Making homemade baby food just got easier, thanks to the instant pot. If you’ve followed along in the past, you know I made my own baby food for my first daughter and mostly used the oven and a steamer, but now, as my second child is getting ready to start solids, I’m all about doing things easier.
I’ll be doing a combination of purees and baby-led weaning, and good news–you can prep both using the instant pot!
Below you’ll find step by step instructions on how to prepare stage 1 and stage 2 baby food (both purees and to use with baby-led weaning), plus a super handy cheat sheet you can refer back to as baby tries new foods!
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How to prepare stage 1 baby food in the instant pot
Before we get started, let’s go shopping. The great thing about the instant pot is you can prepare multiple foods at once–and then you’ll freeze them (I’ve got tips and instructions on freezing and reheating below, don’t panic!).
Red/Orange bell pepper
Spices are optional, but encouraged, as they help little palates develop and discourage pickiness down the road!
Getting started with making baby food in the instant pot
Regardless of whether or not you’ll feed baby with a baby-led weaning approach or with purees (or a combination), you’ll start either process the same.
Step 1: Prepping the fruit and veggies
Washing, drying and peeling all fruits/veggies. Slice them into small pieces.
Step 2: Add water
Place 1 cup water to the instant pot steel insert, and add the trivet to the bottom.
Step 3: Place prepped food in instant pot
Put prepped fruits or veggies in ramekins or small glass pyrex cups in the bottom of your instant pot. Top that layer with a steamer basket with more fruits/veggies. If you don’t have a steamer basket, just layer more ramekins.
Step 4: Let the instant pot cook fruits/veggies
Close lid with vent on the sealing position and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release and wait for ramekins to cool before handling.
If you are using a baby led weaning approach, wait for food to cool and offer to baby. If you’d prefer to puree, add steamed food to blender and add no sodium chicken stock or fresh breastmilk until the desired consistency is reached.
It’s good to experiment with spices, too. Add in seasonings/herbs to purees to make them more flavorful! I love bananas with rosemary or cinnamon, sweet potatoes with ginger/cloves/cinnamon, carrots with basil, squash with cinnamon, peas and green beans with mint, etc. Get creative to help expand baby’s palate.
What about making chicken in the instant pot?
Once baby has experimented with the fruits and veggies above, you can move on to chicken. The instant pot is also great to make this in, too! To make chicken in the instant pot put three chicken breasts seasoned with parsley in the bottom trivet and add 1/2 cup of no or low sodium chicken stock.
Close lid with vent on sealing position and press poultry button. Let instant pot depressurize naturally. Once done, shred chicken with forks. To puree, place shredded chicken in blender and add chicken stock and more parsley.
Introducing baby to new foods–general tips
You want to introduce new foods to baby slowly. Generally, you’ll introduce one new food and not introduce another one for 2-3 days. This way, if baby responds negatively to any one food, you’ll know exactly what it is, rather than having to play detective.
Instant pot baby finger food
If you’re doing the baby-led weaning approach, you’ll obviously skip the puree part, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Remove all peelings from fruits
- Make sure all fruits and veggies are the diameter and length of your pointer finger. You want baby to be able to grasp the food easily.
Puree combination ideas
After you’ve introduced all foods in stage 1 to baby, it’s time to get creative! Mix and match different fruits and veggies into combinations for baby to try. Here’s some of my favorite puree combination ideas:
- Carrot, apple, ginger
- Sweet potato, banana
- Avocado, banana, apple
- Banana, blue berry, sweet potato
- Squash, pees
- Pear, apple, banana
- Beets, apple
- Kale, apple, carrot
- Cabbage, apple
- Mango, apple, carrot
- Broccoli, peas, apple
- Pumpkin, parsnip, sweet potato
Helpful things to have on hand to make your own baby food in the instant pot
Storing baby food once you’ve made it in the instant pot
Using the instant pot to prep baby food is great because you can make a ton of food at once. The easiest thing to do is to make at least 6 different fruits or veggies and pour them into silicone containers (make sure they are silicone so that you can easily pop them out–I’m a huge fan of this container) that are perfectly portioned for baby meals (1 oz).
Once they’ve frozen, easily pop them out and store them in freezer bags. To thaw, take out the portions you need and place them in the fridge to thaw. This generally takes less than 12 hours.
You can store freshly made baby food in the fridge for up to 48 hours. If you’re making meats, either freeze or toss it after 24 hours.