These 18 Stage 3 Baby Food Recipes are easy to make, delicious for baby to eat and completely homemade! They are combination purees with soft chunks that will get baby ready for the next stage – finger foods. Great for babies 9-12 months.

Graphic for post – 18 stage three baby food recipes, perfect for 9–12 months. Images are in a grid with colorful chunky purées for baby.

Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).

Stage 3 Baby Food Recipes

Now that your baby has mastered Stage 1 as well as Stage 2 baby food purees, it’s time to move on to the last phase of their puree journey – Stage 3!

Stage 3, or Chunky Purees, is the last stop of the puree culinary adventure for baby – the next phase is finger foods.

What exactly are Stage 3 Baby Purees? Well, put simply, Stage 3 baby foods are a puree with small chewable chunks inside. Having small manageable chunks in a puree gets your baby ready for finger foods by having them explore similar tastes that they are used to but with completely different texture profiles.

Baby has to learn how to move the chunks around their little mouths, how to chew on those chunks and finally they have to learn to swallow them without gagging or choking. It’s a sensory and exploratory practice that takes some time, but trust me, baby will learn how to do all of these things in no time at all.

Looking for even more baby food ideas? You can also check out my best-selling cookbook for even more information and recipes.

Reasons to Love these Homemade Stage 3 Purees

  • wholesome
  • delicious
  • freezer-friendly
  • nutrient-dense
  • full of whole grains – millet, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, etc
  • great ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinners
  • can be made slightly chunky or really chunky depending on where baby is at with this stage of purees
  • baby doesn’t have to have teeth for these chunky purees – they will be able to gnaw at any of these chunks with their gums

Frequently Asked Questions

When can you introduce baby to stage 3 purees?

You can introduce Stage 3 purees to your baby around 9 months of age. You will want your baby to have had a great deal of practice eating smooth combination purees before you serve them chunky purees.

What are Stage 3 Baby Foods?

Stage 3 baby foods are a thick puree with soft chewable pieces of food inside.

What is the difference between Stage 2 and Stage 3 baby foods?

The only difference between Stage 2 and Stage 3 baby food is that Stage 3 baby foods are slightly chunkier than Stage 2 purees. Traditionally, Stage 3 baby foods are meant to be the last step in the puree process before you start your baby on finger foods. You are giving your baby some time to practice mouthing and chewing on small pieces of cooked foods before handing them solid foods. Of course, you can always introduce finger foods at the same time as Stage 3 purees.

Why are Stage 3 Baby Foods Important?

Stage 3 baby foods are important because they will help teach baby what to do with small chunks of food in their mouths, how to move the chunks around their mouth, how to “chew” these chunks as well as how to swallow them. This stage is important because you are exposing them to a ton of different textures and taste sensations.

How to Make Stage 3 Baby Purees

You can make any homemade Stage 2 baby food puree into a Stage 3 baby food simply by not blending the produce into a smooth puree.

  • Cook the fruits, veggies, grains and meat according to the recipe.
  • Place in a food processor or blender.
  • Pulse the puree in 5-10 second intervals until you have small ‘pea’ size pieces and everything is incorporated.
  • Serve to your baby.

Can you do Finger Foods and Stage 3 Purees at the Same Time?

Yes, you can start finger foods at any age! This stage is all about texture and taste exploration, so the more you introduce to your baby now, the easier it will be for them when they start eating table foods. You can read my Ultimate Guide to Finger Foods for more information.

HELPFUL TOOLS

These tools will make it a lot easier to make homemade baby food purees. For more of my favorite kitchen tools make sure to check out my shop.

How to Store Baby Purees

Every recipe below has specific instructions on how to store that particular puree, but these are the general guidelines.

REFRIGERATOR

You can store the puree in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

FREEZER

Most homemade 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 with a piece of saran wrap, and label with the date and recipe name. 
  • Place the tray into the freezer and let it freeze completely — preferably overnight. 
  • Pop-out the baby food cubes and place them in a ziplock baggie or stasher bag. Don’t forget to relabel the baggie or stasher bag for future reference.

Need more information on how to store your baby foods? Head over to my Best Baby Food Storage Containers – Plus 6 Tips on Freezing and Thawing post!

FEEDING TIPS

  • Have a spare spoon (or three!) – even very young babies often want to be involved in feeding themselves as much as possible. Giving your baby an extra spoon to hold can be helpful in giving her a sense of control and also promotes hand-eye coordination. Allow your baby to use spoons as a teether during the meal. There are many great options out there but a few we particularly love include the Olababy 3 Piece Set, the NumNum Pre-Spoon GOOtensils, and the ChooMee FlexiDip Baby Starter Spoons.
  • Purees are great to keep in your baby’s regular rotation of foods – but if you start feeding with traditional weaning using purees, make sure to progress beyond eating ONLY purees. Once your baby can safely and comfortably swallow purees (usually by 7 or 8 months) it’s time to introduce other textures, such as teething biscuits and soft-cooked finger foods. Moving onto additional textures in a timely manner may help prevent feeding difficulties at a later age.
  • Throwing spoons is a common phase that all babies go through at one point or another. One of the best ways to handle spoon throwing is to ignore it and keep feeding your baby as usual (with an extra spoon you already have at the table). If your baby ends up also throwing back up spoons #2 AND #3, simply encourage your baby to eat with their hands until they appear to be finished with the meal. ***Give baby plenty of opportunities to practice putting items in and taking items out of containers outside of mealtimes.
Clear jar will chunky strawberry Farro baby puree.

Strawberry, Sweet Potato + Farro Baby Food

5 stars (3 ratings)
This chunky Strawberry, Sweet Potato + Farro Baby Food is a delicious meal for baby!
Get the recipe
Clear glass jar filled with peach rice pudding for baby and toddler.

Peach Rice Pudding with Vanilla + Cinnamon

4.8 stars (5 ratings)
This Peach Rice Pudding is the perfect way to showcase the amazing taste of peaches for baby and toddler.
Get the recipe

Chunky Summer Veggie Pasta

5 stars (1 rating)
This Chunky Summer Veggie Pasta for Baby and Toddler combines all the flavorful tastes of summer into one bite-size dish!
Get the recipe
Small white bowl filled with a bright pink oatmeal for toddler.

Oatmeal with Beets + Carrots

5 stars (7 ratings)
Yummy healthy oatmeal gets mixed with beets and carrots, spices, and raisins for a veggie packed breakfast your toddler won’t be able to resist.
Get the recipe
White cutting board with a spread of produce and a small bowl filled with a chunky baby food puree.

Chunky Peach, Raspberry + Quinoa Baby Food Puree

5 stars (9 ratings)
Packed with fiber, vitamin A and C, calcium, iron and folate this chunky puree will be a hit anytime of the year.
Get the recipe
Spoon with a green chicken baby food puree inside.

Green Baby Puree with Chicken

5 stars (4 ratings)
Green Baby Puree with Chicken is a delicious chunky puree that can be made in under 30 minutes! It is loaded with healthy green vegetables, lean protein and topped off with some apple sweetness.
Get the recipe
Clear bowl filled with apple puree and cottage cheese.

Apple + Mint with Cottage Cheese Baby Food Puree

5 stars (1 rating)
Filled with sweet apples, refreshing mint and chunky cottage cheese for a delicious meal for baby.
Get the recipe
Spoon filled with baby food puree rising on a dish filled with blueberries and chickpeas.

Blueberry Chickpea with Rosemary Baby Food Puree

5 stars (34 ratings)
This puree is packed with antioxidants, fiber, Vitamin A and C from the blueberries and protein, zinc, manganese, folate and iron from the chickpeas. All of that goodness packed into a super simple and delicious puree!
Get the recipe
Small white bowl with a baby spoon resting on top filled with baby food.

Roasted Pear + Date Baby Food Puree

5 stars (5 ratings)
Filled with wholesome roasted pears, dates and a squeeze of orange for a little zest!
Get the recipe
Glass jar filled with carrot, cherry and millet baby food puree.

Roasted Carrot, Cherry + Millet Baby Food Puree

5 stars (3 ratings)
This Roasted Carrot, Cherry + Millet Baby Food Puree is a rich and savory meal that can be served either smooth or chunky depending on your baby’s stage.
Get the recipe
Image is of a clear cup with the chunky puree inside, with a spoon resting on top of the lid.

Blueberry, Mango + Avocado Baby Food Puree

5 stars (4 ratings)
This Blueberries, Mango + Avocado Baby Food Puree is a nutrient dense and delicious meal for baby that takes less than 5 minutes to make!
Get the recipe
Clean bowl layered with ingredients.

Peach + Raspberry Oatmeal for Baby and Toddler

No ratings yet
It’s perfectly sweet with just a touch of tartness to level it out.
Get the recipe
Image is of a small bowl filled with hummus on a plate with chopped veggies.

 Green Pea Hummus for Baby + Toddler

5 stars (4 ratings)
This Green Pea Hummus for Baby + Toddler can be served as a puree or as a fun and healthy dip for toddlers!
Get the recipe
square white bowl filled with recipe.

Carrot Pasta for Baby + Toddler

5 stars (2 ratings)
This fun Carrot Pasta is a healthy meal (hidden veggies!) for baby or toddler!
Get the recipe
graphic for post - avocado for Baby - puree and blw. Images are of 4 ways to serve avocado to baby - hand holding a wedge of Avoado, mashed in a bowl, pureed with banana and stripes rolled in puffs.

Avocado for Baby – Puree & BLW

5 stars (12 ratings)
Avocados are a superfood and great first food for babies 6 months and up. Serve them pureed, smashed, or as a finger food for baby-led weaning.
Get the recipe

Apple + Beet Applesauce

Strawberry, Spinach + Chives and Barley Baby Food Puree

Carrot, Apricot + Quinoa with Curry Baby Food Puree

More Recipes Baby will Love

Stage 3 baby food recipes images in a grid.

Get the recipe: 18 Stage 3 Baby Food Recipes: Strawberry Sweet Potato & Farro

4.9 stars (20 ratings)
They are combination purees with soft chunks that will get baby ready for the next stage – finger foods. Great for babies 9-12 months.

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups sweet potato, peeled and chopped (roughly 2 small sweet potatoes)
  • 2 cups strawberries, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup cooked farro

Instructions 

  • Steam: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a boil. In a steamer basket add the sweet potatoes, cover and steam for 15 minutes. Add the strawberries and sprinkle with cinnamon and steam for 3 more minutes. Let cool slightly. Reserve steamer water.
  • Blend: Transfer the cooked sweet potatoes and strawberries as well as the cooked farro into a blender or food processor. Pulse in 5-10 second increments until all of the ingredients are combined and you have small pieces of food.
  • Eat: Serve to baby and enjoy.

Notes

Age: 8+ months
Yield: 20 ounces
Storage: Fridge – store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Freezer – can be frozen for up to 4 months.
Notes on Strawberries: in the spring time when strawberries are not at their juiciest, I find that giving them a quick steam helps make their flavor more impactful. If you are making this at the height of strawberry season and your strawberries are bursting with flavor, feel free to skip the steaming step and you can add them straight to the blender before pulsing. 

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @babyfoode on Instagram and hashtag it #babyfoode!