When can babies eat apples?
If apples are peeled and cooked until soft, they may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready for solids, which is generally around 6 months old. Raw apples are a common choking hazard and must be modified to be safe for babies and toddlers. For age-appropriate preparation suggestions, see below.
Are apples healthy for babies?
Yes. Apples contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and other antioxidants. They are also packed with fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements and promote healthy gut bacteria.
★Tip: Apples regularly top the lists of produce produced with the most pesticides in the U.S. so it is best to purchase organic apples whenever possible.1 In the United States, organic produce is identified by the numeral 9 at the beginning of the produce number on the little stickers added to fruit. Numbers on conventional produce start with 4.
Are apples a choking hazard for babies?
Yes. Raw apples and dried apple pieces are choking hazards for babies and children. For safe age-appropriate preparation suggestions, see below.
Are apples a common allergen?
No. However, individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome (also known as pollen-food allergy) may be sensitive to apples though cooking the fruit seems to minimize the reaction.2
How do you prepare apples for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: Raw apples must be peeled and cooked until soft to be safe for young babies. To prepare apple for your baby, first peel the fruit, then cut it into halves or quarters and remove the core, seeds, and stem. Place the apple and a splash of water in a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the fruit has softened completely. Cool and serve to your baby in large sections, or mash to make applesauce. When making applesauce, experiment with flavor by adding unsalted butter (for extra fat) and/or spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, or even freshly grated ginger.
9 to 18 months old: Continue to destem, deseed, and cook the apples until soft or slice raw apples into paper-thin slices (you can also shred them). At this age you can continue to serve large pieces of cooked apple as well.
18 to 24 months old: Depending on your toddler’s eating skills, you may serve raw apple in increasingly thicker slices, working your way up to a whole apple. As always, stay close to your child during mealtime and refrain from offering apples (or any food) in strollers or car seats.
For more information on how to cut food for your baby’s age, hop over to our section on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Recipe: Poached Apples
- 1 to 2 apples
- 1 vanilla bean (optional)
- 1 star anise piece (optional)
- Peel and quarter 1 to 2 apples.
- Place in a small pot and cover with water.
- Add a split vanilla bean and star anise if you like.
- Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the apples are completely soft, about 7 minutes. Serve at room temperature.
Apples are versatile, but taste particularly good with almond, berries, butternut squash, cheese, hazelnut, liver, peanuts, and walnuts. They also pair well with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, star anise, and vanilla.
- EWG’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, Environmental Working Group (website). Retrieved January 11, 2020.
- American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) or Pollen Fruit Syndrome (PFS). (website) Retrieved January 9, 2020