Just Add Magic

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Just Add Magic TV Poster Image
 Parents recommendPopular with kids
BFFs stir up magical recipes in fun family-friendly series.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 42 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 60 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Cooking is a big part of the show, and those scenes show kids the fun of creating in the kitchen. 

Positive Messages

Kelly and her friends secretly experiment with magic by way of concoctions from a mysterious cookbook. They do so, aware that every instance will have an inconvenient side effect for one of them, but there's always a positive outcome for someone and it brings them closer to helping Kelly's grandmother. Strong themes of friendship, family, and the importance of amending wrongs. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The three young girls dabble in magic without supervision, which has some negative consequences, but their motivations are good and they generally learn lessons from the experiences. Good and bad aren't always easy to identify, as at least one character plays both sides.  

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

No cursing, but some instances of "I hate you!" and "shut up."


The series is based on a book of the same name.  

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Just Add Magic is based on a book of the same name and tells the story of three friends who experiment with recipes that have magical effects on themselves and those around them. This wholesome series presents likable tween girls who value their friendship and always have each other's back and who strive to do the right thing even when it's not the easy thing. It also shows a tight-knit three-generational family that inspires Kelly's deep compassion for her grandmother and her realistically hot-cold affection for her younger brother. There's a little blurring of the line between good and bad, as some characters' intentions aren't obvious at the start, but nothing else should worry the grade school set. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byteeks125 September 27, 2016

I LOVE this show!!

It's not often you find a show that is "grown-up" enough for your tween, mild enough for your preschooler, genuinely entertaining for adults, aaa... Continue reading
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written byNolaJag January 26, 2016

Fantastic New Show Without the Sass

I am so happy that this show is on TV. There are too many live actions shows out there geared to kids 6 and up where the kids are terrible role models. There... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 6, 2017

The BEST TV show ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This TV show has gotten my whole family hooked on it! It's about three best friends Kelly, Hannah and Darbie who find a magic cookbook up in Kelly's a... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 30, 2018

Great show, highly recommended!

This is my favourite show! It has me hooked and I'm 12! I have already watched all 3 seasons/parts 5 times this show is soooooo amazing. I recommend it to... Continue reading

What's the story?

In JUST ADD MAGIC, Kelly Quinn (Olivia Sanabia) grew up cooking alongside her grandmother (Barbara Brownell), but the grandmother's mysterious illness recently put an end to that. So when Kelly discovers an old cookbook that once belonged to her grandma, she decides to make something from it for her, but doing so has surprising consequences for those around her. With each magical recipe she tries, she and her best friends, Hannah (Aubrey K. Miller) and Darbie (Abby Donnelly), notice that something bad always accompanies the good effects, and the book's contents increasingly seem related to Kelly's grandmother's condition. As mysteries swirl and suspicious figures keep tabs on the girls' actions, Kelly, Hannah, and Darbie try to learn the secrets behind these ancient recipes.

Is it any good?

This enjoyable drama series has many good qualities, from a solid trio of friends in the forefront to how carefully the story respects multigenerational family units and traditions. Kelly is the product of a loving home and loyal friends, and both influences guide her decisions. That doesn't mean she's perfect at every turn, and her decision to dabble in magic unsupervised raises some issues parents and kids can discuss, but the fact that she's motivated by compassion more than mere curiosity works in her favor.

Just Add Magic is a solid series with enough mystery to keep kids coming back from one episode to the next. As magical shows go, there are few scares, but there are instances of duplicity in characters the girls trust. With many scenes showing Kelly and her friends concocting goodies in the kitchen, the show might stir an interest in your youngsters to cook up something new as well.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Just Add Magic presents a family compared to others kids have seen. Does a family always have two parents, siblings, and/or grandparents? Can a family include friends? In what ways does your family look different from Kelly's?

  • Why does Kelly keep the secret of the cookbook from her parents and brother? Is keeping a secret ever OK in a family? How do you keep the lines of communication open in your house?

  • Have your kids join you in the kitchen. What are some of your favorite meals or treats to enjoy together? What are the benefits of cooking for yourself? Do your kids like to try new foods? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love magical fun

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate