When can babies eat chipotle peppers?
Babies may be introduced to spicy foods, including chipotle, as soon as they are ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. However, chipotle peppers (and their fresh form, jalapeño peppers) can be particularly intense, so you may want to wait until after baby’s first birthday to introduce the hot peppers. First, we want to make sure baby doesn’t experience any pain when starting solids. Second, the powerful fire of hot peppers like chipotle can mask the flavors of other foods when mixed into dishes, which may cause the child to associate heat with foods that may not actually be hot. For example, if the first couple of times your child has beans is in a spicy chili, they may think all beans are spicy, which could lead to a refusal of all beans. Introduce spice with intention, make sure to offer a scant amount at first, and taste before you serve.
Are chipotle peppers healthy for babies?
Yes. Chipotle peppers are incredibly high in vitamin C, a super-nutrient that powers blood development, bone strength, immunity, skin and tissue growth, and healthy organs. The hot peppers also contain vitamins A, B, E, and K plus a whole bunch of antioxidants and plant properties to help your baby thrive.
★Tip: Too spicy chili on your hands? Tone it down by adding some canned kidney beans and a healthy dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
Are chipotle peppers a common choking hazard for babies?
When finely chopped and added to other foods, chipotle pepper is not a choking hazard, though it can make babies (and adults!) cough quite a bit. When serving foods with chipotle pepper, be sure to have an age-appropriate milk drink (such as breast milk, cow’s milk, or formula) or plain yogurt on hand to balance the heat, as well as another, milder food that your baby loves to eat as a complementary choice.
Are chipotle peppers a common allergen?
No. Allergies to chipotle peppers are rare, though people with nightshade sensitivities (includes bell peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and tomatoes) may be sensitive to chipotle peppers, cayenne pepper, paprika, and other chili peppers.
In theory, one can be allergic to any food. As with introducing any new food, start by serving a small quantity on its own for the first couple of times, and watch closely for any signs of an allergic reaction.
How do you prepare chipotle peppers 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 12 months old: Refrain unless it’s the tiniest pinch in a big dish. You want to avoid causing your baby any pain as you begin your solid food journey together. In these early months, it’s important that your baby discovers that food is fun and doesn’t have any negative experiences.
12 to 18 months old: Try adding a tiny amount to homemade chili that the whole family can eat, and add a dollop of sour cream to help cut down any burn. You can also experiment with adding a scant amount of hot pepper to mascarpone or cream cheese and spreading that on bread or thin grain cakes.
18 to 24 months old: Experiment by introducing a wider variety of recipes that call for chipotle peppers, adjusting the volume as desired. At this age, babies tend to become, ahem, opinionated (okay, fine: they’re picky!) so don’t be surprised if fiery foods are rejected. This is a great age to use cashew cream, cream cheese, goat cheese, or plain yogurt as a vehicle for heat and spice, as many babies love cheese!
24 months and older: Continue to offer dishes that call for chipotle peppers, adjusting the heat as desired. At this age, many babies are leaning into their power of choice (hello, picky eating!) so don’t be disheartened if your baby rejects food. And don’t stop serving it! Try different recipes to help your baby learn that an ingredient can taste different depending on how it’s prepared: chipotle corn bread, chipotle chili, meatballs with chipotle, chipotle queso—there are lots of recipes to try!
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Recipe: Chipotle Cheese Crackers
- Chipotle pepper
- Goat cheese
- Heavy cream
- Thin rice cakes
- Wash, destem, and deseed a chipotle pepper. Finely mince the flesh.
- Add a pinch of minced pepper to a small mixing bowl, along with a spoonful or two of goat cheese and a splash of heavy cream. Stir to combine; the mixture should be spreadable, but not too runny. Add more goat cheese if it’s too thin, or more cream if it’s too thick.
- Taste it. If it’s too hot, add more goat cheese and cream. If not spicy enough, add a touch more of chipotle pepper. Reserve any extra minced pepper for future mealtimes.
- Spread the mixture a thin rice cake. When you serve it, say aloud the word “SPICY” so your baby starts to learn that something is up. 🙂
Chipotle peppers are smoky and hot, making them a great pair with creamy foods like avocado, coconut, cheese, and squash; and hearty foods like bacon, beef, beans, chicken, eggs, and sardines. The heat can balance sweet and tart flavors, so try serving alongside fruits like mango, papaya, pineapple, and tomatoes. Add herbs like cilantro, mint, and scallions for flavor!