Cherry

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.
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Common Allergen: No
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A pile of cherries before they have been prepared for a baby starting solid foods

When can babies eat cherries?

Cherries, if pitted and smashed, may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months old. However, it is best to wait until your baby is 9 months old to serve sliced cherries, as they can be challenging for young babies to pick up with their fingers when sliced (which you must do to minimize choking risks).

Once your baby’s pincer grasp begins to develop (usually between 8 and 12 months), you can start serving smaller pieces of food. If you would like to introduce cherries before your baby’s pincer grasp develops, you can finely chop them and add to oatmeal or yogurt.

Hawii, 12 months, eats fresh cherries.
Adie, 13 months old, tastes a fresh cherry for the first time.
Max, 13 months, eats quartered cherries.

Are cherries safe for babies?

When pitted and cut into quarters, cherries can be a wonderful and safe food for babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages. Introducing cherries at this early stage can help familiarize your little one with tough-skinned fruit, which can be an issue with picky eaters. Note: dried cherries (and dried fruit in general) are choking hazards and not appropriate for babies.

Are cherries a common choking hazard for babies?

Yes. Cherries present a choking risk because they are firm, round and have a hard pit in the middle. To minimize the risk, pit and quarter cherries before serving to babies. Or mash the cherries after pitting and fold into foods like yogurt. 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.

Are cherries a common allergen?

No. Allergies to cherry are rare though individuals who are allergic to the pollen from birch trees or who have Oral Allergy Syndrome (also called pollen food allergy syndrome) may be sensitive to cherries.1 2Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction.

As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity for the first few of servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.

Are cherries healthy for my baby?

Yes! Cherries offer quite a bit of carotenoids, and vitamin C, which provide antioxidants, as well as potassium and fiber. And unlike some fruits with pits, cherries are not a common allergen.

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

6 to 9 months old: Remove the pits and smash well or purée and serve atop a scoop-able food, such as Greek yogurt, oatmeal, or ricotta cheese.

9 to 18 months old: Remove the pits and quarter into small bite-size pieces.

18 to 24 months old: At this age, if you feel your toddler is ready, you can serve whole, pitted cherries or halved cherries.

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

★ Tip:

Serve cherries on a bath day! The mess is real.

Recipe: Smashed Cherries & Ricotta

smashed cherries atop a pile of ricotta cheese on a counter

Ingredients

  • Cherries, as many as you want
  • Ricotta Cheese (full fat)

Directions

  1. Wash the cherries with cold water. Remove each cherry’s pit and stem.
  2. Cut the fruit into quarters and lightly smash with a fork.
  3. Serve on top of a small scoop (or two!) of ricotta cheese.

Flavor Pairings

Cherries taste good with almond, banana, cinnamon, hazelnut, and walnut. Try pulsing the nuts in a food processor or pounding them in a mortar and pestle, then sprinkling the crumble on top of the cherries and cheese.

  1. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) or Pollen Fruit Syndrome (PFS). Retrieved September 15, 2020 from: https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/outdoor-food-allergies-relate
  2. Unsel M, Ardeniz O, Mete N, Ersoy R, Sin AZ, Gulbahar O, Kokuludag A. Food allergy due to olive. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2009;19(6):497-9. PMID: 20128426.