Potatoes may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. For clarity, the information here refers to golden, creamy-colored, and white-fleshed potatoes. Check out our entries on purple potato and sweet potato for specific information on these two incredibly nutritious branches of the potato family tree.
Need more ideas for baby's first solid foods? Check out our guides.
In the 1950s, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote an ode to the starchy tuber of his homeland, heralding the potato as the “tesoro interminable de los pueblos” or interminable treasure trove of the people. His hyperbole celebrates the diversity and ubiquity of the potato—a staple food around the globe, including in South America, where Aymara and Quechua farmers first learned to cultivate the native plant thousands of years ago. Spanish colonizers brought the hardy tuber to Asia and Europe, where potato became an essential food that is still enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner today. There are thousands of different varieties to seek out, each with a unique color, shape, and taste, but two types dominate the world market: starchy russet potatoes and waxy-fleshed potatoes. These are the potatoes used to make favorite foods like chips, dosas, dumplings, fries, latkes, puffs, samosas, and more.
Juliet Rose, 8 months, eats wedges of potato with oregano.
Max, 11 months, eats mashed potatoes from a pre-loaded spoon.
Isar, 14 months, eats diced skillet potatoes.
Yes. Potatoes are an energy powerhouse for growing babies, with essential nutrients like folate, iron, vitamin B6, and zinc. The tubers also contain other B vitamins, vitamin C to boost the immune system, and choline—an important nutrient for brain development. An important type of fiber called “resistant starch” in potatoes helps grow beneficial gut bacteria to support a baby’s body.
To peel or not to peel? Potato skins are loaded with antioxidants and beneficial plant nutrients. However, like most root vegetables, potatoes soak up metals in the soil where they grow. This is true for both organic and conventionally grown potatoes and is the result of soil pollution from pesticide usage from decades ago. This is why you may have read that commercial baby food (which is often made with sweet potatoes) can contain heavy metals. To minimize the risk, peel potatoes before cooking as metals from the soil and pesticides tend to concentrate in the skin.
★Tip: Toss any potatoes that have sprouted and peel away or carve out any “eyes” (the common name for those dark spots) before cooking and serving. Sprouted potatoes contain more of the tuber’s natural toxin called solanine, which can be harmful when consumed in large amounts. Cooking potatoes at high heat can significantly decrease its solanine content.
No. Potato is not a common choking hazard when it has been cooked and prepared in an age-appropriate way. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of baby during meals.
No. Potato allergy is uncommon, although not unheard of. Some babies and toddlers who have eczema and/or pre-existing food allergies may be more at risk of sensitivity to potato. Also, individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome (also called pollen-food allergy syndrome) may be sensitive to potatoes, especially if eating the peel or if the potatoes are raw or undercooked. In particular, individuals who have birch, grass, or mugwort pollen allergies may be more sensitive to potato. Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction.
Although severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to cooked potato are uncommon, there have been isolated reports of contact hives and rash after contact with raw potato. Some individuals with pre-existing allergy to natural rubber latex develop a cross-reactive allergy to potato.
As you would when introducing any new food to a baby, start by serving a small quantity during the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the amount over future meals.
Recommended Guide: Introducing Allergens
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience.
Offer large wedges of cooked potato (or even whole potatoes) that baby can grab and munch. Make sure the potato has been cooked all the way through and mashes readily when pressed between two fingers. If offering a whole potato, the potato should be substantially larger than baby’s mouth, but small enough that baby can hold it on their own. No need to remove the skin, unless it makes you nervous. Alternatively, you can offer mashed potato that baby can scoop with hands or eat from a pre-loaded spoon. Too boost nutrition, consider stirring in breast (human) milk, formula, your milk of choice, fresh ricotta cheese, or unsweetened whole milk yogurt and drizzle with a healthy oil or a sprinkle of ground nut. Mashed potatoes are an excellent base for hard-to-scoop foods like amaranth, lentils, quinoa, and rice to minimize the mess and make it easier for baby to eat these foods.
At this age, babies begin to develop the pincer grasp (where the thumb and forefinger meet), which enables them to pick up smaller pieces of food. When you see signs of this development, try serving bite-sized pieces of cooked potato for baby to try and pick up. Leave the skin on or remove it, it’s your choice. Babies often chew on the skin and spit it out, and while this seems like waste, building familiarity with skin can help encourage a child to eat fruits and vegetables with the skin later in life. You can also continue to offer wedges of cooked potato for practice with biting and managing bigger pieces of food, as well as mashed potato.
Offer small, bite-sized pieces of cooked potato as finger food or utensil practice (pre-loading the fork as needed), coaching how to spear the food with the fork. Don’t worry if the child is not interested in using a utensil and wants to continue eating with their hands. Many toddlers prefer to use their fingers to self-feed and toggle back and forth between using a utensil and their hands. This is age-appropriate and a healthy part of development. 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.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
4 c (960 ml)
This recipe contains a common allergen: dairy (butter, milk, mascarpone cheese). Only serve to a child after these allergens have been safely introduced.
Peel and chop the potatoes.
Place the potato in a pot and add enough water to cover them by 2 inches (5 cm).
Simmer the potatoes until they are easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain, then mash the potatoes. Set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients: tear the kale leaves from their woody stems, then thinly slice the leaves. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Pick the thyme leaves from their woody stems.
Melt the butter in a large skillet set on medium heat. When butter finishes foaming, add the onion and stir to coat. Cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and thyme. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the kale and ⅓ c (80 ml) of water. Cover the skillet to steam the kale until it has brightened in color and wilted, about 5 minutes.
Pour in the milk and slowly bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. If the heat is too high, it may curdle the milk.
Add the potatoes and stir to combine the ingredients, then stir in the mascarpone cheese. American-style cream cheese and quark work well as substitutes. Mash and mix the colcannon until it’s mostly smooth. A little texture is okay.
Set aside some colcannon for baby, then season the rest with salt to taste for yourself.
Serve the Colcannon
Offer colcannon to baby, then let the child self-feed.
If help is needed, pre-load a spoon and rest it next to the food for baby to try to pick up. Alternatively, pass the pre-loaded spoon in the air for the child to grab from you.
Eat colcannon alongside the child to model how it’s done.
To Store: Colcannon keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Serve colcannon alongside beef brisket, lamb chops, or meatloaf.
Use leftover colcannon as a topping for shepherd’s pie or a filling for turnovers.
Mash leftover colcannon and rice to make dumplings–a great finger food for baby.
Common potatoes taste nutty, sometimes with a hint of sweetness, with a texture that soaks up seasoning. Try mashing potato with flavor-forward veggies like artichoke, beet, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, kohlrabi, parsnip, pumpkin, rutabaga, squash, or turnip. Stir in creamy foods like mascarpone cheese, ricotta cheese, quark, or yogurt to compliment the potato’s soft texture. Experiment with seasonings by mixing in capers, dill, garlic, horseradish, hot pepper, kimchi, lemon, lemongrass, parsley, sauerkraut, or tarragon. Play up the potato’s earthy flavor by serving alongside button mushroom or shiitake; hearty meats like beef, bison, lamb, pork, or venison; or seafood like haddock, halibut, pollock, sardine, scallop, tilapia, or trout.
Pediatrician & pediatric gastroenterologist
Pediatrician & pediatric allergist/immunologist
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Speech-language pathologist, feeding & swallowing specialist
Pediatric registered dietitian & nutritionist
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