Making Your Own Baby Food with a Food Processor

You’ll be happy to know that pulverizing steamed vegetables is an easy culinary skill to master, whether you use a fork, food mill, or your own mouth (as one reader suggested). We went over the various tools in this vintage post, and we still recommend making your own baby food if you want to save money. In The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we show you just how much you can save by cutting back on jarred foods.
cuisinart food processor

Kara over at Just Simply Live was kind enough to review our book. She loved the whole thing but walked away wishing we’d reviewed some food processors. Great idea! We didn’t do it in the book for a reason: We didn’t want new parents to feel like they had to rush out and buy something before they could make their pureed delights. Now, what I’m about to say may be shocking, but I’ll go ahead and say it: Joy does not even own a food processor! That’s right. Yet she managed to make a lot of her own baby food in something she did own—a blender. A blender is the worst appliance for this task, in my opinion, but that’s a topic for a future post.

A food processor is your greatest ally in the art of whirring mushy food into even mushier food. Why? Unlike a blender, you don’t have to add water to blend everything up. You’ll also get a smoother consistency more quickly than you would with other tools. You can also use it to blend dry goods; for example, I blended rolled oats into a powder so I could make my own baby cereal. I never bought boxes of rice or oat cereal, which can cost $5 a pound or more. The best thing about the food processor, though, is that it does much, much more than make baby food. It kneads, it mixes, it slices, it dices, it grates—it does everything but babysit.

So what food processors do I recommend? I have the Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor, which costs just under $100. It comes with everything you see in the photo. I use almost all of the attachments regularly, though it’s been years since I’ve needed to make baby food with it. The Cuisinart Prep Plus costs $133 and offers a larger (9 cup) capacity. Or, if you don’t think you’ll use it for much other than small projects, you could get the Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus for just $32.99.

Kitchenaid food processors may appeal to you if you do a lot of cooking and want special features, a variety of bowl sizes (from 3-12 cups) to choose from, and a lot of color options. The KitchenAid 7-cup food processor costs just under $100 and appears to be the equivalent of my Cuisinart.

Have you used a food processor to make your own baby food? Stay tuned for reviews of food mills, immersion blenders, and more!

Comments

  1. I use a food processor as well. I asked for a cheap ($35) one for Christmas and got it, but I wish I had just saved and sprung for something a little nicer like this. The one I have is very small and basic and really does not work much better than my blender. If you are going to buy one, I suggested making your money go a long way and getting something a little bit nice that you really can use when the few months of pureed baby food are finished!

  2. I used an immersion blender to make baby food and it ROCKED!! I loved that it required such minimal cleanup — I could just blend in the pot or bowl that I’d cooked the food in, so I didn’t have an extra container (i.e. food processor bowl and lid) to wash, and when done I just gave the “stick” part of the blender a rinse under the tap. Then I’d plop portion-sized spoonfuls the food onto a cookie sheet and freeze, moving them to a plastic freezer bag once completely frozen. It was so simple!

  3. I use an 80’s Cuisinart that I inherited from my mother. Works great. Rebecca, I am curious about how you prepared your oatmeal for baby. After processing into a powder did you cook it? We regularly eat thick cut rolled oats for breakfast–would these be too tough for a baby? Should I buy instant?

  4. BB, this was a few years ago, so I may be remembering this wrong, but I think I tried feeding Audrey regular oatmeal at first, and she didn’t like the lumpy texture. So I took regular (not instant) oats and ground them into a powder, which I kept in a canister. Then I could make little portions for her in the microwave. I’d just use a couple tablespoons of the oat powder, twice as much water, and cook it for under a minute.

    I have a really old post called “Fattening Baby, Naturally,” in which I describe all the ways I then added extra nutrition to her oats. For several months, Audrey ate anything as long as it was mixed in with ground oats.

    I don’t remember how old she was when I stopped grinding up her oats. At some point she graduated to normal oatmeal. . . .

  5. Lori, I sing the praises of the immersion blender in a later post–stay tuned! The only thing it can’t do too well is grind dry things. It’s perfect for small batches, though.

  6. I found that my two most used appliances when making baby food were my coffee grinder and my mini prep.
    The coffee grinder (clean and never used for coffee) was great for making brown rice cereal or oat, it was faster and less noisy than my big food processor. I used it to grind millet, quinoa, oats, brown rice, everything grain became a cereal!
    I also used my mini prep food processor. It came with my large food processor and i liked it becasue it was easy to clean and worked just as well as the big processor, it just made smaller, more mamageable batches. I have my recipes using both these on my blog.

  7. I hope you’ll be addressing the safety issues of what’s IN the different processors as well. BPA and whatever other issues I’m not even aware of! I’ve been wanting to replace our blender and food processor for a while – in fact they’re both gone – but I haven’t been able to make the decision yet.

  8. I use the Cuisinart immersion blender that came with the chopper attachment. It allows me to puree food and chop it finely. Love it! I think it was around $40 on amazon.com

  9. Michelle says

    I have the largest Cuisinart food processor from my wedding and am disappointed to report that all the bowls for these items have BPA in them. I haven’t used my food processor in years because I am usually blending hot foods in it – and I am very uncomfortable with pouring hot items into a BPA plastic container because of the leaching chemicals. I suggest the Baby Cook processor, which, though expensive, is BPA free, or a glass blender. This is a major issue, and I hope Cuisinart will start selling replacement glass or BPA-free bowls for its models of food processors.

  10. I have a grinder (to grind wheat into flour, etc.), and I use that to grind grains, and then can cook up some whole grain cereal in about 15 min. Other than than, I’ve been trying to give my baby “real” foods as much as possible — banana, kiwi, avocado, steamed sweet potato — without a lot of processing. My toddler is not the greatest eater, so we’re trying something different this time. I also have an immersion blender and think it would be ideal for creating purees for baby. My Kitchenaid immersion blender also has a sort of mini food processor attachment (I use it to make bread crumbs, hummus, pesto, etc.) that would work well — but more cleanup than the blender attachment. I do not own one of the big food processors. It would be nice to have one at times, but it is so HUGE! And I kind of hate kitchen appliances. P.S. Immersion blender is PERFECT for pureeing soups — put the blender (I have a stainless steal attachment) straight into the hot soup pot!

  11. I use the Cuisinart Mini Prep and it seems to be just right for the job of baby food, a batch of hummus and chopping nuts or powdering oats. And, it’s cheap, cheap, cheap.

  12. Thanks for all the comments! I have some upcoming reviews of blenders, food mills, and more, so if you’re looking for something that’s plastic/BPA-free to make baby food, there are options.

    I have to admit that I, personally, am not that concerned about the BPA that may be in my food processor. I don’t use it for hot things very often, nor do I store anything in it. I think that the amount of BPA that could leach into my food in the few minutes it has contact with the plastic bowl is minimal.

    If I were concerned, however, I would use my blender (made of glass), or a metal immersion blender, or something simple like a potato masher or even fork!

  13. @BB (a little late, as usual) … I followed the first recipe on http://www.mothering.com/recipes/whole-grain-baby-cereal to make baby cereal — we started with quinoa — and baby and I were very happy with the results.

  14. Checked with Cuisinart and they say that all plastic food processor containers are BPA free and that they’ve always been BPA free.

  15. Ooh, that is good to know, Dan! I may have to update this post soon!

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