Durian

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 durian before being prepared for babies starting solids

When can babies eat durian?

Durian may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Note: Durian has large seeds embedded in the flesh of the fruit that must be removed prior to offering to babies. While edible if cooked, the seeds are a choking hazard and can be deeply embedded in the flesh.

Where do durians grow?

Durians are an impressive fruit with a strong smell, large size, thorny rind, and myriad uses in savory and sweet cooking, particularly on the islands of Southeast Asia, where the plant originated. Crack open the spiked shell and one will find creamy flesh in varying shades of white, yellow, green, or red, depending on the variety. Some durians taste sweeter and smell less intense than other varieties, whose pungent aroma has inspired some municipalities to ban it from public spaces. The fruit’s fragrant pulp can be eaten raw in different stages of ripeness: when it is young, durian is firm like ripe melon, but after it matures, the flesh tastes smooth like custard. Raw durian can also be cooked or served fresh alongside sticky coconut rice to make khao niao, a popular street food in Laos and Thailand.

Sebastián, 7 months, investigates durian for the first time.
Rosco, 8.5 months, eats fresh durian.
Julian, 12 months, tastes durian for the first time and loves it.

Is durian healthy for babies?

Yes. Durian is loaded with fiber to support a healthy gut and energy-producing carbohydrates and B-vitamins, including folate. For a fruit, durian even offers a good amount of protein and fats.1 2  This “king of fruits” also provides vitamin C, potassium, traces of many more minerals, plus a wide array of plant nutrients and antioxidants—carotenoids, flavanols, quercetin, and more—which are beneficial to the body’s overall health.3

A note on durian seeds: Durian seeds are rich in fiber and are edible if properly cooked.4 5 6 Cooking and grinding the seeds into a fine flour is an option for this age as well as boiling and mashing the seeds.7 8

Finally, consider saving the sweets for later. Durian is often processed into confections high in sugar, like cakes, candies, cookies, and ice cream – treats that are best reserved for adults and older children.

★Tip: Once its hard shell is cracked open, durian has a short shelf life. Scoop out the flesh and store it in an air-tight container in the fridge, then consume it within 5 days or freeze it for up to 2 months to extend the shelf life.

Is durian a common choking hazard for babies?

Yes. Durian flesh, depending on its stage of ripeness, can be firm and slippery—two qualities that can increase the risk—and its large, hard seeds can also pose a risk. To minimize the risk, mash ripe durian so no big, slippery clumps remain and diligently pick out the seeds before serving babies and toddlers. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of baby during meals.

For more information on choking, visit our sections on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.

Is durian a common allergen?

No. Allergies to durian are rare, although they have been reported.9 Individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome who are allergic to birch pollen may be sensitive to durian, although this is uncommon.10 Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching, burning, or tingling 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.

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

6 to 8 months old: Mash fresh durian flesh (seeds removed) until it is mostly smooth with no large clumps, then let baby try to scoop it up with their hands. Alternatively offer large clumps (the bigger the better, about the size of a tennis ball), taking care to remove all seeds for baby to suck and munch on.

9 to 12 months old: Continue to serve mashed fresh durian, and if you still feel comfortable, offer large clumps (like the size of a tennis ball) of durian for baby to hold and to take bites. Be sure to remove all seeds before serving. Hold off on durian desserts for now in favor of the whole, fresh fruit.

12 to 24 months+: Offer either mashed durian or large clumps (seeds removed) for the toddler to take bites from. Closer to age two you can also explore the world of durian desserts, though durian is naturally sweet and can easily be made into a durian pudding with no added sugar (see recipe).

★Get the family on board with how to raise a happy eater with our Do’s and Don’ts tip sheet.

Recipe: Overnight Durian Chia Pudding

  • Yield: 2 cups (350 grams)
  • Cooking Time: 5 minutes + overnight soak
  • Age: 6 months+

Ingredients

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) fresh or frozen durian fruit
  • ¾ cup (180 milliliters) unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk (ideally from a BPA-free can
  • 4 tablespoons (16 grams) chia seeds

Directions

  1. Peel and discard the banana skin.
  2. Mash the banana and durian in a mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the coconut milk into the fruit until the mixture is mostly smooth. A little texture is okay as long as there are no large clumps.
  4. Stir in the chia seeds.
  5. Pour the chia seed mixture into a sealed container. A 2-cup mason jar works well for this recipe!
  6. Store the container in the fridge in the fridge for at least one hour or preferably overnight.
  7. When you are ready to serve, scoop some durian chia seed pudding into the child’s bowl. Exact serving size is variable. Let a child’s appetite determine how much is eaten.
  8. Serve the pudding and let the child scoop with hands. To encourage the use of a utensil, simply preload a spoon and rest it next to the food for the child to try to pick up. Alternatively, pass the preloaded spoon in the air for the child to grab.

To Store: Durian Chia Seed Pudding keeps in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1 week. Cut durian fruit keeps in an air-tight container in the fridge for 5 days or the freezer for 2 months.

Flavor Pairings

Pair durian’s sweet, creamy flesh with banana, coconut, chicken, rice, strawberry, and vanilla.

Reviewed by

J. Truppi, MSN, CNS

V. Kalami, MNSP, RD, CSP

K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT

S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. Board-Certified Allergist & Immunologist (allergy section)

R. Ruiz, MD, FAAP. Board-Certified General Pediatrician & Pediatric Gastroenterologist

  1. Aziz, N. A., & Mhd Jalil, A. M. (2019). Bioactive Compounds, Nutritional Value, and Potential Health Benefits of Indigenous Durian (Durio Zibethinus Murr.): A Review. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 8(3), 96. DOI: 10.3390/foods8030096. Retrieved August 11, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30871187/
  2. Striegel, L., Chebib, S., Dumler, C., Lu, Y., Huang, D., & Rychlik, M. (2018). Durian Fruits Discovered as Superior Folate Sources. Frontiers in nutrition, 5, 114. DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2018.00114. Retrieved August 11, 2021 from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2018.00114/full
  3. Aziz, N. A., & Mhd Jalil, A. M. (2019). Bioactive Compounds, Nutritional Value, and Potential Health Benefits of Indigenous Durian (Durio Zibethinus Murr.): A Review. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 8(3), 96. DOI: 10.3390/foods8030096. Retrieved August 11, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30871187/
  4. Kumoro AC, Alhanif M, Wardhani DH. A Critical Review on Tropical Fruits Seeds as Prospective Sources of Nutritional and Bioactive Compounds for Functional Foods Development: A Case of Indonesian Exotic Fruits. Int J Food Sci. 2020;2020:4051475. Published 2020 Mar 18.
  5. Berry, S. K. (1980). Cycloproprene fatty acid in some Malaysian edible seeds and nuts. I Durian (Durio zibethinus, Murr.). Lipids, 15:452. Retrieved August 11, 2021 from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02534071
  6. Brown, Michael J. (1997). Durio, A Bibliographic Review. Biodiversity International, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute. pp. 56–59. ISBN 978-9290433187. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  7. Ho, L. H., & Bhat, R. (2015). Exploring the potential nutraceutical values of durian (Durio zibethinus L.) – an exotic tropical fruit. Food chemistry, 168, 80–89. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.07.020. Retrieved August 11, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25172686/
  8. Kumoro, A. C., Alhanif, M., & Wardhani, D. H. (2020). A Critical Review on Tropical Fruits Seeds as Prospective Sources of Nutritional and Bioactive Compounds for Functional Foods Development: A Case of Indonesian Exotic Fruits. International journal of food science, 2020, 4051475. DOI: 10.1155/2020/4051475. Retrieved August 11, 2021 from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijfs/2020/4051475/
  9. Olivieri, J., Quiliquini-Chambard, A. M., & Hauser, C. (2002). Allergy to durian. Allergy, 57(3), 263. DOI: 10.1034/j.1398-9995.2002.1n3550.x. Retrieved August 11, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11906346/
  10. Eriksson, N E, Werner, S., Foucard, T., Moller, C., Berg, T., Kiviloog, J., Norrlind, K., Soderberg, M., & Wihl, J-A. (2003). Allergology International, 52, 199-206. Retrieved August 11, 2021 from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82307443.pdf