Store-bought baby food isn’t for everyone. A lot of parents, whether out of a desire to avoid processed foods, save money, or lessen their environmental footprint, opt to make their own baby food. And while it might sound like a massive undertaking, the latest baby food makers streamline the process. To that end, we scoured the market and found the six best baby food makers around for whichever style of preparation (and price) fits your needs, from electric helpers like blenders, steamers, and blend-steamers to manual (and more portable) options like bowls and food mills. All are able to prepare food fit for your little king or queen. Just be aware that, no matter which baby food maker you choose, none come with perhaps the most important tool in the baby feeding process: wipes. Things, will still get dirty.
Best for: Traditional Food Purees
While Magic Bullet does make a specific baby-food blender called the Baby Bullet, there’s virtually no difference between it and the original other than it costs $20 more. Hence, we recommend just buying the adult version. The Magic Bullet is essentially a slimmed-down blender and food processor that turns all food ⏤ be it cooked meat, steamed vegetables, or a basket of strawberries ⏤ into mush. Better still, it also makes smoothies for mom and dad. The 11-piece set comes with three different sized cups, an assortment of lids, and a book of 10-second recipes.
Béaba Babycook Original
Best for: All-in-one Steaming and Blending
The Babycook from Béaba is insanely popular because it combines both steps of the baby food-making process into one machine. First, it steams the raw veggies. Then, with the flip of a button, it blends them into a puree (either with or without bite-sized chunks). Total processing time: Under 15 minutes. And you don’t need to dirty up additional pots or blenders in the process. The bowl holds 3.7 cups, it’s diswasher safe, and the thing can even cook/blend meat too. Béaba also sells other models that can warm bottles and/or cook rice and pasta.
OXO Tot Mash Maker
Best for: Portability
Unlike electric baby-food makers, the Tot Mash is a food mill and requires a little effort to mash and sieve those veggies. After filling the base with fruit, vegetables, or cooked meat, simply attach the crank on top and get down to grinding. Turn the crank until you reach the bottom of the mill, and you should have food of a perfect consistency for your hungry tot (although you can also add water or broth to the mill to make things easier, attain a different texture). What’s nicer still about the OXO is that, at roughly the size of a coffee cup, it’s small enough to bring to a restaurant or grandma’s house.
NUK Mash and Serve Bowl
Best for: Simplicity
It doesn’t get any more basic than this bowl-and-masher combo from NUK, which works like a pestle and mortar and allows parents to easily squish food on the fly and/or make guacamole after the baby goes to bed. The base of the bowl is made of non-slip material so it won’t shoot out from under you as you apply pressure on the masher. And the edges are ridged to help squish food down more easily. While it won’t make a complete puree like a traditional blender ⏤ and it does require a little more elbow grease ⏤ it handles most cooked foods fine and is great for tucking into a bag and taking on the go. Plus, it only costs $6.
Chef’n VeggiChop Hand-Powered Food Chopper
Best for: Harder Foods
Billed as a hand-powered food chopper, the Chef’n VeggiChop is a hybrid mechanical blender and manual food-mill-style masher. And if you know how to start a lawnmower, then you won’t have any trouble using it. Simply fill the container with food, attach and lock the lid, and pull the cord like you were starting an engine ⏤ the blades will spin and handle the chopping. It’s small enough to not be inconvenient for travel yet large enough to make a couple meals in one go. And, unlike some of the other manual mashers, the Chef’n chopper can also handle harder foods like raw veggies and nuts.
Sage Spoonfuls Puree & Blend
Best for: Versatility
What’s nice about this stick blender from Sage Spoonfuls is that it can either plug into the food processor base to puree or chop foods, or be used as a traditional immersion blender to mix veggies right in the bowl. You can also buy separate squeeze pouches or snack jars for storage, so you’re not blending every night.