Sweet potato baby food has become wildly popular recently when introducing baby to solid foods. And with good reason! They provide so many health benefits, are easy to prep, and give baby a taste of something sweet without overly relying on fruit. Whether you are doing purees, baby-led weaning, or a combination, introducing a food like sweet potatoes into your baby’s diet can provide baby with a nutritious start to solid foods. I love to steam up some sweet potatoes and create a variety of recipes for my baby to try (and, of course, sneak a taste myself). Sweet potatoes are a great food to cook for the whole family because there are so many different ways to prepare them. Bonus for mama: sweet potatoes are also excellent for breastfeeding and milk supply!

Why Sweet Potatoes for Baby Food?

These power-packed veggies are great to incorporate into your baby’s diet because they provide a variety of health benefits.

Eye Health

Sweet potatoes contain a crazy amount of beta-carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to protect the surface of the eyes and reduce the risk of bacteria that can cause infection. Studies have also shown that it can reduce the risk of vision loss from common eye diseases (source). So no wonder it’s important for baby’s growing vision development!

Gut Health

The fiber and antioxidants that are found in sweet potatoes are very important for promoting a healthy gut. They can support building up the healthy bacteria in your baby’s gut and prevent constipation (source). No mama wants to deal with the discomfort that can be caused by baby’s constipation!

Brain Power

A Harvard Medical study suggests that foods that are rich in antioxidants can improve mental function and the overall health of the brain (source). Since sweet potatoes are very rich in antioxidants, your little one can reap all of the brain-boosting benefits that they have to offer!

Strengthens Immune System

All-star antioxidants work hard to keep your baby healthy. As mentioned above, antioxidants provide a supportive system for healthy gut bacteria. This gut biome is essential for the upkeep of your baby’s immune system. Vitamin C is one of these important antioxidants. We always hear people saying to take Vitamin C if you are sick. This vitamin is particularly crucial in helping to support the function of your baby’s cells and keeping them working properly in order to fight off infections (source). In addition, Vitamin A also provides some immune-boosting properties since it helps reduce inflammation in the body (source).

Bonus Nutrition

Sweet potatoes are also a great source of potassium, calcium, and Vitamin E. All of these vitamins and minerals are amazing for your baby’s health. They build strong bones and maintain healthy muscle and cell function.

How to Prep Your Sweet Potatoes for Baby Food

Two Ways to Prep to Maintain Maximum Nutrition

Steam

  1. First, you will need to peel your sweet potato with a veggie peeler.
  2. Next, wash your sweet potato. I like to wash it after I peel it so that any dirt from the skin is also rinsed off before I start to cook it. If you prefer, wash it before=)
  3. Cut your sweet potato into 1/2″ cubes. In my opinion, cubes are a bit easier to evenly steam and blend than slices.
  4. You will need to steam your sweet potatoes for all of the recipes below except #4: “Sweet Potato Fries”. You can steam them with a steamer, a baby food maker, or on the stove. If you don’t like steaming your veggies, another option could be to boil them.

Boil

There’s now research out there saying that the way to preserve the most nutrients while cooking sweet potato is through boiling (source). However, the trick is to boil it with the skin on! If you peel the sweet potato first before boiling it, the nutrients will be leeched out directly into the boiling water. This method will work for all recipes except #4, “Sweet Potato Fries”. Here’s how to do it:
  1. Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes really well and place in a pot of water.
  2. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cooking in gently boiling water until tender.
  4. Cooking times may vary, but check in about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Drain the potatoes and let cool.
  6. Scoop out the “meat” of the sweet potato to use in your purees and discard the skin!

Top 5 Sweet Potato Baby Food Recipes

1. Simple Puree with a Twist

Sweet Potato Baby Food
A take on an old classic! Spice up your sweet potatoes up with some cinnamon or nutmeg. Before considering adding spices to your baby’s food, please do the following:
  • Always, always, always check with your pediatrician to ensure that adding spices is suitable for your baby. Most pediatricians say that it is safe to introduce spices at 8 months, but some may say earlier because….
  • …pediatricians are more concerned with digestive issues with spices not allergies. Therefore, make sure that sweet potatoes are introduced to your baby alone first for at least 3-4 days to rule out any sort of interaction. After you conclude there are no interactions and your pediatrician gives you the go ahead, try adding in some spices!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  • 2-3 oz breast milk or formula–only if you prefer a thinner consistency
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon (if you find your little one does tolerate the spices well, try mixing them up and adding in 1/8 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract!)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prep sweet potatoes according to your preferred method above.
  2. Add the sweet potato, breastmilk or formula, and spice(s) into a blender.
  3. Blend until smooth and your desired consistency.
  4. Serve warm and enjoy!
  5. Leftovers can be frozen in ice cube trays. Place in freezer until frozen. Then immediately pop out and place in a ziploc bag. Label the bag with food name and preparation date.

2. The Perfect Blend

Sweet Potato Baby Food

Sweet potato, Apple, and Cherry

Before you serve this concoction, make sure you have served each of these foods separately to ensure your baby doesn’t have any allergic reactions. Remember to wait between 3-4 days between introducing new foods to ensure there aren’t any negative interactions. No extra liquid is needed for this puree as the juice from the cherries provide enough liquid to make a great consistency. If you feel you need it a little thinner, add a bit of breastmilk or formula until you reach your desired consistency.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  • 1 medium-sized apple (Honeycrisp are a great choice!)
  • about 1 cup of fresh cherries (I like Ranier Cherries for the extra flavor they provide)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prep sweet potatoes according to your preferred method above.
  2. Peel, core, and dice apples into 1/2″ cubes. Steam in a steamer or on the stove.
  3. Slice each cherry and place in the steamer. Remove pits after cherries are done steaming and they have cooled.
  4. Pit the cherries and place them with their juice in a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and continue blending.
  6. Blend until smooth and you reach your desired consistency.
  7. Serve warm and enjoy!
  8. Leftovers can be frozen in ice cube trays. Place in freezer until frozen. Then immediately pop out and place in a ziploc bag. Label the bag with food name and preparation date.

3. The Sweet Potato “Smoothie”

I don’t know about you, but I’m a smoothie maniac! I love creating different combinations and find it a great way to take in a lot of my essential nutrients (plus an extra boost of protein when I add some of my favorite protein powder!). With my little man wanting to copy everything that I do, he wanted his own “smoothie” too! I still would either serve it with a bowl and spoon or these are great to put in some reusable baby food pouches too for something different.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup of milk of choice (if under 1 you can do breastmilk or formula)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prep sweet potatoes according to your preferred method above.
  2. Add all ingredients to the blender.
  3. Blend until smooth and the consistency is that of a thick smoothie. You can thin it out with more liquid.
  4. Serve warm and enjoy!
  5. Leftovers can be frozen in ice cube trays. Place in freezer until frozen. Then immediately pop out and place in a ziploc bag. Label the bag with food name and preparation date.

4. Sweet Potato Fries

These baked little bites are the perfect healthy alternative to traditional fries. You are getting all of the crispy deliciousness without any of the fried greasiness. The basic recipe is the same, but there are so many spice varieties you can make for your little one to taste test. See what becomes a fast favorite!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Seasoning Mix #1:

  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • vanilla extract

Seasoning mix #2:

  • ground rosemary
  • grated parmesan cheese

Seasoning Mix #3:

  • paprika
  • cumin

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Peel sweet potato and rinse thoroughly.
  3. Dice into 1/4″ thick strips.
  4. Place in a large ziploc bag.
  5. Add olive oil to ziploc bag and close tight. Shake and mix bag until sweet potato is fully coated.
  6. Add in your seasoning variety to the bag and mix well.
  7. Place in a single layer on your baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. You may want to flip them half way through so they can crisp evenly.

5. Sweet Potato & Turkey Meatballs

These meatballs are full of flavor and not a lot of ingredients! They may look more like meat lumps instead of meatballs, but your little one won’t mind=)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized onion, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground rosemary

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare sweet potato according to your preferred method above (I find boiling it in its skin to be easiest for this recipe)
  3. Grate onion and chop parsley
  4. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Form balls and place on the parchment paper
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. NOTE: You will notice liquid coming out of the meatballs while they bake (see picture below). This is the juice from the onion. If you would rather the meatballs be a little bit drier, squeeze the juice from the onion before placing in the bowl. I liked them a little bit mushier and juicier so I left all of the onion juice.

Commonly Asked Questions

Do Sweet Potatoes cause Constipation in Babies?

Although white potatoes may cause constipation in babies, sweet potatoes actually have the opposite effect. This is because of the amount of healthy fiber in sweet potatoes. The fiber actually makes the nutritious treat easier to digest, allowing for nutrients to be absorbed by the body and easily expelled.

Can My Baby Eat Purple Sweet Potatoes?

Yes! Purple sweet potatoes offer just as much amazing nutrition as an orange sweet potato. The difference comes when looking at the nutrition profiles. Purple sweet potatoes lack that beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A. However, purple sweet potatoes have a higher amount of Vitamin B6, iron, and potassium. They also contain anthocyanin, which is another powerhouse antioxidant.

Can My Baby Be Allergic to Sweet Potatoes?

While not very common, it is 100% possible. As with all new foods, take precautions when introducing sweet potatoes (or any of the other ingredients from the recipes above) into your baby’s diet. It is important to wait 3-4 days in between food introductions to ensure there aren’t any adverse reactions. Unfortunately, anaphylaxis is always a possibility with any food, so take precautions!

Get Steaming!

Whether your baby is just starting off on their journey with food or they already have a well-versed palette, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of nutrition and such a versatile food. There are countless recipes you can create using sweet potatoes so I hope that you and your baby enjoy the endless possibilities!  
Jenna is a mama, Literacy Coach, and Family Enrichment Consultant who specializes in Early Childhood Language and Literacy development. She is passionate about supporting busy mamas in building strong, healthy academic relationships at home. Through mama tips, targeted nutrition, and finding balance, she empowers mamas to foster literacy-rich lives from the bump and up. Love what you read? Get some more Superfood information and recipes!