Cooking in the Classroom

Cooking with Students

NOTE: With COVID-19-

  • Follow recommendations from San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • Choose recipes that can be cooked with each student having their own ingredients
  • Try simple recipes or tasting activities in remote learning

Before Cooking with Students

Before cooking with students:

  • Check for allergies [check with parents/caregivers, check Allergy Emergency Care Plans, ask School District Nurse]
  • Teach a lesson on handwashing and universal precautions. 

Hand washing poster: English/Spanish/Chinese (pdf) 

Demonstrate proper knife use, even if students are using plastic cutlery.

Choose a Recipe

Choose a recipe:

Match the recipe to your students’ developmental level. See Kitchen Skills at Every Age

Think of cooking as a nutrition education/health lesson and choose nourishing recipes: is an excellent resource:

  • Recipes available in English, Spanish, Chinese
  • Search feature by culture, ingredient, “kid-friendly”, limited cooking equipment
  • For young students, do not make a community dish; each student should make their own recipe--especially with cold, uncooked dishes

Choose recipes that represent the communities of the students in your class or have students bring in family recipes.

Cooking Equipment

All Kitchens​​​

  • Cleaning equipment: Kitchen towels or paper towels, dishwashing liquid, sponges, disinfecting spray
  • First Aid Kit
  • Access to handwashing, hand sanitizer
  • Consider keeping your equipment in a large plastic bin with a lid. This makes storing easy and convenient.

Level 1

  1. Skills: washing, measuring and mixing
  2. Recipe Ideas: Yogurt parfaits, trail mix, fruit salad, vegetable salads/dressings
  3. Equipment:
  • Measuring equipment: Dry measuring cups, liquid measuring cups, measuring spoons
  • Glass jars
  • Reusable cups, plates, and cutlery, napkins

Cooking Equipment Level 1


Level 2

  1. Skills: washing, mixing, measuring, cutting, slicing, blending, pouring
  2. Recipes: Veggie roll ups, fruit kabobs, smoothies, fruit/herb infused “spa” water, simple sandwiches, fresh salsas
  3. Equipment:
  • Colander/Strainer 
  • Mixing bowls: (large, medium, small)
  • Knives-See recommendations above
  • Cutting Boards/large plates
  • Water Pitcher
  • Apple slicer
  • Rubber Spatulas
  • Blender
  • Wooden round edged coffee stirrers (Instead of pointed wooden skewers)

Cooking Equipment Level 2


Level 3

  1. Skills: washing, mixing, measuring, cutting, slicing, baking, grating, flipping, spreading
  2. Recipes: English muffin pizzas, Stone Soup, quesadillas, 
  3. Equipment:
  • Ladle
  • Tongs
  • Colander/Strainer
  • Cheese grater
  • Tongs
  • Wooden Spoons, spatula/flipper
  • Can Opener
  • Cutting Boards
  • Knives
  • Bowls (Large, medium, small)
  • Oven mitts
  • Electric fry pan
  • Single burner electric coil
    • Pots, pans, skillet
  • Use of oven or portable convection oven
    • Parchment paper
    • Baking pan
    • Sheet pan

Cooking Equipment Level 3



The following recipes can be modified for all groups.

Strawberry Banana Smoothies

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

One Recipe, Three Grade Levels: Strawberry Banana Smoothies

Serves: 2 full portions; 6 smaller portions


Serves 6 small portions 

  • ½ banana,  peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup berries, frozen
  • ½ cup lowfat milk or unsweetened non dairy milk or silken tofu
  • ½ cup 100% orange juice


  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cup
  • Blender
  • Mixing Spoon
  • Serving cups


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender container . Put lid on tightly .
  2. Blend until smooth . If mixture is too thick, add ½ cup cold water and blend again .
  3. Pour into 2 glasses and serve.


PK - Grade 1

Each student uses a plastic fork and paper plate to mash their own fruit and then scrape into a paper cup. Adults can pour liquid ingredients into the cups, while students “blend” with their forks.

Grade 2 - 5

  • Students work in small groups, create smoothies while learning about nutrients and creating short commercials.
  •  Lesson plan

Middle School & Beyond

  • Research the differences between USDA MyPlate and Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate.
  • Plan a smoothie school fundraiser researching ingredient costs and estimating revenue.

This page was last updated on November 8, 2023