Cooking with kids: Homemade pop tarts

Photos by Allie Whalen
Photos by Allie Whalen

Cooking with kids: Homemade pop tarts

by Allie Whalen
Stripes Okinawa

I have learned through the past six years of homeschooling my kids that my favorite way to teach math is by cooking together. Kids get to master the basics like addition and subtraction and they also get to practice new concepts like geometry and fractions. Cooking and baking with kids also gives them life-long skills that will help them learn to take care of themselves. One of my most important tasks as a mom is to make sure that my kids know their way around a kitchen and can make healthy choices as adults.

Now for the fun part that you probably came here for - homemade pop tarts! We adapted this recipe from the “Baking Class” cookbook by Deanna F. Cook. This is my kids’ favorite cookbook when they feel like cooking something but they aren’t quite sure what to make. It has everything from sweet to savory and has the best step by step guide. “Baking Class” makes it easy for young bakers to help and it also makes it possible for older bakers to complete a project on their own!

The original recipe calls for homemade pie crust but we decided to use store-bought. You can use whichever crust you prefer, or whatever level of mess you want to clean up in the kitchen when you’re done!

Here’s what we used for the adapted recipe:

  • 2 Pillsbury pie crusts
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup natural raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup Okinawa powdered brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • Rainbow sprinkles

1. First, roll out the pie crust and cut the circle into 3 even-ish sections with a pizza cutter. Don’t worry too much about getting the shapes perfect. Sometimes it’s better to let your kids just have fun with it and let their creativity shine. As long as the pieces mainly fit together it’ll work out just fine!

2. Next, spread the raspberry jam onto half of the squares and triangles. If you use a circle pie crust you will have an uneven number of cut crust, but it’ll work out perfect when you cut the second pie crust.

3. After cutting out the pieces and spreading the raspberry jam on half, match up the halves with the closest-shaped piece of pie crust. Then crimp around the edges of the pop tarts to seal them. If you want, use a pizza wheel and trim the super thin pieces of pie crust so it won’t burn in the oven.

4. When all of the beautiful and imperfect pop tarts are crimped, put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake them at 425 F for 10-12 minutes.

5. Bake until the pop tarts are golden brown. We also used the leftover pie crust and cut out little sakura blooms to decorate the pop tarts.

6. Spread a thin layer of icing over the top of the cooled pop tarts. We used local Okinawan brown sugar but if you use standard powdered sugar the icing will be white. The Okinawan brown sugar really took the flavor of these pop tarts to another level! It had more of a molasses taste after using the powdered Okinawan sugar.

7. About half way through we learned that the icing dries quickly! So if you want to decorate with sprinkles, make sure you do it before the icing hardens.

These homemade pop tarts were a fun project to do together on the weekend. It wasn’t very involved and didn’t take much longer than an hour. If you really want to let the kids go crazy with decorating the pop tarts, give them free reign and let them get fancy!

Whether you have kids or not, pop tarts are a blast to make! Scroll down just a little further to find the links to my favorite ingredients and baking tools that we used for this fun project.


Allie Whalen is a culinary artist and amateur photographer with a love for the outdoors. She has recently begun sharing her experiences online where she talks about natural and healthy ways to take care of your body and the world around you. She is a military spouse based in Okinawa near Camp Hansen. Allie and her family are excited make beautiful Okinawa their best move yet. There they enjoy the rugged, tranquil life on the northern parts of the island. You can find Allie’s blog at, where she details her travels, basic conservation techniques, home education, and leading a healthy lifestyle.

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