Thawing Frozen Baby Food Cubes

Frozen pureed carrot cubes in tied-up transparent plastic freezer bag
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Freezing baby food into cubes is a popular method of storing it into portion-sized amounts because it creates less waste. If you make baby food at home using fresh fruits and veggies, popping it in the freezer ensures that it keeps for longer both in terms of taste and safety.

When you're ready to use it, having the food saved in cube-sized portions makes it easy to thaw out only what you'll need for a single meal. You'll prevent waste from preparing more than your baby will eat at one time.

When it comes time to thaw the baby food cubes, you have a few choices of safe methods of preparation.

Thawing Baby Foods in the Microwave

While microwaves themselves can stir up a bit of a debate on how safe they may or may not be, both the FDA and WHO deem microwaves safe if used according to manufacturer instructions.

Parents do choose to heat their baby food in the microwave. You'll need to decide for yourself whether you are comfortable using one. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider the option:

  • Microwaves can cause hot spots in food, so be sure to stir the baby food thoroughly to obtain a consistent temperature throughout the puree.​ Always taste the food before offering it to your baby to ensure that the temperature is stable throughout. Microwaves tend to heat the center of the food to the hottest temperature and leave the outside cooler.
  • Always use a microwave-safe container. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises that any scratched or stained plastic containers, or any re-used plastic storage containers (from margarine, whipped topping, etc.), should never be used to microwave food. There have been studies that indicate that most plastic leaches some potentially endocrine-disrupting chemicals. If you're not sure about your plastic containers, opt for ceramic or glass.
  • Place a paper towel over the container to trap moisture and improve how evenly the baby food heats. If you opt to use plastic wrap, make sure that the wrap does not touch the surface of the food at all.
  • If your microwave does not rotate the dish, turn it halfway through the heating process.
  • Do not heat higher fat foods in the microwave. Microwaves heat fat faster and this can cause splattering and unsafe hot spots in the foods. Use the stovetop instead.

Always test the food to make sure it's the proper temperature before feeding it to your baby.

Refrigerator Thawing 

A rather simple method of thawing baby food is to move it all servings for the next day's meals from the freezer to the refrigerator.

Place the portions are in a covered container rather than an open one. This helps prevent bacterial contamination from other foods in the refrigerator in addition to preventing moisture loss.

Thawing in Warm Water

You have two ways to safely thaw baby food using warm water as the heating element. The first is to place the container of baby food inside a larger container of hot water. Using this method, one cube generally thaws within 10 to 20 minutes of being submerged.

The other option is to place the container into a pot of hot water that you have on low heat on the stove. This method generally thaws food more quickly than hot tap water.

With either of these methods, glass or ceramic containers work best to avoid melting.

Storing Thawed Baby Food

Like an opened container of store-bought baby food, you can store thawed baby food in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.

Remember: if your baby eats directly out of a container, the food should be thrown out after the meal rather than being stored.

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Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Center for Devices and Radiological Health. Microwave Oven Radiation. Updated December 12, 2017.

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Cooking Safely in the Microwave Oven. Updated August 8, 2013.

  3. Yang CZ, Yaniger SI, Jordan VC, Klein DJ, Bittner GD. Most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals: a potential health problem that can be solved. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(7):989-96. doi:10.1289/ehp.1003220

  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA). People at Risk: Children Under Five. Updated April 26, 2019.