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10 Free Culinary Arts Lesson Plans for the Classroom

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​Having a new lesson plan every day for culinary arts can be a challenge, especially when you are preparing ingredients and recipes for food labs. Starting class or at least a unit with a complete lesson plan or activity can help set the stage for culinary arts students and help them to get more out of the cooking lessons. We have free resources that will reduce your stress levels and allow you to grab an activity to introduce topics from knife skills to kitchen safety. Let’s take a look at some lessons that are at no extra cost to you:

Free Downloads for your Culinary Arts Program

Let’s start with room decor. Whether teaching culinary arts, home economics,  or family and consumer science, these free culinary arts classroom decor posters will get you started on content-related bulletin boards and classroom decor! You can even turn this into a cooking vocabulary activity and have students match the term with the definition by using the pictures as clues. The complete set includes a matching activity. 

Free Bell Ringer Journal

free family and consumer science activities

Starting culinary arts class each day with a bell ringer is a great way to establish a routine and order in your classroom. We love bell ringer journals because you can either print them all ahead of time and have them ready for students, or you can assign them in Google Classroom. These work great for both middle school and high school students. And can help you fill a period by allowing time for them to answer the questions and then discuss as a class. They are also an excellent option for giving students a classwork grade. Here is a free sample of our entire semester and year-long family consumer science journals with 10 days of prompts to get you started!

Free Food Allergies Lesson

Teaching food allergies is essential when learning about cooking and food preparation. Students don’t often know much beyond peanut allergies, and this free food allergies lesson for culinary and FCS will help them to see that there are allergens in so many packaged foods on the market and how to identify an allergen. It also allows students to modify recipes according to people’s food special needs and sensitivities, which is especially important if they are considering going into the food industry and food service. It includes a slideshow with basic information about common allergens, an activity for students to complete that has them reading food labels, and a recipe modification activity.

Free Knife Skills Activity

Learning knife skills and knife cuts is one of the life skills that all teens need. How many recipes call for a specific knife cut that many people can not identify? How many adults have no idea how to use a kitchen knife and cut food appropriately? A great place to start with knife skills and knife cuts is a simple salt dough recipe and have them practice cutting with lettuce knives, plastic, or kitchen knives, depending on skill level and age. Have them use this free knife cuts chart to place their cuts on as a fun way to practice!

knife cuts chart for culinary arts and home school co-op

This is perfect for different age groups because grades prek-12 can learn from this and have fun. You can have students work independently on this or give groups of students a ball of dough and the chart to work together to fill the paper. We like inserting the paper into dry-erase pockets or sleeves so we can reuse them. You can also use this as a station activity, so while teaching a small group of students about something else, like more advanced cutting, another group can work with the dough and mat. 

knife skills activities
making this salt dough recipe is a great way to teach knife skills

Free Food Plating Worksheet

free life skills high school lesson plans
Free plating worksheet!

​For the more advanced culinary lesson, this food plating worksheet will help you introduce the hospitality industry’s aesthetic side. Students should learn about the role of a culinary chef in food presentation and the elements of a visually appealing plate. This is part of a more in-depth curriculum and is usually covered in Advanced Culinary or Culinary 2. We have a free worksheet with students analyzing plate presentations and re-drawing them to make them more appealing. It is part of our larger Food Plating Lesson, including a slideshow, guided notes, and questions. Certain videos can also help with the concept of food plating and give students a good visualization of the critical culinary skills in the modern kitchen. 

Free Nutrition Activities

Are you incorporating MyPlate nutrition into your culinary class? We have a free MyPlate Activity WebQuest that can make a great introduction to the topic or a great review! This helps students understand essential nutrition and menu planning for themselves and others. If you are out a day and need an easy sub plan, WebQuests like this also works great, and nutrition can be introduced at any point in a culinary class. These nutrition activities are also great for high school and middle school health classes and home school co-ops because they are not grade specific and can range from 5th-12th grade. 

free nutrition activity

Students love a fun digital escape room, and this Sugar Activity Escape Room helps students understand the effects of sugar on the body and is another excellent addition to your nutrition unit. Students move through a Google form that takes them to clues that help them crack codes with information about sugar and read food labels to identify types of sugars in foods. It is a fun way to engage them and keep them busy learning for about half an hour! You will need to assign this in Google, so if your school does not allow it, you won’t be able to use this activity. 

Free Chicken Fabrication Activity

Teaching poultry and meats is naturally pretty engaging for students, but creating hands-on activities that don’t involve cooking can be challenging. This free culinary arts project has students cutting, pasting, putting a whole chicken together, and writing information about each chicken portion. This is an excellent introduction to a chicken cooking activity like chicken soup or chicken stock. After introducing chicken parts, we have found this to be the best way to help them learn about chicken fabrication without getting their hands dirty and worrying too much about food safety. You will need metal fasteners for this activity, or you can have them glue the parts on, depending on how involved you want to get with the activity. 

free high school culinary arts lesson plans

Free Global Foods Lesson

Do you teach global foods or international foods? We have a line of lessons on different countries’ cuisines, including Italian Foods, Irish Foods, African Foods, Asian Foods, South American Foods, Australian Foods, and more! We have a free lesson on the Foods of Ukraine Global Foods Lesson to get you started. I wanted to make this a free lesson because of what the country has been through recently and to help students better understand the culture through its cuisine and signature foods. You can take a culinary tour through the regions and perhaps make a dish from the country!

Free Culinary Arts Scope and Sequence

culinary arts lesson plans

We have a free culinary arts pacing guide resource if you are planning your course and need inspiration! This helps you plan each cooking unit and includes ideas for fun recipes and a sample lesson plan for each unit. Links are included for each unit that leads to suggested materials. Many of the suggested materials are a part of our growing bundle of culinary materials that will have you planned for a year-long course or a semester course with updates and new materials added frequently. The culinary pacing guide also includes Prostart and National Family Consumer Science standards. I am continuously updating this as we create new resources. 

Free Posters for Culinary Room Decor

Starting the school year with free classroom poster printables is a huge help! We have free FACS posters with culinary vocabulary, kitchen procedures, and more! When your classroom has posters around it, the admin likes to see that; it is a great way to remind students of essential terms and classroom routines. Don’t forget to leave space for student work!

free culinary arts lesson plans

Showcasing student work looks excellent for Open House and shows that you engage your students. It also helps the kids to feel a part of the class and take ownership of their work. Sometimes teens groan about having their work on display, but if you are persistent, they may appreciate it, and if you do it often, they get used to it! Having them do famous and professional chef posters, food truck projects, and other culinary-themed posters are a great option. 

Hopefully, these culinary lessons and activities will get you started in your planning and help you continue creating an engaging classroom environment. Teaching cooking principles is one of the most important gifts you can give your students, and they will appreciate you for years to come. We have more blog posts, including ideas for specific lessons and global food cooking ideas, and back-to-school must-haves that may interest you. We would love feedback on this blog post or a review on any of the free resources on Teachers Pay Teachers, as it allows me to continue to list quality culinary arts materials. Reviews help other teachers, help me know what to focus on to help you better, and it helps our little store. 

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