Ginger

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
Poop Friendly:Whether a food has qualities that help baby poop. Yes
Common Allergen: No
Jump to Recipe ↓
a whole, raw ginger root on a white background to be prepared for babies starting solids

When can babies eat ginger?

Ginger may be introduced into meals as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. Note that wild ginger (also called asarabacca, cat’s foot, hazelwort, and namepin), a species from a different plant family, contains toxic compounds and can cause serious illness unless prepared safely.1 2

Where does ginger come from?

Today, ginger is a global seasoning, but it wasn’t always that way. Humans learned to harvest the plant in its native home of Southeast Asia, where the edible roots, leaves, and flowers served as food and medicine. Known locally as adaraka, gyin, khing, jahe, halia, and luya, cultivated ginger became one of the region’s first exported spices—a milestone that led to ginger’s incorporation in dishes worldwide. Ginger’s uses are diverse: it seasons kimchi and gari (pickles), ceviche (seafood salad) and som tum (green papaya salad), gingerbreads and gingersnaps, and drinks like kombucha (fermented tea), qishr (ginger coffee), and sorrel (hibiscus tea). Ginger also flavors spice blends like advieh, berbere, chai masala, jerk, Old Bay seasoning, mitmita, pumpkin spice, and ras el-hanout.

★Tip: When shopping for fresh ginger, look for roots with firm texture and taut skin with no dried-up wrinkles. Fresh ginger keeps at room temperature for 5 days, in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, or in the freezer for 6 months. Dehydrated ginger slices can be stored at room temperature in the pantry for a few months.

Cooper, 9 months, eats yogurt with fresh, grated ginger.
Julian, 16 months, tries strips of pickled ginger.
Leila, 17 months, eats applesauce with ginger.

Is ginger healthy for babies?

Yes. While ginger is usually eaten in small amounts, it still contains healthy oils, fibers, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.3 A highly complex food, there are 400 compounds in ginger, including polyphenols—gingerols, quercetin, zingerone, and terpenes (which give plants their specific aromas)—that offer antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-emetic (vomiting), and anti-cancerous benefits.4 5 6 When serving ginger, start small. Ginger’s flavor packs a spicy punch, and large amounts may lead to stomach upset.7

In addition to whole, raw ginger, you can also purchase jars of grated ginger or ginger paste. Jarred ginger sometimes includes ingredients such as sugar and salt, which extend a product’s shelf-life, but should be minimized in a baby’s diet when possible, so read the label before purchasing these products.

Note that wild ginger (also called asarabacca, cat’s foot, hazelwort, and namepin), a species from a different plant family, contains toxic compounds and can cause serious illness unless prepared safely.8 9

★Tip: Peel and cut fresh ginger into 1-inch knobs, then freeze the knobs in an air-tight container. At mealtime, take out a frozen knob and proceed with the recipe. (No need to thaw.)

Can ginger help baby poop?

Yes. Ginger offers small amounts of fiber, prebiotics, and other components, which, in combination with a balanced and varied diet, can help support overall digestive health and bowel regularity.10 11 Note that pooping patterns can vary significantly from child to child. Be sure to talk to your pediatric healthcare provider if you have concerns about baby’s pooping and digestive function.

Can babies or toddlers have ginger tea?

After the first birthday, if served lukewarm and with no or minimal added sweeteners. Do not give tea or beverages other than breast/human milk or formula to babies under 12 months of age to ensure that the necessary nutrition from breast/human milk or formula isn’t displaced by other drinks.

Can ginger help sick babies and toddlers?

Ginger has been used in various schools of traditional medicine to relieve many ailments, including soothing colds and stomachaches. Studies show that ginger can be more effective than some medications for digestive upset and nausea, including motion sickness and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.12 13 14 15 16 While the US Food & Drug Administration regards ginger as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), data regarding the safety of ginger in therapeutic applications is insufficient.17 Consult with your pediatric healthcare provider before using ginger as a remedy for baby.18

If a child is feeling sick and you would like to offer ginger, use a small amount of ginger in fresh, powdered, or paste form in an age-appropriate meal.

Note: Ginger chews and lozenges are choking hazards and often contain added sugars (and sometimes honey, which should not be given to babies under 12 months of age). Avoid these remedies until a child is much older.

Is ginger a common choking hazard for babies?

No. When used in culinary applications (grated, sliced, powdered, etc.), ginger is not a common choking hazard, though in theory a baby or toddler could choke on a slice or knob of ginger if they were able to get their hands on one. To minimize the risk, thinly slice or grate ginger and refrain from offering ginger chews and lozenges, which are absolutely choking risks. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of baby at mealtimes. For more information on choking, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.

Is ginger a common allergen?

No. Ginger is not a common allergen. While allergies to ginger are rare, they have been reported and are sometimes severe.19 Additionally, skin rashes due to touching ginger have been reported in individuals working in the restaurant and food industries.20

In theory, an individual can be allergic to any food. As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.

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

6 to 12 months old: Grate small amounts of fresh ginger into baby’s food as desired. You can also use a pinch of powdered ginger to season baby’s mango spears, stewed apples, and sweet potato wedges, or stir it into soft, scoopable foods like congee (rice porridge), moong dal (stewed lentils), or porridge. Stir fresh or powdered ginger into large, soft kimchi rice balls or meatballs that are easy for baby to pick up. Or make a citrusy ginger sauce that tastes great with fish, meat, tempeh, or any vegetable. Cooking fresh ginger can mellow its flavor a little, if desired.

12 to 18 months old: Continue seasoning the child’s food with fresh or powdered ginger as you like. At this age there is no need to grate; thin slices of fresh ginger are fine. This is also a great age to introduce baked goods, so try adding ginger to crepes, pancakes, muffins, and breads like banana bread, dosa, naan, paratha, or roti. This can also be a fun time to offer thin slices of pickled ginger for a new taste experience. Ginger teas, served warm but not hot, are also fine at this age, and make for great practice with an open cup.

18 to 24 months old: Continue serving ginger in the child’s food and dishes that you can enjoy alongside them. Try adding ginger to smoothies and continue to practice with teas in open cups, such as hibiscus ginger tea, lemon ginger tea, or ginger turmeric tea.

Learn which nutrients are most important for vegetarian and vegan babies in our guide, Best & Worst Plant-Based Foods for Babies.

What are recipe ideas with ginger for babies and toddlers?

Some varieties of ginger taste more citrusy and floral, while others taste peppery and woody, but all kinds add zingy flavor to foods. Try ginger in butter chicken curry, coconut and tamarind fish stew, spiced chickpeas and tomatoes, or sesame soba noodles. Use ginger in soft, scoopable foods for baby like kitchari (spiced lentil and rice porridge) and masoor dal (spiced red lentils and rice). Or add ginger to sweet, tangy dishes like cranberry sauce, spiced sweet plantains, and stewed rhubarb.

As a general rule, use powdered ginger in dry foods (baked goods, spice blends, and teas) and fresh ginger in wet foods (juices, marinades, pastes, pickles, salads, sauces, and stews). That said, some rules are meant to be broken, so experiment with whatever kind of ginger you have on hand.

★Tip: When substituting powdered ginger for fresh, use this formula: 1 tablespoon (6 grams) fresh ginger equals ¼ teaspoon (½ gram) powdered ginger.

Recipe: Citrusy Ginger Sauce for Any Vegetable

Yield: ¾ cup (180 milliliters)
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Age: 6 months+

Ingredients

  • 4-inch knob fresh ginger root
  • ½ cup (120 milliliters) orange juice (ideally with no added sugars)
  • 3 tablespoons (90 milliliters) lime juice
  • 2 teaspoon (10 milliliters) avocado oil
  • bok choy, cassava (yuca), cauliflower, eggplant, or any other vegetable of choice
  • salt to taste for adults and older children

Directions

  1. Wash, dry, and peel the ginger root.
  2. Finely chop the ginger, then mash the ginger to create a paste. You can use a high-powered food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle to speed up this task, but if you don’t have one, use the flat side of a butter knife. Simply lay the flat side of your knife on the finely chopped ginger, then pound it a few times with your fist.
  3. Combine 2 tablespoons (12 grams) of ginger paste with the orange juice, lime juice, and avocado oil until the sauce is blended. Store any extra ginger paste in an air-tight container in the fridge for future use, like your next smoothie or tea.
  4. Next, choose a fresh or frozen vegetable to serve with the sauce—bok choy, cassava (yuca), broccoli, carrot, snap pea, or any leafy green or starchy root on hand. Steam the vegetable until soft, then scoop some vegetable into baby’s bowl.
  5. Season baby’s vegetable with a splash of the dressing. A little goes a long way: for ½ cup of steamed vegetables, start with 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of sauce, then taste. If you’d like more ginger flavor for baby, add more dressing.
  6. If you are serving vegetables and sauce to adults and older children alongside baby, season their food with salt to taste. See our Sodium and Babies FAQ for information on when to start adding salt to baby’s foods.
  7. Serve the steamed vegetable with Citrusy Ginger Sauce and let the child try to self-feed. To encourage the use of a utensil, simply preload the spoon and rest it next to the food for baby to try to pick up. Alternatively, pass the preloaded spoon in the air for baby to grab.

To Store: Citrusy Ginger Sauce for Any Vegetable keeps in an air-tight container in the fridge for 4 days.

Flavor Pairings

Ginger pairs well with chicken, guava, millet, papaya, rice, and tempeh.

Reviewed by

J. Truppi, MSN, CNS

V. Kalami, MNSP, RD, CSP

J. Sage, Herbalist

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. Kuete, V. (2014). Health effects of alkaloids from African medicinal plants. Toxicological Survey of African Medicinal Plants. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  2. Zhao, Y-Y., Lin, R-C. (2014). Metabolomics in nephrotoxicity. Advances in Clinical Chemistry 65, 69-89. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800141-7.00003-6. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  3. Nikkhah Bodagh, M., Maleki, I., & Hekmatdoost, A. (2018). Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials. Food science & nutrition, 7(1), 96–108. DOI: 10.1002/fsn3.807. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  4. Mao, Q. Q., Xu, X. Y., Cao, S. Y., Gan, R. Y., Corke, H., Beta, T., & Li, H. B. (2019). Bioactive Compounds and Bioactivities of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 8(6), 185. DOI: 10.3390/foods8060185. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  5. Nikkhah Bodagh, M., Maleki, I., & Hekmatdoost, A. (2018). Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials. Food science & nutrition, 7(1), 96–108. DOI: 10.1002/fsn3.807. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  6. Kemper, K. (1999). Ginger (Zingiber officinale). Longwood Herbal Task Force. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  7. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2020). Ginger. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  8. Kuete, V. (2014). Health effects of alkaloids from African medicinal plants. Toxicological Survey of African Medicinal Plants. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  9. Zhao, Y-Y., Lin, R-C. (2014). Metabolomics in nephrotoxicity. Advances in Clinical Chemistry 65, 69-89. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800141-7.00003-6. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  10. Lu, Q. Y., Summanen, P. H., Lee, R. P., Huang, J., Henning, S. M., Heber, D., Finegold, S. M., & Li, Z. (2017). Prebiotic Potential and Chemical Composition of Seven Culinary Spice Extracts. Journal of food science, 82(8), 1807–1813. DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.13792. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  11. Nikkhah Bodagh, M., Maleki, I., & Hekmatdoost, A. (2018). Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials. Food science & nutrition, 7(1), 96–108. DOI: 10.1002/fsn3.807. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  12. Essawy MA, Abohadida RM, Abd-Elkader WM, Fathy HM, Hassab HM. (2021). Comparing the effect of acupressure and ginger on chemotherapy gastrointestinal side-effects in children with leukemia. Complement Ther Med, 60:102730. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2021.102730. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  13. Nikkhah Bodagh, M., Maleki, I., & Hekmatdoost, A. (2018). Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials. Food science & nutrition, 7(1), 96–108. DOI: 10.1002/fsn3.807. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  14. Sherani, F., Boston, C., & Mba, N. (2019). Latest Update on Prevention of Acute Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting in Pediatric Cancer Patients. Current oncology reports, 21(10), 89. DOI: 10.1007/s11912-019-0840-0. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  15. Pillai AK, Sharma KK, Gupta YK, Bakhshi S. (2011). Anti-emetic effect of ginger powder versus placebo as an add-on therapy in children and young adults receiving high emetogenic chemotherapy. Pediatr Blood Cancer, 56(2):234-8. DOI: 10.1002/pbc.22778. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  16. Nocerino R, Cecere G, Micillo M, et al. (2021). Efficacy of ginger as antiemetic in children with acute gastroenteritis: a randomised controlled trialAliment Pharmacol Ther, 54(1):24-31. doi:10.1111/apt.16404. Retrieved December 28, 2021
  17. Kemper, K. (1999). Ginger (Zingiber officinale). Longwood Herbal Task Force. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  18. Bode AM, Dong Z. (2011). The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  19. Gehlhaar, P., González-de-Olano, D., Madrigal-Burgaleta, R., Bartolomé, B., & Pastor-Vargas, C. (2018). Allergy to ginger with cysteine proteinase GP-I as the relevant allergen. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, 121(5), 624–625. DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2018.07.013. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  20. Kanerva, L., Estlander, T., & Jolanki, R. (1996). Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from spices. Contact dermatitis, 35(3), 157–162. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.1996.tb02334.x. Retrieved January 3, 2022