What Cut of Beef is Best for Making Baby Food?

Beef is packed with important nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and choline that are great for your baby’s growth and development. While all cuts of beef can be used to make homemade baby food purees, some are better suited than others. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular cuts of beef for baby food and my top recommendations:

Chuck Roast or Stew Meat

Chuck roast comes from the shoulder of the cow. It’s a tougher cut of beef but is flavorful. When simmered for 15-20 minutes, it becomes tender enough to easily puree for babies 6+ months. Cubed chuck roast is often sold as stew meat.

Pros: Very affordable, lots of connective tissue breaks down into gelatin and collagen when cooked providing nutrients.

Cons Can be tougher if undercooked. Need to cook in liquid to fully break down

Ground Beef

Ground beef is a versatile and budget-friendly option. Be sure to use 80/20 or 85/15 lean ground beef with a higher ratio of lean meat to fat. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink, drain excess fat, then simmer in broth 10 minutes before pureeing.

Pros Easy to find, cooks quickly, affordable price

Cons: Not as nutrient-dense as other cuts, be sure to drain fat before pureeing.


Sirloin comes from the hip and can be purchased as steaks, roasts, or cubed for kabobs or stew meat. It’s a leaner cut that is moderately tender. Cook cubed sirloin 15-20 minutes until fully cooked through and tender before pureeing.

Pros: Lean cut, good amount of protein and iron for baby.

Cons: Can become tough if overcooked since very lean.

Flank Steak

Flank steak comes from the belly/flank area and is a thin, fibrous cut. Cut into 1-inch cubes and simmer in broth for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked and tender. The fibers will break down during the simmer.

Pros: Lean, affordable cut.

Cons: Can get tough if cooked too long.

Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is a long, thin cut from the plate. Known for its intense beefy flavor. Cut into pieces and simmer 15-20 minutes until fully cooked and easily pureed.

Pros: Very flavorful cut of beef.

Cons: Can get tough if overcooked. Need to slice thinly across grain.


Brisket comes from the lower chest area and contains lots of connective tissue. It requires moist cooking methods like braising or simmering to break down and become tender. Cook cubed brisket for 20-25 minutes.

Pros: Becomes very tender and shredable after cooking low and slow. Very rich, beefy flavor.

Cons: Expensive cut, more hands-on cooking time required.


This boneless steak comes from the upper rib section. It’s very tender, fatty, and flavorful. Cut into 1-inch pieces and simmer 15-20 minutes until fully cooked and easily purees.

Pros: Very marbled and flavorful. Naturally tender.

Cons: Expensive cut, higher fat content.


Tenderloin runs along the spine and is the most tender cut of beef you can buy. It’s very mild in flavor. Remove silverskin, cut into pieces, and simmer until fully cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

Pros: Extremely tender, no need to break down fibers.

Cons: Milder flavor, much more expensive.

Top Sirloin

Top sirloin steaks come from the hip/rear of the animal. Cut into 1-inch pieces to simmer until fully cooked and tender, for 15-20 minutes. More budget-friendly than tenderloin.

Pros: Affordable, decent tenderness.

Cons: Can become tough if overcooked.

Short Ribs

Short ribs contain lots of collagen, which breaks down into gelatin and gives a luxurious texture when slow cooked. Cook for 20-25 minutes until meat easily shreds. Remove bones before pureeing.

Pros: Super rich, beefy flavor. Melts into tender shreds when cooked.

Cons: Need to meticulously remove all bones, higher fat.

Recommendations for Baby Food

For baby beef purees, opt for chuck roast/stew meat, sirloin, or ground beef. These budget-friendly cuts become tender and easy to puree after simmering for 15-20 minutes. Their beefy flavor really shines through. Brisket is also excellent if you don’t mind the longer cook time.

Cuts like ribeye, tenderloin, and short ribs work, but are expensive. Flank, skirt, or top sirloin can become tough if even slightly overcooked. For affordability and ease of use, chuck roast and sirloin are your best bets.

No matter what cut you choose, be sure to trim off excess fat and simmer the beef in broth until completely cooked through and fork tender before transferring to your blender. Adding cooking liquid gradually while pureeing allows you to get the perfect smooth consistency for starting solid foods.

Aim for 1-inch beef cubes and a 15-20 minute simmer time as a general rule of thumb when making homemade beef purees for 4-12 month old babies. Always sample the puree yourself before serving to your little one! Mix into your baby’s favorite fruits or veggies to increase acceptance of the new flavor and provide necessary nutrition.

Tips for Introducing Beef to Baby

  • Start with just a teaspoon or two of beef puree mixed into something your baby already loves like applesauce or sweet potatoes.
  • Look for grass-fed beef when possible for more nutrients.
  • Combining with iron-rich veggies like spinach boosts absorption.
  • Pair beef with vitamin C sources like red peppers or strawberries to maximize iron intake.
  • Offer beef 2-3x per week at first to check for allergies or intolerances.
  • Avoid added salt and stick to sodium-free broth when cooking beef for baby food.
  • Introduce allergenic foods like beef after your pediatrician’s ok and after trying other single-ingredient foods first.

Health Benefits of Beef for Babies

Beef provides some stellar nutritional perks that growing babies need:

Protein – Beef contains all the essential amino acids. Babies need protein for building muscle, tissues, and proper growth and development.

Iron – Babies are born with iron stores that deplete around 6 months of age, making iron-rich foods like beef important. Iron carries oxygen in the blood.

Zinc – Zinc supports immune health, growth, and neurologic development in babies and kids. Beef is the #1 food source of this mineral.

Vitamin B12 – Crucial for nerve tissue health and red blood cell formation, beef provides vitamin B12 babies require.

Choline – Important for brain and nervous system development, beef contains choline to support healthy cognition.

Beef is one of the stellar first foods you can offer your baby as they start solids. It provides protein, iron, zinc and other nutrients in a tasty, affordable package. While any cut of beef can work, opt for chuck roast, sirloin, or ground beef for easiest prep and budget-friendly options. Follow safe storage guidelines and introduce beef gradually alongside other single foods as you kick-start your baby’s culinary adventures!

How to Puree Meat


What meat is best for baby food?

Chicken, Turkey or beef are great meats to start feeding your baby when you’re starting solids. Avoid deli, lunch meats, bacon or hot dogs because these meats contain preservatives, additives and often times added sodium that are not recommended for a baby before 12 months old.

What is the best cut of beef to puree?

The more tender the meat you use, the smoother and better-tasting your puree will be. Whether you’re pureeing beef, chicken, pork or lamb, you want to choose a tender cut that won’t toughen up when cooked. Often the cheapest cuts of beef are the toughest, so try choosing a cut like top sirloin.

What is the tender meat for babies?

Use slow and moist cooking methods to ensure it stays tender. Ground chicken and turkey: These tend to be less fatty than regular ground beef, pork, or lamb. You can still serve them to baby, but if they end up being dry after cooking, mix them with a dip, sauce, or other pureed food to add moisture.

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