When I was pregnant with my first child, I was totally overwhelmed by the task of putting together a baby registry. I spent many nights weeding through product lists and Googling like crazy: Do I need a bottle warmer? If the answer was yes (it almost always was), I’d then Google: Best bottle warmer. Repeat.
Eventually, my queries led me to the best baby food makers. Now, here’s something I’d really like to have, I thought. But while some reviewers said these gadgets really helped promote healthy eating once their babies started eating solids, others said the expensive appliance sat on their shelves untouched. I decided to skip it—and I opted for something much smarter and more versatile instead.
Why you don’t need a baby food maker
If you have a regular old pot, a food processor, or a blender, then you’re already well-equipped to make your own baby food. But the best thing you can buy to help you make great baby food, is an immersion blender, an easy-to-clean handheld blender that purees baby food directly in the pot you're cooking it in.
Though some baby food makers (like the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker and Bottle Warmer) have an impressive array of features, many will find that it’s an unnecessary expense. The counter in my small kitchen is already cluttered with my much-loved SodaStream, an air fryer, a toaster oven, and a coffee maker: to say there’s no room for anything else is an understatement. But even if you're not low on counter space, immersion blenders are a more sensible pick: they're affordable and versatile where baby food makers are the opposite.
How to use an immersion blender to make baby food
Immersion blenders are about half the price of even the most affordable baby food makers, yet powerful and versatile. They whirl steamed veggies and fruit into a smooth puree—even the tough, fibrous stuff, like broccoli or beets. After steaming your favorite food combos, stick your immersion blender into the pot and blend for approximately 30 seconds and your baby food is ready to go.
I religiously followed these steps every Sunday afternoon when my son was between six months and one year old. It took me about an hour to make two different purees for the week—including chopping, steaming, pureeing, and portioning—but you could easily devote a few hours to making enough variety for a month at a time.
Another benefit to the immersion blender is that it’s useful well past the short timeframe you need to make baby food. I still reach for my immersion blender at least three times a week, but now I use it for salad dressings, mashed potatoes, smoothies, or soups. I even use it to make more affordable (and in many cases, healthier!) homemade snack packs for my son.
The best part? I don’t have to worry about storing another bulky appliance. I just wrap the cord around the mechanical unit and store the top in a drawer and I stick the blending wand in the utensil canister with the rest of my spatulas and spoons. If you’re a minimalist, on a tight budget, or short on space, cross that baby food maker off your list—I promise, you don’t need it.