Did you know that you can make healthy, nutritious baby food right in your Instant Pot? Instant Pot Baby Food is a cost-effective and low-effort method for cooking nutritious meals for your baby at home.
My little munchkin is now almost eight months old. I started her off with pureed baby food that I made in the instant pot at about 6 months, and now slowly transitioned her to enjoy more textured food.
With my older one 6 years back, there was no instant pot, and I can say for sure that making baby food in the instant pot has saved me so much time.
Instant Pot Baby Food is a fantastic way to offer your baby a variety of nutritious foods while saving both time and money. In this post, I’ll share how to make an array of stage 1 baby foods as well as a few ways to combine purees to please your little one’s palate. If you’re looking for more baby-friendly pressure cooker recipes, check out my post on how to make simple homemade yogurt in your Instant Pot.
Why make Homemade Baby Food?
There are so many reasons to make your baby’s food at home in your Instant Pot. Not only will you save money (the price of those jars and pouches can really add up), but you’ll be able to control the ingredients that go into your baby’s food.
Plus, you’ll be surprised at how many servings you can get from just one vegetable or piece of fruit, and if you plan well, you can make a big batch of baby food at a time, which will save you time in the long run.
When to Give Baby Food?
When your baby’s pediatrician has given you the green light to begin letting your baby try solid purees it can be both an exciting and overwhelming time.
There’s a lot of conflicting information on the web these days about when it’s appropriate to begin feeding your baby solid foods and whether you should try baby-led weaning or purees. The most important thing to remember is that your baby is unique. It’s best to make a decision that is right for your baby and your family.
If you do decide to follow the traditional route of feeding your baby purees, it’s best to begin with thinly pureed vegetables and fruits. These are called stage 1 foods, and they’re a great way to offer your baby new tastes and nutrients while teaching them the very early fundamentals of self-feeding.
As I mentioned earlier, I started off my daughter with purees (I did look at baby led weaning, but preferred to start with purees), then quickly transitioned to more textured foods.
How to Offer Homemade Baby Food?
My baby is now 8 months and I have been using the Instant Pot to make baby food. We started by introducing one new food at a time, making sure there are no allergies, then zing a new food every 2 days.
The biggest thing to remember when starting your baby on new foods is that you’ll need to start slowly. Not only does this give your baby a chance to learn without overwhelming, but it also helps to identify potential allergens so that you can avoid those foods in the future and come up with an appropriate action plan in case your child would come into contact with those foods in the future.
To start offering your baby new homemade baby foods stage 1, start with one single puree at a time, waiting a minimum of 24-48 hours before trying a new puree. Keep an eye on your baby’s skin to identify potential rashes, hives, or other changes that could indicate an allergy. Additionally, it’s helpful to notice any changes in your baby’s breathing or swelling inside his or her mouth.
When in doubt, contact your pediatrician if you are unsure of whether you’re seeing something that could indicate a food allergy.
What kind of veggies and fruits can you include for Stage 1 Baby Food?
There are lots of options to start with when making stage 1 baby food recipes in the Instant Pot. Here are some ideas:
- sweet potato
- green beans
How to Use the Instant Pot to Make Baby Food
- Dice your choice of fruits and veggies into small, uniform pieces.
- Pour 1 cup water into your Instant Pot’s steel insert, then place a low trivet in the bottom. Place 4 ramekins (or other oven safe bowls) filled with the diced fruits & veggies on the trivet.
- If there is space, repeat with a second layer of ramekins. You can also add a separating steamer basket between the 2 layers. Close the lid and set the vent to the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally.
- Remove the bowls with fruits & veggies carefully. Puree each ramekin separately to the desired consistency, then store as directed.
What bowls can I use in the Instant Pot?
It is recommended to use oven-safe bowls such as these ramekins in the instant pot for pot-in-pot cooking as shown above. I also like to use small steel bowls for cooking in the instant pot.
Tips for Pureeing Baby Food
- Some purees are thicker and some thin depending on the water content of the fruit or vegetable. For example, sweet potatoes will render a much thicker puree while pureed zucchini is much thinner and more watery.
- It is best to add the least amount of water needed when pureeing so that you can add breastmilk or formula or water when serving as needed.
- Use a Baby Bullet, small blender, or food processor to blend the veggies and fruits.
Storing Baby Food
You can store your homemade Instant Pot Baby Food in the fridge or freezer. Follow these guidelines for storing baby food safely:
- In the fridge: Baby food should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container with a lid. I like to use small glass containers with lids for individual portions. It’s easy to see what’s inside each container and I can quickly grab a portion of baby food out of the fridge when I’m in a hurry.
- In the freezer: Spoon purees into ice cube trays, then cover and freeze for at least 24 hours. When the baby food is frozen, pop the cubes out of your ice tray and place them into zip lock baggies labeled with the type of food and the date the food was cooked. Frozen baby food will stay fresh for up to 3 months.
Homemade Instant Pot Baby Food Blends
You can also play with blending two or more flavors of purees to mix up your baby’s meals. Here are some flavor pairings that go well together:
- Apple & carrot or butternut squash
- Squash and peas or green beans
- Pear & zucchini or apple & zucchini
- Sweet potato & apple
- Beets and butternut squash
Again, you can always add breast milk or formula to your homemade baby food purees for added liquid, fat, and nutrients. You can also add a small amount of unsalted butter to starchy foods like sweet potato & white potato for a little added flavor & fat.
Other Homemade Instant Pot Baby Food Recipes to Try
After working your way through the list above, you can start to play around with different blends, flavors, and textures.
To add a little excitement to your baby’s pureed apples, try my 4-ingredient Instant Pot Applesauce recipe.
You can also do potatoes as long as they are boiled to soft, then mashed or whipped with enough liquid to make them smooth. Check out my tutorial for boiling potatoes in the Instant Pot, and try adding a little breast milk or formula to get a smooth consistency.
Tip for making potato baby food: Keep in mind that you should be careful not to over-process your boiled potatoes, or they will turn into a glue-like paste. I recommend mashing them by hand or with an electric hand mixer rather than placing them in a blender or food processor.
Another great option is lentils, but be sure to puree them first before feeding them to your baby. He or she might not be ready for whole lentils even if they are cooked super soft.
Finally, you can also feed your baby pureed soups as long as they are not spicy.
What to Avoid When Making Baby Food in Instant Pot
While it might be tempting to season your baby’s food, especially when making purees, it’s best to wait until your baby is a little older before introducing any additives other than breast milk, formula, or a little added butter during cooking.
Remember that babies have sensitive tummies and their digestive systems may not be ready to handle things like chili and other spicy substances. Skip the salt & pepper too – they’re unnecessary during infancy.
It is also best to avoid sugar and especially honey, as it can cause serious food borne illness in babies under 1 year of age.
Hope you enjoy the benefits of making baby food in your instant pot!