These *NEW & IMPROVED (UPDATED RECIPE)* Cheesy High Iron Baby Meatballs are perfect BLW, Toddlers & Families as an easy way to sneak more iron in!
After a baby transitions off breastmilk or formula, I think one of parents biggest fears is that they’re not getting enough iron. I created a comprehensive guide about iron before 1, and I heard a lot of feedback that there was NO WAY your kid was getting enough. If you haven’t seen the guide, check it out here.
Here’s the thing- these numbers are averages based on babies also getting iron from less well absorbed sources (like plant based foods), so if you’re including animal protein in your baby’s diet, there’s a good chance they actually need significantly less than that magic 11 mg number.
These cheesy baby meatballs for baby led weaning are one of my secret weapons for those days when I’m thinking our iron intake has been a little low. They’re flavourful, packed with iron and tasty enough that the whole family will love them!
Table of contents
Why This Recipe Works
These cheesy baby meatballs are ideal for BLW and toddlers, because they’re tender enough even for a new beginner eater to enjoy. Here are a few more reasons why this baby meatballs recipe is a family favourite.
- High in protein and iron
- Requires less than 10 ingredients
- Only takes 35 minutes to prepare
- Family friendly
Iron fortified baby cereal – this will add an extra iron boost to the baby meatballs and will also act as a binder to bring the meatballs together.
Breastmilk – I like to combine breastmilk with the baby cereal to add moisture and an extra nutrition boost. Instead of breastmilk, you can use any milk of your choosing.
Ground beef – I prefer to use ground beef for these baby meatballs because they add a healthy dose of iron, but feel free to use any other ground meat of your choosing (like pork, chicken, or turkey).
Cheese – I use aged white cheddar or mozzarella cheese because they are a nice low sodium option that’s super melty and delish.
Egg – this will also act as a binder to help the baby meatballs stick together and also adds an extra iron boost.
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1: In a large bowl, mix together the baby cereal and milk and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Add in the meat, cheese, egg, oregano, pepper, and salt (optional). Mix until combined then roll into 1 tbsp meatballs.
Step 3: Grease the baking sheet. Place on the baking sheet and spritz with a bit more oil in an oil atomizer. Bake for 15 minutes or until it reaches 165 F, flipping once half way through. Allow to cool slightly before serving to baby, or transfer to a freezer bag for later eating.
These baby meatballs are meant to be moist for baby led weaning so your little one can easily suck on the juice of the meatball. However, if you are having trouble forming them into balls, you can add more baby cereal one table spoon at a time until they are able to hold together.
There’s lots of iron sources in these baby meatballs. We have the iron fortified cereal, the egg, and the ground beef (one of nature’s best sources of iron!) You can easily swap in ground turkey or chicken if you prefer, but go for the dark meat which is higher in iron and good fats for baby’s growing brain.
Totally! If you want to put half aside and add salt to the adult portion before cooking, that is a great way to ensure you also can enjoy the same meal as baby without having to give the little ones too much salt.
You bet! I make a big batch of these baby meatballs, letting them cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Then I flash freeze the meatballs on a baking tray before I transfer to freezer bag for 3 months. They never last that long, but these meatballs are perfect for the nights when my hubby and I want to have something for dinner that’s not so baby friendly (ie. spicy food!)
Yes! Assuming you use a gluten free grain, these are gluten free.
The main allergens in these baby meatballs are dairy, and egg, and possibly wheat depending on what kind of cereal you use. You can check out my amazing allergen introduction guide here!
More Baby Led Weaning Recipes You Might Like
We LOVE baby led weaning recipes here at Abbey’s Kitchen. Here are a few of our favs:
- Gluten Free Hummus Baby Meatballs
- High Iron Avocado Pasta
- Sweet Potato Apple Muffins
- Sweet Potato Lentil Fritters
- Healthy “Better Than McDonalds Chicken Nuggets”
- Salmon Sweet Potato Fritters
So moms and dads, tell me- what are some of your favourite meals and snacks for sneaking iron into your baby and toddlers’ diet? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!
Baby Meatballs for Baby Led Weaning (High Iron)
- 1/2 cup iron fortified baby oat or ancient grain cereal
- ½ cup breastmilk or milk
- 1 ¼ lb medium ground beef
- 1 cup good quality aged white cheddar or mozzarella cheese finely grated
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- ¼ tsp salt optional for adults
- Preheat oven to 400 F and put the baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
- In a large bowl, mix together the baby cereal and milk and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
- Add in the meat, cheese, egg, oregano, pepper, and salt (optional). Mix until combined then roll into 1 tbsp meatballs. Grease the baking sheet. Place on the baking sheet and spritz with a bit more oil in an oil atomizer. Bake for 15 minutes or until it reaches 165 F, flipping once half way through.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving to baby, or transfer to a freezer bag for later eating.
Did you and your little one enjoy these baby meatballs? Let me know!
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.
My son loves these meatballs! These have become a staple in our house.
These are amazing! I’ve made a few different blw meatballs using different recipes from all over the internet, and these are literally the best (IMO). My 9-month old LO will actually eat them AND they remain soft & delicious the next day. Double win. Thank you so much for this recipe.
Can I use almond milk?
Abbey Sharp says
Hi Abbey, what is a good household staple alternative to iron fortified cereal?
Abbey Sharp says
You can use breadcrumbs or oat flour
This is a great recipe, Abbey! The meatballs are very moist and I just broke into small pieces for my nine month old. She really enjoyed them. I also like that they are fortified with extra iron as iron intake is really important for my baby! I also like that I could add different herbs and spices while still following the basic recipe. Thank you!
Ever O says
This is definitely delicious and easy to do!
My 8 month old LOVES these!! Thank you for this recipe!
Super quick and easy meatballs! My 8 month old and husband both enjoyed this recipe-too much oregano for me so I will cut that down next time but other than that these were awesome! Also excited to try these with different meats and spices. 😁
An absolute success! Delicious, moist and so easy to make. I made them for my best friend’s one year old and she said he loved them!
Thank you so much for this recipe. My son loves it! However, I have a question. Should this recipe really only make 12 meatballs? I have made this recipe four or five times now and I always get about 39 meatballs. I followed the recipe exactly and I use a one tablespoon cookie scoop to measure the meatballs. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Should I just divide the meat mixture in 12 even portions? I feel like that would be giant meatballs
Abbey Sharp says
ah i see the error. it should say 12 servings (3 meatballs each) which would explain things! so sorry about that, thanks for flagging! glad your kiddo likes them!
Hillary Eisenberg says
My baby ate it up!
My 10 month old just ate 3 of these and left her sweet potato fries! I made 2 batches-1 with mozzarella and one with cheddar. She loves them so much I am making another double batch.
Aparna Kapur says
Any directions on how I should freeze them?
Abbey Sharp says
You can freeze in a freezer bag for about 1-2 months.
Michelle Cudmore says
I made these for my 9 month old and she loved them! Will definitely be making again. The servings seems to be off (says 12). I made mine like jumbo golf balls (bigger than 1tbsp) and it made 18 super sized ones. In your video it looks like it made 24?
Is it best to chop up or serve whole for baby to grab? Thank you for this recipe!
Abbey Sharp says
Thanks for letting me know! Glad you enjoyed them. For a new eater i would serve whole, for a 9 months old or older you can cut into pieces to practice pincer grasp.
Easy to make and baby loves them!
Abbey Sharp says
So glad to hear that! Thanks Maria 🙂