Delicata Squash

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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Poop Friendly:Whether a food has qualities that help baby poop. Yes
Common Allergen: No
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a whole delicata squash on a table before being prepared for babies starting solid food

When can babies eat delicata squash?

Delicata squash that’s been peeled, deseeded, and cooked to a soft consistency may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months old. Delicata is a great first squash because it can be easily cut into rings, which are easy for little hands to pick up and hold.

Amelia, 8 months, plays with delicata squash.
Kalani, 11 months, eats delicata squash.
Leila, 18 months, tries and explores some delicata squash.

Is delicata squash healthy for babies?

Yes! Delicata squash is full of vitamins and minerals that your baby needs to thrive. Rich in B-vitamins, which convert nutrients into fuel for cell and tissue growth, delicata squash also has a good amount of vitamin C, calcium, iron, and copper, which aids iron absorption. Delicata squash also contains beta-carotene, which helps with eyesight and acts as an antioxidant to protect a baby’s body from toxins and irritants.

★Tip: Save your seeds! Just like whole seeds and nuts, delicata squash seeds are a choking hazards for babies and children under the age of five, but they’re a safe and healthy choice for you. All you need to do is toss them with oil and salt and bake them until they’re dried and toasted.

Is delicata squash a common choking hazard for babies?

Delicata squash should not pose a choking risk as long as it’s been peeled, deseeded, and cooked to a soft consistency. That said, any food can be a choking hazard in theory, so be sure to watch closely as your baby eats.

When serving delicata squash to your baby, take care with the rind: it is edible but it may present a choking hazard for young eaters. After your baby becomes a more experienced eater (or around 18 to 24 months old), you can try leaving some of the rind on after cooking.

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

Is delicata squash a common allergen?

No. Allergies to delicata squash are rare, though there have been reports of people getting an itchy rash on their hands after handling winter squashes.1 To minimize any reaction, wash your baby’s hands and face and your own hands after handling winter squashes and pumpkins.

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

an infographic with the header "how to cut delicata for babies": a cooked ring of delicata for 6 months+, bite sized pieces for 9 months +, and bite sized pieces with a fork for 12 months+

6 to 9 months old: Peel the cooked squash and cut into thick 2 inch rings, removing the seeds as you go. Alternatively, you can serve mashed delicata squash on a pre-loaded spoon. Try offering the spoon in the air so the baby can easily take it from you or rest it on the edge of a bowl for them to pick up independently.

9 to 12 months old: For babies who are 9 months and older, you can either continue with the cooked rings as described above or try serving smaller, bite-sized pieces of peeled, cooked squash to encourage development of baby’s pincer grasp (where the pointer finger meets the thumb).

12 to 24 months old: Continue to serve peeled, cooked, bite-sized pieces of delicata squash. You can offer these on their own, as finger food, or with a fork for utensil practice. Encourage the child to self-feed by scooping with their hands, and if you’d like to encourage utensil use, pre-load an age-appropriate utensil and rest it next to the food for the child to pick up. Try not to apply too much pressure—consistent and accurate utensil use will come in due time—probably between 18 and 24 months of age.

a hand holding a circular cooked slice of delicata squash for babies starting solids
A cooked circular slice of delicata squash for babies 6 months +
a hand holding four bite-sized pieces of cooked delicata squash for babies starting solids
Cooked, bite-sized pieces of delicata squash for babies 9 months +

How often should you offer solids? See our sample feeding schedules for babies of every age.

Recipe: Delicata Squash Rings

eight roasted delicata squash rings on a piece of parchment paper on a white background for babies starting solids

Ingredients

  • Delicata squash
  • Avocado, coconut, or olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Rinse the squash after peeling and pat it dry.
  3. Slice off each end of the squash, then cut crosswise. Scoop out the seeds and set them aside for yourself. Finish preparing the squash by cutting it into rings that are about ½-inch thick.
  4. Coat the squash rings with the oil of your choice. Arrange the rings in a single layer on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish, and roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are soft.

Flavor Pairings

Delicata squash pairs well with wintery flavors such as butter, maple, nutmeg, sage, and thyme. After cooking the squash, trying adding it to salads, soups, and stews for extra nutrition.

  1. Potter, T.S. & Hashimoto, K. (1994) Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) dermatitis. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.1994.tb00588.x. (website) Retrieved Friday, January 3, 2020.