Barley for Baby – Nutritious Barley Baby Food Recipes

Barley in Baby Food Recipes – When Can Baby Have Barley? Age for Introducing Barley: (4)6-8 months

Barley is a nutritious and versatile grain to offer to babies. Barley can be made into cereal, cooked into soups and stews and also into pilaf. Barley is a great baby food as it is easily blended into a soupy and cereal like consistency and is full of nutrients that baby needs.

The size and shape of barley also makes it a great finger food! When your baby is moving on to finger foods, cooked pearled barley makes a great food to help get baby’s pincher grasp pinching.

The Goodness of Barley:

Barley is a good source of Vitamin A, Folate and even protein.

Barley: (one cup, cooked) Protein – 3.55 g

Vitamin A – 11 IU
Vitamin C – 0 mg
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – .13 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – .09 mg
Niacin – 3.23 mg
Folate – 25 mcg
Contains some other vitamins in small amounts.
Potassium – 146 mg
Phosphorus – 85 mg
Magnesium – 35 mg
Calcium – 17 mg
Sodium – 5 mg
Iron – 2.09 mg
Also contains small amounts of manganese, copper and zinc.

When can I introduce Barley to my baby?

Barley is able to be introduced to babies from 4-6 months of age. Barley is not an allergenic food and is relatively easy to digest. Please remember that starting baby on solid foods at 6 months of age is a general recommendation.

How to select and store Barley for baby food

Purchase only hulled or pearled barley – “Whole barley must be prepared for human consumption because of it’s hard, fibrous hull that is not easily removed. Only buy barley in its whole form if you want to sprout it and eat it as barley grass. Processors use an abrasive machine to remove the hull making it safe to eat. At this stage it’s called hulled or pot barley. In this processed form, the germ has been damaged to the point that it will no longer sprout.

Pearled barley, which is hulled barley with the ends of the kernel removed so it’s round in shape is another popular way you can get barley. Pearled barley has it’s germ and much of the bran around the endosperm removed. This is where many of the vitamins and minerals are found and because of this, it’s nutritional qualities are down about 25%-33% from what you generally find in hulled barley. But pearled barley cooks up much quicker which is it’s big advantage.

Both pearled barley and hulled barley are primarily used in soups and stews where they fluff up to almost the size of a pea.Ӡ

Pearled barley may be stored for several months in a cool dry place. Most packaged or boxed pearled barley will have a “best if used by” date on the package as well. Milled barley should be stored in an air tight container and preferably in your refrigerator. You can store it in a cool dry place however ensure that you check on the status of the barley if you use it infrequently.

Keep in mind that if you have milled (ground) your own barley, the natural oils that come from the grain may become rancid without refrigeration. When purchasing any type of milled whole grain, it’s always best to buy smaller quantities to ensure that your whole grains are used prior to them going rancid. You should store it in an air tight container, in a cool dry place but preferably in the refrigerator if your home is warm.

The best way to cook Barley for Baby Cereal

When cooking ground barley “powder” for homemade baby cereal, use 1/4 cup of powder per 1-2 cups of water – more or less as you see fit. The key is to whisk whisk whisk as you are cooking to avoid clumping. We enjoy barley when is is cooked in a stock for soups, finger foods or salads; add a bit of apple or peach juice to the cooking water for baby cereal.

Add pureed fruits and vegetables to baby’s homemade barley cereal – ensure that you have followed the 4 day wait rule.

Enjoy These Barley Baby Food Recipes

Barley Baby Cereal


  • 1/4 cup ground barley (barley ground in blender or food processor)
  • 1 cup water


Step 1: Bring liquid to a boil. Add the barley and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly
Step 2: Mix in formula or breast milk or juice and add fruits if desired
Step 3: Serve warm

Barley and Sweet Potato Balls


  • 1 cup soft cooked pearled barley (not pureed.)
  • 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup applesauce or peach puree
  • pinch of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg as desired (8 months +)


Step 1: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
Step 2: Shape into small bite sized “balls” or plops for a nice baby finger food.

Barley Salad 6 months+


  • soft cooked pearled barley (not pureed.)
  • soft cooked carrots – diced
  • soft cooked peas – smooshed if needed
  • soft cooked chicken or beef – diced or shredded into small bits (ask your pediatrician about meat)


Step 1: Toss all ingredients together in a bowl
Step 2: Serve as a finger food meal or snack.

Foods Good to Mix With Barley for Baby Food

Fruits, vegetables, yogurt and meats are all good foods to add and mix with barley homemade baby cereals.
Try cooking Barley in a Homemade Veggie, Chicken or Beef Stock.
Barley Information from Walton Feeds

Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.

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