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If your baby is ready to start eating solid foods, you’re in the right place! Learn how to cook apples for baby in 5 different ways to incorporate variety and find the method that’s just right for your baby’s age and stage.

Colorful plates with different types of apples for baby led weaning.

Baby Led Weaning Apples – 5 MEthods

Apples are an iconic first food for babies. Many of us grew up eating apples and applesauce ourselves, and for good reason! Apples are naturally sweet, high in fiber, and they have a wonderful texture that’s easy to modify. However, it’s important to understand exactly how to prepare and serve the apples for baby-led weaning.

As your baby grows and develops, they’ll need to eat them in different ways based on their motor development and nutritional needs. Fortunately, they’re all very simple to prep, so let’s get into these simple BLW apple options!

A hand holding up an apple.

apples for baby

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Benefits of Apples for Babies

  • Nutritious: Apples have wonderful health benefits that make them one of the best first foods for babies. According to Harvard, they’re high in Vitamin C, fiber, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that can help support your baby’s digestive and cardiovascular systems.
  • Inexpensive: Although they range in quality, apples are often priced lower than many other fresh fruits, making them an affordable option for the whole family.
  • Easy to find: It’s easy to find apples in stores year-round, so you can serve them again and again.
  • So customizable: I’m sharing 5 simple ways to prepare apples, but that’s really just the start! They can be added to a variety of other healthy recipes like muffins, oatmeal, soups, and so much more. They’re one of the most versatile foods in your kitchen!

How to Cook Apples for Baby

Sauteed

Cut slices of apples (I like to use an apple cutter to cut the slices and then cut each apple slice in half lengthwise). Sauté the slices over medium heat with 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil or butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Sometimes it helps to add a bit of water to the pan as well to help soften the apples.

Steamed

Cut apples into sticks that resemble French fries. I like to use a crinkle cutter as the grooves help baby to better grip the apple strips, but you can also use a knife. Place the apple sticks into a steamer and steam for 4-5 minutes or until softened and tender.

Mashed or Pureed

Cook diced apple or apple slices in a pan or bake them until tender. Place the cooked apple in a mini blender or food processor. Blend them until they reach a mashed consistency (there can still be some small chunks). You can also add a bit of water if needed and blend them until pureed into an applesauce. You can then stick the mashed apple to a spoon and allow baby to feed him/herself with the spoon.

Shredded

This method is appropriate for older babies who have developed a pincer grasp, around 9 months+. Grate a peeled or unpeeled apple using the largest holes on your grater. You may need to squeeze the excess liquid out of the apple shreds using a paper towel if they’re really watery.

Matchsticks

For babies 12 months+, you can skip the cooking of the apples and simply cut the raw apple into really thin strips that resemble match sticks.

Keep scrolling to the recipe card below for printable Instructions!

TIPS

  • Use storebought applesauce. Although we love to make this apple puree recipe, you can absolutely use store-bought applesauce instead. Look for mixes without any added sugar, as it’s recommended that babies and toddlers avoid added sugar under the age of two.
  • Adjust by age. Part of baby-led weaning is about knowing when and how to serve foods in an age-appropriate way. Babies can start eating solid foods at 6 months of age. I recommend offering the first three methods for younger babies (sauteed, steamed, or pureed apples). Older babies at 9 months can have grated apple pieces, and you should wait until 12 months to slice the apples into finger food style matchsticks.
  • Monitor while eating. It’s incredibly important to monitor your baby while they’re eating. Small pieces of food are a common choking hazard, and it takes time for your baby to learn how to eat solid foods. Always stay near to observe and help if needed.
  • Watch for allergens. Although apples are not a common allergen, it’s always good to monitor your little one for any reactions. Learn more about apple allergies here.
  • Remove apple seeds. No matter how you prepare them, be sure to remove the seeds from the fresh apples before cooking or serving. This is easiest with an apple corer!
  • Choose the right varieties. Technically, you can serve any kind of apples to your baby, but some may be more palatable than others. Really tart options like Granny Smith might not be very enjoyable in your homemade baby food. Varieties like Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, and Gala are all really well-tolerated by kids.
  • Consider buying organic apples. Especially if you’re serving the skin of the apples, consider choosing organic apples to reduce the amount of pesticides. 

FAQs

How do you prepare apples for babies?

Apples are a great way to start your baby on solid foods, and there is a variety of ways to prepare and serve them! For young babies, start by serving cooked apples. They’re soft, slightly mushy, and very easy to eat. However, you don’t have to make applesauce! You can sautee or even steam apples until tender or serve cooked apple wedges. When your baby gets older, you can consider offering raw apples grated or sliced into finger foods. 

Is it better to steam or boil apples for baby?

2009 study showed that it’s typically better to steam, not boil, fresh fruits and vegetables. When you boil foods, the vitamins and minerals leach into the water, washing them away. Steaming preserves more of the nutrients while still offering a tender, easy-to-eat texture. Although the researchers did not test apples, steamed apples are likely more nutritious than boiled ones.

How do I give my 6 month old apples?   

When your baby first starts eating solid foods, offer cooked apples. They can be a smooth puree, like applesauce, or you can either sautee or steam slices. Your baby will be able to grip these with their whole palm using the palmar grasp, making them easy for them to hold and serve themselves. Once they get older, you can move to serving them raw. Just be sure to either grate them or cut them into matchsticks to avoid choking.

Storage Guidelines

  • Raw apple slices can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Consider coating them with a little water and lemon juice to avoid browning.
  • Cooked apples can be refrigerated for 4-5 days in an airtight container.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze leftover applesauce or steamed apples in ice cube trays or these Souper Cubes and then transfer them to a freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge before serving.

What to Serve with Apples

There are so many different ways to serve apples, whether they’re raw or cooked! They’re great with some yogurt or cottage cheese, sliced cheddar, thinly spread with peanut butter or fluffy scrambled eggs.

We love to add cooked apples to a variety of recipes, including these options:

Apple Variations

  • Make cinnamon apples: Add a pinch of cinnamon to add some warm spices to any of these apple recipes.
  • Try applesauce instead: We love to make our own homemade applesauce and it’s a great option for baby too. Read more about how to make applesauce from whole apples here.
  • Add or substitute pear: You can prepare pears in many of the same ways as apples, although they are a little harder to grate. They’re especially great in cooked recipes!
An image showing how to cook apples for baby five different ways.

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An image with five ways to serve apples for baby led weaning.
Recipe
5 from 1 vote

How to Cook Apples for Baby-Led Weaning

Created by Elysia
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
If your baby is ready to start eating solid foods, you're in the right place! Learn how to cook apples for baby in 5 different ways to incorporate variety and find the method that's just right for your baby's age and stage.

Ingredients
 

  • 1 apple
  • cinnamon (optional)

Instructions
 

Sauteed:

  • Cut slices of apples (I like to use an apple cutter to cut the slices and then cut each apple slice in half lengthwise). Sauté the slices over medium heat with 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil or butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Sometimes it helps to add a bit of water to the pan as well to help soften the apples.

Steamed:

  • Cut apples into sticks that resemble French fries. I like to use a crinkle cutter as the grooves help baby to better grip the apple strips, but you can also use a knife. Place the apple sticks into a steamer and steam for 4-5 minutes or until softened and tender.

Mashed or Pureed:

  • Cook diced apple or apple slices in a pan or bake them until tender. Place the cooked apple in a mini blender or food processor. Blend them until they reach a mashed consistency (there can still be some small chunks). You can also add a bit of water if needed and blend them until pureed into an applesauce. You can then stick the mashed apple to a spoon and allow baby to feed him/herself with the spoon.

Shredded:

  • Appropriate for older babies who have developed a pincer grasp, around 9 months+. Grate a peeled or unpeeled apple using the largest holes on your grater. You may need to squeeze the excess liquid out of the apple shreds using a paper towel if they’re really watery.

Matchsticks:

  • For babies 12 months+, you can skip the cooking of the apples and simply cut the raw apple into really thin strips that resemble match sticks.

Notes

  • Adjust by age. Part of baby-led weaning is about knowing when and how to serve foods in an age-appropriate way. Babies can start eating solid foods at 6 months of age. I recommend offering the first three methods for younger babies (sauteed, steamed, or pureed apples). Older babies at 9 months can have grated apple pieces, and you should wait until 12 months to slice the apples into finger food style matchsticks.
  • Monitor while eating. It’s incredibly important to monitor your baby while they’re eating. Small pieces of food are a common choking hazard, and it takes time for your baby to learn how to eat solid foods. Always stay near to observe and help if needed.
  • Watch for allergens. Although apples are not a common allergen, it’s always good to monitor your little one for any reactions. Learn more about apple allergies here.
  • Remove apple seeds. No matter how you prepare them, be sure to remove the seeds from the fresh apples before cooking or serving. This is easiest with an apple corer!
  • Choose the right varieties. Technically, you can serve any kind of apples to your baby, but some may be more palatable than others. Really tart options like Granny Smith might not be very enjoyable in your homemade baby food. Varieties like Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, and Gala are all really well-tolerated by kids.

Nutrition

Calories: 24kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 0.5mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg
An image with five ways to serve apples for baby led weaning.

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