18 Stage 3 Baby Food Recipes (Easy, Delicious + Homemade)
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.
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
- 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
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.
Stage 3 baby foods are a thick puree with soft chewable pieces of food inside.
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.
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.
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.
- blender or food processor
- baking sheet
- veggie peeler
- freezer tray
- storage containers for fridge
- stasher bag
- reusable pouches
- baby food maker
How to Store Baby Purees
Every recipe below has specific instructions on how to store that particular puree, but these are the general guidelines.
You can store the puree in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
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!
- 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.
Strawberry, Sweet Potato + Farro Baby Food
Peach Rice Pudding with Vanilla + Cinnamon
Chunky Summer Veggie Pasta
Oatmeal with Beets + Carrots
Chunky Peach, Raspberry + Quinoa Baby Food Puree
Green Baby Puree with Chicken
Apple + Mint with Cottage Cheese Baby Food Puree
Blueberry Chickpea with Rosemary Baby Food Puree
Roasted Pear + Date Baby Food Puree
Roasted Carrot, Cherry + Millet Baby Food Puree
Blueberry, Mango + Avocado Baby Food Puree
Peach + Raspberry Oatmeal for Baby and Toddler
Green Pea Hummus for Baby + Toddler
Carrot Pasta for Baby + Toddler
Avocado for Baby – Puree & BLW
Apple + Beet Applesauce
Strawberry, Spinach + Chives and Barley Baby Food Puree
Carrot, Apricot + Quinoa with Curry Baby Food Puree
More Recipes Baby will Love
- 8 Baby-Led Weaning Meal Ideas for Baby + Toddler
- 4 Baby-Led Weaning Snack Food Ideas
- 6 Baby-Led Weaning Breakfasts
- The Ultimate Guide of Fingers Foods for Baby
- 15 Healthy Finger Foods for Toddlers (that they will love!)
Get the recipe: 18 Stage 3 Baby Food Recipes: Strawberry Sweet Potato & Farro
- 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
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @babyfoode on Instagram and hashtag it #babyfoode!
6 Comments on “18 Stage 3 Baby Food Recipes (Easy, Delicious + Homemade)”
Do you still have to introduce all of these ingredients alone first to baby? I am worried because I need to move on from smooth purees, but she has not had these ingredients.
Nope, as soon as you introduce the basic ingredients you can start adding combination purees with chunks, even if your baby hasn’t had them before.
Have tried a few of these and my baby loves these! We use the instant pot to steam the veggies. Thanks for the great recipes and inspiration!
Great idea to use the Instapot to steam the veggies! Glad you hear that baby loves them!
So my little one needs to move on from the smooth purées and I have an entire freezer full of your stage 2 recipes, how could I turn the already made/frozen stage 2 purées into stage 3? Thank you in advance 💕
This is a great question! You can mix the stage 2 purees you have already have with soft-cooked pasta, cooked grains like farro, quinoa or rice, ground meat, soft-cooked and slightly chopped veggies like sweet potato, broccoli or carrots, ricotta or cottage cheese, etc. Hope that helps.