Head to any supermarket and you’ll find zillions of tiny jars and pouches to feed your baby – so many choices! But there’s one healthy, tasty, and infinitely adaptable option you can’t find on the shelf. We’re talking about homemade baby food, straight from your own kitchen.
While you might think that it would be easier to go for the store-bought option, making your own baby food doesn’t have to be hard, and it comes with its own unique benefits. Maybe you’ll end up doing a bit of both!
Here, we’re sharing eight baby food recipes to try and then adapt however you like.
Why make your own baby food
Many mamas find that there a couple of important benefits to making baby food yourself:
- It’s cheaper. Sure, a tiny jar of baby food only costs a couple dollars… but homemade baby food costs just a few cents for the same serving size. Over time, that adds up.
- You know exactly what’s going in there, which can give you extra peace of mind.
- It’s more flexible. If you want baby to try lots of different foods beyond what’s typically in store-bought baby food, you have the freedom to experiment.
- Baby eats what you’re eating – just in puree form. This can make life a lot easier.
That said, store-bought baby food obviously has its own list of benefits, including convenience. Do what works for you! There’s no right way to do this.
What can I use to make baby food?
The beauty of making your own baby food is that you can use pretty much anything you have in the kitchen:
- Fruits and veggies. Any of these will work as long as they are soft, steamed, or small enough to puree easily.
- Whole grains. Think brown rice, oatmeal, or cereals – blended or cooked until very soft.
- Meats. Yes, you can blend up meat! Doesn’t sound too appetizing to adults, but babies often find it quite tasty.
- Stock. Rather than adding water to foods to make them into purees for the little one, try a homemade stock instead. This is a super easy way to add nutrients and flavors from all sorts of vegetables.
Foods to avoid
On the other hand, there are some things that you should leave out of your wonderful recipes, for now at least:
- Salt. It’s not great for baby kidneys. Make sure to avoid salt in store-bought purees, too.
- Sugar. Sugar doesn’t need to be added to any baby food recipe. This includes honey, especially because it can be toxic to children under 1.
- Unpasteurized cheeses. Gorgonzola, brie, the stinky cheeses. These guys might have bacteria in them that can cause stomach upset.
- Raw shellfish or big fish. Marlin, shark, and swordfish are not usually on a baby menu. There’s a good reason: mercury.
Tools to use to make baby food
To make your own baby food, you’re going to need:
- A pot or steamer. Steaming keeps all the nutrients intact.
- A blender. A basic blender will do – no need for special baby food gadgets. For very soft foods, even just a fork or masher will be enough.
- Freezer bags and ice cube trays. Freezing baby food in batches can be very convenient. You can freeze the purees in ice cube trays then put the cubes in a freezer bag or tupperware and store in the freezer.
Baby food recipes
Without further ado, here are 8 recipes for baby foods that your little one will love.
Homemade baby food for four to six months
These recipes are a great place to start. They work for very young babies – 4 months – as well as older babies just starting out on solid food. If your six-month-old baby likes these, add a twist – like yogurt – to see how it goes down.
- Mashed banana. Not too challenging, mama! Mash a (ripe) banana with a fork and add some breast milk, formula, or water to get it into a smooth consistency.
- Mushy peas. Start with two or three tablespoons of frozen peas. Cook, blend, and add formula or breast milk for consistency.
- Other veg or grain purees. Go for carrots, avocados, chickpeas, sweet potato, or brown rice cereal. Cook til soft, then blend. If you want to store the avocado puree for later, add a touch of lemon juice to prevent browning.
Baby food recipes for older babies
If you’re wondering, “what solid foods can I give my 6 month old?” these are some great options for babies 6 months or older.
Butternut squash plus
Butternut squash is great because there is a very low risk of allergy. And it’s a great base for adding different flavors. Think herbs like thyme or sage – or other ingredients, like pear. Soft cheese can be added too, and don’t shy away from a homemade salt-free stock for extra nutrients!
Peel the squash and bake or boil, then blend.
White fish and veg mash
Buy the freshest white fish you can get your hands on, such as sole, cod, or haddock – preferably from a trusted fishmonger.
Wrap it in kitchen foil and steam it for 15 minutes, along with some garlic and bay leaf if you’re feeling exciting. When cooked, take out the solid fish (keeping the fishy liquid) and mash it, along with some options:
- A steamed potato and a teaspoon of olive oil
- Rice cereal and oil
- Wholegrain cereal and oil
- Some steamed veg, like zucchini, carrot, or squash
Add some of the fishy liquid or stock to the mix for consistency and flaves. Baby’s got a beautiful protein-y meal!
Beef stew baby-style
This one’s great if you want to rustle up a stew for yourself and feed baby at the same time. You’ll need:
- Half a pound of boneless beef, cut into small chunks
- Quarter small onion
- A carrot
- A small potato
- Herbs (optional)
- Homemade stock
Heat oil in a pan and brown the beef chunks. Add the veg and homemade stock (or water) and bring to the boil. Cook for an hour or so until soft. At the end, you can blend – or if it is smooth and soft enough already, serve as is.
Veggie finger food
When baby gets old enough, you can move on from mushy meals. Veggies can be a good way to start. See how they like cooked veggies combined with a livelier flavor:
- Cauliflower and paprika
- Green beans and garlic
- Broccoli and rosemary
These can be roasted or boiled, depending on what’s easier for you!
Lentil and mushroom baby burgers
These are great for babies and the rest of the family too. Just make the burgers for baby a little smaller!
- Finely chop an onion and some garlic and fry them in a pan.
- Add chopped mushrooms and let them reduce down.
- Put the mix into a blender with a can of pre-cooked lentils. Blend it all until smooth.
- Add breadcrumbs to the mix so it all firms up.
- Shape into little patties (or bigger ones, depending who is eating!) and either fry them in a pan or bake them in the oven.
You can add whatever you want to the mix to make things a bit more interesting. Tomato puree, chickpeas along with lentils, an aubergine with the mushrooms. So many options!
Remember, all baby food recipes can be changed to suit your tastes, dietary needs, and whatever’s in the cupboards. Bon appetit, mama!
🥣 Read more:
What are the Best First Foods for a Baby?
The Best First Finger Foods for Baby
How Many Ounces Should a Baby Eat? A Chart
How to Make a Kid-Friendly Breakfast
Best Finger Foods for a Baby