Easy Meals Teens Can Make Themselves

Before your teen heads off for some independence, whether it be flatting, or higher education, or if you simply want them to learn a few new dishes to make at home, ensure they are armed with at least a small repertoire of easy dinners that they can make themselves.

Some of these recipes are a little bit more of a challenge but can also be great for teaching tweens and younger kids with some supervision.

Stir fries

Stir Fry

The great thing about a stir fry is it can not only be tailored to your own personal tastes, but it can also be made with basically whatever is in the fridge! That’s great for budget-conscious shoppers.


Eggs are amazingly versatile and nutritious so jump on the omelette bandwagon for a quick and tasty meal. Serve with a green salad for a healthy dinner.


Tortillas, burritos, fajitas, wraps – whatever you want to call them – are an easy way to use up bits and pieces left over from other meals. Grab a wrap, pop in some capsicum strips, a couple of tomato quarters, a handful of salad leaves, grated cheese and your favourite spicy sauce or salsa and you’re done.


Skip the Maccas and create your own brilliant burger. Serve with some crispy homemade wedges.

Baked potatoes

Baked Potatoes

Simple baked potatoes topped with cheese and beans is a great set and forget dish that’s great as a warming meal in winter.


Speaking of winter warmers, nothing beats a curry. Rice is the perfect accompaniment – whether you cook it from scratch or grab a ready-made bag.

Simple pasta dishes

Actually, you would be hard-pressed to find a difficult pasta dish.

The one recipe you can’t do without

There is one recipe that you can use over and over again, creating a multitude of different dishes – bolognaise. If you can make a bolognaise sauce then you can also:

  • Serve it over a baked potato
  • Add it to cooked pasta, spaghetti or rice
  • Spread it on a pizza base, top with cheese and bake
  • Top it with mashed potato for a cottage pie
  • Wrap it in pastry and bake for a tasty pie
  • Use it in tacos or tortillas
  • Pile it on top of nachos, add sour cream, cheese, and spring onion
  • Stuff capsicums
  • Add some red kidney beans, cayene pepper, and BBQ sauce and serve as chilli
  • Serve it on toast

her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


  1. Alezandra 02/08/2019 at 11:02 pm

    This a a good skill to learn at an early age. I enjoy cooking at home and would love my son to have the same love for it. These recipes are good to try out – the KFC burger has caught my eye. Lol.

  2. SarahBlair 02/08/2019 at 12:29 pm

    I love it when my teens cook dinner, it saves me from having to do it, they usually make something rather simple and often re-do the same few meals. I will show them these recipes so that they can add more variety to their repertoire and learn a few more skills

  3. candyjanenz 01/08/2019 at 3:28 pm

    These are great ideas for when I just want an easy meal to make and a lot of these ideas are ones that I use regularly too. I am a huge fan of stir frys and they are so delicious and easy especially if you buy the stir fry meat. Our boys are young but prefer to help with baking.

  4. MuddledUpMolly 30/07/2019 at 9:43 pm

    There are some very yummy recipes here! Our 9 year old son has been cooking and baking with me for years now to get him prepared for cooking independently and I look forward to the day when he is able to cook the whole family a yummy meal from scratch.

  5. Micht 19/07/2019 at 12:36 pm

    My daughter is 6 but can do toast and 2 minute noodles so id say we are off to a good start…lol… we have a few years yet but definitely a good curry is what she will learn as she comes from an indian family… the other things i would hope she would learn would be the basics of cooking and baking and instilling the love for being in the kitchen early too… love these ideas though…i need to use some myself.

  6. Mands1980 15/07/2019 at 5:21 pm

    I love these ideas to teach teenagers. Our favourite easy meal is probably mince nachos as it’s so easy and quick to prepare when you have had a busy day and get home later. It’s a great idea to start early as well with meal preparation and getting the kids to help out as they get ideas from you. My daughter loves making omelettes at 10 years old I encourage them and they often google a recipe to use.

    • Shorrty4life1 22/07/2019 at 1:04 pm

      My daughters favourite dinner to help with is nachos she absolutely loves helping doing the cheese and tipping chilli beans in with the mince etc. But I don’t let her near a hot stove yet as she’s only 8 so got few more years before she can do that sort of thing. And tyson my son loves Mac and cheese but he don’t like helping lol being a boy of 5years old he just likes eating it and playing with toys while mum makes it lol. I love all the ideas in this article speshly the baked potato. That looks amazing.

  7. Jen_Wiig 12/07/2019 at 2:25 pm

    These are such great, quick, simple meal ideas to teach!! I recently discovered thanks to my bestie that you can do an awesome baked potato in the microwave (think I’ve been living under a rock) and it’s so simple even Mr 10 been doing them after school….recently Me 13 learnt the art of scarmbled eggs on the element but I’m yet to show him the “cheats” way in microwave which I’m sure will be a fav for when he gets older haha. Stacked toasties or paninis are another snackish meal I’ve taught my boys and how to prepare a roast chicken….being able to make simple meals as a teen and young adult such a necessity not only for your health and we’ll being but for the pocket too and having son’s and like I tease them with sometimes too… impressing the girls that you can cook hehehee

  8. Bevik1971 12/07/2019 at 10:37 am

    Love the bolognaise sauce! This is one of our 6 year olds favourite home made dishes! Hubby often gets her to help him with prep as we are wanting her to learn about food, what is good and what isn’t and how to prepare things. We will definitely keep teaching her about food and recipes for her future 🙂

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