It’s no surprise that more and more readers write to us to ask what they need to make homemade baby food. More parents than ever are making baby food from scratch, with a report out this week that baby food sales are down by 10%.
Hey, no judgements–however you feed your baby is great by us. But since I’m fan of home cooking myself, I’m happy to help those families committing to homemade baby food by recommending some of my favorite tools and appliances. It does take work, so it’s great knowing that these tools can all help make steaming, mashing, and storing homemade babyfood as easy as pie. Or uh, mushy peas.
The most useful tool for making baby food is a great blender that can puree even small amounts of food. Ever try putting a half cup of steamed veggies in a full sized food processor? You don’t get very far. There are tons of baby food blenders on the market, including one of the originals, the Beaba Babycook which is a big favorite of so many of our readers. Each of the three models steams and purees, plus Beaba makes tons of compatible accessories like freezer trays and measured baby food containers. It’s not cheap, but it saves you a ton over the long run if you’re using it consistently. (Beaba Babycook, Beaba Babycook Pro, Beaba Babycook Pro 2X starting at $120 from our Amazon affiliate)
Baby Brezza has feeding covered through baby’s first year. They help start things off with the Baby Brezza Formula Pro, a baby formula machine, then, when baby graduates to solids, offer Baby Brezza Baby Food Makers (above). Each model steams and purees, making it possible to go from raw veggies to baby food in 15 minutes. ($99-150 from Baby Brezza)
If you’re looking for something a little less expensive, check out the Baby Bullet. The easy-to-store blender doesn’t steam, but does come with two blades: one for pureeing, the other for milling grains so that you can quickly turn brown rice into brown rice cereal. It also comes with dishwasher safe storage cups. ($60 from Baby Bullet)
The KitchenAid 3 Speed Hand Blender is not made specifically for baby food, but that’s exactly why I like it. This hand blender remains one of my favorite kitchen tools and I’m way beyond the baby food making stage. Buy it to feed your tot, then keep it to make soup, smoothies, and dressings forevermore. Great price and so useful. ($56 from Amazon)
Food mills aren’t typically highly rated and, honestly, I’ve never had much luck with them myself. But, if you want a truly inexpensive option for making homemade baby food, and you’re not afraid of using some elbow grease, this NUK Mash & Serve Bowl gets high marks. I will admit I’m skeptical that it can make a silky smooth puree; but I also know that silky smooth purees aren’t all that necessary. ($8.07 from Amazon)
Once you make baby food, you’ve got to store baby food. OXO Tot makes tons of cooking and feeding tools, but my favorites are their Baby Blocks Freezer Storage Containers which come in four different sizes. These leak-proof cups are a lifesaver for keeping food fresh in the fridge or freezer, or taking baby meals on the go. ($9.99-19.99 from Amazon)
If you’d rather not invest in something so specific to baby food, these Tovolo Perfect Cube Trays are a great way to store and freeze homemade baby food. Each cube is an ounce of food; you can pop out as many as you need and place them in a bowl or on-the-go container. And after the baby food phase, you can make perfect ice cubes for your cocktails. Cheers! ($7.99, Amazon)
You don’t necessarily need a cookbook to make baby food, but a good one can provide inspiration and help ease the anxiety of starting solids. I love The Baby and Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start by Karent Ansel. It has over 90 recipes organized by age and practical info on baby and toddler nutrition that’s easy to understand. Phew. ($15.17 from Amazon, or your local indie book seller)
Of course having the right tools is only half the battle if you are committed to making homemade baby food. The other half? Staying motivated. After all, there are only so many ways to serve up mashed peas. Be sure to check out or post on 5 essential baby food recipes for fresh inspiration and meals from some of our favorite cookbooks that are sure to keep baby eating. And hopefully, keep you steaming and mashing.
For more great tips to help you make homemade baby food, check out our post on starting solids with baby.