Native to Southeast Asia, cucumbers are easily grown by commercial farmers and home gardeners alike wherever the weather is sunny and warm. There are so many varieties to try—the small thin-skinned Persian cucumber, the extra-long Japanese cucumber, the round lemon cucumber, the seedless English cucumber, and the ubiquitous Kirby cucumber, to name a few. They range in taste, too; some are sweet, others are bitter, and nearly all are refreshingly cool. Ever wonder about the phrase, “cool as a cucumber”? The inside of a cucumber stays a few degrees below its surroundings because it is mostly made up of water, which takes a lot of energy to heat up.
Cucumber has even earned superstar status in baby-led weaning circles thanks to its cooling effect on little gums and the easy-to-hold shape when sliced into spears. But like many raw vegetables, cucumber is a choking hazard. Check out how to prepare cucumbers safely for baby’s age.
Kalani, 6.5 months, eats cucumber sections.
Cooper, 11 months, explores a cucumber cut into ruler-thin slices.
Callie, 18 months, takes bites from sliced cucumber rounds.
Yes, though there’s no superfood status here: cucumbers consist of 95 percent water!
Cucumbers contain small amounts of carotenoids—nutrients, including some that convert to vitamin A in the body, to support healthy vision. Small amounts of vitamin K, plus a little zinc, which are important factors for healthy bones and brain development, are also present in cucumber. They are also a good source of tannins (to promote wound healing) and phytosterols (to help lower cholesterol).
Note: Cucumbers contain cucurbitacin, an organic compound that can sometimes cause burping and abdominal discomfort. While there’s no reason to delay introducing cucumbers to babies, removing the skin (where the compound is most concentrated), will minimize the cucurbitacin content.
Yes. Raw vegetables that are firm or hard in consistency are a choking hazard for babies and toddlers. Pickles, and especially whole gherkins, can also be a choking hazard. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment, stay within an arm’s reach of baby during meals, and check out our age-appropriate serving suggestions.
No. Allergies to cucumbers are rare, though individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome who are allergic to ragweed may be sensitive to cucumber. Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching or burning 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 couple of servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.
Babies can have pickled cucumbers (also often known as pickles) as soon as they are developmentally ready for solids, typically around 6 months of age. Make sure that the pickles are cut in age-appropriate shapes for a child’s age and eating ability to reduce the risk of choking, and if you are serving pickles regularly, make sure they are low in sodium and free of sugar. Keep in mind that quick-pickled cucumbers and other vegetables may be firmer and pose a higher choking risk than those that have been fermented for longer or commercially preserved.
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
If you feel comfortable with it, offer large cucumber spears with the skin on to make it easy for baby to grab and munch on. New eaters closer to 6 months of age are less likely to bite off a piece of the cucumber spear. Baby will not likely swallow much, potentially just small amounts of the flesh. Starting around 7 months, many babies are more likely to successfully bite pieces off a cucumber spear, so consider cutting the cucumber into long, ruler-thin slices. Either way, if baby breaks off a too-big piece, stay calm and give them a chance to work the food forward before intervening. You can model how to spit out by sticking out your own tongue while saying “ah” and/or tilt the child forward gently and put your hand underneath the chin to signal that they can spit out the food. At this age, babies have built-in reflexes to help keep food forward on the tongue and learning to spit out pieces of food is a critical skill. No matter what, refrain from sticking your fingers in your baby’s mouth, which can push food further back into the throat.
Offer cucumbers cut into long, wide, flat slices with the skin on or off (either is fine) and serve along a food high in protein or fat for a boost of nutrition. When baby has developed a pincer grasp, consider offering cucumber that has been cut into thin rounds. Feel free to leave the skin on or remove it, as desired.
At this age, serve cucumbers cut into thin rounds or bite-sized pieces. If you are comfortable with their eating skills, this is also a great time to move back up in size to spears, too. Coach the child to take small bites by modeling taking bites yourself in an exaggerated way. Feel free to leave the skin on or remove it, as desired.
How to prepare cucumbers for toddlers 12 months+
Find out if your baby is ready to start solids on our Readiness to Start Solid Food FAQ page.
1 c (240 ml)
This recipe contains a common allergen: dairy (yogurt). Only serve to a child after this allergen has been safely introduced. Always check for potential allergens in ingredients listed on the labels of store-bought processed foods, such as yogurt. Added ingredients may also include honey, which should not be given to babies younger than 12 months.
Cut the cucumber in half crosswise, then cut one half into age-appropriate sizes. Store the other half for another use.
Finely chop the dill.
Mix the dill and olive oil into the yogurt.
Stick a piece of cucumber in the yogurt so it is ready for baby to grab. Offer the rest on the side.
Serve the Cucumber
Offer the cucumber and dip to baby, then let the child self-feed.
If help is needed, swipe a piece of cucumber in the dip, then hold it in the air in front of baby and let the child grab it from you.
Eat some cucumbers and dip alongside the child to model how it’s done.
To Store: Cut cucumber and leftover dip keep in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3 days.
The cool, refreshing taste of cucumber pairs well with tangy foods like goat cheese, tomatoes, and vinegar; heart-healthy foods like avocado, sardines, and shellfish; and other fresh fruits like melon and strawberries. Cucumbers easily pick up the flavor of other ingredients so try mixing them with your favorite alliums (chives! garlic! shallots!), fresh or dried herbs (basil! dill! lemongrass!), and earthy spices like ginger, coriander, and cumin.
Pediatrician & pediatric gastroenterologist
Pediatrician & pediatric allergist/immunologist
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Speech-language pathologist, feeding & swallowing specialist
Speech-language pathologist & feeding therapist
Sign up for new guides, recipes and special offers
The content offered on SolidStarts.com is for informational purposes only. Solidstarts is not engaged in rendering professional advice, whether medical or otherwise, to individual users or their children or families. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or your medical or health professional, nutritionist, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. By accessing the content on SolidStarts.com, you acknowledge and agree that you are accepting the responsibility for your child’s health and well-being. In return for providing you with an array of content “baby-led weaning” information, you waive any claims that you or your child may have as a result of utilizing the content on SolidStarts.com.