Baby-led weaning recipes: 17 easy recipes to make for your baby

Take inspiration from these baby-led weaning recipes from simple scrambled eggs to flavoursome curries...

Baby-led weaning recipes illustrated by montage
(Image credit: Future / Getty / Annabel Karmel)

Looking for baby-led weaning recipes and ideas for your little one? We're here to help and inspire with this collection of easy, nutritious recipes for weaning-ready babies.

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is a feeding method where you let your child feed themselves from the very start of the baby weaning process instead of introducing them gently to baby food recipes such as purees or soups, etc. It's a messy process but is a great way for children to explore the texture and taste of food focusing on the notion of chewing first.

The NHS advises that finger foods are best when soft or cooked and cut up into pieces big enough for your baby to hold in their fist and stick out of the top of it. Pieces about the size of your own finger work well. Baby-led weaning encourages your baby to feed themselves with their fingers, so they can show you how much they want to eat. It also helps them get used to different foods and textures and is great for developing hand and eye coordination, according to the APA.

One of the biggest concerns that can often put parents off BLW is choking, however, being prepared and being present during feeding times can help to eliminate this fear. Family Editor, Stephanie Lowe tells us how worried she was about her son choking; "... I booked myself and partner onto a baby first aid course to arm us with the basics. And also extra knowledge - such as a baby's gag reflex is really high so they will gag on foods but that is their way of figuring out how to get it out themselves. I recommend booking one for all my friends, and where time or money might stop then definitely research it, and follow the min first aid business on social media. Knowledge is power."

The majority of the baby-led weaning foods in this collection are from Annabel Karmel, chef, and author of over 40 cookbooks based on nutrition, and cooking for babies, children, and families. Annabel has been awarded an MBE for her outstanding work in the field of child nutrition so certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to healthy food for children.

Easy baby-led weaning recipes to try at home

Dishes for 6 months+

Annabel Karmel’s pasta shells with salmon and broccoli

(Image credit: Annabel Karmel)

1. Annabel Karmel’s pasta shells with salmon and broccoli

Weaning stage: 6 months + | Prep time: 8 mins | Cook time: 15 mins 

Bursting with omega-3, this salmon-packed pasta is made with fresh salmon fillet, pasta shells, broccoli, and Parmesan cheese. It's a really flavoursome dish that introduces your little one to herbs such as dill and chives. This recipe calls for pasta shells - Annabel has chosen to use baby pasta shells which are the smaller versions of the classic shell shape but this recipe would work just as well with macaroni, strands of spaghetti, or standard penne halved or cut into smaller pieces once cooked (before adding the sauce!)

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. We'd recommend warming through before serving again - not only as it tastes better but is a great way to introduce heat and warm foods to your baby's sensations.

How to serve: Introduce a spoonful of this pasta at a time - so you don't overwhelm your baby with too much food, and you can hopefully avoid as much mess as possible too. A suction bowl would be a great idea with a spoon or fork - the choice is yours.

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel’s pasta shells with salmon and broccoli

Scrambled eggs

(Image credit: Getty)

2. Scrambled eggs

Weaning stage: 6 months + | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins 

Scrambled eggs - a super quick and easy recipe to whip up for your little one come breakfast, lunch, or dinner time. Eggs are packed full of protein and great for filling your baby's tummy. Our recipe calls for four eggs but if you're making for just one meal and one baby start with one or two eggs, to begin as four eggs will serve two adults. Once your child has had the opportunity to try egg, you could add chopped veggies to the pan like minced peppers, onion, or mushroom.

How to serve: Once cooled, break or cut into bite-sized chunks and let your little one pick the egg up in their hands - it's a great opportunity for them to play around with their food too feeling the texture, observing the colour, etc. A spoonful of beans and a toast soldier or two would make a great accompaniment. 

Get the recipe: How to make scrambled eggs

Cod with root veg and rice

(Image credit: Getty)

3. Cod puree with root veg and rice

Weaning stage: 6 months + | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Embrace the mess by letting your baby feed themselves this cod puree with root veg and rice. It’s a great starter recipe for babies who may be a bit unsure about florets of broccoli or soft sweet potato wedges at first. Just because you’re opting for baby-led weaning, doesn’t mean you have to avoid purees altogether - especially when your little one gets to practice with a spoon and especially when they’re full of nutritional benefits too.

We’ve kept this recipe simple with cooked boneless cod fillet, carrot, parsnip, and spinach leaves. Add 3 tablespoons of rice and blend. And when your child feels ready to take on bigger pieces of food, you could deconstruct this recipe instead serving soft flakes of cooked cod, and rice alongside mashed carrot, parsnip, and spinach. It’s a great recipe to adapt to suit you and your baby.

How to serve: We’d recommend serving a few spoonfuls at a time of this puree in a suction bowl or directly onto the highchair if you want to allow your child to really explore the texture and flavours. Don’t forget the spoon - and maybe a flannel too for the aftermath.

Get the recipe: Cod puree with root veg and rice

turkey cottage pie

(Image credit: Future)

4. Turkey cottage pie

Weaning stage: 6 months + | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 40 mins

This turkey cottage pie is a healthier twist on a classic cottage pie made with turkey mince, which is much lower in fat than beef or lamb mince, and topped with a carrot and potato mash, which gives it a vibrant appearance, sure to catch your little ones eye.

A meal that the whole family can enjoy together. This recipe serves two adults so of course if you’re making it just for your baby there will be plenty of leftovers to freeze if you don’t plan on sharing with the rest of the gang.

We’d recommend leaving the Worcestershire sauce and the added salt and pepper out of this recipe when making it for your baby. You could always add to your portion of the meal once you’ve dished up so you don’t miss out but best to avoid salt until your baby is over 12 months old ideally. Also make sure you cut the vegetables to a manageable size for your little one, particularly the celery, and onion. 

How to serve: Once the turkey cottage pie has cooled down enough for your little one to enjoy, spoon it onto a plate, bowl, or directly onto the clean highchair. A few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes and a few spoonfuls of meat and sauce should do the trick. You could give your baby a spoon or fork to use too.

Get the recipe: Turkey cottage pie

Sweet potato wedges

(Image credit: Getty)

5. Sweet potato wedges

Weaning stage: 6 months + | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 30 mins 

Potato wedges are a really simple food to try for your weaning baby - especially if you remove the skin. Sweet potatoes are even better as they are vibrant, super flavoursome (particularly when roasted), speedy to cook, and have a range of health benefits too.

These sweet potato wedges can be made in bulk and frozen, so you could cook them in batches ready for the weaning time. It also means that leftovers won't go to waste either. This is another great recipe that you enjoy with your little ones and encourage them to eat as you do.

It's entirely up to you whether you remove the skin or not when it comes to cooking and serving. The wedges are much easier for babies to eat and smoosh down with their gums without the skin so you could try that to begin with.

How to serve: For safety, ensure they're cut no wider than your forefinger. Perfect served alongside an array of different foods - from homemade veggie burgers to scrambled eggs. You could even serve it with homemade tomato sauce or avocado dip made with half a mashed avocado, a spoonful of Greek yogurt, and a squeeze of lemon.

Get the recipe: Sweet potato wedges

Annabel Karmel chicken and apple balls

(Image credit: Annabel Karmel)

6. Annabel Karmel’s chicken and apple balls

Weaning stage: 6 months + | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 10 mins 

Delicious served warm or cold, these chicken and apple balls by Annabel Karmel are packed with both sweet and savoury flavours. Perfect for holding in little hands, you can easily whip up a batch of 20 in just four steps.

Alongside chicken and apple, these balls are made with onion, and breadcrumbs and infused with parsley and thyme. This recipe does list a chicken stock cube however you could leave this out if your child is under 12 months as the added salt is not recommended for this age according to Annabel Karmel - the same goes for the salt and pepper seasoning in this recipe. Adapt to suit your own child and their age.

If you also want to avoid excess oil when cooking, you could choose to bake these chicken and apple balls in the oven instead. Spray with oil and cook for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Store leftovers or extras in the fridge for up to two days or pop them in the freezer in an airtight bag or freezer-safe Tupperware.

How to serve: These chicken and apple balls can be served as they are either warm or cold. A homemade tomato sauce would make a great accompaniment alongside fresh veggie sticks like cucumber or slices of avocado.

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel’s chicken and apple balls

Steamed salmon with spinach and potato

(Image credit: Getty)

7. Steamed salmon with spinach and potato

Weaning stage: 6 months + | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Another puree that we’d highly recommend as it’s bursting with omega-3, thanks to the salmon, and is iron-rich too thanks to the spinach. 

It takes just one small cooked boneless salmon fillet, a handful of spinach, one small potato, and a knob of butter to make this vibrant green puree. You can blend all of the ingredients - or you can leave chunky with more texture, for babies that are starting to get the hang of feeding themselves, by mashing with a fork. The choice is yours.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated thoroughly before serving. You can even freeze this puree which is perfect if you’re making it in bulk. If your baby has more confidence in eating and you like the sound of this combo you could easily serve a deconstructed version of cooked flaked salmon fillet with a side of spinach and potato mash.

How to serve: A few spoonfuls of this puree at a time is best so babies can explore and attempt to feed themselves. It’s going to be messy so have a flannel or wet wipes at the ready. And don’t forget the spoon so they can try and feed themselves.

Get the recipe: Steamed salmon with spinach and potato

Dishes for 9 months+

Annabel Karmel's ratatouille omelette

(Image credit: Annabel Karmel)

8. Annabel Karmel's ratatouille omelette

Weaning stage: 9-12 months| Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins 

This ratatouille omelette is packed with vegetables from courgette to pepper to onion to aubergine. It's a great way to introduce your baby to different vegetables and textures. 

Before cooking, make sure you chop all your veggies into small, bite-sized pieces so it's easier for your baby to chew. You could also introduce a vegetable at a time if you're concerned about allergies at this stage starting with courgette the first time you make it peppers the next time, and so on. 

This recipe makes a large omelette, enough to serve 4 people but the ingredients can easily be halved if you want to make less. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge and served up to 2 days after making - either warmed through or cold.

How to serve: Cut into thin strips to make it easier for your baby to pick up and hold in their hand. Serve alongside grated cheese and a spoonful of couscous for various textures.

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel's ratatouille omelette

Falafel and orzo on a red plate

(Image credit: Getty)

9. Homemade falafel

Weaning stage: 9-12 months | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 25 mins 

Not only is falafel a great one for babies, but it's also perfect for you too as a vegetarian option for lunch or dinner. This recipe calls for fresh green chilli but you can, of course, leave this out if a baby isn't ready for spice.

To make the falafel, you can either crush the chickpeas with a fork to make chunkier falafel pieces or you can puree the falafel so the texture is much smoother. If you’re worried about giving your baby the falafel as a whole, you can easily crumble it into smaller pieces if preferred - it’s entirely up to you. 

This recipe makes enough for 4 adults so you'll have plenty of leftovers you can enjoy together and keep some in the fridge for the next day.

How to serve: Serve as they are or cut them into half pieces to make them more manageable by hand. You could pair it with a hummus or Greek yogurt dip, a slice of pitta bread (if you feel your little one is ready for it), and a couple of sticks of cucumber.

Get the recipe: Homemade falafel

Annabel Karmel fish cakes

(Image credit: Annabel Karmel)

10. Annabel Karmel’s crunchy salmon fishcakes

Weaning stage: 9-12 months | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 5 mins 

There's a little bit more prep work behind these Shredded Wheat coated fish cakes however they are well worth the effort. Homemade to perfection, these delicious bites are packed with spring onion, salmon, and mashed potato and flavoured with lemon juice, ketchup, mayo, and even chilli sauce (optional).

The crumb coating is made with Shredded Wheat, Parmesan cheese, and eggs. It's a light crisp coating that makes each fish cake golden and delicious - and easy for little ones to mouth at too.

Your baby will probably only want one fishcake to begin with so the rest can be frozen and saved for another day, or you could share with the family instead as like most foods, these fishcakes are best served fresh.

How to serve: Pair with a handful of peas or a few sprigs of broccoli for a filling and fun fish-shaped and flavoured dinner option. 

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel’s crunchy salmon fishcakes 

Two ingredient pancakes

(Image credit: Getty)

11. Two ingredient pancakes

Weaning stage: 9-12 months | Prep time:10  mins | Cook time: 10 mins 

Pancakes are a great sweet treat option for your baby. They're super simple to make and are easy for your child to hold in their hands. You can cut it into bite-sized pieces or you can let them explore a circular pancake allowing them to mouth at and break off pieces at their own pace.

These pancakes are extra special (and easy!) as they are made with only two ingredients - banana and egg. The perfect choice if you want to avoid flour, or sugar at this stage. Banana pancakes are also a great way of using up leftover brown ripe bananas in the fruit bowl.

Depending on how big you choose to cook your pancakes you can make anywhere between 3-6 pancakes each time. If you have leftovers or you want to make them in bulk you can store in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze them.

How to serve: Serve as small Scotch-style pancakes or cut into triangles for your little one. Serve with a few pieces of banana or fruit of your choice cut up into manageable pieces. 

Get the recipe: Two ingredient pancakes

Annabel Karmel’s haddock and spinach pasta bake

(Image credit: Getty)

12. Annabel Karmel’s haddock and spinach pasta bake

Weaning stage: 9-12 months | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 30 mins 

Introduce your little one to smoked haddock and spinach in this hearty pasta bake recipe infused with wholegrain mustard (optional) and Parmesan cheese. Annabel Karmel's haddock and spinach pasta bake is a great dish that the whole family can enjoy together.

A couple of spoonfuls of this bake should do the trick for your little one and if you're unsure of using regular penne pasta you could cut it in half before adding the sauce, etc. or you could opt for smaller pasta shapes instead like macaroni or baby pasta shells.

This recipe calls for cow's milk, which according to the NHS "can be used in cooking or mixed with food from around 6 months of age, but should not be given as a drink until your baby is 1 year old." 

How to serve: Pair with broccoli florets or peas if you want to up your little ones' five-a-day count. You could also let your child experiment with a fork to see if they can pick up the pasta pieces on the fork. A fun way to improve hand-eye coordination whilst eating. 

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel’s haddock and spinach pasta bake

Annabel Karmel's Thai chicken soup on a world map

(Image credit: Annabel Karmel)

13. Annabel Karmel’s Thai chicken soup

Weaning stage: 9-12 months| Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 10 mins 

Introduce your little one to some spice with this warming Thai chicken soup by Annabel Karmel. This soup consists of onion, garlic, red chilli, coconut milk, and chicken stock meaning it has plenty of flavour.

This recipe is ideal for those who have been weaning for some time and looking to move away from the classic chicken broths or want to introduce their baby to more adventurous ingredients such as red chilli and coconut milk. Keep in mind the chicken stock will contain salt, so this recipe is best to remove or limit if your child is under 12 months.

Cutting the chicken into thin strips will make sure it's easy for your little one to eat. The broccoli will be soft enough to just break down with your baby's gums so can be left in florets. 

How to serve: Opt for a spoonful of the soup, with a couple of pieces of chicken and broccoli at a time, alongside a spoonful of rice. You'll know your baby so go with whatever suits your child - some are more hungry than others, some are keener to try new things than others - each to their own.

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel’s Thai chicken soup 

Annabel Karmel’s fruity chicken curry

(Image credit: Annabel Karmel)

14. Annabel Karmel’s fruity chicken curry

Weaning stage: 9-12 months | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 10 mins 

Send your baby’s taste buds into overdrive with this flavoursome, fragrant curry by Annabel Karmel. The perfect recipe for both you and baby to enjoy together - be it lunch or dinner. 

This recipe will introduce your child to an array of ingredients including onion, carrot, garlic, apple, mango chutney, peas, and chicken. Annabel has also used korma curry paste which has a much milder spice but you can leave it out if preferred. The same goes for the chicken stock - if you want to avoid the extra salt, we’d recommend leaving it out for babies under one year old. 

You can make two good child-sized portions with this curry so you're more than likely going to have leftovers. The great thing is that they can be frozen, defrosted and reheated at a later date. Just be sure to freeze in portion sizes so each is quicker to defrost.

How to serve: This curry can be served with a spoonful or two of rice and a slice of Naan bread if your little one is ready for that. We'd also recommend shredding the chicken instead of cubing it so it's easier for your child to chew.

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel’s fruity chicken curry 

Dishes for 12 months+

Apple and sultana muffins

(Image credit: Annabel Karmel)

15. Annabel Karmel’s apple and sultana muffins

Weaning stage: 12 months + | Prep time: mins | Cook time: mins 

If you fancy giving your baby a treat, you might as well make it a homemade treat - especially as that way you'll know exactly what's gone into it to make it.

These deliciously sweet apple and sultana muffins are great choices for little ones made with dessert apples, and sultanas infused with spices such as cinnamon and ginger. 

You can whip up a batch of 12 with this recipe and you're more than likely going to enjoy them as much as baby. If you want to make them healthier, and more suitable for little tummies remove the salt, and swap the caster sugar for brown sugar instead.

Please note: This recipe is recommended for 12 months + because of the added sugar cakes contain but it is up to you as a parent or guardian whether you give it to your baby or not at an earlier stage.

How to serve: Remove from the wrapper before serving to your child. You can either serve it whole or break and cut it into pieces depending on much you want your little one to have. If its their first time trying sugar a mouthful or two should be enough. 

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel’s apple and sultana muffins

Baked bean muffins

(Image credit: Future)

16. Baked bean muffins

Weaning stage: 12 months + | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins 

A great lunch box option if you're looking for a filling snack or lunch for your baby to have on the go. Make a batch of 12 baked bean muffins in just 25 minutes. Leave to cool and then pop in an airtight container ready for your outing.

They're a great bite-sized option for children and protein in the baked beans will ensure your little one is kept fuller for longer. When it comes to choosing which baked beans to go for, we'd recommend choosing a tin with lower salt content as some can be rather heavy on salt which is something to avoid when weaning.

Our mummy blogger Anneliese made these muffins using mature Cheddar but you can choose whichever cheese you or your little one prefers - you could even experiment with different ones each time. 

Please note: This recipe is recommended for 12 months + because of the added salt baked beans contain but it is up to you as a parent or guardian whether you give to your baby or not at an earlier stage.

How to serve: Ideal served as they are as an on-the-go snack or serve with scrambled egg and toast soldiers for a brunch or lunch option. As these muffins are bite-sized they should be easy enough for your child to hold but you can always cut them in half.

Get the recipe: Baked bean muffins

Annabel Karmel english muffin pizzas

(Image credit: Annabel Karmel)

17. Annabel Karmel’s English muffin pizzas

Weaning stage: 12 months + | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 15 mins 

For those children who have mastered the art of baby-led weaning and are getting bored of the same old dishes, we give you the English muffin pizza. Topped with an array of vegetables (or vegetables of your choice) these fun pizzas are great to make with little helpers and eat with them too for lunch or dinner.

Annabel Karmel has topped hers with red onion, yellow pepper, mushrooms, courgette, and a tomato passata sauce. Not forgetting Cheddar and mozzarella too. Plenty of flavours and textures for your baby to explore. Plus all the added veg counts towards their five-a-day.

English muffins are a little tougher to bite than the usual pizza dough or sliced bread so keep this in mind when feeding to your baby. 

How to serve: We'd recommend cutting it into quarters so your little one can hold it in their hand. Or you could try the whole half an English muffin base at a time to see what the baby thinks of it - it depends on how confident your baby is at this stage, and how much mess you're happy to deal with.

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel’s English muffin pizzas

More baby-led weaning recipe ideas

"With baby-led weaning, you’ll want to offer food shapes and sizes that are easy for your infant to hold, so opt for cutting most things into sticks or strips about the length of your finger," recommends leading nappy brand, Pampers

"For example, offer a floret of steamed broccoli, a steamed carrot stick, or a small strip of soft-cooked chicken. A handy tip: You know it’s the right size if there’s a bit of the food protruding from your baby’s fist when holding it."

  • Soup - with soft chunks of root vegetables like potato or parsnip
  • Porridge - with chunks of banana or slices of soft fruit
  • Bolognese - a great one the whole family can enjoy together
  • Fish cakes - homemade with fish of your choice and mashed potato
  • Beans and toast soldiers
  • Noodles - cut into small strands
  • Mash - potatoes, parsnips, swede, sweet potato - similar to baby food but let your baby feed themselves
  • Jacket potato - you may want to remove the skin 
  • Mac n cheese - small macaroni pasta is great for beginners
  • Risotto - great way to introduce textures and stronger cheese flavours
  • Shepherd’s, fish or cottage pie - soft mashed potato and pieces of meat or fish
  • Flaked salmon, couscous and peas
  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Vegetable sticks: Carrots (soft cooked), cucumber (without skin to begin with), pepper etc.

Foods to avoid when baby-led weaning

According to the NHS, they are a range of foods you should avoid giving your baby when they start on solids. “There are some foods to avoid giving to your baby. For example, do not add sugar or salt (including stock cubes and gravy) to your baby's food or cooking water. Babies should not eat salty foods as it's not good for their kidneys, and sugar can cause tooth decay.”

  • Salt e.g. bacon, sausages, crisps, takeaways
  • Sugar e.g. fruit juices, sugary snacks
  • Saturated fats e.g. biscuits, cakes, crisps
  • Honey - the NHS says; "Do not give your child honey until they're over 1 year old. Honey is a sugar, so avoiding it will also help prevent tooth decay."
  • Wholenuts or peanuts - the NHS says; "You can give your baby nuts and peanuts from around 6 months old, as long as they're crushed, ground or a smooth nut or peanut butter."
  • Some cheeses
  • Raw and lightly cooked eggs
  • Rice drinks
  • Raw jelly cubes
  • Raw shellfish
  • Shark, swordfish and marlin

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Jessica Dady
Food Editor

Jessica Dady is Food Editor at GoodtoKnow and has over 12 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the must-buy seasonal food hampers and advent calendars for Christmas to the family-friendly air fryers that’ll make dinner time a breeze, Jessica loves trying and testing various food products to find the best of the best for the busy parents among us. Over the years of working with GoodtoKnow, Jessica has had the privilege of working alongside Future’s Test Kitchen to create exclusive videos - as well as writing, testing, and shooting her own recipes. When she’s not embracing the great outdoors with her family at the weekends, Jessica enjoys baking up a storm in the kitchen with her favourite bakes being chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and a tray of gooey chocolate brownies

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