In this guide, learn how to serve cherries for your baby, for baby-led weaning, or making purees. Cherries are a great source of fiber and antioxidants, making them a great first food for babies 6 months and up. Serve them as a baby food puree, as a solid for the finger food stage, or for baby-led weaning.
Medically reviewed and cowritten by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).
Cherry Baby Food
Is there any other fruit that we look forward to quite like cherry season? Not in my house anyway. I absolutely love sweet, juicy cherries, and I love that they’re a great first food for your baby too.
Cherries are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. But you might be wondering how to serve cherries for baby-led weaning. In this guide, we’ll cover all the information you need in order to safely serve cherries to your baby. You’ll learn about the nutritional benefits, FAQs, helpful tools, and expert feeding tips.
First time making homemade baby food? Then, I would suggest that you start by reading my very in-depth Guide on how to Make Homemade Baby Food – which goes over all the important information such as the best cooking tools to have on hand, safe storage, how to know when baby is ready for solids, how to introduce purees, the best first foods for baby, and more! If you are doing Baby-Led Weaning, then be sure to check out my Complete Guide to Baby-Led Weaning – which covers what exactly is baby-led weaning, to every parent’s concern of baby-led weaning and choking, this guide goes over it all. I will also share how to know when baby is ready for BLW, the top 10 best first foods, a helpful sample blw feeding schedule, helpful tools to have on hand, and much much more!
Want more information? Then make sure to check out my best-selling cookbook for even more information and recipes!
Reasons to Love Cherries for Babies
- delicious baby food purees – 6+ months
- great for baby-led weaning – 6+ months
- also great for the finger food stage – 9+ months
- full of essential nutrients for baby
- easy stage one and combination puree
- different ways for baby to eat – spoon-fed or self-feed
- easy to make
Benefits of Cherries
Sweet cherries have tons of nutrients (note we are talking about sweet cherries, not the bright red maraschino cherries often used in desserts). Their rich color indicates they contain loads of antioxidants called anthocyanins. Other benefits include:
- A good source of fiber for healthy digestion
- A good source of vitamin C for a healthy immune system and iron absorption
- The cherry on top? They are downright delicious!
How to Pick Cherries
Choosing cherries at their peak ripeness will make them even more enjoyable. Here are some pointers to look for when picking cherries:
- Stem and skin: similar to an avocado, the stem of a cherry indicates its ripeness. Look for green, unbroken stems and avoid anything that’s brittle or brown.
- Color: look for shiny, plump and bright colored cherries – anything from bright red to maroon. Avoid those that are wrinkled or discolored as they’ll be overripe.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can introduce cherries to your baby as soon as they are ready to start solids, usually around 6 months of age.
Yes, cherries are firm and round, with a hard pit in the middle, which makes them a choking hazard. To minimize this risk, make sure to dice or quarter them and remove the pit before serving. Dried cherries are also a choking hazard, so wait to serve them until your child is closer to 3 years.
No, cherries are not a common allergen. As you would with introducing any new food, start by offering a small amount and monitor your baby as they eat for any adverse reactions.
No. Cherries are a good source of fiber which can help prevent constipation. However, consuming them in large quantities may cause a laxative effect, so start by offering a small amount and gradually increase serving sizes until you know how your baby responds.
These tools will make it a lot easier for you to serve cherries to your baby. For more of my favorite kitchen tools, make sure to check out my shop.
Making cherry puree is very simple – just remove the pits and puree them until smooth. You can use fresh or frozen cherries. Cherry puree is great for adding to yogurt, applesauce, or other fruit purees.
Cherries for Baby-Led Weaning
Cherries are a great food for your baby to self-feed, whether for baby-led weaning, which happens around 6 months of age, or during the finger foods stage at 9 months.
Pitted and finely diced, mashed or pureed (6 – 9 months): pitted and finely diced or mashed cherries can be served on their own or mixed into yogurt, oatmeal, or with other purees. You can also serve cherry puree at this stage.
Pitted and quartered (9 – 18 months): At this age, baby is working on their pincer grasp, so serving pitted and quartered cherries will help them practice this. You can also continue to serve mashed cherries or mix them into other purees.
Pitted, halved or whole (18+ months, varies): Depending on your toddler’s skill level, you can try offering either halved cherries or whole (pit removed) to practice taking properly sized bites, chewing and swallowing. You’ll want to model how to take a bite off of the fruit, as opposed to placing the whole cherry in your mouth. As your child gets closer to 36 months, you might start to work on offering a cherry with the pit still intact, and model eating one yourself, so that you can show them how to practice eating around the pit and taking it out with your fingers.
You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
This puree can be frozen for up to 4 months.
- Spoon puree into a freezer storage container – do not overfill.
- Place the lid on the storage container or cover it with a piece of saran wrap and label it with the date and recipe name.
- Place the tray into the freezer and let freeze completely – preferably overnight.
- Pop out the baby food cubes and place them in a zip-lock baggie or stasher bag – don’t forget to re-label the baggie or stasher bag for future reference.
You can store cut cherries in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
While Cherry Baby Food is great by itself, it’s also super easy to mix and match with other nutrient-dense baby food purees. Give these fun flavor combos a try!
More Cherry Recipes
Cherry + Basil Baby Food Puree
This Cherry + Basil Baby Food Puree is a fun way to introduce the taste of summer to baby. Filled with essential nutrients for growing baby – this puree will sure to be a hit!
Get the recipe
Expert Feeding Tips
- Pureed and mashed cherries are great for adding to yogurt, oatmeal, and other pureed fruits and veggies.
- Choosing organic cherries when possible is preferred, as they are often heavily sprayed with pesticides. To minimize exposure, wash them before serving.
- To easily remove the pit from a cherry, use a paring knife to cut around the fruit lengthwise, twist the halves apart, and use your fingers to remove the pit.
- Avoid maraschino cherries, which are full of preservatives, artificial colors, and sugars.
- 1 cup cherries, pitted
- pinch cinnamon (optional)
Cherries for Baby-Led Weaning
Storage: you can store the cherry puree in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. You can store the cherry pieces in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Spices/Herbs: Adding spices to your baby’s foods is a great way to introduce more complex flavors at an early age. Some great spices and herbs to add to cherries are a pinch of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, fresh mint, chives or cilantro or even a splash of vanilla.