Easy Latino Recipes Kids Love to Make

Janeth and Luna arepas

Here are three Latino recipes kids are sure to love making and eating. Because if you’re like most parents we know, right about now you’re wracking your brain for fun ways to keep your kids off screens. Heading into the kitchen together is a time-honored solution. Kids have a great time, learn a new skill, practice their math (how may ounces in a cup?), and the results are delicioso for everyone in the family. Plus, one more abuela-approved benefit: The fun factor multiplies if you try a family-favorite recipe that gives young ones a peek into traditional dishes that are meaningful to their family heritage.

To get things cooking, here are three easy, kid-friendly Latino recipes. We asked Luna Barrera, 7, of Chicago, an aspiring chef and Familia Kitchen junior contributor, to choose three of her favorite family recipes, with a little help from her parents. See how Luna makes her dad’s guacamole and her mom’s arepas con queso (like the ones in her favorite movie ever, Disney’s Encanto) and cheesy-good buñuelos. All three dishes are so fun and simple, says Luna. Your kids will love them as much as she does, she promises.

Latino Recipe for Kids 1: Mexican Guacamole

Watch Luna learn to make this traditional guacamole recipe from her dad, Edwin Barrera, whose family is from Cuernavaca, Mexico. He makes the best guacamole in the world, says Luna. His guac is also exceptional because it lasts longer than others, according to Luna’s mom, Janeth Palacio Barrera, one of our favorite Colombian homecooks. See how Luna and her dad chop and mash the ingredients to make his family-famous recipe, which uses just seven simple ingredients: avocados, onion, tomato, cilantro, serrano chiles, salt and limes. As Luna’s dad says at the end of this video: ”Viva Mexico!”

Watch Luna make her dad’s family recipe for guacamole. It is the best in the whole world, says Luna.

Latino Recipe for Kids 2: Colombian Arepas with Queso

”I like to make arepas because I love cooking,” says Luna. ”I love to eat arepas because they taste so good. I love arepas made with a lot of cheese.” Luna and her mom, Janeth, made a big batch of Colombia’s daily bread together in honor of Luna’s all-time favorite movie, Encanto, about a Colombian family with magical powers. They were so inspired by the Lin-Manuel Miranda-scored movie, they raced into their kitchen in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago and started kneading the masa. Luna added cheese and they cooked them on the stovetop. Luna is using the same recipe and techniques Janeth learned from her mother, Francy, when she was Luna’s age and growing up in Medellín, Colombia. Try their family recipe with your young cook(s) at home. The recipe has just five ingredients: precooked cornmeal, water, salt, butter and cheese—and can be made in about 40 minutes. Let us know how it tastes!

Luna and Janeth arepas
Luna and her mom, Janeth, made arepas con queso, just like the Madrigal family makes in Encanto—and like Janeth made with her mother when she was growing up in Colombia.

Latino Recipe for Kids 3: Buñuelos

Luna loved making her mom’s cheese arepas so much, she asked to make another Colombian dish. What else could they cook to celebrate their Colombian family heritage and the magical world of Encanto, which, like most kids her age, she has seen over and over and over?

Buñuelos, of course!, said Janeth.

In the hit Disney movie, one of the members of the Madrigal family, the mom Julieta, makes these golden, savory-sweet and totalmente addictive queso balls. They can be eaten year-round, but Janeth explains to Luna that this cheesy treat is traditionally served during the Christmas season with a cup of Colombian hot chocolate. Watch Luna and her mom make a batch of buñuelos together, below. They are made with just 7 ingredients—cheese, eggs, milk, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and salt—and come together in about 30 minutes. Luna decides she loves buñuelos as much as arepas—because they both have cheese, she says, and queso is one of her favorite foods. ”I’m going to make these for every dessert we have,” Luna says.

Janeth shows Luna how to make Colombian buñuelos, dessert or snacks that are mixed with queso and delicately fried.

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