12 Baby Food Makers

Electric to parent-powered, sophisticated to simple: Pick the tool that's right for you, then start making your own baby purees.

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STEAM & SMUSH

Bryan Lynde

STEAM & SMUSH

Beaba Babycook

This device can be credited for starting the spate of sophisticated baby-food machines. It lets you do both the cooking and the pureeing in the same device. Set it to steam, and then when you're satisfied that the food is soft, turn it to blend. It can handle two and a half cups at a time, and comes with recipes to get you started. ($120)

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MEALS ON AUTOPILOT

Bryan Lynde

MEALS ON AUTOPILOT

Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker

This is similar to the Babycook -- it also has a two-and-a-half-cup capacity, and can both steam and puree -- but it has a unique feature that allows the machine to steam and then automatically puree food without you switching settings. That means you can turn it on and walk away, then come back later to a meal ready for your baby. ($100)

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YOU'RE IN CONTROL

Bryan Lynde

YOU'RE IN CONTROL

Oxo Tot Baby Food Mill

With a food mill, it's up to you to steam and chop baby's food first. Then you load the food into the mill, turn the crank, and voila, you've got puree. If you grind something such as berries, a food mill has the added benefit of keeping seeds and skin out of the puree thanks to a strainer. Oxo Tot's model holds quite a bit: more than 8 cups of mashed food. ($50)

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AN ORIGINAL

Bryan Lynde

AN ORIGINAL

KidCo BabySteps Deluxe Food Mill with Travel Tote

Long before pureeing your own baby food became a trendy thing, KidCo came out with this trusty little food mill powered by a hand crank. It's small enough to fit in your diaper bag, so you can mash up fruit or steamed food wherever you go. At home, it takes up virtually no space on the counter. It's meant to handle only a half-cup at a time, so its best for parents who want to puree at mealtime, not make big batches to store for later. And it's perfect for puree devotees to take on their travels! ($18)

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LET IT RIP

Bryan Lynde

LET IT RIP

Boon Mush

This is parent-powered, but isn't the same as a food mill because there's no strainer. Basically, it blends without requiring electricity. We give it points for being affordable, quiet, and nifty looking. You'll need to presteam and chop food, then pull the cord to turn the blade and mash the meal. It holds a little more than 3 cups. ($24)

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MINI ME

Bryan Lynde

MINI ME

Baby Bullet Complete Babycare System

And now on to electric blenders! The rest of our slideshow features products with powerful mashing power, but that don't cook the food for you. This first is modeled after the Magic Bullet, a popular food processor for grown-ups. The brand's baby version comes with a bowl for large batches as well as a bowl for making just a meal or two at a time, storage containers if you're pureeing ahead, and a recipe book along with nutrition tips. ($80)

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MIX IT UP

Bryan Lynde

MIX IT UP

Hamilton Beach Bebe

Here's a simple bargain: It's a small blender perfectly proportioned for a baby meal that's no more than about a cup and a half. The cons? There's only one speed and it's not for making and storing much ahead of time. The pros? It saves space and cash. ($20)

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VERY HANDY

Bryan Lynde

VERY HANDY

Cuisinart CSB-76 SmartStick

An immersion hand blender, like this Cuisinart model that's sold in a rainbow of colors, is another way to go when you want to make food for a baby. Plug it in, hold it in a bowl (of any size!) with food that's steamed or otherwise ready to go, and hit the "on" switch so it can get to work making a smooth puree. It's great for soups, batters, and other grown-up foods too. And it's a definite space-saver! ($30)

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WAY BEYOND BABY FOOD

Bryan Lynde

WAY BEYOND BABY FOOD

Oster Stainless Steel 14-Cup Food Processor

The same food processor you use for all your family cooking can also be used to make baby food, especially if it comes with a small work bowl insert, like this one does, perfect for pureeing a small amount of food when needed. ($70)

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BEST FOR BATCHES

Bryan Lynde

BEST FOR BATCHES

Ninja Kitchen System Pulse

This machine can blend and puree, and because it comes with three separate blending cups, you can make a few different babyfood recipes in a row without stopping to clean a bowl in between. ($80)

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READY TO SERVE

Bryan Lynde

READY TO SERVE

Dex Baby

This is only good for blending a cup or so at a time, but the bowl used on the blender can be the same bowl you use to feed your baby. In other words, it goes from blending to serving, saving you things to clean. ($19)

This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, patterns, and availabilities are subject to change.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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