New York boasts an abundance of three-starred Michelin restaurants and the best cheap pizza in the world—so it’s no wonder this city is full of tiny gourmands and budding chefs. And whether you want your teen to start pulling his weight when it comes to helping with dinner or you just want to indulge your toddler’s love of dumplings, you’ll find a hands-on workshop that fits the bill. From sweet to savory, read on for ten of the best kids’ cooking classes in New York. (Bonus: The mess gets made in someone else’s kitchen.)
The 10 Best Kids’ Cooking Classes in NYC
1. Cooklyn Kitchen (Cobble Hill)
Claim to fame: This mobile cooking school’s motto is to teach kids to “prepare delicious and healthy meals they’ll want to eat, share and feel good about.” Using local ingredients is paramount, which is why most of the food in the kitchen comes from the Hudson Valley or the East End of Long Island.
Best for ages: 9 and up
Standout class: After-school classes. For teens and tweens, this offers an excellent way to start honing important techniques for the home cook. Some of the most popular themes are Italian and Mediterranean cuisine—and, of course, desserts.
153 Amity St., Brooklyn; cooklyn.kitchen
2. 92Y (Upper East Side)
Claim to fame: While many know this uptown community hub for its coveted preschool, the Y also offers a ton of quality classes for families. In the cooking program, littler kids learn basics such as chopping, grating, kneading and squeezing. Older kids, meanwhile, get a little science thrown in there too, when they learn about texture, heat and volume.
Best for ages: 2 to 4
Standout class: Kids in the Kitchen. Toddlers learn how to make everything from banana bread to zucchini pie, plus there’s story time while they wait for their creations to bake in the oven.
1395 Lexington Ave.; 92y.org
3. Freshmade NYC (Soho)
Claim to fame: At this cheery downtown studio, kids as young as 2 can discover how easy (and fun) it can be to make your own food. At the other end of the spectrum, the teen classes teach kids how to shop for the freshest ingredients or even learn proper plating techniques to make their creations look professional.
Best for ages: 2 to 15
Standout class: Palate-Palette. In this hour-long class, kids ages 2 to 5 cook and craft, using both their palate to taste and their palette to create. (Cute, right?) They leave not only with food but an art project as well.
636 Broadway, Ste. 516; freshmadenyc.com
4. Allergic To Salad (multiple Locations)
Claim to fame: This roving program hosts classes both at restaurants and public spaces like art galleries, museums and community gardens. The idea is to get kids to actually enjoy eating their veggies and get rid of that pesky salad “allergy.” Through its school program, the company also holds classes for more than 10,000 students a year.
Best for ages: 4 and up
Standout class: Master Chef classes. These are hosted in a restaurant, where the chef leads a hands-on demo that teaches kids what running a kitchen is truly like. And FYI: The recipes are always vegetarian and nut-fee.
Locations vary; allergictosalad.com
5. Eataly (Flatiron and Financial District)
Claim to fame: At these twin temples to Italian food, even the littlest pasta fiends can get in on the cooking action. Plus, after class, you can shop the store to stock up on all the ingredients you'll need to re-create the dishes at home.
Best for ages: 6 to 12
Standout class: The Art of the Mini Pizza. In this hour-long class, kids learn the history of one of Italy’s best exports and then try their hand at making their own mini version. While the pies bake, kids are treated to a mozzarella stretching demonstration at the (awesomely named) Mozzarella Lab.
Multiple locations; eataly.com
6. The Dynamite Shop (Park Slope)
Claim to fame: Billing itself as a “culinary social club” for tweens and teens, this Brooklyn spot encompasses a teaching kitchen, a cook’s library, a backyard garden and a café. Aside from teaching kids how to cook, instructors also aim to help their students understand how food fits into the larger cultural landscape.
Best for ages: 8 and up
Standout class: Make & Take. In this after-school program, budding chefs prepare and bring home a full dinner for five people each week. Recipes include everything from lasagna to pot pies, but the emphasis is on teaching kids to be creative in the kitchen.
487 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn; thedynamiteshop.com
7. International Culinary Center (Soho)
Claim to fame: If your teen is serious about pursuing a career as a chef, there is no better place to test the waters than at this downtown culinary school. The instruction here is rigorous, but students emerge with a killer skill set.
Best for ages: 13 to 18
Standout class: Cooking Camp for Teens. This intense five-day program starts with knife safety and covers everything from braising to poaching. Included in the fee are a chef’s uniform and family meals cooked by culinary program students.
462 Broadway; internationalculinarycenter.com
8. Gym Time’s Kitchen Little Cooking School (Upper East Side)
Claim to fame: At this uptown spot, creativity and cooking go hand in hand; the goal here is not perfection but discovery. Kids as young as 2 can take a class with a caregiver, where they work on fine and gross motor skills as they learn to pour, measure and stir. Everyone leaves with recipes that even the adults will love.
Best for ages: 2 to 5
Standout class: Kids in the Kitchen. This class is available for kids as young as 2 but the oldest division (5 and up) is a drop-off class. That means those little chefs are rightfully proud of what they create in this after-school program, which also emphasizes math and science skills.
1520 York Avenue; gymtime.net
9. Milk Bar (Williamsburg)
Claim to fame: Instagram’s favorite cookies and cakes are also a big hit with the little ones. At this beloved bakery’s Brooklyn kitchen, kids as young as 3 can learn how to roll their own cake truffles or decorate cookies with food coloring pens. FYI: Any kid under 10 is allowed to participate in an adult class as long as their grown-up is with them.
Best for ages: 3 to 12
Standout class: Camp Milk Bar: Truffle Making. This hour-long class teaches mini bakers the secrets behind one of Milk Bar’s most addictive items: decadent cake truffles. Students make a dozen B’Day or Chocolate B’Day truffles, and they even get a jug of sprinkles to take home.
55 Hope St., Brooklyn; milkbarstore.com
10. Roni-Sue’s Chocolates (Lower East Side)
Claim to fame: This venerated chocolate shop carries everything from delicate truffles to multiple varieties of its famous buttercrunch. And while it’s a working kitchen and not a school, owner Rhonda Kave does offer classes for even the youngest chocoholics.
Best for ages: 3 and up
Standout class: Private classes. Contact Kave to customize a class perfectly suited to your kids’ ages (i.e., attention span) and chocolate preference. Smaller tots might do more eating than decorating, but classes designed for tweens and teens can highlight the artistry that goes into the bonbons.
148 Forsyth St.; roni-sue.com