Asian Pear

Food Type:
Age Suggestion: 6 months +
Nutrition Rating:How nutritious a food is with a focus on the specific nutrients babies need for optimal growth. The more nutritious a food, the more stars it will have.
Prep Time:How much time a food takes to prepare safely for a baby. The more time-consuming a food is to prepare safely, the more clocks it will have.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Common Allergen: No
Jump to Recipe ↓
a whole Asian pear before being prepared for babies starting solids

When can babies eat Asian pear?

Asian pear, if cooked to a soft consistency or sliced very thinly, may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Like apples, Asian pears are firm and crunchy (even when ripe), so take care in introducing them as raw, hard fruits and vegetables are choking hazards for babies and children.

Background and origins of Asian pear

Nicknamed the apple pear, Asian pears have similar qualities to an apple but tend to be juicier and more subtle in flavor. “An apple shouts, a pear whispers,” says food writer Nigel Slater, and in fact, the Asian pear is not a cross with an apple, but rather, a distant relative of anjou, bartlett, and other European pears. Native to the mountainous regions of Central Asia and cultivated for centuries by Chinese, Japanese, and Korean farmers and horticulturalists, Asian pear is grown for its cultural significance, medicinal benefits, and symbolism of grace, purity, wisdom, and other noble qualities. Reverence for the fruit (along with Asian immigration to Australia, North America, and other parts of the world) have resulted in thousands of varieties that, when ripe, range in ombre hues of the sun—some sandy and mottled, others golden and speckled white, even a few that are kissed with fiery bronze. Check out our age-appropriate serving ideas!

Money Saver Icon Asian pears can be quite large in size so only cut off the slice you need at the moment (rather than slicing up the whole fruit) and refrigerate the rest for another time.

Kalani, 9 months, eats thinly sliced Asian pear for the first time.
Isar, 11 months, eats thinly sliced Asian pear for the first time.
Max, 23 months, eats a whole Asian pear with the sides cut off.

Are Asian pears healthy for babies?

Yes. Asian pears offer tons of plant fibers that help diversify the gut microbiome.1 2 The fruit also contains plenty of vitamin C (for healthy skin and a robust immune system) and copper to help your baby’s body absorb iron from other foods.

Got a constipated baby? Pears can work wonders in moving things along as they are naturally high in fiber, fructose, and sorbitol—all of which promote bowel movements.3 Just be careful not to overdo it, otherwise, you may have a poop explosion on the horizon!

★Tip: Hold that peeler! While young babies won’t be able to chew the skin of Asian pears well, pear skin generally contains tons of nutrients and offers antioxidant benefits, which can be up to 20 times more prevalent in the skin than in the inner flesh.4 Just be sure to wash the fruit before serving as pears often contain pesticide residue.5

Are Asian pears a common choking hazard for babies?

Yes. Hard fruits and vegetables are choking hazards for babies and toddlers, though infants six months of age and older do have additional protections against choking (tongue thrust reflux and sensitive gag reflux). To reduce the risk, cook Asian pear until soft, grate, or thinly slice before serving. As always, make sure to create a safe eating environment for your little one, always stay nearby during mealtime, and check out our age-appropriate serving suggestions.

For more information, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with common choking hazards.

Are Asian pears a common allergen?

No. However, individuals with birch pollen allergy or Oral Allergy Syndrome (also called pollen-food allergy syndrome) may be sensitive to raw pears.6 7 8 Symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome generally consist of mild oral itching, and are unlikely to be dangerous. As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity on its own for the first couple of servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.

How do you prepare Asian pears for babies with baby-led weaning?

Diagram of how to cut Asian pears for babies based on age

6 to 9 months old: Offer large sections of cooked Asian pear with the core, seeds, and stem removed (removing the skin is optional). Once cool, try handing a whole half section in the air for your baby to grab and hold. This is easier for babies than picking up slippery pieces on their own. Rolling cooked pear in hemp seeds, finely shredded coconut, or finely ground nut can help add grip. Encouraging baby to hold the food with two hands is also helpful in managing slippery textures.

9 to 12 months old: Continue to offer large halves of cooked pear with the core, seeds, and stem removed. If your baby is showing success in breaking off pieces of fruit and chewing, you can thinly slice or grate the raw fruit to minimize the choking risk. (Slicing into paper-thin rounds may work well, as opposed to half-moon pieces.) Note: At this age, your baby is likely to spit much of the raw fruit out. Many times, they will pick up pieces of spit out food and bring it back to their mouths. This is completely normal and part of healthy oral motor development as your baby learns to move food around in their mouth to chew and swallow.

12 to 18 months old: Serve thinly sliced raw Asian pear, and as your toddler gets better at chewing and swallowing, increasing the thickness of the slices and leaving the skins on, which will help acclimate your child to fruit skins overall. Don’t be surprised if your toddler spits the skin out; this is still normal at this age and part of the process of getting used to the texture.

18 to 24 months old: At this age, your toddler may be ready to take on a whole pear! Give it a go once you feel comfortable. A whole pear (with or without the skin) may be safer than halves or quarters of raw pear because toddlers take smaller bites when working with a whole piece of fruit than they otherwise would with sections of fruit that they can put further into their mouth.

a hand holding half of a cooked Asian pear for babies 6 months+
Half of a cooked, soft Asian pear for babies 6 months+
a hand holding paper-thin rounds of Asian pear for babies 9 months+
Paper-thin rounds of Asian pear for babies 9 months+
a hand holding paper-thin slices of raw Asian pear for toddlers 12 months+
Paper-thin slices of raw Asian pear for toddlers 12 months+

For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.

Asian pears can have thick skin that toddlers may spit out—a good skill to learn! If your child is struggling with the skin, try peeling the pear in stripes, leaving some skin on and taking some off. Acclimating little ones to fruit skins is an important step in learning about a food’s natural texture.

Recipe: Baesuk and Immunity Tea

Poached Asian Pear and Immunity Tea

five quartered slices of poached pear sprinkled with ground pine nuts, next to a cup of tea

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2-inch knob fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 Asian pear
  • 2 large pitted dates
  • 1 teaspoon ground pine nuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Peel and slice the ginger.
  2. Place the ginger, peppercorns, and star anise in a small pot with 3 cups of water set on moderate heat. Bring to a boil, then cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. While the spices are boiling, wash, peel, and halve the pear. Remove the core, seeds, and stem. Cut the flesh into quarters, then place in a bowl with cold water to prevent browning.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the spices from the pot, then lower the pear quarters and dates into the boiling water. Lower the heat to create a gentle simmer, then cook, uncovered, until the pear quarters and dates are very soft, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool.
  5. When the pot is cool enough to touch, decide whether you want to serve the pears warm or cold. If the latter, transfer the pear quarters to an air-tight container, use the slotted spoon to strain the dates, then pour the tonic over the pear quarters and store the container in the fridge until cold. Otherwise, place the warm pear quarters on your baby’s plate, then pour a little bit of tonic into a baby cup and the rest in a glass for yourself. Sprinkle the ground pine nuts, if using, on top of the pear.
  6. Serve and let your child eat with hands or pass a pear quarter in the air to grab and hold. Drink your tonic alongside your little one to show how it’s done!

Flavor Pairings

Asian pears are fragrant, ever-so-slightly tart, and mostly sweet with hints of honey, nuts, and roses. The fruit pairs well with nuts like almondshazelnuts, and pine nuts; proteins like chicken and pork; and soft cheeses like goat cheesemascarpone cheese, and ricotta cheese. Try using Asian pears in savory dishes to add sweetness (they are sometimes used in beef dishes to tenderize the meat) and add layers of flavor with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, or your family’s favorite spices.

Reviewed by

J. Truppi, MSN, CNS

V. Kalami, MNSP, RD

K. Rappaport, OTR/L, MS, SCFES, IBCLC

S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. (allergy section)

R. Ruiz, MD Board-Certified General Pediatrician and Pediatric Gastroenterologist

  1. Mohammadkhah, A. I., Simpson, E. B., Patterson, S. G., & Ferguson, J. F. (2018). Development of the Gut Microbiome in Children, and Lifetime Implications for Obesity and Cardiometabolic Disease. Children (Basel, Switzerland), 5(12), 160. https://doi.org/10.3390/children5120160
  2. Reiland, H., & Slavin, J. (2015). Systematic Review of Pears and Health. Nutrition today, 50(6), 301–305. https://doi.org/10.1097/NT.0000000000000112
  3. Reiland, H., & Slavin, J. (2015). Systematic Review of Pears and Health. Nutrition today, 50(6), 301–305. https://doi.org/10.1097/NT.0000000000000112
  4. Reiland, H., Slavin, J. (2015). Systematic Review of Pears and Health. Nutrition today, 50(6), 301–305. DOI: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000112. Retrieved September 11, 2020
  5. United States Department of Agriculture. Pesticide Data Program: Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2020
  6. American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) or Pollen Fruit Syndrome (PFS). Retrieved September 11, 2020
  7. Mayo Clinic. Food Allergy. Retrieved September 11, 2020
  8. Gotoda, H., Maguchi, S., Kawahara, H., Terayama, Y., Fukuda, S. (2018). Springtime pollinosis and oral allergy syndrome in Sapporo. Auris Nasus Larynx, 28, S49-S52. doi:10.1016/s0385-8146(01)00070-0