Many baby food makers come equipped with all the bells and whistles -- pacifier sanitizing, bottle warming -- but fail to deliver when it comes to steaming and pureeing. What sets apart the best-reviewed Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker (Est. $120) is that it reliably prepares perfectly pureed baby food for years, according to owners.
The Beaba Babycook was one of the first baby food makers on the market and remains among the most well-reviewed. When it comes to blending, owners say the Beaba Babycook can be out-done by a dedicated food processor, but for steaming and blending in one unit, it's the best there is. Owners almost unanimously agree that the Babycook is a breeze to use. Numerous reviewers say the Beaba gave them the confidence to cook their own baby food, even though they aren't pros in the kitchen. One expert reviewer says she can even have her older children assist in making baby food, it's that simple. It's dishwasher safe, too.
The Beaba steams and purees in one set of dishes, and the food-prep cup doubles as a serving cup. The capacity is small, Beaba says it's 2.5 cups, but, as many reviewers point out, that is the steamer capacity, the actual yield of baby food is reported to be around 12 to 16 ounces. This is best for parents who don't want to freeze baby food -- and we found quite a few of those. It's not the best choice for parents of twins or multiples, especially once their babies get older and their appetite increases, although babies only eat pureed food for a few months, so that's not much of a deal breaker for most.
In addition to steaming, the Beaba can defrost frozen food (many parents freeze food in ice cube trays, then use the Beaba to thaw it), and then keep the food warm until you're ready to feed it to your baby. It has a small footprint and a very stylish design that parents say they don't mind leaving out on the counter.
Maintenance (which includes descaling the reservoir) can be a hassle, several owners note, but for most the minor inconvenience isn't a big concern. Given the overwhelming number of reviews for this baby food maker -- hundreds at each site where we found it reviewed -- there are surprisingly few reports of the Beaba Babycook breaking.
It's pricier, but the Beaba Babycook Pro (Est. $150) gets excellent reviews as well. It has a larger, 4.6 cup bowl and, even though it's a larger unit, it still has a fairly small footprint. It's great if you have multiple babies to feed or if you want to be able to make and freeze larger batches. Like its smaller sibling, the Babycook Pro has a stylish design that owners appreciate.
We also found recommendations for the Kalorik Chopper/Baby Food Maker (Est. $30) and Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker (Est. $18), though neither of these two options performed as well overall, according to users. The Baby Brezza steams and purees well and is the only unit to do both on a timer. The main problem we saw is that both the Baby Brezza and the Kalorik seem to break with surprising regularity; many owners say they've experienced total or partial failure. And while Baby Brezza reviewers say customer service is at least responsive and helpful, the Kalorik seems to break just as often, and owners say getting a replacement is a major hassle.
If you don't want to invest in a food processor or have yet another electric appliance cluttering up your counter, but still want to make your own baby food, the Kidalog Baby Food Mill Grinder (Est. $20) is well-reviewed by both experts and owners. This is a manual grinder and that's all it does -- you have to steam the food first -- but owners say the Kidalog works very well and makes it easy to make your own baby food. The Baby Food Mill Grinder works better on fruits and vegetables than meat, but one expert source says it produces excellent puree in a jiffy and is a great choice for parents who want to prepare baby food one meal at a time. It seems to be particularly popular with those who want to feed their baby pureed versions of the food they're having for dinner, something many parents feel is better at easing their baby into the family's eating habits and tastes.
Elsewhere in this report
Best food processors
There's a full-sized food processor for every job and every budget, any of these will make your kitchen prep tasks a breeze.
Mini food processors and food choppers
These small-but-mighty machines are a great choice if you're short on space, or only need a food processor for one or two. Food choppers are great for small jobs, like mincing one onion or chopping nuts.
How do you choose the right food processor from among the hundreds on the market? Our Buying Guide explains what to look for the best food processors.
Links to the expert and user reviews we used to select the top food processors, along with our assessment of each reviewer's expertise, credibility and helpfulness.