Serve cabbage to your baby with ease and confidence by using these cooking and serving tips and recipes. It's an amazing first food for babies.
When can Babies Eat Cabbage?
It can be offered to babies as soon as they’re ready to start solids, usually around 6 months. It’s important to remember that your baby is unique and that rather than going by the calendar, you need to make sure your baby is DEVELOPMENTALLY ready to start solids.
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Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family, along with broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.
It comes in a variety of shapes and colors, and the most common ones you're likely to find at the store are green cabbage, red cabbage, savoy, napa, and bok choy (aka Chinese cabbage).
It is particularly high in vitamin K, important for blood clotting and healthy bones.
Cabbage is a good source of vitamin C, which can greatly enhance the absorption of non-heme iron. One cup of chopped red cabbage contains the same amount of vitamin C in a small orange.
It's also a wonderful source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Red cabbage also contains anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant (also found in purple sweet potatoes and carrots).
Iron-rich Foods for Babies (+ Recipes)
Selecting the Best Cabbage
Cabbage is one of the most budget-friendly and versatile vegetables.
For headed cabbages, choose one that is firm and heavy for its size with tightly packed leaves. Avoid those with visibly wilted leaves.
While there is always a place and need for convenience, note that pre-cut or pre-shredded cabbage contains less vitamin C than whole head.
Cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator crisper drawer for up to two weeks, although it's best to consume as soon as possible for the most nutritional value.
Once cut, plan on using it within 2 days to retain as much vitamin C as possible.
How to Cut Cabbage for Babies
First, remove the outer leaves of the head and rinse in water.
I suggest cutting into big wedges or strips as they are easier for younger babies to pick up. Once cooked, you can always slice into smaller pieces as needed.
To cut into wedges
- This is best for steaming. Cut the cabbage in half. Place the flat cut-side of the cabbage down and cut the cabbage into quarters.
- Cut the quarters diagonally to remove the core.
- Separate the leaves for cooking.
To cut into strips or bite-sized pieces
4. Slice the quarters into thinner pieces.
Top Cooking Methods
- Place water in a pot, add steamer basket, and bring to a boil. Add quartered and separated cabbage leaves.
- Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until super soft.
- Keep the pieces large or finally chop as shown in the picture above.
Slice the cabbage thinly or cut into bite-sized pieces. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add cabbage and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add water or broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer (covered) for 40 minutes or so, or until softened. Be sure to stir periodically.
Add sliced apple to the braising method. Cook until soft and blend in a food processor or blender. You can also stir in some breastmilk or formula.
I like to keep the mixture on the chunkier side for texture exposure.
50+ Best Finger Foods for Babies
Cabbage for Baby Led Weaning
6+ months old
Here are some different ways to serve puree:
- preload onto a spoon or let your baby get messy and use their hands
- Spread on soft-cooked vegetables, toasted bread, salmon, chicken, etc.
- Mix in with oatmeal, lentils, or other cooked grains. You can shape into balls or fingers so they are easier to grab.
As for the cooked cabbage, bigger is better and safer at this age so they can easily grab the food with their palm and bring to mouth.
You can also finely chop and mix into foods (Pictured: baby bolognese)
8-9+ months old
As your baby develops their pincer grasp and is able to pick up small pieces of food using their thumb and finger, you can cut into small, bite-sized pieces. I still suggest continuing to offer larger pieces so they can practice taking bites.
It is a great skill that will help your child to slow down and take bites rather than shovel, which is what my son did for the longest time because I always cut his food into small pieces.
12+ months old
You can start offering fermented cabbage, like kimchi (rinse with water to remove some of the heat) and sauerkraut.
Depending on your child's chewing ability , you can introduce thinly sliced raw cabbage.
Frequently Asked Questions
As long as it's offered in appropriate size and texture, it is safe. Cabbage allergy is very rare as well.
Foods that are rich in fiber tend to cause gas, but you shouldn't eliminate them completely!
These foods offer so many beneficial nutrients, necessary for your baby’s growth and development. Not to mention, early introduction to a wide variety of flavors and textures is key in minimizing picky eating down the road.
If your baby is gassy but doesn't seem to be in discomfort, there's no reason to worry. If your baby is extra gassy after eating certain foods, just don't overload them with those foods.
Transfer cooked cabbage to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Cabbage Recipes for Babies
If you want to learn how to prepare other specific food(s), check out my How To Series!
How to cook cabbage for babies
- ½ head cabbage of choice (about 1.5 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon butter, if braising
- 1 medium apple, if pureeing
- Place water in a pot, add steamer basket, and bring to a boil. Add quartered and separated cabbage leaves. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until super soft.
- Slice the cabbage thinly or cut into bite-sized pieces. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add cabbage and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add water or broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer (covered) for 40 minutes or so, or until softened. Be sure to stir periodically.
- Add sliced apple to the braising method. Cook until soft and blend in a food processor or blender. You can also stir in some breastmilk or formula.
Hi Min. Thank you for the article. I want to braised it. To make it really soft before I stir fry them into my child's favourite fried glass noodle. I use an Instant Pot. Do you have an idea if I can use an Instant Pot to braised the red cabbage? My child has sensory processing disorder, I must include red cabbage in her diet (she has GDD, poor immune system and over health) so I need the red cabbage to be really soft and Instant Pot does it best. I also have tools to cut them really small so, no problem on that. Just need help on texture and Instant Pot can help me to do that it's just that I don't know how long to cook them without overcooking them and risk destroying the nutrients. Hope you can help me. Thank you.
Hi! You can! I would start by cooking for 5 minutes!
Appreciate this very detailed guide on how to cook cabbage. I'm not great at cooking but I want my baby to be exposed to every single food, this helps a lot!
I'm SO glad you found this to be helpful!