Serving baby apples is an affordable and delicious produce option that’s packed with Vitamin C and fiber. There are a few key steps to take to ensure that apples for babies are served safely. (Raw apple is a common choking hazard for babies.)
With the wide range of apples available throughout the year and the fruits versatility, they’re a great option to share with the kids from the time they start solids. From apple puree and applesauce to baked apple slices and stewed apples, there are so many really easy ways to prepare this fruit for baby.
Apples are also not a common allergen, so they can make a wonderful early food when prepared safely.
Apples for Babies
The two most common ways to offer apples to babies is in a smooth apple puree or as a baby led weaning food as a baked or sauteed apple slice. Both are delicious options with soft textures that are appropriate for babies aged 6-12 months.
From there, you can move to smaller pieces of soft-cooked apples to offer as a finger food for babies around 9 months, or when they’re able to pick up small pieces of food with their fingers.
Apples are a great source of Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. They also have a mellow, yet sweet flavor that’s usually quite appealing to kids of all ages.
TIP: Brush up on the basics of Grapes for Babies too.
When can babies eat apples?
Babies can eat soft cooked apples soon after starting solids, which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends happens around the 6 month mark. Apples at this age need to be offered in very soft forms.
It is not safe to offer a baby a whole raw apple or slices of raw apple.
How to Reduce Choking Risk of Apples
The easiest way to ensure that apples for babies are safe to eat is to cook them until soft to start. This can be as a puree or applesauce or as a soft-cooked baked or sauteed apple.
Then, once baby is eating finger foods, you can offer:
- Grated apples
- Matchstick apples (usually 12/14+ months)
- Very thinly sliced apples (usually 14/16+ months)
TIP: Read more on reducing common choking risks here.
How to Give Babies Raw Apple Step-by-Step
If you’re looking to try raw apples, here are ways to offer it for older babies and toddlers that are safer. Do not offer a whole raw apple or a thick slice of raw apple to a baby or a one year old.
Grated apple (10/12+ months)
Cut off a side of an apple and grate it on a box grater. I leave the peel on. If this texture is too challenging for your 9+ month baby, you can put grated apple into very hot water for 5 minutes to soften, then drain. This can offered as an early finger food, with a small amount at a time. You do not need to peel these as the pieces of peel on any piece are very thin and small.
Matchstick apples (12/14+ months)
Cut off one side of an apple and place cut side down on a cutting board. Cut thin slices about 1/8-inch thick. Then cut lengthwise to make thin matchstick size pieces.
Thin apple slices (14/16+ months)
Cut off one side of an apple and place cut side down on a cutting board. Cut thin slices about 1/8-inch thick.
TIP: From there, you can gradually offer thicker slices, but if your child regularly spits out the apple or has a hard time chewing it, back down to thinner slices.
When can you give a child a whole apple?
Once a while is over age 2, they may be able to chew a whole apple—especially if you remove some of the peel to start. Using their teeth to scrape off the raw apple creates smaller pieces that are easier to chew than biting a thick apple slice.
You can also try it with the skin on (the skin does have extra nutrients) but keep an eye on how challenging the mixed textures are for your child.
Be sure that the child is sitting down—which is a good goal for any meal or snack—and respond to them as they’re eating as needed (without interfering). Some kids may have an easier time with this than others and that’s totally fine!
TIP: Thick slices of apple may not be easy to chew until a child is well over 3 or even close to age 4.
How to Soften Apples for Baby Led Weaning
If serving apples baby led weaning style, you’ll want to cut the pieces to at least the size of a finger or two. You can always go larger. Then you’ll need to pick a method to cook them until soft.
This texture allows baby to pick up the piece of apple from about 6 months and self-feed, but it’s soft enough for them to easy handle in their mouths.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use any variety of apple, as long as it’s prepared so it’s very soft and easy for baby to eat. Softer apples, such as Gala or Golden Delicious, are nice options to start with when it’s safe to offer raw apples grated or in thin matchstick slices.
Yes, if the apple is cooked until soft and then mashed smooth or chunky according to where you are with baby food textures.
No, apples are not a common allergen and are not one of the top 8. Apples can cause a minor reaction that causes itching to the lips and tongue, but it is rare.
To boil apples for baby so they’re soft and easy to eat as a finger food, it usually takes about 10 minutes. To make them soft enough to mash into an applesauce, you may need a little more time than that.
Baby Apple Recipes to Try
Below are a few of our favorite easy apple recipes to share with baby. These work for babies—see each recipe for suggestions—and can be enjoyed by the rest of the family too. I always love to make food that can please more than one person in the family to help avoid waste, so know I’ve tried to do that here too.
Baby Apple Puree
This is a simple apple recipe that’s a perfect early baby food.
There’s no one right serving size for every child, so start with a smaller amount and offer more as indicated by baby. When they turn their head or close their mouth, end the meal—it’s usually pretty obvious when they want to be done!
Baby Applesauce Recipe
I love this instant pot applesauce since it’s super quick to make and turns raw apples into a perfect soft mash.
You can peel or not peel the apples, depending on your preference.
Baby Apple Muffins
Deliberately super moist and with three types of produce, these muffins are a great way to offer cooked apples.
These are deliberately very moist (and moister than regular muffins) to ensure they are easy for baby to chew and swallow, so expect that from the interior. If you’d like to make them sweeter for older kiddos, add ¼ cup sugar to the batter.
Baby Apple Pancake
Grate fresh apples to add flavor and nutrition to this apple recipe that the whole family can enjoy. You can make them on a sheet pan or in a pan and dice up for babies eating finger food.
These apple pancakes are hearty and filled with freshly shredded apples and oats, so expect them to have a lot of texture!
Baby Stewed Apple
Simmer fresh apples in liquid until just soft for a delicious and safe finger food.
Transform fresh apples into the most delicious snack or side dish to share with the whole family—babies and toddlers on up. With three flavor options.
Baby Baked Apple
Sliced and baked apple slices are super quick and are just delicious. (Older kids and parents may enjoy these too!)
We like these apples warm or cold out of the fridge, so see what your kids like best!
Sauteed Apples for Baby
Once baby is eating finger foods, you can try smaller pieces of cooked apples like this recipe.
You can use any type of apple you have or like, though generally tart cooking apples (like Granny Smith or Pink Lady) soften nicely without falling apart too quickly.
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