2023 Fresh & Frozen Baby Food Guide
The best baby food is homemade. But fresh or frozen baby food you buy is the next best thing. Both have a higher nutrient content than shelf-stable food (such as purees in jars or pouches), and the flavor is generally superior as well.
(I gave up making homemade food for my babies pretty quickly, but unfortunately there weren’t all these great fresh and frozen brands back then. You guys are lucky!)
The major drawback to frozen/fresh baby food is that it’s less convenient than pouches. You can’t prepare and serve it while riding the subway or sitting at the playground!
When you’re feeding your baby at home, we recommend one of the brands reviewed below.
The Best Baby Food
Looking for the bottom line? Yumi is my top pick–it’s Clean Label Project verified, comes in fresh or frozen blends, and is the only brand using glass storage. You’ll read more below about why this is the brand I would choose if I had a baby.
How We Evaluated Brands
For this updated guide, I once again turned to Dr. Hopkins, who has provided research for many of our guides.
One thing Dr. Hopkins discovered right away is that a big benefit of fresh and frozen baby foods is that they aren’t pasteurized. Cold-pressure stabilization is a key difference between the baby foods in this guide and shelf-stable jars and pouches.
In the end, all of the brands of either fresh or frozen baby food that we recommend are:
- Certified organic
- Comprised of only whole food ingredients, without juices or concentrates
- Free of preservatives, fillers, colorants, and additives
We also considered the processing and packaging when looking for the best baby food brands. Most of the cups used for fresh or frozen baby food are made of #5 polypropylene. This type of plastic is recyclable and free of PFAS, phthalates, BPA, and BPS, the materials we are most worried about.
The companies we spoke to also assured us that their blends are not cooked in plastic or poured into plastic while hot. Still, we think the best baby food comes from the one brand delivering their food in glass jars.
Why Should I Choose Organic Baby Food?
I’m likely preaching to the choir here, but: feeding your kids organic food is important.
- Research shows that children have twice the pesticide levels (measured in urine) as adults eating a similar diet.
- Kids’ have developing organs and immature filtering systems (as the immune system is not fully formed).
- Some types of organic produce and dairy has been shown to be higher in antioxidants and other nutrients than food that’s been sprayed with pesticides.
- And of course there is the major benefit to the environment and farm workers, too.
The Best Baby Food Has Clean Label Project Certification
Since there are concerns with heavy metals in baby food, Dr. Hopkins and I wanted to identify brands that can offer some assurances that their products are not contaminated.
Unfortunately, we were not able to get Certification of Analysis from most of the brands we reviewed–even those that told us they test their products via third-party labs.
Luckily, five of the brands are part of the Clean Label Project, which tests products for contamination with heavy metals, pesticide residues, and plasticizers. The following brands have CLP verification, in addition to checking the other boxes for being Good Stuff:
- Lil’ Gourmets
- Little Spoon
- Once Upon a Farm
Keep reading for our deeper review of these brands plus a few more that we consider Good Stuff.
Bambino’s comes as frozen stars of pureed food in a plastic bag. You can then heat them up (or not, if frozen fish is your kids’ thing). Bambino’s is a Clean Label Project Purity Award recipient.
If you want a dairy-free baby food but want to introduce your baby to fish, poultry, and meat, Bambino’s is our top pick.
You can find Bambino’s in select Safeway stores, or you can order directly from Bambino’s, where they have offered my readers 10% off with code GIMME10.
Cost: From $2.99 a meal
Foodiekid offers very basic frozen veggies and beans, delivered in a plastic bag. Dr. Hopkins’ note to me in his spreadsheet said “this is literally just frozen veggies in a bag, right?” To be fair, Foodiekid baby meals are “prepped,” so should only require heating.
Foodiekid is the most affordable of the frozen baby foods we reviewed. It is not our top pick because it does not have Clean Label Project verification. We have not heard back about third party testing from Foodiekid.
You will only find Foodiekid on Fresh Direct or Thrive Market.
Cost: $2.50 a meal
This fresh baby food option has to come to you via delivery unless you live in the Midwest, where you can get it in some grocery stores.
Lil’ Gourmets comes in plastic cups, and has a limited number of blends compared to the other brands reviewed here. This brand is a Clean Label Project Purity Award.
Use code GIMME10 for 10% off on Lil’ Gourmets’ site.
Cost: From $3.79 a meal
Little Spoon’s Babyblend line is fresh, cold-pressed, and available only by delivery. Little Spoon comes in a plastic cup, has Clean Label Project verification, and is Kosher.
Little Spoon blends (which run from Stage 1 through 5) have vegan sources of protein and omega-3s, like chickpeas and flax seed oils. Little Spoon also offers cold-pressed smoothies, toddler meals, and even frozen dinners for older kids.
Little Spoon is the most affordable of the fresh baby food brands we reviewed, and for that reason Dr. Hopkins declared it his top pick.
Cost: From $3.79 a meal
This is a frozen baby food option available via delivery or in store
Sold in plastic pouches, Once Upon a Farm baby food needs to be heated and pureed for younger babies. It could also be a finger food for older babies, and all 20 flavors say they are for babies six months or older.
Once Upon a Farm’s line is verified by the Clean Label Project. (You can read our review of Once Upon a Farm’s baby food pouches here.)
Cost: From $4.79 a meal
Tiny Organics is frozen baby food sold only via delivery. While they check all the boxes in terms of ingredients, they do NOT have Clean Label Project verification. Tiny Organics told us that they do conduct third-party lab testing, but declined to provide us with a COA.
Tiny Organics make blends for babies 6 months old and up. The chunkier formulas are great for families doing baby-led-weaning.
Tiny Organics comes in plastic-lined cardboard tubs, and we like that the outer box is fully recyclable and that the foam insulation is biodegradable.
Cost: From $4.66 a meal
Yumi is my top pick because it comes in glass jars. Yumi offers fresh AND frozen baby food options, both of which come via delivery.
In addition to being Clean Label Project verified, we loved that Yumi provided us with extensive info about the steps they take to minimize contamination. This includes selective ingredient sourcing and weekly testing. None of Yumi’s blends include rice, soy, or juice in their formulas. Yumi is Kosher.
I love how Yumi’s blends start very simple and thin for Stage 1, and get gradually more complex, with more ingredients and thicker consistencies. When your baby is ready for Stage 6 (11 months and older), they will be pinching and smashing Yumi’s meals between their fingers and feeding themselves.
We think Yumi is the best baby food you can buy.
Happily, we haven’t been able to identify any fresh or frozen baby food that we’d call Bad Stuff. When it comes to frozen TODDLER meals, avoid all of the ones made by Gerber. They are full of additives, lecithins, soy, and other Bad Stuff.
Gerber Organics Grain + Grow Morning Bowls
This product line is specifically for older babies (8-12 months), and is so much lower quality than any of the brands we recommended above. Gerber uses a mix of whole food and purees in this bowl rather than simply whole foods. These bowls are also pasteurized for shelf stability, rather than cold-pressure stabilized like the brands above. Gerber’s organic bowls contain “natural vanilla flavor” and lecithin.
What About Pouches and Jars?
Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff!