Bond With Your Teenager: Get Them in the Kitchen To Cook and Bake

fun Dec 20, 2023
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People love to say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but that applies to teens, too! Cooking and baking with your teenagers (or pre-teens) is a great way to bond with them, create memorable moments, and strengthen relationships. 

No, this activity isn’t something that they can only share with their moms. Cooking or baking with dad is totally a thing, too — and one that comes with plenty of benefits!

Taco ‘Bout It: Perks of Cooking Together

The act of cooking or baking together, from reading recipes to timing the oven, encourages collaboration, teamwork, and communication. After all, how else do you fill in the silence while waiting for your dough to rise than open, comfortable conversation?

Moreover, cooking with teenagers not only offers hours of bonding but also helps them gain vital life skills. Think about it — if your teen wants to be independent, then they need to learn how to cook for themselves!

Cooking is a basic skill necessary for fostering your teens’ independence. Once they’ve got the basics down, it allows them to explore their cooking creativity and master what goes into a nutritious meal. Who knows; your teenager might just discover a new passion!

Sliced Fresh Side Pork Bacon

Tips To Make Cooking and Baking With Dad Fun

Let’s be honest; not every dad is an amazing home chef. The good news is that bonding over food and cooking doesn’t require you to be one! All you really need is enthusiasm, the ability to follow a recipe, and the willingness to learn.

Here are our top three tips to help ease you into the role of kitchen guide for your teen.

Start With Something Simple Like Grilling

If you’re not totally confident with your cooking or baking skills, why not take it outdoors and switch to grilling? It may be a stereotype, but it can work in favor of us dads!

Grilling is a great way to ease teens into cooking. All you need are quality meats and veggies and a keen eye (and nose) to prevent your food from charring.

These Burger Patties 1/3 lb are our favorite when it comes to easy yet delicious grilled-yummy burgers. They taste amazing on their own, and if you put on some grilled onions and melted cheese, you'll be the dad rock star of the night. Another amazing option we love recommending is this Sugar-Free Smoked Pork Bacon Bratwurst. These taste perfectly seasoned, and they’re sugar-free and sustainable, too!

No Shame in Box Mixes or Baking Kits

Even if you might be comfortable with cooking meals, baking is a whole other ball game. Box mixes and baking kits are a great way to simplify the process while still having fun together. Box mixes are perfect for absolute beginners while baking kits are a bit more intermediate. Either way, you can reduce the stress many dads and teens associate with baking since you don’t have to worry too much about the ingredients.

Box cake or brownie mixes are a dime-a-dozen and not too expensive. You and your teen can even make it a mission to try different ones together and find the best one!

For baking kits, we can’t recommend the Ghirardelli Premium All-In-One Baking Kit enough. Even for baking beginners like us, all our baking attempts came out deliciously addicting. It comes with everything you’d need for any chocolatey baked treats.

Try and Try Until You Get It Right

The key is to keep on trying. Don’t let a burnt cookie or not-so-tasty meal put an end to teens cooking with dad. If one recipe didn’t pan out, you can always re-do it or try another one that might be easier.

Start with something simple, work your way up, and keep trying. With the right recipes and the right mindset, we’re sure you and your teen will soon be whipping up amazing meals and baked goods together.

Simple Recipes for Cooking and Conversations With Teens

The internet is a treasure trove for recipes and cooking videos to help make sure you and your teenager succeed in your culinary endeavors. Here’s a short and simple list of some easy yet delicious means you can try together.

Swedish Meatballs With Cream Sauce

This is amazingly simple — at least if you buy pre-made meatballs as we do. Our go-to are these Adobo Beef Meatballs. These traditional meatballs are already perfectly seasoned, rich in flavor, and even pre-cooked. Just heat them up, either on the stove to brown them or just in the microwave, and voilà. As for the Swedish meatball cream sauce, all you need is beef stock, flour, heavy cream, soy sauce, ground pepper, and rosemary!

Adobo Beef Meatballs

Sweet and Spicy Korean Fried Chicken

For something with a little more kick (and ingredients), try making Korean fried chicken with your teen. For the sauce, you’ll need soy sauce, apple cider or rice vinegar, ginger paste, sesame oil, honey and brown sugar (yes, you need both), gochujang (a spicy Korean chili paste), and cornstarch. If you want extra crispy fried chicken, remember to double fry!

Organic Chicken Drumsticks

The best thing about this recipe is that you can adapt its sweetness or spiciness to your palate. Also, you can choose your favorite part of chicken. We love using these organic chicken drumsticks since they’re meaty and easy to hold, but these pasture-raised chicken wings are just as juicy and tender if you don’t mind the smaller bones.

Pasture-raised chicken wings

Chocolate Brownies and Cookies

Brownies are an easy introduction to baking, especially if you use a box mix since you just pour the mixture into a pan. If you’re feeling confident, you can make it from scratch using this Fudgy Chocolate Brownies recipe from Ghirardelli. If you get their baking kit, you should have pretty much everything you need already in your pantry — except perhaps the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, but at least that’s just two things!

For intermediate dad-and-teen baking duos, you can graduate to cookies and try making this fool-proof chocolate chip recipe, also from Ghirardelli. If you love chocolate, you might want to get an extra bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, so you don’t run out if you’re making both brownies and cookies!

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re kneading dough together for a homemade pizza night, figuring out how to roast turkey for Thanksgiving, or carefully following a handed-down recipe from your grandparents, those moments in the kitchen with your teen offer opportunities for genuine connection and deeper relationships. Don’t underestimate the quality time (and meals) you can share with your teens thanks to cooking!

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