Cooking Classes for Kids in Des Moines

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Cooking Classes for Kids in Des Moines

My young children love helping me in the kitchen whether it’s stirring, chopping (with their kid knife), adding ingredients, or using the mixer. My 5-year-old is even a master tortilla flipper. Kids love learning to make different dishes along the way. Kids cooking classes help them learn new skills including teamwork, math skills, and fine motor (hand) skills, helps them try new foods, and provide a sense of accomplishment. Best of all it can help create healthy eating habits. There are many local businesses in the Des Moines area that offer cooking classes and hands-on experience. 

For the budding young chefs in your life, here is a list of fun cooking classes for kids in Des Moines. 

Best for toddlers to preschool age:

Blank Park Zoo: Zoo Tots Cooking and Zoo Chefs

Address: 7401 SW 9th Street, Des Moines

Blank Park Zoo provides two cooking classes for kids and their caregivers including Zoo Tots Cooking for ages 2-4 and Zoo Chefs for ages 5-6. These classes are a great way to introduce cooking to the littlest future chefs. During both classes, participants make a tasty treat, listen to stories, make crafts, and get a special visit from zoo animals which is a fun way to learn! Learn more about their monthly classes here. Bonus! If you have a zoo membership you receive a discount on classes.

Best for elementary school age and up:

Happiness in the Kitchen with Holly

Contact her through her Facebook Page for additional information. 

Happiness in the Kitchen with Holly specializes in teaching adults and kids how to cook healthy foods and she’s able to accommodate those with a variety of food allergies.

Holly teaches 4-day summer cooking camps at Des Moines Christian School. Cooking I is for children starting in third grade who can read and follow directions. Cooking II is geared toward upper elementary and early middle school and Cooking III is for junior high and high school kids. She is already booked for June 2023. Classes will be posted a few weeks prior for July and August 2023 for ages 5-18. 

She also offers cooking classes by request for ages 5 and up for small groups as well as birthday parties for kids and private classes for events like girls’ night out or a bridal shower.

Kids in the Kitchen

West Des Moines Parks and Recreation

Check the West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department each registration period under their “Specialty” tab for Youth Programs to determine when their Kids in the Kitchen class is offered. Previously they had classes for ages 5-6 and ages 7-8 with the goal of teaching kids cooking techniques, kitchen safety, and how to make fun snacks.

Real Food 4 Kids

Contact at the following email address: sue@realfood4kids

Sue Honkamp started Real Food 4 Kids after working as a brand manager for Oscar Meyer. She realized she wasn’t comfortable marketing processed foods and wanted to teach kids about where their food comes from, and how it’s made and teach them to be involved in the process.

Real Food 4 Kids offers a variety of programs including a virtual cooking club for ages 5 and up, adult and child cooking classes for ages 5 and up, hands-on cooking classes that teach how to make cuisines around the world for ages 8 and up, and summer camps starting at age 6.

Cooking clubs are also offered at a variety of schools. Currently, these include Holy Trinity, Sacred Heart, St. Luke, and St. Augustin. In addition, you can find some of her cooking workshops at Rose Farm creating fun dishes using seasonal ingredients. 

Cooking clubs are also offered through different parks and recreation departments including Ankeny, Bondurant, Urbandale, and Waukee. 

Real Food 4 Kids also provides private hands-on cooking classes as well as Zoom online classes per request perfect for events like birthday parties, book clubs, family events, or other celebrations. Classes are also available for scouting workshops and badge classes. Food education classes are available for schools, community centers, and other organizations.

Best for older kids through adults:

Cooking with Alessandra

Address: 333 E. Grand Avenue, Loft 103, Des Moines

Phone: (515) 508-9474

Chef Alessandra, of Cooking with Alessandra, was born in Italy, has traveled the world, and brings her experience to others through private and public cooking classes. Book early as her classes tend to sell out fast and include mouthwatering recipes like authentic meatballs, cavatelli with meat sauce, and homemade fettuccine. She also features classes with Chef Cass to learn how to cook foods like sushi and dumplings. Looking for a fun night? Her classes are a fabulous date night idea in central Iowa

Kitchen Collage

Address: 430 E. Locust St., Des Moines

Phone: (515) 270-8202

This local shop, located in East Village, hopes to inspire beginning to seasoned chefs with kitchenware and unique pieces for entertaining. They also offer special events and cooking classes throughout the year with a variety of cuisines as well as baking classes. Classes are recommended for ages 13 and up. They offer seasonal cookie decorating classes that are suitable for younger children. Discover their events and class times here.

Wallace Centers of Iowa

Address: 756 16th Street, Des Moines

Phone: (515) 243-7063

Wallace Centers of Iowa was inspired by the Wallace family, who were leaders in American agriculture. They offer a variety of programs and services including dining services for Farm to Table Thursdays, they provide fruits and vegetables grown from their acreage to wholesale markets and food insecure Iowans, and teaching cooking classes. 

One cooking class is offered per month and while they are geared toward adults, older children (teenagers) could attend with a parent. They are held by Chef Katie Porter who was named one of the Iowa Restaurant Association’s “40 Women to Watch” in 2022. 

The Wallace Centers of Iowa is also known for Pizza on the Prairie which features brick oven pizza and live music in the summer.

Best for kids and adults with intellectual disabilities:

Look Cook and Eat

Address: 2717 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines

Digital annual membership

Look Cook and Eat was developed by Sue Hoss, former food magazine editor in Des Moines and one of the founders of Plymouth Grounds, the coffee shop inside of Plymouth Church, run by students with intellectual disabilities. She started Look Cook and Eat to help those with intellectual disabilities learn to cook through online video modeling and pictures demonstrating the step-by-step process of making simple recipes and showing the tools and ingredients needed. 

This method helps improve people’s success and independence with cooking to help them lead more independent lives. Utilize the free trial and subscribe for $30 per year. Teachers, agencies, and organizations can subscribe for those they serve for $49.95 per year. Special diets such as gluten-free and vegetarian are also included.

Best virtual classes:


KidsFit in the Kitchen Virtual Classes are led by Hy-vee registered dieticians and teach basic cooking skills with simple recipes. Classes include Little Chefs for ages pre-k to 2nd grade and Junior Chefs for kids ages 8 and up. Register here for virtual classes.

Wooden Spoons Workshops


Wooden Spoons Workshops offers several services including being a personal chef, baking award-winning pies, and online workshops. Visit her website to take a look at the current cooking lessons she has to offer. 

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L is an occupational therapist turned (mostly) stay-at-home mom. She has worked with adults to young toddlers and has a special interest in early childhood development targeting fine motor skills, feeding, sensory processing, and coordination. She loves incorporating this knowledge with her own two little boys through play. When she’s not running after her little ones she enjoys traveling, cooking new recipes and eating chocolate from her secret stash.

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