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How to Make Homemade Baby Food

by Ryan Guina

Having a baby changed the way my wife and I do some things around our home. Time and money have both become a little more precious than they were before. One way we save money is by making our own baby food. Sure, it takes a little more time than buying a dozen jars at the store, but making your own baby food can be a cost effective and healthier alternative than buying store bought brands. And it might not take as much time as you think – especially if you make large batches and freeze some of it into single serving size portions. Here is how we make homemade baby food.

How to Make Homemade Baby Food

Homemade baby food is a fun project that saves money, and more importantly, gives you the peace of mind of knowing what your baby is eating. Make sure to choose the freshest produce, meats, and dairy for your baby. I prefer organic and/or locally bought foods.

Thoroughly wash all produce and when possible, steam foods instead of boiling in order to retain nutrients. If you do boil, use as little liquid as possible and add some of the leftover liquid when pureeing the food. Finally, introduce new foods slowly so you can determine any allergic reactions. One new food item a week is a good rule.

Required kitchen utensils

Making home made baby food is relatively easy and you can probably do it with items you already have at home. First you will need to cook the food, then you will need to cut it into manageable chunks, then mash or puree the food. Some options for pureeing include:

  • A portable, hand-turned food mill or baby food grinder. Good for on-the-go.
  • A hand blender – an electric blender that is inserted by hand into a bowl of food
  • A food processor – excellent for purees.
  • A regular kitchen blender.
  • A fork. Great for mashing soft foods like bananas or avocados.

Here is some chopped chicken and what it looks like after a few moments in the food processor. The following pictures are all used in the recipe at the end of this article:

Chopped chicken for baby food

Pureed chicken

Thinning and thickening the homemade baby food

Depending on the water content of the food, you will need to add liquid when pureeing it. Options for thinning foods include: breast milk, water, formula, cow’s milk, plain yogurt, or homemade broth.

If the food needs thickening, you can use: cooked egg yolks, sweet potato, wheat germ, whole-grain cereal, cottage cheese, or plain yogurt.

The following pictures are diced sweet potatoes that have been pureed. You will need to add some liquid when you puree sweet potatoes.

Diced sweet potato

Pureed sweet potato

Storing homemade baby food

Once the food has been pureed, you can use it immediately or store it for later use. If you plan on using the baby food within the next couple of days, store in air-tight container in the refrigerator. I like to use a couple of glass baby food jars that have been washed.

If you have extra baby food that you will not be able to use within a couple days, then freeze it for later use. We like to freeze it in small portions for easier use. One-ounce ice cube trays come in handy for this. Once frozen, pop out the baby food and store it air-tight containers. Use within 2 months.

Homemade baby food in ice cube tray

Sample baby food recipe: Chicken and Sweet Potato

Here is a sample recipe which is easy to make.

  • 1 Chicken breast, cooked and chopped
  • 1 small Sweet potato, cooked and chopped
  • Liquid of your choice for thinning (I use about 8 oz stored, frozen breast milk that has been thawed in the fridge.)
  • Place chicken in food processor and grind to small chunks, about the size of cottage cheese.
  • Add chopped sweet potato.
  • Give everything a quick mix in the food processor until all is blended.
  • Add your liquid of choice and puree in food processor.
  • Continue adding liquid until you get the consistency you want.

Another favorite recipe – Broccoli, peas, and pears: Boil broccoli and peas, and puree them with fresh pears. You will need to add liquid to this, so consider adding milk, fruit juice, or the water used to boil the vegetables (it will be vitamin rich).

Do you make your own baby food?


Published or updated September 13, 2010.
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 GG

Not only is it better for Emma than the store-bought, it’s fun to put it together, don’t you think? I made lots of my baby food for the kids. Did you know that pureed pears is great for an upset stomache? Even for adults, along with 7-up.
Hope you are all o.k. We’re doing great here. Not too hot of a summer and today it’s only 70 degrees. Love to you all. GG

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2 Ryan

It is fun. We have some baby food that comes in foil squeeze containers that Emma loves because they are fun and she can feed herself. The only problem is they cost almost $2 each, which is about 4 times as expensive as regular baby food. So we cut the bottom, put a clip on the end and filled it with our homemade baby food. We thoroughly clean them after each use. It’s a great way to save money and Emma still has fun eating. :)

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3 Andrea

Great information! How do you recommend thawing the frozen baby food?

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4 Ryan

Andrea, we just put it in the fridge overnight, but you can also do it by putting it in a ziplock bag, then boiling it, or by putting it in the microwave.

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