When can babies eat gruyère cheese?
Gruyère cheese may be introduced in small amounts to your baby as soon as they are ready to start solids, which is typically around 6 months old. While not the lowest in sodium (fresh ricotta, goat cheese, mascarpone, fresh mozzarella or Swiss cheese are lowest), Gruyère is perfectly acceptable in small amounts.
Background and origins of gruyère cheese
Gruyère is a hard, aged cow cheese named after the town of Gruyères in Switzerland. Commonly used in quiches and fondue, Gruyère is prized for baking and melting, and it is also perfectly tasty on its own.
Is gruyère cheese healthy for my baby?
In moderation, yes. For babies younger than 12 months old, limit the serving size to one ounce of cheese, and for babies 12 months and older, limit the serving to three ounces. Like most hard cheeses, Gruyère offers healthy fat that babies need (including omega-3 fatty acids), along with vitamin A and calcium. Gruyère also contains amino acids and protein that your baby needs to build new cells and tissues. Additionally, since the European Union bans the use of growth hormones and many other pesticides, Gruyère produced in Switzerland is likely low in toxins, unlike many cow cheeses produced in the United States.
Is gruyère cheese a common choking hazard for my baby?
Yes. Cheese (with the exception of spreadable varieties such as ricotta) can present a choking hazard for babies and children under the age of five. However, most cheese can be prepared safely for your baby to eat by cutting it into wide, thin strips or shredding it with a cheese grater.
Is gruyère cheese a common allergen?
Yes. Dairy products, including cheese, are among the top common food allergens. Research shows that the majority of children with cow’s milk allergy will outgrow it by age 6 and many babies with milder symptoms of milk protein allergy (which can show up as painless blood in stool) are able to successfully reintroduce cow’s milk as early as their first birthday, with the guidance of their doctors.1 2
Because it is aged, Gruyère cheeseis also high in histamine, which can worsen the symptoms of an allergic response and cause reactions in histamine-sensitive individuals.
How do you prepare gruyère cheese for babies with baby-led weaning?
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.
6 to 12 months old: Serve thin, rectangular slices of Gruyere cheese in moderation. A good visual when cutting cheese is to slice it wide and thin—about the width and thickness of a ruler. This shape can be safe for babies who are 6 months old and it’s preferable to small cubes of cheese, which could get caught in your baby’s throat if swallowed whole by accident. Please note that even when cut safely into thin, wide strips or grated, hard cheese can still present a choking hazard because of it’s ability to coagulate in your baby’s mouth. To minimize the risk, limit the serving to one slice of cheese at a time, and watch closely while your baby eats. Once the first slice is completely chewed and swallowed, offer another.
12 to 18 months old: Continue to serve thin, rectangular slices of Gruyère cheese in moderation. At this age your baby should be able to chew and process melted cheese a bit too, so feel free to use Gruyere in your cooking.
18 to 24 months old: If your baby has established good chewing and swallowing skills, they may be ready for cubes of cheese. While cubes can increase the risk of choking compared to thin slices, it is a good skill for toddlers to learn as cheese is often served in cubes at parties.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
When shopping for cheese for babies who are younger than 12 months, look for cheeses that have less than 100mg of sodium per serving. After your baby turns one, you can offer a wider variety of pasteurized cheese. Just keep that sodium in check!
Recipe: Gruyère & Onion Quiche
- Unsalted butter, olive oil, or avocado oil
- Heavy cream (or non-dairy, soy-free cream substitute)
- Gruyère cheese, grated
- Pastry pie shell (thawed if frozen)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mince four small onions.
- Place a skillet over medium heat and add a pad of butter or splash of oil. Add the onions and stir occasionally until they are very soft and fragrant.
- While the onions are cooking, beat two eggs with ⅔ cup of heavy cream and ¼ cup of the grated cheese.
- Pour the egg and cream mixture into the pastry shell and sprinkle ¼ cup of grated cheese and some thin slices of butter on top.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Gruyère cheese tastes great with onions, potatoes, asparagus and is wonderful in many egg dishes, such as frittatas and quiches. It also makes a great melting cheese atop broccoli, cauliflower, and butternut squash.
- GiKids – Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy. (2020, February 26). GiKids. https://gikids.org/digestive-topics/cows-milk-protein-allergy/
- Wood, R. A., Sicherer, S. H., Vickery, B. P., Jones, S. M., Liu, A. H., Fleischer, D. M., Henning, A. K., Mayer, L., Burks, A. W., Grishin, A., Stablein, D., & Sampson, H. A. (2013). The natural history of milk allergy in an observational cohort. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 131(3), 805-812.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2012.10.060