Almonds, if they are finely ground or offered in the form of a smooth, thinned out nut butter, may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Almonds are a common allergen, so take care when introducing them and check out our age-appropriate preparation suggestions.
If you are feeling terrified to introduce nuts to your baby, watch our peanut and allergen videos in our virtual course, which were created by our award-winning allergist MD and our founder, who is an allergy mom.
The almond may be one of the world’s most popular nuts, but botanically speaking, it is a seed. Like the pits of cherries, peaches, and plums, almonds are found at the center of a fruit that grows on a tree native to the southwest Asia. The young fruits are known as green almonds, with soft edible flesh—just like its stone fruit cousins—that is celebrated as a seasonal treat in some cultures. However, most of the world’s almonds are cultivated for their seed and are farmed in the United States, where they are classified as a tree nut for regulatory purposes. There are bitter and sweet varieties of almonds; the sweet ones are safe to eat, and because bitter almonds can be poisonous, they are typically processed and used in small amounts to make extracts, liqueurs, oils, and other products.
Cooper, 7 months, eats almond butter on yogurt
Ripley, 9 months, eats ricotta with almond butter mixed in
Kalani, 12 months, eats almond butter on wheat toast. Both bread and nut butters are choking hazards for babies so wait until you think your child is ready to offer them
Yes. Almonds are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fats. They also offer plenty of vitamins and minerals to help baby thrive, including calcium for strong bones, zinc for healthy growth, vitamin E for antioxidant support, and iron to help move oxygen through the body, as well as fiber to support baby’s digestion. Plus, almond skins are full of antioxidants to support the body’s resilience. Purchase skin-on almonds, almond butter, and almond meal for an added boost of nutrition in baby’s meal—and choose varieties that are unsweetened and unsalted when you can.
★Tip: Store almonds in a cool, dark place, like your pantry or fridge for optimal freshness and quality. If you live in a warm, humid environment, it’s especially ideal to keep almonds in the fridge to avoid spoiling.
Yes. Whole nuts, nut pieces, and globs of nut butters are considered choking hazards for babies and young children. To reduce the risk, finely grind almonds into a fine flour and sprinkle on other foods or purchase smooth almond butter and mix into applesauce, yogurt, or thin with breast (human) milk, formula, or water. Almond flour and almond butter can also be added to baked goods such as pancakes, waffles, and muffins. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of baby during meals. For more information, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with common choking hazards.
Yes, almonds are classified as a Global Priority Allergen by the World Health Organization. Almonds are considered tree nuts (although they are technically seeds). While only 0.5% to 1.2% of the population is allergic to tree nuts, tree nut allergy is usually life-long: only 9% of children with tree nut allergy will outgrow it on their own. Although most reactions to almond are relatively mild, severe reactions have been reported.
Individuals with allergy to birch tree pollen may experience Oral Allergy Syndrome (also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome) after ingestion of almond, especially almond skin. Oral Allergy Syndrome results in localized symptoms of itching, tingling, or burning in the mouth after ingestion, but is unlikely to result in a severe reaction.
Although an allergy to one tree nut increases risk of allergy to another (individuals with almond allergy are more likely to be allergic to hazelnut, for example), keep in mind that being allergic to one nut does not necessarily mean that all nuts need to be removed from the diet. Having as diverse of a diet as possible, even within the confines of food allergies, is important for a child’s nutrition and quality of life. If your child has an almond allergy, work with an allergist to determine if other tree nuts can be safely incorporated into the diet.
For most babies, there is no need to pursue allergy testing before introducing tree nuts into the diet, even if there is a family history of food allergy. However, if baby has severe eczema or has already experienced an allergic reaction, or you suspect your baby may be allergic to nuts, make an appointment with your primary care clinician or a pediatric allergist before introducing almond at home. Your doctor can help you determine if almonds can be safely introduced in the home setting, or if supervised introduction in the clinic would be preferable. Interestingly, even in the context of positive allergy skin test or blood test, most individuals without a clear history of almond reaction will pass an almond challenge. Therefore, don't hesitate to pursue supervised almond introduction if it is recommended for your child. Keep in mind that a growing body of evidence supports the preventive benefits of early food allergen introduction (especially for babies with eczema), so it’s important not to delay introduction any longer than necessary.
When it’s time to introduce the nut at home, offer a small quantity (such as a pinch of finely ground nut of 1/8 teaspoon of smooth almond butter thinned with water, breast milk, or formula) at first. If there is no adverse reaction, you can increase the quantity over future meals. It is okay if your baby does not consume each serving entirely. Rather than filling the belly with the nut, it is important to maintain exposure to common food allergens (such as tree nuts) in the diet regularly (twice weekly, if possible) once introduced. Don’t stop offering the nut unless your baby shows signs of a reaction.
Recommended Guide: Introducing Allergens
No. Prior to 12 months, the only liquids an infant should receive are breast (human) milk, formula, and if the baby is older than 6 months of age, water in small amounts (less than 2-4 oz a day) in an open cup. For babies 6 months and up, almond milk used as an ingredient in solid food (such as in oatmeal, etc.) is totally fine.
If, after the first birthday, you’d like to introduce almond milk as a drink, it’s fine to do so, but know that almond milk lacks adequate calories, fat, and protein, as well as calcium and vitamin D, when compared to cow’s milk. Other plant-based milks like fortified soy or pea milk tend to be more nutritious. See our Milk FAQs to learn more.
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience.
Purchase smooth almond butter and mix into applesauce, yogurt, or thin with breast (human) milk, formula, or water or finely grind almonds into a fine flour and sprinkle on other foods that it will stick well to (avocado, banana, etc.). Consider adding almond butter or almond flour to your batter when making pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc. Refrain from serving nut butter on toast as both bread and nut butters can increase the risk of choking.
Continue mixing smooth almond butter into yogurt, warm cereals, or baked goods, and sprinkling ground almond on other dishes and foods or mixing it into batter when preparing baked goods. At this age, toddlers may be ready to try nut butter on toast. Make sure the butter is thinly spread and that you offer milk or water in an open cup to help wash down any sticky pieces of food. At this age, you may also introduce almond milk as an occasional drink (although there are more nutritious plant-based milks to choose from). Read more in our Milk FAQs.
Continue to serve finely ground almonds and smooth almond butter in small quantities. If a child has developed mature eating skills (taking small bites with their teeth, moving food to the side of the mouth when chewing, chewing thoroughly before swallowing, not stuffing food in their mouths, and finally, the ability to identify and spit out foods when it is not well chewed, AND is able to eat softer nuts like walnut and pecans with ease, they may be ready to learn how to eat whole almonds. Just remember that nuts and nut pieces are considered choking hazards until age 4 and even beyond by all governing medical bodies.
Almonds are particularly risky and challenging to eat as they are firm and difficult to take a bite out of--all of which increase choking risk. We'd recommend starting with other nuts before offering almonds.
To model how to eat almonds safely, start by telling the child: "This is a hard one. Watch me." Then, show your toddler how to place the nut in-between your front teeth. Hold the nut between your teeth and exaggerate taking a small bite of the nut. Then, show how you move the nut piece to your molars with your tongue. Chew with your mouth open (you can even demonstrate by opening and closing your hands at the same time). Once you have chewed the nut well, open your mouth to show the toddler how it has been broken down. Say, "I moved it to my big strong teeth to chew it. It needs a lot of chewing." Demonstrate a couple of times before offering the toddler an almond to do the same.
To coach the child through eating a whole almond safely, say, "Your turn to try." For the very first attempt, firmly hold on to the nut for them to take a bite from it (without you letting go of the nut). DO NOT PUT THE NUT IN THEIR MOUTH. Don't let go until they have used their teeth to actively take a bite. This ensures that they initiate chewing. Continue but only serve one or two nuts at a time to pace the practice. If the child insists on holding the almond themselves, allow them to self-feed and take a bite if you feel comfortable. If you do not feel comfortable or if the child does not bite or attempt to break down the almond, we recommend coaching the child to spit the nut out and waiting a few weeks more to practice chewing other nuts that are less challenging.
It is important to help the child stay engaged with the task, and part of that is modeling that safe chewing takes place when we are not talking, singing, watching television, etc. A highly animated child who is talking, yelling, or singing while practicing eating nuts increases choking risk. After practicing nuts with a toddler, make sure their mouth is clear before taking them out of the high chair. Never allow a toddler to walk around with nuts or nut pieces in their mouth.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
1 child size serving
¾ cup unsweetened, full-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon smooth almond butter (or ¼ teaspoon if almond has not been introduced yet)
Mix the Greek yogurt and almond butter in your baby’s bowl.
Split the banana into thirds vertically (video here) and stick them into the yogurt so they stand up. (Doing so makes it easy for young babies to grab them.)
Place the bowl in front of your child along with a baby spoon. To encourage self-feeding, pre-load the spoon and either hand it in the air or rest it on the edge of the bowl for your baby to grab.
This recipe contains common allergens: dairy and almond. Only serve to your child after these each allergen has been introduced safely.
Pediatrician & pediatric gastroenterologist
Pediatrician & pediatric allergist/immunologist
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Speech-language pathologist, feeding & swallowing specialist
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