The Best Baby Food Maker

Various baby food purées in small containers

The Best Baby Food Maker

If you’re planning on making your own baby food, you may be wondering what the best baby food maker is. I’ve got the answer, and it’s probably already in your kitchen: the Instant Pot or other multi-cooker. Here are five reasons why it’s genius at making baby food.

Small containers of baby food and text that reads "Five Reasons Why The Instant Pot is the Best Baby Food Maker"

But, first let me say, of course you don’t need a baby food maker to make your own baby food. A pot with a lid, steamer basket, and blender and/or food processor will do the trick every time. And many baby foods can be roasted in the oven, sautéed on the stove-top, cooked in the microwave, or simply mashed while raw. Because baby food is so simple to make with regular kitchen equipment I always thought baby food makers were handy… but a waste of space and money since you’re probably only making purées for a couple of months (if at all). And after that the gadget is obsolete. So the stove-top method seemed to make the most sense.

But I confess that I’ve changed my tune. After receiving an Instant Pot for Christmas several years ago, I realized quickly that it was perfect for making baby food. Here’s why I think it’s the best baby food maker:

  1. Food gets soft, fast. In a nutshell, when you’re making traditional baby food, you’re taking a hard, raw food (such as carrots), and cooking them until they’re soft enough to mash. Or, you’re starting with a big piece of meat and cooking it until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. There’s nothing better or faster at making hard foods soft than the pressure cooker function on a multi-cooker.
  2. You can walk away. The biggest benefit to cooking with a multi-cooker (or slow cooker) is that once the food is in the pot and the lid is sealed, you’re done! When pressure-cooking using a multi-cooker, not everything is super-speedy, since it takes time for the cooker to come up to pressure and then release pressure at the end. But you don’t have to stand by the stove–there’s no stirring, no flipping, and no monitoring liquid levels. You’re free to play with your baby or catch a few minutes of sleep (go for it!).
  3. It’s easy. When you use a multi-cooker, preparing homemade baby food is simpler than ever. Most recipes require only one pot, and if you use an immersion blender, there are no messy transfers to a food processor or standard blender. That means fewer dishes to wash and less fuss. Hooray for that.
  4. Your baby can eat what you eat. Unlike purées prepared in a standard baby food maker, you can cook meals with the whole family in mind in the multi-cooker. This helps your baby become an independent eater more quickly.
  5. The appliance will live on! Instead of gifting your baby maker to a friend (which is very nice!) or shoving it into a high cabinet and forgetting it exists, you will get years of delicious food out of your multi-cooker. In my book, that makes it worth every penny and every inch of counter space.

All of this is why I wrote The Multi-Cooker Baby Food Cookbook. I am a true believer in the benefits of homemade baby food when possible, and I think the Instant Pot makes the process easier than ever. Get more details about the book, and find three starter recipes.The Multi-Cooker Baby Food cookbook cover

However you decide to make baby food, or if you decide to feed your baby a mix of homemade food and store-bought, or even mostly store-bought, know that the most important thing is to feed your baby a variety of foods and have fun during the process. Eating is one of life’s great joys, and I’m so excited for you and your baby to start this adventure together. xo

Looking for more baby food recipes, baby-led weaning ideas, and family feeding tips? Sign up for my newsletter! I’ll send two emails a month, including one with a recipe. And, when you sign up, I’ll send you three of my favorite healthy smoothie recipes for the whole family. I look forward to being in touch!

Photos by Lauren Volo

Jenna Helwig