Homemade Baby Rice Cereal – Yummy Toddler Food

Homemade Baby Rice Cereal - Yummy Toddler Food

Learn the easiest way to make the best homemade Baby Rice Cereal. It’s a perfect Stage 1 baby food that’s high in nutrients, easy to store, and easy to customize with lots of fresh flavors for months of yummy eating!

baby-rice-cereal-in-three-bowls

Baby Rice Cereal

I love to start solids with a range of flavors, textures, and nutrients, and whole grains are a great option to include as a first food. With my first two kids, I didn’t even think of making rice cereal at home, but once I learned how easy it is—and how well it stores and how much less it can cost—I became a big fan!

This easy recipe is for a single-grain infant cereal that’s rich in B vitamins and zinc and is naturally gluten-free. It’s easy to make, and it’s a wonderfully creamy consistency.

The AAP recommends we offer a range of foods from the start, including a variety of food groups, for healthy growth in babies.

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Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at how to make this infant rice cereal so you know what to look for at the store.

short-grain-brown-rice-in-container

Short-grain brown rice: This grain is my preference over white rice or long-grain brown rice because I like the end texture and flavor. It also tends to be less starchy, which makes for a better final texture in the baby cereal.

It will work with any style of brown rice, though, if you can only find long grain.

You can then add in flavors from other Baby Food Purees to make easy baby food combinations as baby grows and explores new foods.

How to Lower Arsenic Levels in Rice

There is a concern with the heavy metals, particularly arsenic, in baby food. Arsenic is often also present in rice. There are two ways to lower the potential amounts.

  1. Use Lundberg brand rice, which regularly tests for arsenic and aims to keep the amounts of arsenic lower than the FDA standard.
  2. Cook rice in a lot of water, like you would pasta. Once the rice is tender, you can drain off the excess liquid, which removes as much of the arsenic as possible.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at how to make this recipe. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full information.

how-to-make-baby-rice-cereal-step-by-step
  1. Soak the rice for at least 2 hours (optional but recommended to ensure the rice is soft and easy to cook well).
  2. Drain, rinse, and add to a pot with water. Cook the rice as directed.
  3. Blend with liquid—such as breast milk, formula, or water—to make a baby cereal puree.
  4. Add in any desired flavors and serve or store.

TIP: Soaking the rice may make it a little easier to digest, and it can cut down on the cooking time a bit. You can skip it if you don’t have the time, though!

Frequently Asked Questions

When can you start feeding a baby rice cereal?

The traditional method of starting solids has you start rice cereal at 4 months. Newer guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that we wait until 6 months to start babies on solid food.

What’s the best baby cereal to start with?

I prefer to start with Baby Oatmeal or Baby Rice Cereal as both are made with whole grains that are nutrient-rich, easy to make, and are easy for baby to digest.

Is baby cereal high in arsenic?

There have been some findings showing that many baby cereals are high in arsenic, which is commonly found in grains including rice. I like making my own since I can control more for that issue to avoid heavy metal exposure. (It sounds like many companies are having success lowering the amounts, as is reported by the FDA—but many still consider them to be too high.)

I prefer to use Lundberg Short Grain Brown Rice for both the texture and flavor, but also because they are very transparent about their testing for arsenic, which I appreciate. If you don’t have that option, you can cook the rice like you would pasta in a large pot of water, then drain the water off when the rice is cooked and that will remove much of it. That is an easy way to lower arsenic exposure.

How is this different from store-bought baby cereal?

It can be less expensive to make it this way as compared to some organic baby cereals and I find that the flavor tastes better. One difference to be aware of is that baby cereal from the store is usually fortified with iron, which babies need to ingest starting around 6 months when the iron stores they are born with start to run out. Be sure to include iron-rich foods in baby’s diet from the start.

baby-rice-cereal-in-silicone-tray

How to Freeze Homemade Baby Cereal

You can cook the rice and freeze it, then blend it whenever you’d like. Or, you can cook the rice, blend the cereal, and freeze that into baby-size portions. Then you can thaw a portion or two at a time based on your needs. It’s very versatile!

butternut-squash-baby-rice-cereal
Baby Cereal with Butternut Squash Puree

Baby Food Combinations to Try

You can use water, breastmilk, or formula as your liquid in this recipe, or even unsweetened plain nondairy milk. Then, if you want to add flavor and nutrients once baby is used to eating either Stage 1 or Stage 2 baby foods, you can add in:

How to Store

Store cereal in the fridge in airtight containers for up to 2 days. Store leftover cereal in the freezer by filling an ice cube tray. Freeze overnight, then transfer to a zip top freezer bag to store for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge, and add additional warm water, breastmilk, or formula to serve.

Best Tips for Success

  • Use short-grain brown rice for the least starchiness. I prefer Lundberg short-grain brown rice, as it’s regularly tested for levels of arsenic.
  • If your rice isn’t very soft at the end of the cooking time, add ½ cup additional water and cook until soft. Different brands and types of rice take a different amount of time to cook, so there will be some variation in the liquid and time if you make this with a different kind of rice, which is fine!
  • If you skip soaking the rice, you may need additional water and cooking time.
  • When blending, wait to decide if you need additional liquid until the mixture is as smooth as possible. It thickens up a lot once the rice is very well blended.
  • Incorporate iron-fortified cereals, too, and try my other single-grain cereals including Quinoa Baby Food and Baby Oatmeal.
  • You may also like my multigrain Baby Porridge.
  • Add any baby food puree for additional flavor. I like Butternut Squash PureeSweet Potato PureeBanana Puree, and Apple Puree.

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it for your little one, so please comment below!

baby-rice-cereal-in-three-bowls
  • Optional: Add rice to a pot or bowl and cover with an inch or two of water. Let soak for 2-8 hours.

  • Drain rice in a fine-mesh sieve, rinsing thorough.

  • Add rice to a medium pot with 2 ½ cups water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is very soft and fluffy and the water is fully absorbed. (If the rice is not very soft, add ½ cup additional water and cook a little longer.) Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

  • (At this point, you can store the rice in the fridge for 3-5 days in an airtight container until ready to proceed if desired.)

  • Add 2 cups of the rice to a blender with 1 cup water, breastmilk, or formula. Blend, starting on low and working up to high, adding up to an additional ½ cup water to make a thin puree. Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender as needed.

  • Serve or store for later.

  • Store cereal in the fridge in airtight containers for up to 2 days.
  • Store leftover cereal in the freezer by filling an ice cube tray. Freeze overnight, then transfer to a zip-top freezer bag to store for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge, and add additional warm water, breastmilk, or formula to serve.
  • Use short-grain rice for the least starchiness.
  • I prefer Lundberg short-grain brown rice, as it’s regularly tested for low levels of arsenic.
  • If your rice isn’t very soft at the end of the cooking time, add ½ cup additional water and cook until soft. Different brands and types of rice take a different amount of time to cook, so there will be some variation in the liquid and time if you make this with a different kind of rice, which is fine!
  • If you skip soaking the rice, you may need additional water and cooking time.
  • When blending, wait to decide if you need additional liquid until the mixture is as smooth as possible. It thickens up a lot once the rice is very well blended.
  • Add any baby food puree for additional flavor. I like Butternut Squash Puree, Sweet Potato Puree, Banana Puree, and Apple Puree but any will work.

Calories: 80kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 4mg, Potassium: 60mg, Fiber: 1g, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 1mg

This post was first published January 2020.


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