A healthy and warming brown rice meal for babies that cooks easily in one pot! This has an amazing flavor and a soft but sticky texture that baby can manage from a spoon, or fork, or their hands. A tasty textured baby meal for older babies, also ideal for baby led weaning.
This recipe was first published in April 2018, and has been updated in 2022 with new photos and a video.
We had a lot of success introducing rice to our first baby, who was a little tricky when it came to texture. She did well with it’s fairly soft texture, and enjoyed the control it gives her; she could decide exactly how much she picked up with her hands or bit off her fork.
This brown rice pot was a favorite in our home, and has since been enjoyed by so many other families too (the little ones and the grownups!), so is well worth your time if you’re looking for a rice based recipe for your little ones.
It’s an easy one pot recipe…
This meal is super easy, and all cooks in one dish. Since the vegetables cook in the same pan as the rice, all of the flavor (and nutrition) stays in! Which is how we end up with something so tasty, yet salt free and simple.
You just sauté some veggies and herbs and then cook the brown rice right in the same pan. Since brown rice takes a while to cook, those veggies boil for a long time so they turn super soft. Then you will melt cheese in so that it becomes moist and a little sticky. It can be cooked shorter or longer, mashed or unmashed, depending on your desired texture.
What Age Is It Best for?
The texture of this dish is very flexible and works for a range of babies.
- You can also spoon feed this to your baby as a textured baby food. Ideal for older babies, maybe 9-10 months plus.
- It’s perfect for babies who like to self feed with their hands or follow baby led weaning. A baby with a pincer grasp can easily pick up small bites to feed themselves. A baby without a pincer grasp can grab a sticky handful and shovel it in.
- It is also great for older babies or toddlers who are learning to use utensils because it sticks so easily to them.
- If you have an extremely good blender or baby food maker, you could puree it as an early baby food. Mine would never get rice smooth enough, so only do this if your blender has proven itself!
You can also control the texture a little, as you can see from the two different photoshoots that we’ve done for this recipe, it turned out a little different both times:
On the left side, it’s been made so that the rice is still fluffy and distinct and the vegetables are still in cubes (soft, but distinct pieces). On the right side, it’s been cooked with some extra liquid, and stirred and mashed a little bit to break up the vegetables and make the whole result stickier and softer. Each will suit different babies at different stages.
Making this as a side dish for the whole family
This is one of the baby food recipes that adults love too, I was shocked by how flavorful this dish was considering how few ingredients are present! It’s as if the rice were cooked in vegetable stock, but with no salt. It would make a great side dish for the whole family if you want to double the recipe!
Some variations on the recipe
- Try with other veggies! Squashes and sweet potato work well here.
- Add some chopped garlic along with the mixed herbs for added flavor.
- Substitute a little bit of the brown rice for red lentils. The lentils will puree and add some extra creaminess to the sauce.
- Once your baby can handle more texture, add some beans or peas at the end of the cooking time.
Storing your leftovers
These freeze well for up to 6 months in baby food containers. They will continue to serve you well as your baby gets older.
Cheesy Vegetable and Brown Rice Pot for Babies
- 1 medium carrot, chopped into small chunks
- 1 medium parsnip, chopped into small chunks
- 1-2 tsp of mixed herbs
- ½ cup (90 g) dried brown rice
- 1 cup (75 g) grated cheddar cheese
- In a small saucepan, sautee your carrots and parsnips in a little olive oil or butter to start softening them.
- Add herbs and brown rice, and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant.
- Add 1 and 1/2 cups (350mls) of water.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for 40 minutes, until the rice is cooked.
- Stir in the cheese until melted.
- OPTIONAL – you can use a fork to mash up the carrot and parsnip pieces if you prefer a more uniform texture. They are very soft and will easily disintegrate with a little encouragement.
Just made this for my twins (who aren’t the best eaters) and they loved it!! Used butternut squash and peas as the veggies. One dug right in with her hands and fed herself and the other used a little spoon we would load up for her. Easy to make and yummy- my husband asked me to make a serving for him!
Oh this makes me so happy! Thank you so much for the feedback! 🙂
Can this be frozen after cooking?
Yes! I froze lots of portions of this in baby food containers, and it reheats really well from frozen 🙂
Going to make this recipe for my lil one. How do u reheat this food after frozen? Just microwave?
Yep it microwaves well! Hope they enjoy it 🙂
What is mixed herbs? I need details I’m not a wing it cook lol
I just used an Italian Herbs mix I got from Costco. It contains a mix of basil, parsley, marjoram and oregano. So you could just use 1/4 teaspoon each of those herbs, or if you don’t have them all, just use the ones you’ve got to make up the 1-2 tsps. It doesn’t have to be exact, it’s a fairly subtle flavor.
Are the mixed herbs dried or fresh?
Dried! Sorry, I will edit to specify. You can of course use some fresh herbs instead but you’d want to use more!
Hi,It really look yummyyy,I am gonna make it today, hope my extreme picky eater like it.
My now 2 years old son hates slimy food and does not want to touch any thing wet.I have to spoon feed him every meal,he is okay with dry and crispy things.Do you have any idea how to overcome this problem,any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Fari. First of all I am SO sorry for the delay in replying. My computer crashed so I haven’t been able to get into my blog for a little while. Doh!
I have had a lot of texture issues with Odette, she also doesn’t like slimy foods (like most fruits) and recently seems bothered by getting her hands dirty (I think its fairly normal at this age – she is also just 2). A lot of what I have read about this issue suggests that repeated exposure, putting the food on the plate without expecting them to eat it, can help to normalize it and eventually they will try it. I love Melanie Potock’s books, she talks a lot about texture, and I also love the “Love it, Like it, Learning it” approach by a dietician blogger called Ashley Smith – more about that here and she has a great Instagram account you can follow : http://veggiesandvirtue.com/blog/beginners-guide-to-love-it-like-it-learning-it
Best of luck!
Delicious. I used carrots and added peas and sweetcorn 10 mins before the end, the baby loved it and I enjoyed it too!
Yay! I am really happy to hear that this went down so well!
I only have basmati or jasmine rice. Will that work?
It will, but it will take much less time to cook so you probably want to sautee your veggies to soften them up first – don’t rely on them cooking fully alongside the rice.
When you select the higher scale where the Ingredients are the water amount in the instructions doesn’t change. I would image that there would need to be more water as there is x3 the amount of rice?
Hi Verity, thank you so much for pointing this out. The automatic recipe scaling function was added to my formatting software recently and my older recipes weren’t written out with it in mind, so yes I have some amounts in the instructions that won’t scale up. You would need to do the calcs in your head if you’ve used the scaling function. I am actually in the process of changing my formatting software and cleaning up how I’ve written my recipes so bear with me and sorry for the confusion!
Hi I made this last week for my 10 month old twins and they loved it I also froze some portions in pots and took out last night and left in fridge overnight to defrost. I just checked and they are still rock solid . How do you reheat from frozen ? Do you always leave to defrost fully first in fridge? I am unsure what is safe regarding rice so didn’t want to leave out on counter to thaw at room temperature. Can you please advise ? Many thanks
As long as it wasn’t sitting out for a long time before going in the freezer, I’d consider it fine to put it straight in the microwave from frozen and just make sure it’s heated super hot. I would then not re-heat it again. I’m so glad your twins enjoyed the recipe!
Sounds like a fabulous recipe that I will try for my 2 and a half year old. I like how you sneak the lentils in for added nutrition. I have some red ones I will add in.
Is frozen peas Ok?
I hope he enjoys it! Yes frozen peas are great, just add them in the last 5mins of cooking time so they don’t fall apart.
Hi Christine, just wanted to say thanks heaps for sharing this recipe! I have been making it for near 6 months now and it is always a winner with my now 15 month old, and even his older brother (nearly 4) asks for it too. Generally use orange sweet potato, carrot and broccoli. Sometimes spinach. It freezes perfectly. Thanks again!
That is lovely to hear! A success with all three children, that must make life quite a bit easier! Thanks so much for the feedback.
Aw what a fab meal. Last min decision to make after work for my 1yo. Used up peppers and carrots in the house and he ate the lot after a weird routine and eating day! froze some too 👍thanks! X
YAY! So happy to hear this!
Hi, could you add chicken to this recipe?
I’m sure you could but as a vegetarian I wouldn’t be able to advise – I have no idea how to cook it! 🙂
I have just made it with chicken and I think it tastes lovely…. Will wait and see what my 8.5 month old thinks 😉
Hello, this looks so yummy, no need to pre-soak the brown rice?
Nope, I don’t pre soak the rice.
Love this! Do you leave the pan covered or uncovered while cooking the rice?
Is the cheese safe for my 8 month old?
Yes! Don’t use a super salty cheese like parmesan but a normal cheddar is all good.
This was a big hit with my almost 10 month old. He kept crying for more between bites lol! I just did a carrot, mixed lentils with the rice and shredded zucchini with the cheese. Love that there’s enough to freeze too.