Tasty and nutritious, barley baby cereal is simple and a great way to continue introducing your baby to solid foods. Best brought in after six months, the chewy, nutty grain is wholesome, full of fiber and helps boost healthy development. Even better, its versatility means barley can be a pantry staple to feed all members of the family.
Is Barley Cereal Good for Babies?
Barley is packed with key vitamins and minerals like magnesium, protein and folate. Its high amounts of calcium can help strengthen bones as your baby grows, protect organs (like the liver) and boost immunity. (The grain is good for adults, too!)
Though generally allergen-friendly, wait to bring barley into your baby’s diet until after they’ve tried out some other solid foods.
How to Make Barley Baby Cereal
If You Have a Blender:
- 1/4 cup barley
- 1 cup water
- Formula or breast milk, optional
Whir the barley in a blender until powdered, then boil 1/4 cup of the barley powder with one cup water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, whisking frequently to avoid clumping. Thin it with milk or formula to your baby’s preferred consistency. Serve warm.
Editor’s Tip: If your baby is able to eat pureed fruits or vegetables, like apple, banana or squash, mix some in for extra flavor and nutrition while adding milk or formula.
If You Don’t Have a Blender:
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 3 cups water
Bring water to a boil and add whole barley grains. Let simmer for a few minutes until barley is fluffy and soft.
Editor’s Tip: When kept whole like this, the grains become perfect finger foods!
Soak Before Serving
To make the baby barley cereal even easier to digest (and make the nutrients more accessible), cover the grains in water and let soak for a few hours or overnight. Strain. The grains can then be cooked immediately, or kept in the fridge for up to two days.
The Best Barley to Buy
Look for hulled or pearl barley, which have been processed to be easier to digest than the whole kernel. Pearl barley, which gets bigger than hulled barley when cooked, has less nutritional value, but it also cooks faster.
When storing barley, it should be kept in a cool, dry place—a refrigerator is your safest bet.