Picture books about food (books about food in general) are some of my favorites — and this lineup is no different! Whether you’re a tea and toast person or someone who lives for pasta, dumplings, and soups, there’s a warm, hearty, delicious pick for you on this list. There are also a couple of books that encourage picky eaters to try new foods. Seriously, this is one of the most fun lists we’ve made.
Best Picture Books About Food, Cooking, and Baking
Here are some of the best children’s books about food, cooking, baking, and eating:
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?
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!
Published: September 12, 2005
Bee-bim bop (the name translates as “mix-mix rice”) is a traditional Korean dish of rice topped, and then mixed, with meat and vegetables. In bouncy rhyming text, a 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. Even young readers who aren’t familiar with the dish will recognize the pride that comes from helping Mama, the fun of mixing ingredients together in a bowl, and the pleasure of sharing delicious food. Includes author’s own recipe.
Cora Cooks Pancit
Published: April 1, 2009
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. Dorina Lazo Gilmore’s text delightfully captures the warmth between mother and daughter as they share a piece of their Filipino heritage. With bright and charming illustrations by Kristi Valiant, Cora’s family comes alive as Cora herself becomes the family’s newest little chef.
Dozens of Doughnuts
Published: July 21, 2020
A generous but increasingly put-upon bear makes batch after batch of doughnuts for her woodland friends without saving any for herself in this delightful debut picture book about counting, sharing, and being a good friend.
LouAnn (a bear) is making a doughnut feast in preparation for her long winter’s nap. But just before she takes the first bite, DING DONG! Her friend Woodrow (a woodchuck) drops by. LouAnn is happy to share her doughnuts, but as soon as she and Woodrow sit down to eat, DING DING! Clyde (a raccoon) is at the door. One by one, LouAnn’s friends come over–Topsy (an opossum) and then Moufette (a skunk) and then Chip and Chomp (chipmunks)–until it’s one big party. Louann welcomes her surprise guests and makes batch after batch of doughnuts, always dividing them equally among her friends. But she makes one BIG miscalculation. Soon LouAnn’s kitchen is bare, winter is near, and she’s had nothing to eat at all!
Published: April 11, 2017
Bonjour! Escargot is a beautiful French snail who wants only two things:
1. To be your favorite animal.
2. To get to the delicious salad at the end of the book.
But when he gets to the salad, he discovers that there’s a carrot in it. And Escargot hates carrots. But when he finally tries one―with a little help from you!―he discovers that it’s not so bad after all
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.
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. . . .
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.
Rah, Rah, Radishes!: A Vegetable Chant
Published: June 14, 2011
Rah, rah, radishes, red and white!
Carrots are calling. Take a bite!
Oh boy, bok choy, Brussels sprout.
Broccoli! Cauliflower! Shout it out!
Know any kids who don’t like veggies? Here is a book that’s sure to change their hungry minds! With a raucous rhyming text, Rah, Rah Radishes celebrates fresh vegetables, nature’s bright colors, and the joy of healthy eating. The book’s interactive spirit encourages kids to join in on the read-aloud fun, and little ones won’t be able to resist the book’s vibrant photographs–they’re a feast for the eyes!
Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast
Published: September 1, 2015
The race is ON! Who will win the tastiest food fight ever?
A thoroughly delicious picture book about the funniest “food fight” ever! Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast have a beautiful friendship—until they discover that there’s ONLY ONE DROP of maple syrup left. Off they go, racing past the Orange Juice Fountain, skiing through Sauerkraut Peak, and reeling down the linguini. But who will enjoy the sweet taste of victory? And could working together be better than tearing each other apart? The action-packed rhyme makes for an adrenaline-filled breakfast . . . even without a drop of coffee!
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.
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!
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.
Bilal Cooks Daal
Published: June 4, 2019
Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish—daal!—in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing.
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?
A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat
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.
Kids and parents alike will delight in discovering the differences in daily life over the course of four centuries.
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.
Dragons Love Tacos
Published: June 14, 2012
Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.
Everyone Loves Bacon
Published: September 1, 2015
Egg loves Bacon.
Lettuce loves Bacon.
Waffle loves Bacon.
Bacon is sizzling with popularity.
And pretty much everyone thinks he is the best.
That is-until Bacon’s fame goes to his head. He’s so busy soaking up the attention, that he soon forgets the important things in life, like friendship and family. How will it all pan out for our dashing, delicious hero?
Published: November 15, 2011
Spaghetti is yummy, but worms – and blue crayons, and sand, and other things too gross to mention – are definitely yucky when tasted. Amiably illustrated in a bright, graphic style, Leslie Patricelli’s spirited book, Yummy Yucky stars an obliging, bald, and very expressive toddler who acts out each pair of opposites with comically dramatic effect.
Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party
Published: September 3, 2019
It’s a party, a party, a perfect pizza party!
That’s what Pete thinks as he piles the pie high with his favorite topping—pepperoni. But then his friends come over and add their own toppings to the pizza. Will Pete’s perfect pizza be ruined? There’s only one way to find out!
In this hardcover picture book full of fun alliteration and tasty foods by the New York Times bestselling team of Kimberly and James Dean, Pete and the gang learn that the best kind of pizza is one you share with your friends.
The Cow Loves Cookies
Published: July 6, 2010
With an original twist on the ordinary barnyard picture book, this read-aloud from bestselling author Karma Wilson is a clever exploration of a curious incident on the farm. As the farmer makes his rounds each day, most of the animals chew on the foods a young reader would expect. But when it’s time to feed the cow, she feasts on a special treat! Wilson’s signature style and Marcellus Hall’s spirited watercolors will delight children on and off the farm—because when it comes down to it, who doesn’t love milk and cookies?
Tales of Very Picky Eaters
Published: May 2, 2011
James is a very picky eater. His dad has to get creative—very creative—in order to get James to eat foods he thinks he doesn’t like. He presents James with a series of outlandish scenarios packed with fanciful and gross kid-friendly details—like pre-chewed gum as an alternative to broccoli and lumpy oatmeal that grows so big it eats the dog—in an effort to get James to eat. But it is eventually James himself who discovers that some foods are not so bad, after all, if you’re willing to give them a try.This irreverently hilarious early reader, illustrated in full color, explores a universal point of contention between parent and child in a playful, satisfying way.
I Will Never Not Eat a Tomato
Published: August 28, 2000
Lola is a fussy eater. A very fussy eater. She won’t eat her carrots (until big brother Charlie reveals that they are really orange twiglets from Jupiter). She won’t eat her mashed potatoes (until Charlie explains they are cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji). There are many, many things Lola absolutely will not eat, including — and especially — tomatoes. Or will she?
The Watermelon Seed
Published: May 14, 2013
With perfect comic pacing, Greg Pizzoli introduces us to one funny crocodile who has one big fear: swallowing a watermelon seed. What will he do when his greatest fear is realized? Will vines sprout out his ears? Will his skin turn pink? This crocodile has a wild imagination that kids will love.
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.
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.
Everybody Cooks Rice
Published: February 1, 1991
A child is sent to find a younger brother at dinnertime and is introduced to a variety of cultures through encountering the many different ways rice is prepared at the different households visited.
Nacho’s Nachos: The Story Behind the World’s Favourite Snack
Published: August 11, 2020
Celebrating 80 Years of Nachos with NACHO’S NACHOS! In Nacho’s Nachos, Sandra Nickel and Oliver Dominguez introduce young readers to Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya and tell the true story of how he invented the world’s most beloved snack in a moment of culinary inspiration.
Salma the Syrian Chef
Published: March 10, 2020
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.
With creativity, determination, and charm, Salma brings her new friends together to show Mama that even though things aren’t perfect, there is cause for hope and celebration. Syrian culture is beautifully represented through the meal Salma prepares and Anna Bron’s vibrant illustrations, while the diverse cast of characters speaks to the power of cultivating community in challenging circumstances.
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!
The Apple Pie that Papa Baked
Published: July 24, 2007
These are the apples, juicy and red,
that went in the pie,
warm and sweet,
that Papa baked…
for guess who!
Splat the Cat: I Scream for Ice Cream
Published: April 21, 2015
Splat can barely sit still during the bus ride. He’s imagining the mountain of ice cream he thinks he’ll get to eat! But when Splat gets there, that mountain becomes more of an avalanche. It’s up to Splat and his classmates to save the day!
Beginning readers will practice the –eam sound in this easy-to-read addition to the Splat series.
Published: June 1, 2006
Today is Grandma’s birthday,
and Granddad has an ichin’,
to bake a WHOPPER
and traumatize the kitchen!
Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake
Published: May 5, 2011
Betty Bunny is the youngest in her family of rabbits and she’s just discovering the important things in life, like chocolate cake. She declares, “I am going to marry chocolate cake” and takes a piece to school with her in her pocket. Mom values healthy eating and tells Betty Bunny she needs patience when it comes to dessert. But Betty Bunny doesn’t want patience, she wants chocolate cake! In this funny tribute to chocolate lovers (and picky eaters), Betty Bunny’s charming perspective on patience will be recognizable to anyone with a preschooler in their life.
Peanut Butter & Cupcake
Published: July 29, 2014
What’s a little piece of bread to do when he’s feeling lonely? Find a friend, of course!
And that’s exactly what Peanut Butter tries to do. But sometimes friends are hard to come by, especially when Hamburger has to walk his (hot) dogs, Cupcake is too busy building castles in her sprinkle box, and Egg laughs so hard he starts to crack up! Does Peanut Butter have a soulmate? Young readers will know the answer long before Peanut Butter does and laugh along with each mismatched pairing.
In a story that pairs silliness with poignancy, and friendship with anthropomorphic food, Terry Border, the photography mastermind behind the Bent Objects project, makes a triumphant entrance into the children’s book world. Complete with a rhyming refrain, this is sure to be a favorite family read-aloud–and laugh-aloud.
Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child
Published: May 22, 2012
Follow Julia Child—chef, author, and television personality—from her childhood in Pasadena, California, to her life as a spy in WWII, to the cooking classes she took in Paris, to the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, to the funny moments of being a chef on TV. This is a comprehensive and enchanting picture book biography, told in many panels and jam-packed with lively, humorous, and child-friendly details. Young chefs and Julia Child fans will exclaim, “ooooh la la,” about this book, which is as energetic and eccentric as the chef herself.
Published: February 17, 2005
A sweet and amusing story to which little picky eaters can relate: If Little Pea doesn’t eat all of his sweets, there will be no vegetables for dessert! What’s a young pea to do? A delightful twist on a classic parent predicament, children will enjoy the unique tale and find themselves relating with Little Peamore than expected.
• An entertaining story about meal times with charming text that families can enjoy together
• Features simple, yet impactful illustrations that are engaging and help readers connect to the story
• Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a Chicago-based writer and Mama Pea. She is the author of Encyclopedia of Our Ordinary Life. This is her first children’s book
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake
Published: September 30, 2008
The If You Give… series is a perennial favorite among children. With its spare, rhythmic text and circular tale, these books are perfect for beginning readers and story time. Sure to inspire giggles and requests to “read it again!”
Other favorites in Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond’s bestselling series include:
If You Give a Dog a Donut
If You Give a Moose a Muffin
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If You Give a Pig a Pancake
If You Give a Pig a Party
How to Feed Your Parents
Published: August 7, 2018
Who’s the picky eater? Not Matilda! A little girl with adventurous tastes turns the tables on her food-fussy parents and teaches them that dinner can be more than chicken nuggets.
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. There’s also a Macaroni family recipe for quiche that young cooks can try!
There they are: 41 of the best picture books about food! Which of these children’s books have you read and loved? Which ones did I miss?