Raisins

Food Type:
Age Suggestion: 18 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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Poop Friendly:Whether a food has qualities that help baby poop. Yes
Common Allergen: No
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a pile of purple raisins on a table before being prepared for babies starting solid food

When can babies eat raisins?

It’s best to hold off until your baby is at least 18 months old to raisins for a couple of reasons. First, raisins (and dried fruit in general) are a choking hazard for babies younger than 12 months old.1 Second, raisins are very high in sugar (albeit natural sugar), which is best to limit when your baby is starting solids so that you don’t foster a preference for sweet foods.

Max, 20 months, eats raisins for the first time.

Are raisins healthy for babies?

When served in moderation, raisins are a great snack for toddlers. The fruit’s nutritional profile changes during its transformation from fresh grape to dried raisin, and the dehydration concentrates the beneficial nutrients and vitamins (as well as its sugar content).

Compared to their fresh grape form, raisins have higher amounts of copper, iron, and vitamin B6, but also way more sugar—as much as four times the amount. There are also slight variations in the nutritional profile for each variety of raisin, with golden raisins (or “sultanas”) containing more fiber, protein, and B vitamins than their red and purple cousins.2

This is all to say that raisins can offer a powerful energy boost and added nutrition to your child’s meal, but that they should be served as an occasional snack rather than an everyday food. Also keep in mind when purchasing raisins: grapes regularly top the charts of produce sprayed with the most pesticides, so if your budget allows for it, purchase organic raisins.3

Are raisins a common choking hazard for babies?

Yes. Dried fruit, including raisins, is a choking hazard for babies.4 It’s best to hold off introducing raisins and dried fruit until your child is at least 18 months old. Even then, take care to prepare dried fruit in a way that minimizes the choking risk. One common method is to soak raisins in hot water until they are soft. You can also use minced raisins as a natural sweetener in your child’s favorite meals, like cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.

For more information, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with common choking hazards.

Are raisins a common allergen?

No—allergies to raisins are rare. However, raisins and dried fruit tend to be high in histamines, which can worsen allergic reactions and upper respiratory conditions. As with any new food, introduce a small quantity at first and watch closely as your baby eats. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity in following servings.

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

6 to 12 months old: Avoid due to sugar content and choking risk.

12 to 18 months old: Avoid due to sugar content and choking risk. If the raisins are cooked into bread or other foods, the risk is lower.

18 to 24 months old: Offer raisins on occasion rather than as a common snack. Be sure your child is eating in a safe environment (in a proper high chair, etc.) and never let your baby eat while running around.

For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.

Golden raisins are plumper and juicier than their purple cousins and taste wonderful in couscous, energy balls, and whole grain bread.

Recipe: Amaranth Porridge with Pears & Raisins

18 months+

bowl of amaranth porridge with pears and raisins, sitting on a countertop

Ingredients

  • Amaranth
  • Pear
  • Raisins
  • Ground cardamom or cinnamon
  • Heavy cream (or coconut cream)

Directions

  1. Bring ½ cup of amaranth and 1 ½ cups of water to a boil, then immediately reduce to a gentle simmer. Let the grain bubble away while you prepare the fruit.
  2. Soak a handful of raisins in a little hot water for a few minutes, until they are soft. While the raisins are soaking, remove the skin, stem, and core from a pear and finely chop or mash the flesh. Drain the raisins and finely chop. Set aside.
  3. After the amaranth has been cooking for 25 minutes, fold in the raisins and add a pinch of cardamom or cinnamon if you’d like to add a little flavor. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Next, fold in the pears and a splash or two of cream. Turn off the heat and let cool. Serve in a bowl that suctions to the table.

Flavor Pairings

Raisins are incredibly versatile and taste great in a wide range of dishes. They pair well with fruits like apple, banana, orange, and pear; nuts like coconut, pecan, pine nut, and walnut; greens like arugula and escarole; dark meats like beef, chicken, duck, lamb, and turkey; and tangy cheese like feta and goat cheese. Vanilla and warm spices like allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger complement raisins in many dishes.

  1. CDC Choking Hazards (website) Retrieved March 29, 2020
  2. San Francisco Chronicle. Raisins As An Energy Food. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  3. Environmental Working Group. Dirty Dozen: EWG’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved March 22, 2020
  4. CDC Choking Hazards (website) Retrieved March 29, 2020