10 Easy Baby Food Recipes: Homemade & HealthyThis post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
It is so easy to make your own homemade baby food recipes — and most of the time, making baby food at home will be healthier and cheaper than store bought! This is your guide to making healthy baby food at home that you can feel great about giving to your little one!
Many of you know that I made homemade baby food recipes at home when my kids first started on solid foods. I’ve gotten so many questions about whether it’s really that easy to make your own baby food at home. And trust me – it is!
Making your own baby food recipes can be enjoyable and isn’t difficult, even when you’re busy or tired. There are really only three steps to making great baby food at home: steam, puree, and freeze.
Once you’ve made a few basic purees, you’ll be eager to try some more complex recipes with additional ingredients, or even create your own concoctions to suit your baby’s tastes.
Making your own homemade baby food recipes is a great way to discover which foods your baby particularly enjoys, as well as introducing them to a variety of flavors in a creative way that fits your budget, lifestyle, and locally-available ingredients.
These are some of my must-have baby food recipes for purees, made with healthy, easy-to-find ingredients. You’ll never find added sugar in my baby food recipes.
I guarantee that making baby food at home will be cheaper than buying expensive pouches, which often contain significant amounts of sugar from fruit purees or even fruit juice concentrate.
What Foods Are Best to Puree?
You can literally puree pretty much any food for your baby! The best foods to start with are sweeter vegetables or less-sweet fruits including:
Once your baby has mastered these purees, you can move onto more “pungent” veggies, tart fresh fruit, and proteins like:
- Stone Fruits and Cherries
- Chickpeas / Beans
- Meats (if you are planning to give your baby meat)
- Whole Milk Yogurt and Cheese
You can introduce grains and sweeter fruits much later so that your baby doesn’t get too used to foods with a sweet taste first (which will make them more likely to reject green veggies which have stronger flavors).
So once your baby has been exposed to a large variety of less-sweet fruits and veggies, you can introduce foods like:
- Single-Grain Cereals like Oats, Barley, Wheat, Quinoa. I don’t recommend rice cereal unless your pediatrician specifically tells you to use it because rice cereal is usually made with refined grains, is low in fiber, and doesn’t have many nutrients. I recommend making baby cereal at home (even though there are store bought versions available) to avoid heavy metal contamination – and because it’s so easy!
- Ripe Bananas
You can also add warm spices to your baby’s food at any point — spices like: cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic powder, ginger powder, etc. are all great to add new flavors and to expand your baby’s palate!
What is the Best Way to Store Homemade Baby Food Purees?
I recommend freezing your homemade baby food in ice cube trays for storage. I love these Mumi & Bubi Trays because they come with airtight lids and hold a ton of baby food!
I would freeze the baby food in these trays, and then once frozen, I’d pop out the puree cubes and transfer them to an airtight container, or to zip-top freezer bags.
Is Homemade Baby Food Healthier?
Yes it is! This is because when you make baby food at home, you can control both the quality of the ingredients and the types of things being included in your baby’s food.
Since your homemade baby foods don’t have to be shelf stable, you don’t have to worry about any preservatives or stabilizers in the food you’re giving your baby.
Additionally, most pre-made baby food is very fruit-forward which makes it quite sweet and high in sugar. This can make babies who eat pre-made food more likely to only develop a liking for sweeter foods, which could make them pickier eaters later on.
Note: Not all pre-made baby food is bad and there are some healthy vegetable-forward pouches available today. These can be good options if you’re on the go or in a bind and need food fast! You can see my list of the healthiest baby food pouches here.
How Do You Make Baby Food Recipes at Home?
All you need are the right tools – many of which you probably already have in your kitchen, and knowing the method, which is as easy as: steam, puree, freeze.
You don’t need a fancy baby food maker to do any of this stuff – in fact, I recommend against buying a special baby food maker because it’s a pretty pricey purchase for something you can’t repurpose for anything else. I like investing in kitchen tools that can grow with you and your family.
#1: Invest in a Good Blender or Food Processor. I recommend getting one that you can use for smoothies and other “grown up” recipes – so the purchase is worth it! Any blender will work, but my favorite is the Vitamix.
It purees everything SO smoothly that the consistency exactly mimics the thin consistency of the baby food pouches at the grocery store. And you don’t have to peel any of the fruits/veggies (except for the obvious like bananas, oranges, pineapples, melon, etc. – that have a hard shell) because the Vitamix is so powerful that it pulverizes all of the peel of most fruits/veggies to retain all of those nutrients for your little one.
It can also make chunkier meals for older babies or when your baby transitions away from purees. Lastly, you can use it for so many other things like making soups, smoothies, pancake batter, falafel mix, brownie batter, etc. – the list goes on and on! I bought one when I started making my kids’ baby food and absolutely LOVE it and use it all the time (still!)
#2: You need covered ice cube trays. You could just take regular ice cube trays and cover them in plastic wrap, but I found that ended up with my purees getting freezer burn which wasn’t great. I love these Mumi & Bubi Trays – which store / stack really well, have tight lids, and hold enough baby food for about 1 month!
#3: A Steamer Basket. It’s worth it to have a steamer basket that can fit inside any pot. Steaming fruits/veggies in bulk is key to making baby food easy and quick to make at home – and a steamer basket can make all the difference!
You also need a good, large pot – but literally any pot will do. And that’s pretty much it! Then you can literally make any baby food recipe at home for less cost, less time and a healthier puree for your little one than a store bought version.
How to Make Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Step by Step
- Wash the fruits and veggies you are planning to puree.
- Chop them into 1/2 inch sized cubes and put them in a pot with just enough water to almost cover them. Alternatively, put them in a pot with a steamer basket to steam them.
- If you are steaming them, steam until fork tender (easy enough to mash). If you are putting them in a pot with water, just cover the pot with a lid and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the fruits or veggies are fork tender.
- If steaming, put the fruits/veggies into a blender with some of the liquid you used to steam them. If you boiled your fruits/veggies, transfer everything from the pot into the blender (so you don’t lose any nutrients that might have leached into the water while you were boiling the produce).
- Puree the fruits/veggies until smooth. Transfer to ice cube trays and freeze.
- Once frozen, pop the cubes out and transfer them to freezer-safe zip-top bags.
- To reheat, simply defrost in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove. Serve your homemade puree at room temperature.
What Foods Should You Give Baby First?
I can pretty much guarantee that your baby will happily eat fruit purees, because they contain a significant amount of natural sugar.
Babies are naturally inclined to enjoy sweet tastes (remember, breast milk is full of lactose, which is a sugar!), so exposing them to low-sugar vegetables early on is really important for developing their palates.
Once your baby is ready for solids, around 6 months of age, I recommend introducing fruits and vegetables in the following order:
- Avocado, carrots, green beans, sweet potato, butternut squash, pears, apples, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower.
- Then introduce any other fruits and vegetables that you want, and eventually add in fish and meat.
10 Healthy Homemade Baby Food Recipes for Beginners
1. Baby’s First Food: Avocado Puree
Millennials may be famous for their love of avocados, but guess what? Babies love avocados, too! In fact, avocado was the first solid food that we gave both of our kids. It’s incredibly easy to make an avocado puree, and it’s highly nutritious, too.
Avocados really are a great choice for baby’s first foods — they are delicious, flavorful, and have a great texture. Even better, they’re packed with 20 vitamins and minerals, including folate, fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and iron, as well as plenty of “healthy fats” that will help with your baby’s brain and nervous system development. Chances are, avocado will soon become one of your baby’s favorite foods!
2. Carrot Puree
After avocado, carrot is an excellent food to introduce to your baby as you start giving them solids for the first time. Carrots are naturally sweet and are great for combining in purees with green vegetables in order to make them a little more enticing. All you need to do for this recipe is peel the carrots, cook them for 6-8 minutes, and then puree! Not only are carrots full of Vitamin A, which helps promote healthy skin and eyes, but they are also easy to digest and very unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
Now it’s time to bring in some greens! I recommend starting with green beans to introduce your baby to the taste of green vegetables. They are low in sugar but full of Vitamin A and fiber. I have to admit that my kids were not enamored with green beans from the start, until I started mixing them with organic plain yogurt. Once you’ve introduced green beans on their own, you can also combine them with carrots for an even tastier puree, but it’s important that babies first get accustomed to eating not-so-sweet foods.
Orange vegetables like sweet potato, butternut squash, and pumpkin are super healthy options, packed full of carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. And what’s more — babies tend to love them! You can prepare them so many different ways, including microwaving, steaming, or boiling. However, my favorite cooking method is to roast sweet potatoes in the oven so that they begin to caramelize, and then pureeing.
Butternut squash is a delicious and extremely nutritious veggie, packed full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. As with sweet potatoes, I recommend roasting the butternut squash in the oven for an hour so that it becomes caramelized. After roasting, peeling off the skin and putting the squash pieces into a blender can get a bit messy, so you’ll want to make this in bulk. Don’t forget to line your baking tray with parchment paper for easier clean-up!
6. Pear Puree
Once your baby has developed a taste for green and orange veggies, it’s time for a real treat — pears! Not only do pears taste great, but they’re also full of nutrients like fiber and Vitamin C, which help to prevent constipation and promote a healthy immune system, respectively.
Pears are also fantastic for mixing with other foods that your baby might not be so keen on, such as green beans. We get through a lot of pear puree in my house (it’s great mixed with oatmeal!), so I always make this in bulk.
Poor prunes — so unloved and misunderstood! If you find yourself walking past the prunes at the grocery store without a second thought, consider this: prunes are a fantastic food for babies! Quite simply, prunes are dried plums, and they’re full of antioxidants. And just as their reputation suggests, they really do “keep things moving” so that your baby doesn’t become constipated. My kids were more interested in prunes when I mixed them with apples. This prune and apple puree is also great with yogurt, oatmeal, or combined with green vegetables to give them a little natural sweetness.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more nutritionally-dense puree than this mixture of broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower, which is full of vitamins and minerals, including iron. This puree also contains loads of phytonutrients, which are known to have anti-cancer properties.
I recommend introducing this puree in small amounts, early in the day, because it contains a lot of fiber. Fiber is great, but it could potentially lead to gas or stomach upset if your baby eats too much, so you’ll initially want to avoid this puree close to bedtime. Once your baby gets used to these veggies though, you can serve it anytime you’d like! If the taste of the greens is too overpowering for your baby, consider adding a little bit of organic plain yogurt and some pear puree.
This puree is guaranteed to be popular with your little one — it was certainly one of my kids’ favorites. Zucchini and carrots are mild and fairly sweet veggies, and with the addition of two organic Fuji apples, this flavor combination is even more delectable! It’s a perfect puree to mix with your baby’s oatmeal.
10. Pea Puree
Peas contain lots of vitamins, specifically Vitamin K, which is important for bone health, and Vitamin B6 and folic acid, which promote a healthy heart. In order to ensure that your purees retain as many nutrients as possible, avoid overcooking green veggies. Ideally, you should cook vegetables so that they stay bright green. Steaming them for just 3-5 minutes or boiling them for 3-5 minutes and then submerging them in cold water will help them to stay bright green and retain their chlorophyll. A word of advice: You may want to mix the peas with fruit or sweeter veggies in order to make them more appealing to your baby.
If you enjoy making these purees — and your baby enjoys eating them! — check out my Super Easy Baby Food Cookbook for more easy homemade baby food recipes!
With over 150 recipes for babies, toddlers, and older kids, you’ll find plenty of ideas for purees that you can make in bulk, ahead of time, so that you never run out of your baby’s favorite foods.
It also includes guidance about mixing and matching ingredients to create the best-tasting purees, all while introducing your little one to a variety of flavors and textures.
And for when you start to transition towards finger foods, you’ll find plenty of toddler-friendly recipes that you can prepare in 30 minutes or less!
I hope this post helped you to navigate the wonderful world of making baby food at home.
Just remember – this is an opportunity to experiment and enjoy introducing your baby to all of the yummy tastes, flavors and textures that solids have to offer! Have fun with it!