Your baby is ready to be weaned, but now you have a dilemma. Do you buy expensive pre-mushed sachets of baby food or spend ages creating your own? I’m guessing, as parents, money and time are two things you don’t want to waste.
Enter the baby food maker. These clever machines allow you to create healthy baby food in minutes. You control the quality, flavor, and variety of ingredients going into your baby’s tummy.
Want to know the best part?
You save money. So as long as you eat healthily, then you don’t need to go out of your way to buy extra baby bits. Your fridge and cupboards should contain everything you need to make awesome baby food.
Maybe you’ll double up when buying your fruit and veg, but you can certainly say goodbye to expensive pouches (or keep them for exhausting mom emergencies).
A baby food maker is supposed to make life easier, but with so many out there, choosing one can be a pain. Relax! We’ve gotten nerdy with our research, so you don’t have to. Here’s our roundup of the best baby food makers of 2017.
In this article:
What is a baby food maker?
Think of them as stripped-back, mini food processors, just with fewer features. They’re designed to transform your ingredients into a baby-friendly puree. The beauty is that, with minimal effort, you can create your own baby food with your favorite healthy ingredients.
There are two main types of baby food makers:
All-in-one: These machines both steam and blend your ingredients. They do this either in a single bowl/chamber or they require two bowls, one for each process. All-in-ones are a convenient choice, though usually come with a higher price tag. Additionally, they have more components, so can be trickier to clean.
Go for an all-in-one if you want to save time and hassle and are blessed with a higher budget.
Blender only: These baby food makers are simpler and cheaper. They only blend, so you’ll need to steam or cook the food separately. For many parents, that’s just fine. With fewer parts, they’re easy to get the hang of and clean.
Go for a blender only version if you want something that is simple, durable and easy to use. Even though you’ll have to steam separately, some parents prefer this as it’s easy to wash a pan.
Also, if concerned about health risks from steaming within a plastic container (which some of the all-in-ones do), you can avoid this by doing your own steaming.
What are the benefits of a baby food maker?
Control over your baby’s food quality and nutrition
With a baby food maker, you decide exactly what your baby eats. You can control the quality and type of ingredients that will be going into their precious little bodies.
You can also avoid nasties like sugar and salt which often end up in shop-bought baby food. If you’re health-savvy, you can pass this onto your child by choosing organic or picking ingredients with the best nutritional content.
If your baby has an allergy, you can easily avoid certain ingredients while making sure they get just what they need. Finally, you’ll be able to introduce your baby to a wide range of foods and flavors.
This will hopefully expand their little palates and start them on the path to food awareness and appreciation, avoiding the pitfalls of our junk food society.
Baby can eat what you eat
If you’re eating a healthy balanced diet, then, as you prepare your meal, you can also use some of those same fruits and veggies to prepare your baby’s.
This way, they become accustomed to eating the same as the rest of the family without developing a taste for the sugary and salty baby foods found in grocery stores. This will help them become less fussy with food while growing.
Save time and money
If you’re set on the potential health benefits of preparing your own baby meals, then a baby food maker will save you tons of time.
No more cooking or steaming in multiple pots before mashing it all up with a fork! That headache will soon be a thing of the past.
You’ll also save money, as those shop-bought baby food sachets are expensive. If your baby is going to eat the same fruit and veggies as you, then you won’t even need to spend extra time when grocery shopping.
Better for the environment
How much packaging for a single tiny container of baby food? They may be 100% organic, but that’s a lot of trash on its way to landfills.
Our picks of the best baby food makers
The BEABA Babycook is more expensive than the others. For your money, you get a smart, durable machine that should go the distance. It aims to do pretty much everything, such as defrosting, warming, steaming, and blending.
What’s more, it takes only 15 minutes to steam-cook pretty much any meal. Another nice touch is that it’s been designed to be operated with just one hand; great if your baby won’t let you put him down.
The Babycook has the largest bowl (4.7 cups), great for batch cooking, while its compact size means it has a small footprint on your kitchen top.
Unfortunately, you have to steam in one bowl, then transfer the contents to a different bowl before blending. This can be inconvenient and means more washing up. Cleaning-wise, however, it’s pretty easy.
Parents have commented that the water reservoir is hard to access, making it tricky to keep clean.
- Multifunctional with a steamer, blender, warmer, and defroster;
- Large bowl volume;
- One-hand operated.
Watch out for:
- Transfer required from steam bowl to blend bowl;
- Hard to clean the water reservoir.
Our second choice
Ah, pouched baby food. Has there been a more time-saving invention since sliced bread? They’re grab and go and make feeding simple – now, thanks to Infantino, parents can easily pouch their homemade baby food, keeping diets nutritious and mealtimes convenient.
This pick is a little different from others on our list in that it’s not used to cook or puree baby food, but as a storage system that simplifies your DIY baby food journey.
The squeeze station is a half-moon-shaped rack that features three top tubes with bottom output. Parents can use the press to squeeze puree down into a convenient squeeze pouch. Ten refillable pouches are included with this pick.
- Pouch feeding is easy, this pick letting parents fill pouches with homemade baby food
- Three pouches can be filled at once thanks to the station’s efficient construction
- There are 10 reusable pouches included with the Squeeze Station
- Pouches are clear, so it’s easy to see what food is there and that it’s safe
- There’s a space for labels on the backside of the pouches
Watch out for:
- This pick focuses on storage, and won’t cook or puree your baby’s food for you, so it’s best used in conjunction with another baby food maker
- This model is not dishwasher safe, as the plastic isn’t designed for heat and can be warped beyond usability
Our third choice
When one baby food maker can do the work of several appliances, you know you’ve got a powerhouse on your hands. The QOOC 4-in-1 can steam and blend your baby’s food, and also reheat and defrost their meals easily – no more uneven heating in the microwave.
We really like that this pick is noise-free, which means it won’t startle children or pets while blending and pureeing, nor disrupt them if they’re napping nearby.
Those new to making baby food will appreciate that this pick comes with both a recipe booklet and an e-guide that’s regularly updated.
- It can steam, blend, reheat and defrost your baby’s food, all in one appliance
- The unit makes no noise while steaming or blending
- All plastic included in this set is BPA free and non-toxic
- A spatula and cleaning brush are included for your convenience
- It’s compact, so takes up little space on your kitchen counter
Watch out for:
- It does not come with a storage system, so parents will need jars or containers available
- It’s important to keep the water tank filled, as a low or empty tank is incapable of preventing overheating, possibly leading to burnt food
Our fourth choice
The Baby Bullet is a hugely popular product and it’s easy to see why. It’s super simple, easy to use, and not much can go wrong. Plus, it comes with two blades, a three-piece mixing bowl, extra tubs and trays, and a useful spatula.
The Baby Bullet is a blend-only baby food maker. It does not steam or cook. If you’re happy to steam your fruit and veggies separately, then the Baby Bullet is a great choice. It creates beautiful smooth purees which can be made chunkier if you use the pulse mode (good for older babies). And, with fewer things to clean or go wrong, this little unit should prove to be hassle-free and endure daily use for a long time.
For those of you short on steaming pans and preferring a “set and forget” approach to making baby food, then we highly recommend the Cuisinart Baby.
- Simple to use;
- Easy to clean;
- Very affordable.
Watch out for:
- Doesn’t steam/cook;
- The bowl is small. Not great for big batches.
Our fifth choice
The Sage Spoonfuls Puree & Blend is an immersion blender (ie, the type you just lower into a pot or bowl) with an accompanying food processor bowl. A surprise inclusion on our list, the Sage Spoonfuls turns out to be great in lots of different ways.
It’s easy to use this blender with almost any container; eg. pot, pan, or large jar. The blades are cleverly designed to almost avoid splatter altogether.
This food maker is great for busy parents who want to cook on the fly, preparing their baby’s meal with minimum time and hassle. Because this machine doesn’t steam, you’ll need to do that separately, though this doesn’t really add much extra time.
The food processing bowl is just as easy to use as the immersion blender. You’ll soon learn which works best for different types of ingredients.
More affordable than all-in-one baby food makers, the Sage Spoonfuls is one of our top picks.
- Very affordable;
- Easy to use;
- Quick to clean;
- Glass and stainless steel.
Watch out for:
- Doesn’t steam/cook;
- Not as durable as some of the others;
- The processor bowl is small. Not great for batch cooking.
What are the disadvantages of baby food makers?
Nowadays, there are tons of super healthy and organic baby foods you can buy for your child. If savvy and you choose well, you don’t have to worry about your baby not getting the nutrients they need.
If you don’t fancy yourself as a cook or trust in your own nutritional know-how, then pre-made pouches may indeed be a more foolproof option.
Also, while making the switch from shop-bought containers, making your own baby food is sure to take more time. There’s just no getting away from this.
You’ll need to chop and sometimes peel your fruit and veg. Then, when finished, there’s the washing up to do. Baby food makers do their best to minimize this, making the whole process as easy as possible, but there’s always time involved.
If you love to cook, then you’ll enjoy the time spent, but if you dislike being in the kitchen and are stretched for time already, you’ll need to decide whether a baby food maker is right for you.
What makes a good baby food maker?
When researching and reviewing baby food makers to bring you this guide, there were several factors we considered:
High-quality puree: Does it consistently produce a baby-safe puree? Some blades push food away from the chopping edge leaving lumps. The best baby food makers create a smooth puree with good texture and consistency.
Easy to use: All-in-one baby food makers are always a little more complicated than their blend-only counterparts. Then, depending on brands and models, there are differences in how easy they are to use.
Some seem like child’s play, while others have a steeper learning curve and will soon have you leafing through the manual, scratching your head.
Durability: A very important consideration. Are you planning to use the machine every day or once a week? If it’s going to be a much-used addition to your kitchen, then it must be rugged and durable.
Easy to clean: Some machines have lots of parts and are difficult to clean. This can make cleaning them time-consuming and fiddly. It also presents a health risk – with mold possibly concealed where you can’t get to it.
All parents want their kids to eat healthy and nutritious food. Even more so when they’re being introduced to solids for the first time.
A baby food maker enables you to control exactly what type and quality of ingredients are going into their tiny tummies.
Not only does this yield great health benefits, but can also introduce them to a variety of flavors and tastes as they eat some of the same ingredients as the rest of the family.
Today’s baby food makers are designed to be easy to use and save you as much time as possible. We got geeky about our research so that you don’t have to. Our top picks round up the best baby food makers on the market today.