Zucchini, also known as courgette, is a versatile and healthy vegetable for babies. Here is everything you need to know to serve it in a way that is safe and delicious.
When can babies eat zucchini?
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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Fun fact - while it is referred to as a vegetable, it is technically a fruit. It is a great source of vitamin B6, which supports brain development and function, and vitamin C, which helps enhance the absorption of iron.
It contains smaller amounts of vitamin A, folate, magnesium, and potassium.
Selecting the best zucchini
While it is available all year round in most grocery stories, you will find the best zucchini in the summer.
Look for shiny skin that is free of bruises, blemishes, and soft spots. The skin should be firm, particularly at the stem. It should also feel heavy for its size.
Top Cooking Methods
Here are the three best cooking methods for babies. It's VERY important that the flesh is cooked until soft enough to be easily smooshed between thumb and forefinger.
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.
In regards to size, cut into big spears. Once cooked, you can cut into smaller pieces depending on your baby's age. This way you can serve both big and small pieces as suggested below.
Place water in a pot, add steamer basket, and bring to a boil. Add zucchini, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 8-10 minutes. It should be easily pierce-able with a fork.
This method is my personal favorite! You can learn more about steam roasting as well as cooking times for ALL other vegetables.
Add zucchini to a baking pan, toss with oil and seasoning(s) of choice, COVER, and roast at 425°F for 10-15 minutes! Perfectly soft and flavorful!
I don't recommend doing this with spears as they won't get soft enough. Slice into thin rounds and cook in a skillet with oil and seasoning(s) until soft. This is great for 9+ month olds.
Zucchini for Baby Led Weaning
6+ months old
Pureed - Add cooked zucchini into a blender and blend until smooth. Add breastmilk/formula, water, or even broth to thin out to desired consistency.
Mashed - Whether you are advancing in texture after doing purees or starting with baby led weaning, this is such an easy and versatile way to serve zucchini to your baby.
You can add mashed or finely grated zucchini to (so many options!)
6-9 months old
Bigger is better and safer at this age so your baby can easily grab the food with their palm and bring to mouth.
Big spears are perfect! Again, the zucchini should easily smoosh between your thumb and forefinger.
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.
You can also offer raw grated zucchini by itself rather than folding into foods.
15+ Months old:
Depending on your child's chewing abilities (and your comfort level), you can start to offer raw zucchini.
I highly recommend using different cookie cutters (I LOVE these). They played a tremendous part in getting both of my kids interested in raw vegetables.
Frequently Asked Questions
As long as it is offered in an appropriate size and texture as I have shown here, it is safe. It is also not a common allergen.
It is not necessary as your baby will be able to gnaw/suck the soft flesh away from the skin. Most likely they will spit out the skin.
Only if it's grated. It is best to hold off on offering larger pieces until your baby has had more practice with chewing.
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!
I suggest reheating very briefly in the microwave. Otherwise, the zucchini will get too mushy. I like to serve straight from the fridge or allow to come to room temperature.
Zucchini has dark green skin and is straight in shape while yellow squash is rich yellow and has a wide bottom and narrow top. Yellow squash also contains more seeds.
They are both part of the summer squash family (and cousins of winter squash) and have a mild flavor. Prepare yellow squash the same as zucchini as I have shown you here. You can also use them interchangeably in recipes.
If you want to learn how to prepare other specific food(s), check out my How To Series!
Baby-friendly zucchini recipes to try
Whether you have an abundance of zucchini or want to incorporate more variety into your child's diet, try these recipes! You can also freeze fresh zucchini.
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How to Cook Zucchini for Babbies
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced into spears
- Oil for steam roasting or sauteeing
- Seasoning(s) of choice
- Place water in a pot, add steamer basket, and bring to a boil. Add zuccchini, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 8-10 minutes, until easily pierce-able with a fork.
- Add zucchini to a baking pan, toss with oil and seasoning(s) of choice. It's ok if they overlap a little bit. It will create more steam resulting in softer zucchini.
- COVER with baking mat, and roast at 425°F for 10-15 minutes, until fork tender.
- Recommended for 9+ month olds. Slice into thin rounds instead of spears. Heat oil or butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the slices, stir in seasoning(s) of choice.
- Cook several minutes until tender, flip so they cook evenly. You can also add a splash of water and cover to speed up the process.
- It is not necessary as your baby will be able to gnaw/suck the soft flesh away from the skin. Most likely they will spit out the skin.
- 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.