Beginning at the age of six months, when infants begin to show signs of interest in complementary foods, carrots are an excellent option for the first solid food that a baby should eat. Find out how to prepare baby’s first carrots, whether they’re steamed, puréed, mashed, grated, or roasted, and serve them in a manner that is appropriate for the baby’s age and nutritional requirements.
Carrots, with a little bit of preparation, also make a nutritious and convenient option for baby food, particularly when they are introduced as baby-led weaning food or finger food.
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Carrots For Babies
Just like sweet potato, carrots have a soft texture (when cooked) with a sweet mild flavor which is quickly accepted by babies. Carrots make a great first vegetable to be introduced to your baby whether you choose to make carrot puree, serve carrot sticks as finger food or when making stage 2 carrot baby food recipes.
Benefits of Eating Carrots For Babies
- Carrots are a top source of beta-carotene (then transformed by the body into vitamin A) and also rich in many natural bioactive compounds responsible for the maintenance of the baby’s normal function of the immune system, skin, mucosal membranes, and normal vision.
- Note: To help the body convert more beta carotene into vitamin A, the carrots should be eaten with a small amount of fat. A healthful source of fat you could use is avocado, nuts, seeds or cold pressed oils.
- Carrots, being rich in fiber can help slow the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream and additionally prevent the baby from getting constipated.
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How To Cook Carrots For Babies
Here are some suggestions on how to cook carrots for babies, while retaining their nutrients, taste and texture:
1. Steaming: How To Steam Carrots For Baby Food
- Peel the carrots. Slice into desired size pieces.
- Bring 1 inch of water to boil in a saucepan fitted with a steamer basket and cover with a lid.
- Steam on medium-low heat for approximately 12-15 minutes (it depends on the size) or until they are soft when pierced with a fork. Then you can cut into smaller pieces if you need to, according to your baby’s age.
Steaming is one of the best ways to prepare carrots for baby led weaning. This method of cooking preserves the most of it vitamins as there is less contact with water and has a short exposure to heat.
2. How To Bake/ Roast Carrots As Baby Finger Food
If you want to bake carrots for your baby, you have two options: cut then bake, or bake first and then once soft, cut into smaller pieces.
- Peel and chop the carrots into desired size.
- Drizzle with oil (healthier oil to use is olive oil, avocado oil or grape seed oil) and coat evenly. Season with a touch of pink Himalayan salt (for babies 9 months+), dried herbs like sage, oregano or coriander.
- Spread in one layer, on a parchment paper lined sheet pan (try not to use aluminum foil, when exposed to high heat, aluminum can leach into food).
- Roast the carrots at 400F until soft and tender, approximately 25-35 minutes. Usually whole thick carrots will need a little more time.
If you intend to serve with a spoon, mashed or make a carrot puree, then you can bake (or steam) carrots whole.
3. How To Boil Carrots For Baby Food
- Bring a pot with water to a boil.
- Add the chopped carrots (0.5-1 inch thick slices/ sticks) to boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes, then drain (timing depends on the thickness of the carrots). For whole carrots – about 10 minutes.
- Season if necessary, then you can cut into desired shapes or mash in purees.
Boiling carrots usually is the least preferred method if you need just plain soft carrots. The most nutrients will leach into the boiling water that you will likely discard.
This method is best when you make soups and purees as you would keep the water with all the leached nutrients.
Related: How To Make Carrot Puree For Babies
Boiling carrots will also reduce the vitamin content. Raw or steamed carrots provide the most nutritional value.
How To Cut Carrots For Babies By Age
Keep in mind that all babies develop at their own pace, your baby’s oral-motor skills, chewing and swallowing skills may differ from what’s shown in the picture below, use your own common sense and logic to decide what your baby can handle.
The carrot serving suggestions below are for informational purposes only, not medical advice.
- For 6-month-olds babies
- Finger food (BLW): offer the carrots (steamed and soft) sliced into thick strips or sticks so your baby can hold them in the fist and chew.
- Carrot puree: after steaming or roasting, mix with water or stock to form a smooth puree.
- For a 9 month old baby – all of the above plus:
- Start cutting the carrots up into tiny bite-sized pieces (half-moon slices), grated or shreds (again: steamed and soft) that he/she can easily pick up. That’s usually when the child has developed her pincer grasp.
- Mashed carrots (steamed or roasted) with a fork (minimum or no liquid added).
- Stage 2 baby food: mashed carrots combined with one or two more types of foods.
- Carrot soup with stock (blended to smooth consistency).
- Carrot juice (cold pressed, freshly made) not store-bought bottled (they’re loaded with sugar and most nutrients are already lost due to processing).
- Grated raw carrots – served into clumps.
- At 12-18 months (all of the above plus):
- Carrot cooked to a soft consistency served in thin slices, shreds, or diced into small pieces mixed with other foods. Encourage your baby to use utensils, like fork or spoon.
- Raw carrots might be good at 14 months+ (some babies are not ready at this age though and might choke), it depends on the number of teeth and your child’s eating/chewing skills. If you observe that your child is quite skillful with chewing and biting, then there shouldn’t be a problem. Start serving a whole raw carrot then progress to smaller sticks.
How soft should carrots be for baby?
The carrots should be soft enough for you to smash with your fingers, but still able to hold it’s shape. So that your baby could easily be able to gum or chew it even without teeth.
FAQ: Babies & Carrots
Are carrots hard to digest for babies?
In its puree form, the answer is typically no. Because carrots do not have teeth, sufficient enzymes, or an established gut flora, they have a chance of going through the digestive tract without being broken down if they are served as a finger food. This is normal because infants (those younger than 12 months) do not chew their food very well and have a tendency to move food through their digestive tract quickly. This problem will correct itself as your child gets older.
Do carrots cause constipation in babies?
Usually carrots don’t cause constipation as they contain a good amount of fiber which increases the weight and size of the stool and it becomes easier to pass. If constipation occurs on a regular basis after eating carrots, it might indicate another problem: a digestive disfunction or an allergy.
Can babies choke on carrot?
Raw carrots, especially raw baby carrots are a chocking hazard for infants. They are hard to chew and can they can bite a piece off and chock (especially when they have a few teeth). If you really want to offer finger foods and do baby led weaning, make sure you offer a larger thicker piece and soft, so the baby could suck on it.
Can babies eat pureed raw carrots?
As long as you make it smooth there shouldn’t be a chocking problem. Raw carrots are actually more nutritious than those exposed to heat.
Can I give my baby a carrot for teething?
You can give a frozen cooked carrot. The carrot will defrost as baby chews. Some parents choose to give a whole raw carrot for teething babies (without teeth), but if you’re not comfortable with this, then don’t. Another option is to use a baby feeder with cooked carrots inside.
When can toddlers eat raw baby carrots?
If your baby has a lot of experience with the baby led weaning method and finger foods, then he/she might be ready for raw carrots at around 14 months. That’s when babies have ability to chew correctly and know how to spit out. Always watch carefully.
Carrot Recipes For Babies
Serve More Vegetables To Your Baby
- Potatoes For Baby: How To Prepare & Serve
- Cauliflower For Baby Ways To Cook & Serve
- Ways To Prepare Butternut Squash For Baby
- Carrots For Baby Led Weaning
Should I Steam or Boil Carrots For Baby Food?
Steaming is one of the best ways to prepare carrots for baby-led weaning. This method of cooking preserves most of its vitamins as there is less contact with water and has short exposure to heat. Steaming carrots for baby, checking the softness after steaming.
How Long To Steam Carrots For Baby
Place baby carrots in a bowl along with a half centimeter of water; after that, add butter, sugar, and salt to the mixture. Bring the water to a boil, then cover the pan and turn the heat down to where it is just barely simmering. When the carrots have been cooking for seven or eight minutes, remove the lid from the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. After a few minutes, the water should be reduced until it almost entirely evaporates, and then the process should be repeated.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CARROTS
- They contain a ton of beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, which is necessary for protecting eye health and immune function.
- High source of antioxidants to help strengthen immunity
- Good source of fiber, which helps keep the digestive system working properly
- High in vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting
- Contains calcium to help strengthen bones
HOW TO MAKE CARROT BABY FOOD
- Peel and Chop: Wash, peel and roughly chop the carrots into pieces the same size.
- Steam: Place the carrots inside a steamer basket and steam for 10-12 minutes or until tender.
- Transfer: Transfer the cooked carrots into a blender, then add nutmeg.
- Blend: Puree until smooth, adding water if needed to thin out the puree.
- Serve: Serve or freeze for later.
These tools will make it a lot easier for you to make this healthy Sweet Potato puree. For more of my favorite kitchen tools make sure to check out my shop.
- blender or food processor
- veggie peeler
- freezer tray
- storage containers for fridge
- stasher bag
- reusable pouches
OTHER COOKING METHODS
While I love the crisp flavor you get when you steam the carrots, there are several ways you can cook carrots for baby food.
Peel and roughly chop 2 pounds of carrots before placing them onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1-2 teaspoons of high-quality olive oil and sprinkle with spice (if preferred). Roast in a preheated 425-degree F oven for 20 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork. Puree in a blender as directed below.
Place 2 pounds of peeled and roughly chopped carrots into a medium saucepan, fill with water until the carrots are covered, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork. Puree in a blender as directed below. Note that boiling tends to leave foods less nutritious since much of the nutrients leach into the water while cooking, and then that water is typically discarded. To preserve maximum nutrients, you may want to choose roasting or steaming. If you prefer boiling, save some of the water so you can use it as your liquid for thinning out the puree.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can carrots be baby’s first food?
Carrots can 100% be your baby’s first food if you want it to be. It is recommended to wait to introduce the top eight allergen foods to your baby once a few other well-tolerated foods have been introduced, but otherwise, foods can be introduced in any order so choose whatever you are most excited for your baby to have.
When can babies have carrots?
Babies can have carrots as one of their first foods. When a baby can start on solids is determined by their own rate of development, which generally comes between 4-6 months of age. Some of the developmental milestones babies need to reach in order to start solids include: if your baby has solid control of their head and neck, if your baby has doubled in weight, and if your baby is reaching for or opening their mouth when you eat (see my guide here). Before you start your baby on purees, you should consult with your pediatrician to make sure your child is developmentally ready.
Are carrots a common allergen for baby?
No, carrots are not a common allergen, however, as with any food, start with a small portion and be aware of any signs that might be an allergic reaction after introducing it.
Do carrots cause constipation for babies?
Steamed carrots, though unlikely, may cause constipation in some babies, so avoid giving too much.
Can you add spices/herbs to this puree?
Yes! In this recipe, we are adding a pinch of nutmeg, but feel free to use the following spices instead: cumin, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, thyme, rosemary, or fresh ginger (see quantity recommendations in the recipe card).
Tip on Spices: I always add spices or herbs to my baby food purees, but you can choose to leave them out in all of your baby food. You do you! Either way, this puree will surely taste amazing.
HOW TO STORE CARROT BABY PUREE
You can store this puree in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
This puree can be frozen for up to 4 months.
- Spoon puree into a freezer storage container – do not overfill.
- Place the lid on the storage container or cover with a piece of saran wrap, and label with the date and recipe name.
- Place the tray into the freezer and let it freeze completely — preferably overnight.
- Pop-out the baby food cubes and place them in a ziplock baggie or stasher bag. Don’t forget to relabel the baggie or stasher bag for future reference.
Need more information on how to store your baby foods? Head over to my Best Baby Food Storage Containers – Plus 6 Tips on Freezing and Thawing post!
Label Tip: Don’t forget to label your purees before you place them in the fridge or freezer with the name of the puree and the date you made it. Take it from me; by the end of the week, you will completely forget what is in your freezer and how long it’s been there. ????
GREAT CARROT COMBINATION PUREES
While Carrot Puree is great and satisfying by itself, it’s also super easy to mix and match with other nutrient-dense baby food purees. So give these fun flavor combos a try!
- Sweet Potato
- Multigrain Baby Cereal
- White Beans
- Soft Tofu
PUREE FEEDING TIPS
- Place a small amount of puree on the tray during spoon feeding, so that your baby can dip their fingers or hands in the puree. Allowing baby to explore foods in this way helps them learn to self-feed and can help them be more willing to try new textures and foods in the future.
- Have a spare spoon (or three!) – even very young babies often want to be involved in feeding themselves as much as possible. Giving baby an extra spoon to hold can be helpful in giving her a sense of control and also promotes hand-eye coordination.Allow baby to use spoons as a teether during the meal. There are many great options out there but a few we particularly love include the Olababy 3 Piece Set, the NumNum Pre-Spoon GOOtensils, and the ChooMee FlexiDip Baby Starter Spoons.
- Try adding a little seasoning or spice to purees – babies like flavor! Or consider changing the temperature of purees from time to time, to slightly warmed or slightly chilled. Varying these aspects adds to the sensory experience!
Or watch a shortened version of this video here.
get the recipe:CARROT PUREE RECIPE FOR BABY (STAGE 1)
4.6 stars (98 ratings)
Filled with nutritious steamed carrots and a pinch of nutmeg – this puree will sure to delight your little ones taste buds!
yield: 24 OUNCES
prep: 5 MINUTES
cook: 12 MINUTES
author: MICHELE OLIVIER
course: MAIN COURSE
cuisine: BABY FOOD
- 1 lb carrots, trimmed, peeled and roughly chopped
- pinch nutmeg (optional)
- 1/2-1 cup reserved water, fresh breast milk, formula or fresh water
- Steam: In a medium saucepan, bring 2″ of water to a boil over medium heat. Place the carrots into a steamer basket, cover and cook for 9-11 minutes or until tender. Reserve steamer water. Let cool slightly.
- Transfer: Place the cooked carrots into a blender or food processor and add a pinch of nutmeg, or any spice/herb you are using. Add in 1/2 cup of liquid
- Puree: turn on the blender or food processor and puree for 1-2 minutes on medium. If puree is too thick, add in 1/4 cup liquid at a time, until you achieve desired consistency. I had to add in 1 1/4 cup water.
- Eat: Serve and enjoy, or freeze some for later.
Age: 4-6 months and up
Yield: roughly 24 ounces
Notes on Nutmeg: adding spices to your baby’s first purees is completely optional but totally safe. Nutmeg rounds out the acidic taste carrots sometimes have and make this puree taste grounded and full-bodied.
Additional Spices: Feel free to substitute in a pinch or two of ginger powder, freshly minced ginger, curry powder, cloves, finely minced fresh chives, or 1/4 minced garlic clove.