating cream from their cow with a bundle of twigs. The same dessert is prepared by an enslaved girl and her mother in 1810 in Charleston, South Carolina; by a mother and daughter in 1910 in Boston; and finally by a boy and his father in present-day San Diego.
Salma the Syrian Chef
Published: March 10, 2020
Newcomer Salma and friends cook up a heartwarming dish to cheer up Mama.
All Salma wants is to make her mama smile again. Between English classes, job interviews, and missing Papa back in Syria, Mama always seems busy or sad. A homemade Syrian meal might cheer her up, but Salma doesn’t know the recipe, or what to call the vegetables in English, or where to find the right spices! Luckily, the staff and other newcomers in her Welcome Home are happy to lend a hand—and a sprinkle of sumac.
Because of Thursday
Published: October 18, 2016
Thursdays have always been lucky for Annie Fetlock. She was born on a Thursday. She won her first cooking contest at the age of eight on a Thursday. She met the love of her life, Mario, on a Thursday. They were married on a bright Thursday afternoon and their two children were both born on a Thursday. Annie is known far and wide for her Poke Pasta Salad and has the most popular restaurant for miles around.
When Mario suddenly passes away, Annie’s joy and love of cooking disappears. Before too long, a little kitty appears and Annie takes the kitty in, and, of course, calls it Thursday. Annie is back making Poke Salad in no time. Thursday the cat is known for amazing twirls and tricks and one day his twirls land him in Annie’s draining rigatoni, causing the pot of hot oil, garlic, and peppers to spill into the pasta! Then the entire container of Parmesan cheese overturned into the mix. The customers were horrified until they noticed that what looked like a big mess had the most amazing aroma and turned out to be the most delicious pasta dish ever created! Ugly Pasta—the dish that would make Annie famous for miles around—was born. And of course it was a Thursday!
Published: September 12, 2005
In bouncy rhyming text, an excited and hungry child tells about helping her mother make bee-bim bop: shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and finally sitting down with her family to enjoy a favorite meal.
The energy and enthusiasm of the young narrator are conveyed in the whimsical illustrations, which bring details from the artist’s childhood in Korea to his depiction of a modern Korean American family.
Chicks and Salsa
Published: October 7, 2005
What happens at Nuthatcher Farm when the chickens get tired of the same old chicken feed? The rooster hatches a plan! With a pinch of genius, a dash of resourcefulness, and a little pilfering from the farmer’s garden, the chickens whip up a scrumptious snack of chips and salsa. When the rest of the barnyard gets a whiff of the spicy smells and want to join in, it can mean only one thing . . . FIESTA! But when the big day arrives, all their spicy southwestern supplies are gone! Could Mr. and Mrs. Nuthatcher have caught on to the flavor craze?
What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street?
Published: September 24, 2019
Something delicious is cooking in the old apartment building on Garden Street! Pilar is mixing gazpacho, Monsieur Ping is stir-frying broccoli, Señora Flores is preparing a pot of beans, and Josef and Rafik are rolling meatballs. Other neighbors are making mini-quiches, baba ganoush, dhal, and peanut butter cookies. When they’re all finished cooking everyone gathers in the garden to enjoy a delicious meal and each other’s company. Each inviting spread in this storybook offers a recipe from a different culinary tradition. Dishes that kids love, like guacamole, spaghetti, and banana bread are interspersed with others that include less familiar ingredients, such as mirin, tahini, and turmeric. The recipes explain how each dish is made and come with fun and detailed illustrations. Combining simple, fresh flavors with recipes from around the world, this book will nourish and inspire budding cooks while whetting the appetites of their more experienced helpers.
Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Masala
Published: March 26, 2019
Priya lives in the United States and her family is from India. She feels the magic of the place her family comes from through her Babi Ba’s colorful descriptions of India–from the warm smell of spices to the swish-swish sound of a rustling sari. Together, Priya and Babi Ba make their heritage live on through the traditions that they infuse into their everyday lives.
Dim Sum for Everyone!
Published: March 26, 2014
In English, dim sum means “little hearts,” or “touches the heart,” but to this young girl, dim sum means delicious. On a visit to a bustling dim sum restaurant, a family picks their favorite little dishes from the steaming trolleys filled with dumplings, cakes, buns, and tarts. And as is traditional and fun, they share their food with each other so that everyone gets a bite of everything.
Just right for young children, Dim Sum for Everyone! celebrates a cultural custom and a universal favorite activity–eating!
The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
Published: February 1, 2011
This is the story of how the farm maiden and all the farm animals worked together to make the rice pudding that they serve at the fiesta. With the familiarity of “The House That Jack Built,” this story bubbles and builds just like the ingredients of the arroz con leche that everyone enjoys. Cleverly incorporating Spanish words, adding a new one in place of the English word from the previous page, this book makes learning the language easy and fun.
Rafael Lopez covers each page with vibrant, exuberant color, celebrating tradition and community.
Back matter includes a glossary of Spanish words and a recipe for arroz con leche—perfect for everyone to make together and enjoy at story time.
Hot. Hot Roti for Dada-ji
Published: May 1, 2011
Aneel’s grandparents have come to stay, all the way from India. Aneel loves the sweet smell of his grandmother s incense, and his grandfather, Dada-ji, tells the world s best stories. When he was a boy, adventurous, energetic Dada-ji had the power of a tiger. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir! He could shake mangoes off trees and wrangle wild cobras. And what gave him his power? Fluffy-puffy hot, hot roti, with a bit of tongue-burning mango pickle. Does Dada-ji still have the power? Aneel wants to find out but first he has to figure out how to whip up a batch of hot, hot roti Overflowing with family, food, and a tall stack of fun, Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji is sure to warm the heart and tickle the tummy. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir!
Gazpacho for Nacho
Published: January 14, 2014
Nacho likes to eat only one thing―gazpacho! Gazpacho for breakfast, gazpacho for lunch, gazpacho for dinner, for snacks, and for brunch. Nacho won’t even try other dishes―until he discovers miles and piles of mouthwatering vegetables at the market. This lively rhyming story, sprinkled with Spanish, will delight little chefs. A recipe for Gazpacho and a Spanish glossary are included.
Published: June 1, 2006
Today is Grandma’s birthday,
and Granddad has an ichin’,
to bake a WHOPPER
and traumatize the kitchen!
Join the madcap frenzy of making the biggest cake in the world! And the biggest…mess!
Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie
Published: July 27, 2010
Amelia Bedelia is sure she will love everything about autumn.
The colorful trees
Jumping in the leaves
Apples, apples, apples
Warm apple pie
Fun family projects
Amelia Bedelia can’t wait. What could be better? Autumn! Hooray for apples and fall!
There they are: 30+ great picture books about cooking! Which ones have you read? What did I miss?