Homemade baby food recipes

The time will come when your baby is ready to begin trying solid foods. At this time, you might be thinking of making your own homemade baby food.

Discover what you need to know about starting your little one on solids, including the benefits of homemade baby food, how to safely prepare and store your baby’s food, and what foods may not be safe to offer at this stage.

Ready to start cooking? We’ve collected some easy baby food recipes for you to try.

Why Make Homemade Baby Food?

Although commercial baby food can be a convenient option, making your own baby food offers a number of benefits, such as:

  • Avoiding the preservatives and processing of some store-bought baby food

  • Having control of the amount of salt and sugar in your homemade baby food

  • Being more eco-friendly, as you can reuse your own food storage containers

  • Potentially saving some money

  • Introducing your baby to your family’s unique foods, flavors, and eating habits by having him eat some of what you’re eating. For example, if you’re making roast chicken with carrots for dinner, you can easily puree either the chicken or the carrots to feed your little one.

  • Enjoying the actual process of preparing baby food. Once you get the hang of it, this can be quite easy and fun—especially if you like to cook. You can simply mash the food with a fork or blend it using a blender (either a standard model or a special baby food blender).

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Baby

Avoid these foods, as they can present a choking hazard until your child learns to chew confidently every time:

  • Candy, including jelly beans, caramels, gum drops, and gummies

  • Chewing gum

  • Marshmallows

  • Chunks of meat, cheese, and hard raw fruit and vegetables

  • Hot dogs, sausages, jerky, and meat sticks

  • Whole or chopped seeds, nuts, and nut butters

  • Corn kernels

  • Whole grapes, cherries, berries, and grape and cherry tomatoes

  • Melon balls

  • Whole pieces of canned fruit

  • Dry fruit like raisins

  • Cookies or granola bars

  • Snack foods such as chips or pretzels

  • Seeded breads and crackers

  • Popcorn

  • Whole kernels of cooked grains such as rice, barley, and wheat.

There are certain foods that you should avoid feeding your baby because they can carry harmful bacteria. These include:

  • Honey and corn syrup

  • Home-canned food

  • Dairy products made from unpasteurized milk

  • Outdated, unlabeled, dented, rusting, bulging, or leaking cans of food.

You should also avoid giving your baby cow’s milk until he turns 12 months old. Cow’s milk can put a young baby at risk of intestinal bleeding. It has too much protein and minerals for your baby’s kidneys to handle, and it doesn't have the nutrients your baby needs.

Until your baby is at least 1 year old and ready for cow’s milk, keep offering her breast milk or formula.

Food Allergies or Intolerances

If your baby has a reaction to a certain food, hold off on feeding her that specific food until you can talk to her healthcare provider. By giving her one food at a time to try, you may have an easier time determining which food is causing the reaction. Possible allergic reactions can include:

  • Rash

  • Bloating and/or gassiness

  • Runny nose

  • Sores on her bottom

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting.

Common food allergens include:

  • Eggs

  • Soy

  • Fish

  • Shellfish

  • Citrus fruits

  • Kiwi

  • Strawberries

  • Peanuts and peanut butter

  • Tree nuts

  • Wheat

  • Cow’s milk.

Call 911 right away if your baby

  • gets hives

  • has difficulty breathing

  • has a swollen tongue or throat

  • is turning blue

  • is unconscious.

Baby Food Recipes for 6- to 8-Month-Olds

Check out these baby food recipes when feeding your little one her first solid foods:

Baby Cereal

  1. You can use this recipe for any single grain infant cereal, such as wheat, oat, barley, or rice. Try to vary the cereals rather than just feeding her rice cereal.

  2. Following the package instructions, boil water in a saucepan.

  3. Add the cereal to the boiling water and stir until it’s cooked and there are no lumps.

  4. Let the cereal cool slightly before feeding it to your baby.

Butternut Squash Puree Baby Food Recipe

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Carefully cut a butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Peel the tough skin with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.

  3. Cut the squash into cubes, and spread on your prepared baking sheet.

  4. Roast until soft and tender, about 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking time.

  5. In a food processor or blender, add as much of the roasted squash as you would like, and puree until it’s absolutely smooth. You may need to use a little water to thin out the puree. Leave it a little lumpy if you’ve started introducing different textures to your baby. If your baby is ready for some chunky bits, you can even mash the butternut squash with a fork or potato masher. Any remaining roasted squash can be enjoyed by the entire family for dinner.

Sweet Potato Puree Baby Food Recipe

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Cut the sweet potato into half, lengthwise, and place it cut-side down on your prepared baking sheet.

  3. Bake until soft and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size.

  4. Scoop the baked sweet potato flesh out from the skin (discard the skin) and transfer the flesh to a food processor, pureeing until it’s smooth. Thin out the puree with a little water if needed. If your baby is ready for a coarser texture, you can even mash the sweet potato with a fork or potato masher. Bake additional sweet potatoes to be enjoyed by the entire family for dinner.

Green Bean Puree Baby Food Recipe

  1. Set up a saucepan with a steaming insert, filled with just enough water to reach the insert. Bring the pot of water to a boil.

  2. Meanwhile, trim the ends of the green beans and destring them. Then cut them into 1-1/2 inch lengths.

  3. Add the beans to the pot of boiling water, and cover with a tight-fitting lid.

  4. Steam the beans until tender, about 8 to 12 minutes.

  5. Transfer the green beans to the bowl of a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth. Thin with water if necessary. Leave it slightly chunky if you’ve started introducing textured food to your baby.

Carrot Puree Baby Food Recipe

  1. Set up a saucepan with a steaming insert, filled with just enough water to reach the insert. Bring the pot of water to a boil.

  2. Meanwhile, peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler or paring knife, and cut them into coins.

  3. Add the carrots to the pot of boiling water, and cover with a tight-fitting lid.

  4. Steam the carrots until tender, about 8 to 12 minutes. Steam for a few minutes longer if you plan to mash the carrots with a fork or potato masher.

  5. Transfer the carrots to the bowl of a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth. Thin with water if necessary. Leave it slightly chunky if your baby is ready for textured food.

Applesauce

  1. Peel, core, and cube a couple of apples, and add to a saucepan with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot.

  2. Bring the pot of apples to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking until soft and tender.

  3. Mash the apples with a potato masher until smooth. Alternatively, puree in a food processor or blender.

Mashed Potatoes

  1. Peel a couple of white russet potatoes and cut them into cubes.

  2. Add the potatoes to a saucepan and cover with water.

  3. Bring the pot of potatoes to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, and continue to cook until tender.

  4. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Mash with a potato masher until soft and fluffy. Leave it a little chunky if your baby is ready to try a textured food. Do not puree the potatoes in a food processor or blender as the potatoes will take on a gluey texture.

More Baby Food Recipe Ideas

Here are some other baby food recipe ideas to try at home:

  • Bananas, raw, mashed or diced

  • Avocados, raw, mashed or diced

  • Plums, gently cooked and mashed

  • Peaches, gently cooked and mashed

  • Pears, gently cooked and mashed

  • Apricots, gently cooked and mashed

  • Sweet potatoes, baked or boiled and mashed or diced

  • Peas, cooked and mashed or pureed

  • Chicken that’s been well cooked, shredded or pureed

  • Meat that’s been well cooked, shredded or pureed

  • Fish with all the tiny bones removed, shredded or pureed

  • Lentils with the skins removed, cooked and pureed. (If you use canned lentils, make sure they’re low in sodium.) To remove the skins, try passing the cooked or canned lentils through a sieve; the skins will stay behind in the sieve.

  • Beans with the skins removed, cooked and pureed. (If you use canned beans, make sure they’re low in sodium.) To remove the skins, pass the cooked or canned beans through a sieve; the skins should remain in the sieve.

Once you know your baby is not allergic to certain foods, you can start mixing them to come up with unique flavor combinations. Here are some to try:

  • Avocado and banana, mashed

  • Apples and pears, cooked and pureed

  • Chicken and sweet potatoes, cooked and pureed

You might also like to try combining store-bought foods with some homemade purees:

  • Plain, whole-fat, or whole-milk Greek yogurt mixed with some pureed plums or peaches

  • Infant cereals, mixed with water or breast milk and combined with applesauce or even a sweet vegetable like mashed sweet potatoes or pureed butternut squash.

As your baby progresses to self-feeding and finger foods, consider adding the following store-bought foods:

  • Pasteurized cheese, cubed, with unseeded whole-grain crackers

  • Unseeded whole-grain bread, cubed, with shredded, well-cooked chicken

  • Small pieces of cooked whole-grain pasta mixed with pureed sweet potatoes or butternut squash.

Baby Food and Meal Ideas for 8- to 12-Month-Olds

You can use any of the above baby food recipes and ideas for your 8- to 12-month-old, but by this point you can start varying the textures. So, instead of pureeing the food, you can pass it through a food mill for a coarse texture, or just mash it with a fork for a chunky texture. Here’s a sample meal plan you could use for your 8- to 12-month-old baby:

Guidelines for Making Baby Food at Home

Now that you have some great recipes to try, here are some important things to keep in mind when making baby food at home:

Equipment for Making Baby Food at Home

You don’t need to have a bunch of fancy appliances or kitchen gadgets to prepare baby food recipes at home, but here are some items you might consider using:

  • Standard blender or baby food maker. Either will work well for pureeing foods.

  • Food processor. Another option for pureeing foods.

  • Food grinder. You can grind up anything from cooked vegetables to cooked meat. This is a good choice for when your baby has moved on to thicker textures, which may be around 8 months or a little older.

  • Food mill. This is a great option for the later months, when you want the food to be a little thicker.

  • Sieve or strainer. You can easily press foods through the mesh to create a thin texture.

  • Potato masher or fork. Mash up foods that don’t require cooking, like a banana or avocado.

  • Ice cube trays and re-sealable bags. These are handy for freezing extra purees in appropriate portions. Simply freeze the pureed food in the ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen solid, transfer them to a re-sealable plastic bag and return to the freezer. Then you can use the tray for a new batch.

  • Food storage containers. Small storage containers work well for freezing leftovers. If you’ve chosen a baby food maker, some models include storage containers, or a kit can be purchased separately.

Practicing Food Safety at Home

When making homemade baby food, it’s very important to practice food safety, especially since children under the age of 5 are at a higher risk of contracting foodborne illnesses. Here are some food safety precautions to take when making baby food:

Storage Guidelines for Your Homemade Baby Food

When storing homemade baby food, it’s important to follow these guidelines:

  • Refrigerate prepared food promptly (within 2 hours in normal weather, or 1 hour if the room temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit).

  • Store meat-, poultry-, fish-, and egg-based baby foods for no more than 24 hours in the refrigerator.

  • Store fruit- and vegetable-based baby foods for no more than 48 hours in the refrigerator.

  • For longer storage, transfer leftover baby food into ice cube trays for freezing. Once frozen solid, transfer the ice cubes to re-sealable plastic bags and put them back in the freezer. Don’t keep baby food in the freezer for longer than one month, though.

  • When it’s time to give the frozen food to your little one, thaw just the right number of portions in the refrigerator. Don’t thaw the frozen baby foods at room temperature or in a tub of hot water.

  • Reheat refrigerated or defrosted baby foods to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

For more information on food safety, storing homemade baby food, reheating homemade baby food, and other safe food-handling practices, check out foodsafety.gov or consult your baby’s healthcare provider.

The Bottom Line

Making homemade baby food for your little one can be a rewarding experience for you, and it's easy to do with the recipes and guidelines we've offered here. Get out the blender, or grab a fork, and you're all set to have some fun as you prepare these first foods for your baby. Feeding your baby homemade baby food, whether it’s exclusively or in addition to store-bought varieties, can be a time of discovery for both you and your little one. It will introduce him to the foods and flavors of your family, and help him develop healthy eating practices for the future. It’s an important milestone in your baby’s development, one that could even lead to him growing into being quite the foodie! With all the baby foods you’ll be trying out with your little one, you’ll need to stock up on plenty of diapers and wipes. The wipes could even be useful in helping clean your baby after some messy meals. Get rewarded with points every time you scan these products in the Pampers Club app. Then redeem the points for coupons, baby gear, gift cards, and more.