Baby beans food

The Ultimate Guide to Beans for Babies

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Beans are terrific first foods for babies! Here's how to cook and serve to your baby along with plenty of recipes to help make introducing beans easy and fun!

Jump to:
  • When can babies eat beans?
  • Health Benefits
  • Do beans make babies gassy?
  • Are beans safe for babies?
  • Types of Beans- which one is best?
  • But what about the antinutrients?
  • Soaking Beans
  • Cooking Methods
  • Canned Beans
  • How to Serve Beans to Babies (Baby Led Weaning)
  • Bean Recipes for Babies and Toddlers
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • How to Store Cooked Beans
  • Cooking Beans for Babies (3 Methods)

When can babies eat beans?

If cooked to soft, beans can be offered to babies as soon as they’re ready to start solids, usually around 6 months. It’s important to remember that your baby is unique and that rather than going by the calendar, you need to make sure your baby is DEVELOPMENTALLY ready to start solids.

If you’re unsure, be sure to grab my FREE handout!

Health Benefits

Beans are classified as a legume (also called pulses), along with peanuts, peas, and lentils. This is a family that packs a powerful punch when it comes to nutrition.

Beans are SO great for babies! They are loaded with the essential nutrients babies need to grow and thrive, including iron, zinc, folate, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.

Be sure to pair them with vitamin C rich foods to greatly enhance the absorption of iron!

And while colorful fruits and vegetables are considered to be the best source of phytonutrients, beans are also a great source for these antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other health-promoting compounds.

Related: Best Iron-Rich Foods for Babies and Toddlers

Do beans make babies gassy?

Foods that are rich in fiber tend to cause gas. This list includes beans, cruciferous vegetables, oatmeal, prunes, peaches, and pears.

There's no need to avoid these foods completely as they offer so many beneficial nutrients that are essnetial for proper growth and development.

Not to mention, early introduction to a wide variety of flavors and textures is key in minimizing picky eating down the road.

Start by offering a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) and gradually serve more.

If your baby becomes gassy but doesn't seem to be in discomfort, there's no reason to worry. If your baby gets extra gassy after eating a certain bean, just don't overload them with those foods. You can also try different varieties as your baby may do better with certain beans than others.

For instance, my baby did well with all the beans that were served except for black beans. But after about 3 exposures, she seemed to tolerate just fine.

Are beans safe for babies?

Depending on the size and shape, beans can pose a choking risk. To reduce the risk, smash/flatten them, removing any skin that comes off. And follow the age-based serving suggestions shared below.

If you're cooking the beans rather than using canned, make sure they are soft and easily smushed between your thumb and forefinger.

It's also very important that you ALWAYS serve food at the table where your baby is sitting upright at a 90 degree angle. Even foods that aren't considered to choking hazards can be dangerous if given while baby is lying down, crawling, walking, etc.

In regards to allergies, soybeans are one of the top allergens so be sure to introduce them separately. While it's not impossible, an allergy to the rest of the beans is rare.

What to do when baby won't eat

Types of Beans- which one is best?

Did you know that there are nearly 400 types of beans?! Here are the most common ones that you're likely to find at the stores.

  • Black Beans
  • Black eyed peas
  • Cannellini beans (or white Italian kidney beans)
  • Edamame
  • Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • Great Northern Beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans

ALL beans are fantastic for babies. I highlighted the two essential nutrients during the first year in the chart above, and as you can see, they are pretty similar in their nutritional profile.

VARIETY is always best so give some love to as many beans as you can ;).

But what about the antinutrients?

It’s true that legumes contain antinutrients, such as phytic acid, lectins, saponins, and tannins, that reduce the absorption of certain nutrients, including iron, zinc, and calcium. 

However, many other healthy foods, like grains, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds all contain antinutrients. So does this mean we should limit or avoid them? Of course not.

Instead, always aim for variety and balance! Unless beans are all you are serving to your baby, the benefits outweigh the risks of consuming antinutrients. 

Not to mention soaking and cooking will decrease the amount of antinutrients significantly.

All this to say, DON’T WORRY!

Soaking Beans

after soaking for 8 hours overnight

While it's an extra step, I highly recommend soaking. It will not only decrease cooking time but will also help the beans cook more evenly and make them easier to digest.

The beans will expand upon soaking so be sure to take this into account when choosing the size of the bowl.

Overnight soaking

Place dried beans in a large bowl, cover with water by 2 inches, discard any that float, and soak on the counter, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

If soaking for more than 8 hours, transfer to the refrigerator. Drain and rinse before using.

Quick soaking

On the stove- Add beans to a pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let soak for an hour. Drain and rinse before cooking.

Cooking Methods

Besides being nutrient dense, beans are inexpensive and last a long time in the pantry (hallelujah!).

Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to:

  • Sort through the beans to remove any debris or shriveled beans.
  • Rinse under running cold water to remove any surface dust or dirt

Cooking times will vary depending on the variety, age of the beans, and even the type of water you use. If your water has a lot of calcium, it can increase the time.

I’ve provided approximate cooking times. I encourage you to start checking for doneness at the beginning of the time range and then every 15 minutes thereafter.

Be sure to jot down the final cooking times somewhere for future reference.

On the Stove

  1. Add beans to a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water.
  2. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer, with lid slightly open, until tender.
  3. Stir occasionally. Do NOT try to rush the process by cranking up the heat. You will end up with a mushy exterior and undercooked interior.

Low and steady for best results! Add more water as needed so that the beans stay submerged.

It will generally take about 1-2 hours to cook. Start checking for doneness after an hour.

Slow Cooker

Cover beans with 2 inches of water. Set to low and cook for 6-8 hours.

Note - Kidney beans in particular contain a large amount of a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin (or kidney bean lectins) that doesn’t get destroyed when cooked in the slow cooker. That's because the temperature never gets hot enough.

Therefore, be sure to soak and then boil for at least 10 minutes before adding to the slow cooker.

Instant Pot

Add beans to Instant pot and cover with water to about 2 inches above the beans. Stir, close the lid, and cook on high pressure for 8-15 minutes.

Allow pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes.

Here are the cooking times for the beans I cook most often:

  • Black beans: 8-10 minutes
  • Cannellini: 8-10 minutes
  • Chickpeas: 10-12 minutes

Canned Beans

While dried beans are less expensive, canned ones are so convenient and great time-savers since they are fully cooked. They are just as nutritious as the dried beans.

I used to cook them all the time, but now that I'm a mom of two, I will take all the help I can get!

Be sure to look for ones that are labeled "no salt added" or "low sodium" and that come with non-BPA lining. Rinsing them in running water can lower the sodium content even more.

How to Serve Beans to Babies (Baby Led Weaning)

I could do a whole post on this as beans go well with so many different foods and flavors! Here are some EASY and nutritious ways to add them into your baby's diet.

6-9 months old:

You can try serving whole beans. Just be sure to flatten using your fingers or the back of a fork, removing any loose skin in the process. But if this makes you uncomfortable, don't do it! I am a big believer in know all things and then follow your heart.

You can also puree/blend or mash. The consistency is pretty thick and dry so add some breastmilk/formula to thin it out.

And here are some fun and EASY ways to boost nutrition and introduce your baby to a ton of flavors and texture in one bite. Add beans to:

  • Yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Mashed sweet potatoes
  • Mashed butternut squash
  • Oatmeal - follow the recipe and then add the beans once cooked
  • Lentils
  • Hummus/Dip (recipes linked below)

Pictured above are the exact meals I served to my baby during her first month of starting solids. I actually filmed EVERYTHING I made for her as well as my toddler, husband, and me from Day 1 to Day 84 (so 3 months) in real time and turned it into an easy to access and follow program!

9+ months old:

I encourage you to continue offering mixed foods before your baby becomes more selective. If they’ve never had foods touching and mixed together, it will be much harder to get them to eat these later on. 

I've included plenty of family-friendly meals to help get you started! Continue to flatten chickpeas and all other round varieties.

If you haven't already, this is a good time to introduce utensils (linked our favorites).

12+ months old:

Anything goes at this age! My personal favorite is adding whole beans to my son's school lunch boxes. SOO easy and convenient.

Related: Lunchbox Ideas for Preschool

Bean Recipes for Babies and Toddlers

Dips/ Sauce

  • Broccoli Hummus
  • Beet Hummus
  • Yogurt Black Bean Dip
  • Beetroot Dip
  • Pumpkin seed spinach hummus
  • Nut -Free Broccoli White Bean Pesto

Finger Foods

  • Chickpea Veggie Cakes
  • Beet Muffins
  • Pumpkin Bean Muffins
  • Mexican Lentil Muffins
  • Sweet Potato Chickpea Cookies
  • Southwestern Oat Muffins


  • Pizza Quesadilla with vegetables
  • Chicken Quinoa Casserole
  • Cauliflower Chickpea Soup
  • Salmon Bean Salad
  • Vegan Creamy Tomato Pasta
  • Slow Cooker Lentil Chili
  • Vegetarian Mexican Lentils
  • African Peanut Stew
  • Instant Pot Multigrain Rice

Frequently Asked Questions

Are beans hard for babies to digest?

While highly nutritious, they contain a lot of fiber, which can cause gas and diarrhea, if given in large portions. Therefore, when first introducing, start with 1-2 tablespoons and increase depending on your baby's response.

Can I season beans for babies?

Yes yes yes! Season away! I highly advise you to have fun with all kinds of herbs and spices. It’s such an easy way to invite variety and flavor, without the use of salt.

Can babies eat beans everyday?

They can. But since offering a wide variety of flavors and textures is so crucial at this stage, be sure to switch it up by incorporating any of the serving suggestions I've provided above.

How much does 1 pound of dried beans make once cooked?

You will end up with around 6 cups of cooked beans, which is equivalent to 4 (15 ounce) cans. This is why cooking at home is much more economical.

How to Store Cooked Beans

In the refrigerator

You can transfer to an airtight container/jar with or without the cooking water.

I've found that storing along with the liquid prevents the skins from drying out, but it's really up to you. If you intend to use for soup, the liquid also adds a nice yum factor.

Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

In the freezer

I recommend freezing in 1 ½ cup portions. A lot of recipes call for a 15 ounce can, which is roughly around 1 ½ cups.

If freezing with the cooking liquid, be sure to leave about 1 inch at the top for expansion.

Freeze for up to 3 months.

If freezing with the cooking liquid, be sure to leave about 1 inch at the top for expansion.

Do you want to minimize picky eating and set a solid foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits?

Check out this 3 month mastering self-feeding program! It’s the closest thing to me being in your kitchen

Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!

Cooking Beans for Babies (3 Methods)

Beans are terrific first foods for babies! Here are three methods for cooking dried beans.

5 from 1 vote

Print Pin

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

soaking time: 8 hours

Servings: 12 (makes about 6 cups)

Author: Min | MJ and Hungryman

  • Instant Pot

  • ▢ 1 pound (2 cups) dried beans
  • ▢ Water or broth
Prepare the Beans
  • Sort through the beans to remove any debris or shriveled beans. Soak overnight or quick soak. Drain and rinse well.

On the Stove
  • Soak for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse.

  • Place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook, covered with lid slightly ajar,. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.

  • It will generally take about 1-2 hours to cook. Start checking for doneness after an hour. Continue cooking until beans are tender.

Slow Cooker
  • Place beans in the bottom of the slow cooker. Cover beans with water. Close the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours. See note if using red kidney beans.

Instant Pot
  • Add beans to the Instant Pot. Cover with water and stir. Close the lid, making sure to turn the steam release valve to the sealing position.

  • Set the cook time using the Pressure Cook or Manual button, at high pressure. Keep in mind the IP will take about 15-20 minutes to reach pressure before cooking begins.

  • Cook for 8-15 minutes, depending on the variety. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes. This will help beans retain their shape and avoids the liquid from foaming up into the steam valve.

  • If you find that beans are not as soft as you want them to be, put the lid back on, making sure the release valve is set back to "sealing" and cook at high pressure for several more minutes.

  • When cooking beans for the first time, start checking for doneness at the start of the cook time range. Write it down for future reference.
  • If cooking kidney beans in the slow cooker, be sure to soak and then boil for at least 10 minutes before adding to the slow cooker to make them easier to digest.
  • To store:
    • In the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container with or without the cooking liquid.
    • In the freezer: recommend freezing in 1 ½ cup portions. Freeze for up to 3 months.


Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg

Course Side

Cuisine American

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Age to Introduce, Best Types, Benefits, and More

Beans are highly nutritious and an excellent source of many nutrients, including fiber, folate, magnesium, and plant-based protein.

Even though beans are well known for their health benefits, parents may wonder whether they’re a good choice for babies.

Here’s look at the potential health benefits beans may provide your little one — and how to safely add them into your baby’s increasingly diverse diet.

You can start introducing foods other than breast milk and formula to your little one around 6 months of age. After 6 months, it becomes more difficult for babies to get all the nutrients they need from milk alone. Plus, this is the age at which most babies are developmentally able to handle foods with textures and nutrient compositions that are different than those of milk.

Breast milk or formula should continue to be your baby’s main calorie source.

In fact, it’s suggested that breast milk and/or formula (or cow’s milk after the age of 1) provide one-half of your baby’s energy needs between the ages of 6 and 12 months, and one-third of their energy needs between the ages of 12 and 24 months.

Baby’s first foods should be nutrient-dense and especially rich in several important nutrients, including iron, protein, and calcium.

What’s more, your baby’s ability to handle foods of different sizes and textures changes as they age. While younger babies do best with puréed foods or pastes, older babies can typically handle foods of different sizes and textures, as long as the food is appropriately and safely presented.

Beans and lentils are a good choice for babies because they’re:

  • nutrient-dense
  • soft
  • able to be puréed easily
  • typically bland
  • able to pair well with many different flavors

Beans can usually be added to your baby’s diet around 7 to 10 months of age.

Beans are highly nutritious and associated with many health benefits. For example, beans offer an excellent source of fiber.

Adding fiber-rich foods like beans to your baby’s diet can help reduce their risk of constipation and promote healthy bowel movements. Plus, the specific fibers found in beans help promote a healthy population of gut bacteria.

Also, studies show that babies and young children with high fiber intakes generally consume more nutrients — including iron, magnesium, and potassium — than babies and young children with lower fiber intakes.

In addition to fiber, beans are packed with nutrients that are critical for your baby’s health, including:

  • iron
  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • calcium
  • folate
  • zinc

They’re also a great source of plant-based protein.

Even though beans are highly nutritious, they should be one of many foods that make up your baby’s diet when weaning. The key to providing a balanced, nutritious diet for your baby is ensuring that they’re exposed to an array of foods that offer a variety of nutrients.

There are a number of legumes, including beans and lentils, to choose from. Some good choices to offer your little one include:

  • black beans
  • garbanzo beans
  • kidney beans
  • pinto beans
  • red lentils
  • cannellini beans

Keep in mind that some legumes are associated with food allergies more than others. For example, peanuts and soybeans are common food allergens. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are different recommendations regarding when to introduce these foods based on your baby’s risk of allergy.

For this reason, it’s best to consult your pediatrician for advice on when and how to introduce soybean and peanut products to your baby.

Choosing dried beans over canned beans may be the best option, as canned beans tend to be loaded with sodium that’s unnecessary for you, let alone your little one. Bonus: Dried beans and lentils are usually more affordable.

Use simple preparations when introducing beans and lentils to your baby. Simply cooking the beans, puréeing or mashing them (depending on your baby’s age), and offering them plain is best. Mixing them with a fruit, vegetable, or protein source that you know your baby likes may increase the chances of acceptance.

Beans and lentils contain compounds called antinutrients, such as phytic acid and lectins. Antinutrients can make it harder to digest some nutrients, such as iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Fortunately, prep methods like soaking, cooking, and sprouting significantly decrease antinutrients in beans and lentils.

You can purchase sprouted legumes online or in natural food stores and prepare them as you would regular beans and lentils. You can also sprout seeds at home using these directions.

Thoroughly cook all sprouted beans and lentils before offering them to your little one to protect against foodborne illness.

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is a weaning method that involves letting your baby:

  • feed themselves
  • control which foods they would like to try
  • explore the textures and taste of different foods

Unlike traditional weaning, BLW skips puréed foods and instead starts with offering babies small pieces of whole foods from the start to encourage self-feeding. Although BLW has been linked to a variety of potential benefits, more research is needed to better understand both benefits and risks.

Beans are a popular food used by baby-led weaning enthusiasts. Beans and lentils can be made into mashes, bites, or simply smashed into smaller, more manageable bits. Making beans into a paste might be the safest bet for younger babies, as bean skins may get caught in your baby’s mouth or throat.

Check with your doctor if you’re unsure whether beans are a safe option for baby-led weaning.

There are a few things to consider before offering beans and lentils to your little one.

Beans are high in fiber and may cause digestive upset like gas and diarrhea if you give your baby too large of a portion. Start with a very small portion of a tablespoon or so when introducing beans to your baby and increase the portion over time.

Although beans are nutritious, they shouldn’t comprise the bulk of your baby’s diet. Remember to offer your baby a variety of nutrient-dense, whole foods to ensure they’re getting plenty of nutrients.

Lastly, although soybeans and peanuts are common allergens, most beans and lentils are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in your baby. However, it can happen, so it’s always best to monitor your baby whenever you’re introducing a new food into their diet.

Beans can be a good choice for your baby’s diet. However, it’s essential to offer beans in safe and healthy ways that are appropriate for your baby’s age.

If you have questions about adding beans to your baby’s diet, talk to your pediatrician.

Calorie beans for children. Chemical composition and nutritional value.

Chemical composition and nutritional analysis

Nutritional value and chemical composition
"baby bean" .

The table shows the content of nutrients (calories, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) per 100 grams of the edible part.

Nutrient Number Norm** % of the norm in 100 g % of the norm in 100 kcal 100% normal
Calories 79 kcal 1684 kcal 4. 7% 5.9% 2132
Proteins 4.7 g 76 g 6.2% 7.8% 1617
Fats 0.2 g 56 g 0.4% 0.5% 28000 g
Carbohydrates 12.9 g 219 g 5.9% 7.5% 1698

Energy value baby beans is 79 kcal.

Primary source: Created in the application by the user. More.

** This table shows the average norms of vitamins and minerals for an adult. If you want to know the norms based on your gender, age and other factors, then use the application "My Healthy Diet"

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