Corn

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 ↓
2 cobs of sweet corn, one husked and the other in its husk before being prepared for babies starting solid food

When can babies eat corn?

Whole grain kernels, such as barley, corn, and rice are listed as a potential choking hazards for babies younger than 12 months old by the United States CDC.1 However, it is our opinion that it is okay to serve cooked corn on the cob to babies 6 months and older as the gnawing on the kernels changes the kernel shape, thereby reducing the risk.

Need ideas for the best first foods for babies? See our guides.

Annika, 7 months old, eats corn on the cob.
Callie, 10 months, eats corn on the cob.
Bobbi, 16 months, eats corn on the cob.

Is corn healthy for babies?

It depends on the type of corn. If the corn you are purchasing is fresh sweet corn, yes. Sweet corn (the variety of corn typically available “on the cob” and frozen as loose kernels) offer plenty of B vitamins, fiber, iron, potassium, and zinc—essential nutrients to support your baby’s growth. Sweet corn also contains phytochemicals that promote healthy vision and antioxidants to power your baby’s immune system. Lastly, sweet corn is generally not genetically modified and regularly shows up on the Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen foods with the least amount of pesticides.2 3 As its name suggests, sweet corn contains naturally occurring sugars, but the grain is not nearly as sweet as other popular fruits and vegetables like apples, or beets.

Yet sweet corn only makes up about 1 percent of all corn grown in the United States.4 The majority of field corn on the market is an entirely different story. Field corn, which is mostly grown for animal feed, corn chips, corn flakes, corn syrup, and other processed corn products is often grown from genetically modified seed and sprayed heavily with pesticides.5

So when in doubt, buy sweet corn and limit your baby’s exposure to processed corn products.

Is corn a common choking hazard for babies?

Yes. Whole grain kernels, including corn, are a potential choking hazard for babies under 12 months of age.6 To reduce the risk, serve corn on the cob as your baby’s gnawing will smash the kernels, thereby reducing the risk. Even then, stay near your baby during mealtime and watch closely. In theory, one could choke on any food.

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

Is corn a common allergen?

Corn allergies are uncommon, though not unheard of.7 8 Some individuals with fruit allergies (especially peaches) may also have a corn allergy.9 As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity of corn 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 corn for babies with baby-led weaning?

Infographic titled "How to Serve Corn to Babies" showing images of how to serve corn for different ages. For 6 months+, image showing corn on the cob cut into a 1-2 inch round. For 9-12 months+, image showing a cob of corn. For 12 months+, image showing loose corn kernels.

6 to 12 months old: Refrain from offering loose corn kernels and instead serve corn on the cob cut into 1- or 2-inch rounds so baby’s fingers can easily wrap around one piece. When you feel ready, increase the size of the cob and coach your child how to eat it horizontally. At this stage, it’s also okay to offer corn bread, polenta, and other dishes made with corn meal.

12 to 24 months old: At this age you may also introduce loose corn kernels on their own or mixed into other dishes. You may, of course, continue to offer corn on the cob and increase the size as your toddler understands how to eat it sideways.

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

Recipe: Elotes

Mexican Street Corn

nine corn cobs, cut into rounds, rolled in a cotija cheese and chili powder mix

Ingredients

  • 3 ears of corn of on the cob
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup cotija cheese (12 months+)
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

Directions

  1. Remove the husks and silky threads from the corn cobs. Rinse and pay dry.
  2. Use a sharp knife to remove the stem end and the pointy end, then slice each corn cob into 3 to 4 rounds.
  3. Steam or boil the corn rounds until the kernels are bright yellow and soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. While the corn is cooked, prepare the toppings. Mix the cheese and chili powder if using with the lime juice in a mixing bowl and transfer to a plate.
  5. Remove the corn from the pot and let cool slightly. Roll each round in the cheese mix and let come to room temperature before serving to your baby.

Flavor Pairings

Corn is so versatile! There are so many flavor combinations to try, but try it with butter, lime, red peppers, tomatoes, and hot spices such as chili pepper and jalapeño and fresh herbs like basil.

  1. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Choking Hazards. Retrieved June, 24, 2020
  2. Lunder, S. (2014). Most Corn on the Cob Isn’t GMO. Environmental Working Group. Retrieved June 19, 2020
  3. Environmental Working Group. Clean Fifteen 2020 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved June 19, 2020
  4. Lunder, S. (2014). Most Corn on the Cob Isn’t GMO. Environmental Working Group. Retrieved June 19, 2020
  5. Lunder, S. (2014). Most Corn on the Cob Isn’t GMO. Environmental Working Group. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  6. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Choking Hazards. Retrieved June, 24, 2020
  7. Scibilia, J., Pastorello, E. A., Zisa, G., Ottolenghi, A., Ballmer-Weber, B., Pravettoni, V., Scovena, E., Robino, A., & Ortolani, C. (2008). Maize food allergy: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 38(12), 1943–1949. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03094.x Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  8. Food Allergy Research & Education. Other Food Allergens. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  9. Pastorello, et al. J. Allergy Clinical Immunology. The Maize Major Allergen, Which Is Responsible for Food-Induced Allergic Reactions, Is a Lipid Transfer Protein. Doi: 10.1067/mai.2000.108712. Retrieved June 24, 2020.