When can babies eat pecans?
Pecans may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age, as long as they’re finely ground or blended into smooth nut butter (and then thinned out with breast milk, formula, or yogurt to reduce the choking risk). The nut’s rich, buttery flavor pairs well with creamy foods, fruits, and veggies. Read on for serving ideas!
Fun fact: Pecans are the only nut native to North America.1
Are pecans healthy for babies?
Yes! While it’s unlikely that you’ll be offering heaping quantities to babies, serving pecans as part of a weekly meal plan will round out your baby’s diet with super important nutrients that help power growth.
Pecans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats like those found in avocado and olive oil. They are a terrific plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids (critical nutrients to support your baby’s brain development) as well as a whole host of minerals and vitamins, including copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B1 and E. Pecans also contain more flavonoids (antioxidants than support the immune system) than any other nut!
Are pecans a choking hazard for babies?
Yes. All nuts, nut pieces, and nut butters are choking hazards for babies and children.2
To prepare pecans for a baby, you can finely grind them then sprinkle on avocado, banana, oatmeal, or another food, or serve as a nut butter thinned out with breast milk, formula, or yogurt (to reduce the choking risk).
Are pecans a common allergen?
Yes. Pecans are considered tree nuts, and all tree nuts (e.g., almonds, cashews, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts, and more) are common food allergens. The good news: it is estimated only 1 percent of the American population is allergic to tree nuts.3 The bad news: only 9 percent of children who are allergic to tree nuts will outgrow their allergy.4. And unfortunately, an allergy to one tree nut increases risk of allergy to another tree nut.5 If you have a family history of allergies or suspect your baby may be allergic to nuts, make an appointment with a pediatric allergist before introducing pecans.
To introduce pecans, start with a scant amount, such as ⅛ teaspoon of finely ground nut sprinkled on your baby’s meal, and watch for any adverse reaction. If there is no reaction, gradually increase the amount, working your way up to 1 teaspoon of ground nuts sprinkled on other foods.
How do you prepare pecans for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 12 months old: Purchase smooth pecan butter or finely grind pecans in a food processor until completely fine and no pieces remain. If you do not have a food processor, you can pound the nuts in a mortar and pestle (or with the end of a wine bottle!) until completely ground. When serving pecan butter, thin it with breast milk, formula, or yogurt to reduce the choking risk. When serving the ground nut, sprinkle a little in warm cereal or on fruit.
12 to 24 months old: Continue serving pecan butter that’s been thinned out with a liquid or sauce, or ground pecan sprinkled on other dishes and foods. At this age your baby is also ready to try nut butter spread on toast. To serve, make sure the butter is very thinly spread and that no clumps remain.
For more information on how to cut food for your baby’s age, hop over to our section on Food Sizes & Shapes.
★ProTip: Grind pecans in batches and save the ground nut in an air tight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Pecans will last about 9 months in the refrigerator or two years in the freezer.6
Recipe: Pumpkin-Pecan Yogurt
- Greek yogurt (plain, full fat)
- Canned pumpkin (BPA-free can)
Pulverize the pecans in a food processor until they have broken down to a fine texture.
Scoop a dollop or two of yogurt into a bowl that suctions to the table. Add a spoonful of canned pumpkin and a sprinkle of the pecans. If you are introducing pecans for the first time, you may want to start with a very small amount, such as ⅛teaspoon.
Mix well and serve.
Flavor Pairings: Pecans taste delicious with sweet fruits like apples, bananas, blueberries, and dates; with hearty vegetables like Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes; with creamy foods like avocado, coconut, and ricotta; and mixed into grains like oats, quinoa, and rice. Try pairing pecans with different spice combinations, such as rosemary and thyme or cumin and paprika.
- American Pecans. America’s Native Nut. Retrieved April 6, 2020
- American Academy of Pediatrics, HealthyChildren.org. Choking Prevention. Retrieved April 4, 2020
- American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Everything You Need to Know about Tree Nut Allergy. Retrieved April 4, 2020
- Food Allergy Research & Education. Tree Nut Allergy. Retrieved April 4, 2020
- U.S. Pecans. Handling and Storage. Retrieved April 19, 202