Broccoli is the perfect first food for babies! There are so many ways to prepare it for baby led weaning. Let me show you how!
When can babies eat broccoli?
This nutritious green vegetable 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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Broccoli is bursting with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, K, A, as well as folate and potassium. It's also rich in fiber and various antioxidants.
It even contains a small amount of iron and zinc, top priority nutrients for babies.
Related post: Best iron-rich foods for babies and toddlers
I highly encourage you to introduce bitter flavored foods, early and often. Babies are born with an innate preference for sweet and salty flavors while disliking bitter and sour flavors.
Research also shows that there is this a narrow “window of opportunity” when babies are most willing to accept new foods. Once your child enters toddlerhood and food neophobia enters the picture, they will only want to eat things that are familiar and safe to them.
All this to say, bring on the broccoli (and kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, cabbage....)
Does broccoli make baby gassy?
Foods that are rich in fiber tend to cause gas. This list includes beans, cruciferous vegetables, oatmeal, prunes, peaches, and pears.
Does this mean you should eliminate them completely? Absolutely not! These foods offer so many beneficial nutrients, necessary for your baby’s growth and development.
And as mentioned above, 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.
Here are the two best cooking methods for babies. It's VERY important that the vegetable is cooked until soft enough to be easily smooshed between thumb and forefinger.
You can use either fresh or frozen broccoli.
I personally don't recommend roasting for this age as the exterior of the vegetable can get too crispy or even burnt before it softens. You can boil, but I don't recommend it as most of the nutrients will leach into the water.
Place water in a pot, add steamer basket, and bring to a boil. Add broccoli, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5-6 minutes. It should be easily pierce-able with a fork.
Be careful not to overcook or you will end up with a not so appetizing greenish-yellow mush.
This method is my personal favorite! If you are new to this cooking method, be prepared to fall in love HARD! So much more flavorful than plain steaming.
How it works: The hot oven and moisture from the veggies create steam (once covered) making them soft, but because they’re roasted, the flavors become more concentrated.
Simply add broccoli to a baking pan, toss with oil and seasoning(s) of choice, COVER, and roast at 425°F for 15-20 minutes! Perfectly soft and flavorful!
Learn more about steam roasting as well as cooking times for ALL other vegetables
How to cut for baby led weaning
Related Post: how to serve the right food size and texture
For 6-8 months old:
Bigger is better and safer at this age so they can easily grab the food with their palm and bring to mouth. So welcome those giant florets ;).
Try to leave as much of the floret stem as possible to make it easier for your baby.
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.
This is a good time to introduce utensils. Your baby will most likely just play around or toss it. But it's still great for exposure! Continue role modeling too.
12+ Months old:
Depending on your child's chewing skills and your comfort level, you can start to offer slightly firmer, but still soft-textured foods. Try shortening the cooking time by several minutes and see how your baby does.
Continue offering utensils and your child will likely surprise you one day!
Also try adding raw broccoli "sprinkles!" Simply shave off the tips of the top with a knife or kitchen shears.
Alternatively, you can pulse the raw florets in a food processor (I love using my manual mini food chopper) until finely chopped. Now add to oatmeal, yogurt, toast, etc!
Frequently Asked Questions
As long as it's offered in appropriate size and texture, it is totally safe. Broccoli allergy is very rare as well.
Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Since they're very soft in texture, I don't recommend freezing them. If you have a lot of leftovers and want to invite more variety, add them to the recipes I suggest below!
Again, because the florets are so soft, reheating will only make them mushier. Serve straight from the fridge or allow to come to room temperature.
Baby-Friendly Broccoli Recipes to try
I cook with this "mini tree," as my son likes to call it, A LOT. It's so affordable, nutritious, and versatile. It's actually one vegetable that my firstborn had a really difficult time learning to enjoy so I came up with all kinds of ways to make it fun and appealing for him.
Hope these recipes will be a hit with your child as well!
- Broccoli White Bean Pesto
- Broccoli hummus
- Vegan Vegetable Quinoa Muffins
- Baked Chickpea Veggie Cakes
- Salmon Quiche
- Vegetable Baby French Toast
- Vegetable Baby Oatmeal
- Overnight Oats (or quinoa)
- Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Lentils for Babies
- Savory Baked Oatmeal with Vegetables
- Tofu Veggie Scramble
- One Pot Creamy Broccoli Pasta
- Instant Pot Peanut Chicken and Broccoli
- Mini Baked Canned Salmon Patties (egg-free)
- Pizza Quesadilla
- Healthy Korean Beef and Broccoli Quinoa
- English Muffin Baby Pizza
- Low-sodium Moo Goo Gai Pan
Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!
Broccoli for baby led weaning
- 1 pound broccoli, chopped into florets
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (for steam roast)
- herbs/seasonings of choice (optional but highly recommended)
- Cut broccoli into large florets.
- Add water to a pot and insert the steamer basket. The surface of the water should be under the basket. Pour some out if need be.
- Bring the water to a boil. Add broccoli, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until easily pierce-able with a fork. Don't overcook or you will end up with super mushy and greenish-yellow color.
- Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Cut broccoli into large florets and place on a baking pan.
- Toss the vegetables with oil and herbs/seasonings of choice. It's ok if they overlap. It will create more steam, resulting in softer texture.
- Cover with foil or silicone baking mat.
- Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until soft.
what are some ideas for the herbs/seasonings of choice?
Hi! So many options - oregano, cumin, garlic, ginger, curry powder...perhaps this post may be helpful as well! https://www.mjandhungryman.com/herbs-and-spices-for-baby-food/
Can I steam roast from frozen veggie thanks
Love the idea of steam roasting. Can't wait to try it!
It's a total game changer!! You'll see 😉
Veronica Madore says
Every recipe that I have tried has been a huge success and I know that what I have made for my Grandson is healthy, nutritious and flavourful. You are a wonderful inspiration Min! So glad I found you and have recommended you to my daughter with her first born.
Thank you for all your love and encouragement, Veronica! It truly means the world to me!! I'm so glad your grandson has been enjoying all of my recipes. Many more to come!!
Great tips! Thanks for the series!
I'm excited to share more!