Tons of ideas and recipes for ways to use leftover baby food, plus tips on how to store leftover baby food safely.
We are just back from a long weekend in Florida, a family reunion with my husband's side of the family, and we had SO much fun! Lots of beach time, family time, play time, and tons of great food!
But whew, I'm worn out and feel like my house is half upside-down. We got home late yesterday afternoon, I immediately went to the grocery store to stock us up, made some overnight oatmeal jars to have on hand for the week, made dinner, caught up on some emails and then settled in for Game of Thrones.
I'm back at work today but feel like I need another day to get us back on track. Isn't that always the case after being away? Ah well, we'll just figure out as we go this week. The laundry isn't going anywhere 😉
But I'm so excited to bring you today's post about ways to use leftover baby food! It's something I've been meaning to post about ever since I started my homemade baby food series a couple of years ago (lots of which I revamped earlier this year).
Let’s start with a quick Q&A with some common questions on how to use leftover baby food:
Can I reuse leftover baby food? Yes, if it’s not contaminated. If you’ve put a spoon in the jar or container that was in your baby’s mouth, you need to throw it out. (The germs from your baby’s mouth can turn the baby food bad.) But if it’s unopened or unused or untouched, it can be reused.
Can I store leftover baby food? Yes! If you have an open jar or container that wasn’t contaminated (see above), you can refrigerate it for 3-5 days or freeze it for up to 4-6 months.
How do I store leftover baby food? It’s best to store homemade baby food in small containers with a tight seal. This allows you to portion out just a bit at a time to avoid wasting food. If freezing, you can use ice cube trays to make small cubes. Once they are frozen, transfer the cubes to a labeled freezer-safe bag.
Can you freeze leftover baby food? Yes! You can freeze leftover baby food for up to 4-6 months. Transfer it to an ice cube tray or small freezer-safe containers. And be sure to label it!
Things to do with leftover baby food jars — I never had any because I did all homemade baby food but I found some cute ideas here and here if you want to check them out.
So now that we’ve covered the basics, what are you gonna actually do with those extras once your sweet baby has moved beyond purees?
Well, I’ve got tons of ideas for you! I got creative because I had kept a freezer stocked with baby food (I had two BIG eaters) and I hate wasting food! So all those little cubes got repurposed into new dishes that my budding toddlers could eat themselves. 👍
So here are lots of ideas for you on using up leftover baby food!
(I’ve also got a free printable if you want to save this for later!)
Ways to use leftover baby food:
- Transform any favorite combinations into homemade baby food pouches for on-the-go eating (and see 5 more baby food pouches for more ideas)
- Mix fruit baby food into oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese and smoothies
- Mix fruit purees into unsweetened applesauce for a new flavor
- Add fruit purees into muffins
- Use fruit purees as a spread for toast or a dip for crackers or cut fruit pieces
- Add veggie purees to tomato or marinara sauce and mix it with pasta or use it to make pizzas (I still do this for my kids, who are ages 4 and 6)
- Use vegetable purees to make sweet potato or squash or zucchini pancakes
- Mix vegetable purees with brown rice to make rice balls or rice patties (perfect for dipping!)
- Use vegetable purees in muffins
- Use veggie purees to bind together casseroles and add some extra nutrition
- Add extra vegetable purees to eggs for omelets, egg muffins or frittatas
- Mix corn, carrot or squash purees into mashed potatoes or mac and cheese.
- Stir vegetable purees into soups, stews or chili (all kinds of veggies can go here)
- Add meat purees into chili, soups or stews
- Use meat purees to make baby meatballs or baby hamburgers
- Use baby food meat purees to make savory muffins with meat, veggies and cheese
See, there's tons of things you can do! And if you are looking for a little more guidance...
Here are a few specific recipes that use or could be adapted to use leftover baby food:
- Berry beet smoothie with broccoli
- Homemade applesauce: 5 fruit flavors
- Spinach banana mini muffins
- Almond butter zucchini muffins
- Apple and butternut squash muffins
- Butternut squash and kale mac and cheese
- Veggie mac and cheese muffins
- White turkey chili
- Hobo stew
Be sure to check out this video, too, to see how easy it is to make some of these leftover baby food recipes! Press play 👇
I would love to hear if you have other ideas for using up leftover baby food! Please share them with me in the comments below!
P.S. Here's that one-pager free printable again!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
Ohhh a Florida family reunion?! SO FUN!!! Just hearing that makes me miss my family down there, so I'm glad you had a great enough time for me too! 😉 So, my friend had her baby!! As you know I've passed along all your baby food post links to her, so I'm definitely going to have to pass this one on too!! Great tips and ideas, girlfriend!!! Cheers! XO
I definitely had fun for the both of us but I hope you get a chance to get down there soon! Though I imagine your new house is keeping you a little busy 😉 Have a great week my friend! XO
Great post! Pureed fruits and veggies are so versatile!
Luci’s Morsels | fashion. food. frivolity.
Yes they are! Thanks so much Luci!
Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
SO interesting! I never even thought of having leftover baby food (no kids yet!) but this is totally a great resource for all of my Mom friends. And I feel ya on needing a day between vacation and coming back to real life. Hope you are feeling back in your groove 🙂
I'm sorta, mostly back in my groove 😉 And thanks - I hope this is helpful for all the moms of littles out there!
Thank you for the info. As a stay home dad, I am always the one feeding my baby his food. I always wonder the same thing that if I can store the lefeover for him. I am glad to find this useful article.
Hi David! I'm so glad this is helpful! I have tons more baby food resources on my blog if you want to explore and I'm always happy to answer any questions. 😊
Hi! This is a great resource! I was just looking for ideas for making food pouches, as my 11 month old wants nothing to do with being 'fed' anymore, but loves store bought food pouches. I have quite a bit of leftover baby food, so I can't wait to look at all of your recommendations! Thanks
Hi Emily! I'm so happy this is helpful! And my kids were the same way - once they want to switch to finger foods, there's no going back! Hope you find some great ways to use up your extras!
I’m looking to use my leftover meat purées to make meatballs- an idea you mentioned. Do you have a recipe that you like? I’m curious how already cooked meat purée works in a meatball recipe since normally you don’t cook meat before forming the balls.
Hi Lizzy! I don't have a recipe but I just looked around and found the two below. They call for cooked turkey or cooked meat, so I think you could substitute any meat purees. You just might need extra breadcrumbs to help it come together since the puree will likely have a higher moisture content than regular cooked meat. Hope that helps. Would love to hear what you try!
Heather Jo Martin
Can you walk me through how to make baby meatballs?
Hi Heather! I don't actually have a recipe for baby meatballs on my site and I'm not sure how exactly I used to throw them together. I think I used ground meat (we prefer turkey but beef would be fine too) and mixed in some of the veggie purees as part of the binder. I've heard of people adding grain purees too. You may be able to Google a recipe for more specifics. Hope that helps!
My youngest just recently moved to solid foods and doesn't particularly care for the baby food any longer, but I've been missing a little floor and baby whole grain cereal with different mixtures and baking little baby biscuits to get rid of the 50 assorted flavors we have sitting in the pantry. I'm a stay at home father for the second child. My wife got the first round. Thanks for all the tips. I like the jar crafts for my oldest.
Oh I'm so happy you found this Joseph - I hope these are some helpful ideas for you and your kiddos! (I hated the thought of wasting the leftover baby food so I had to find ways to use it!)
Thanks for all of these ideas! We get a lot of food through WIC, and my 7 month old is kinda over the pureed foods. I've got quite a few ideas now as to what I can do with all the food we get each month, as well as the cereals we get!
I'm so happy you found this helpful! 😊
Thank you so much! We have a lot of baby food left over and are looking forward to using the jars for holiday gifts- but what to do with the food inside?! Thank you for the ice cube tip- now I can get all the purees safely stored and get on with our jar crafts!
I'm so happy to hear this was helpful! And good for you for using those jars - sounds like a fun holiday gift!
Thank you for the information. Lots of great ideas. I have tons of pumpkin baby food (puree of pumpkin and water). I can't seem to find any recipes that I can use it. Any thoughts?
My mom suggested pumpkin bread, but there really are no liquids in the recipes. Thanks for any help.
Hi Denise! You could use that mixture to make oatmeal (or I have a pumpkin baked oatmeal with chocolate chips that you could try, just reducing the amount of milk) or you could use it in a smoothie (maybe with some peanut butter and banana). I also have a vegetarian pumpkin chili that I feel like you could use your extra baby food to make. I hope that helps!