34 Essential Spices for Babies (Age Wise FREE Printable)

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My baby’s food is so bland. Can I spice up baby food?

Is cinnamon good for babies?

Are seasonings safe for babies?

What are the suitable spices for babies as per their age?

Are these questions bothering you? If yes you have come to the right place 🙂

Today I bring to you the age wise chart on spices for babies and toddlers.

spices for babies

You might have already read about introducing spices to babies. Some households hold off on the spices and some start feeding as early as 6 months.

So which approach is right? Can you start adding spices to your baby’s food? If yes, then how much? That is what we are going to discuss in detail.

34 Safe spices for babies to spice up their food:

Indian cuisine involves a lot of spices; in fact we cannot imagine our food without them. Apart from adding flavor to our food they also find their way into popular home remedies for ailments. So they are amazing, but can you use it to spice up your munchkins diet? Definitely yes!

Let’s talk about talk in detail about the various spices suitable for babies, the age from which it can be started and the precautions if any while introducing a particular spice to baby.

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#1. Asafoetida

Asafoetida is also known as devil’s dung. It may have an icky nickname but a lot of moms swear by its efficiency to curb gas and colic. Due to this property it is also added to most lentil dishes.

The benefits of asafoetida, kayam or hing are as follows.

  • A great remedy for colicky baby as it counters flatulence effectively and stomach ache due to gas.
  • Tackles indigestion and constipation.
  • Used for migraine and headache relief.
  • Helps relieve menstrual cramps.
  • Beneficial in curbing heart burn, nausea, motion sickness.
  • Helps to lower blood pressure and sugar (double whammy!!).
  • Great home remedy for respiratory issues like asthma, bronchitis, dry coughwhooping cough due to its expectorant qualities.
  • Used to treat corn and calluses.

How to use it:

Add asafetida it to rasam, rice noodles, veg fritters, dal, moong dosa etc.

When to start:

You can start adding a pinch after the baby turns 8 months. Some prefer to add it to the 6 month old baby’s dal pani, dal khichdi etc.

You can read how asafoetida helped me to curb my daughter’s gas problems.

#2. Bayleaf

Bay leaf or tej patta is an aromatic leaf and can transform any dish with its distinct flavor and aroma.

The benefits of bayleaf are as follows.

  • Helps in digestion
  • Improves appetite
  • Cures colic in babies

How to use it:

Add it to rice preparations, pulav, dal, non-veg dishes etc.

When to start:

You can start adding a small portion of a leaf after the baby turns 8 months old.

Precautions:

Remove the leaf after cooking to avoid choking.

#3. Cardamom

The cardamom we are talking about here is the green cardamom or choti elaichi.

The benefits of cardamom are as follows.

  • Aids digestion
  • Tackles bloating, gas, heartburn
  • Boosts appetite

How to use it:

Add it to pulaos, kheer, shrikhand, kozhukkattai, halwa etc.

When to start:

You can start adding a pinch after the baby turns 8 months old. If you prefer, you can start it as early as 6 months in baby’s diet.

Precautions:

Take out the seeds from the pod, powder it and add. If using the whole cardamom, remove it after cooking.

#4. Carom seeds

Carom seeds, omam or ajwain is also a popular part of most home remedies. The benefits of ajwain are as follows.

  • Tackles cold, congestion
  • Aids digestion, reduces flatulence and relieves acidity.
  • Curbs vomiting.

How to use it: You can start adding a pinch after the baby turns 8 months.

When to start:

Add it to rasam, drinking water and homemade spice mix.

Precaution:

The carom seeds can be roasted and turned into a fine powder so that it doesn’t pass through the baby’s body undigested.

#5. Cinnamon

Cinnamon, dalchini or karuvapatta and apples are like a match made in heaven. The benefits of cinnamon are as follows.

  • Has anti-inflammatory properties and relieves arthritic pain
  • Reduces triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol
  • Good source of anti-oxidants
  • Promotes blood circulation and is good for the heart
  • Reduces insulin resistance and helps control type 2 diabetes
  • Is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial
  • Helps people suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
  • Relieves the congestion of colds and allergies

How to use it:

You can start adding a pinch after the baby turns 8 months. You may also start it as early as 6 months in the applesauce and other porridge recipes for babies.

Precaution:

If you are using the whole spice, remove it after cooking.

#6. Cloves

Cloves, lavang, gramboo, kirambu or laung are an integral part of any masala mix. The benefits of cloves are

  • Tackles colds and coughs
  • Effective against tooth aches
  • Keeps nausea at bay
  • Deals with gas and upset stomach effectively
  • Helps in digestion

How to use it:

When to start:

You can start adding 1-2 cloves after the baby turns 8 months old.

Precaution:

Remove after cooking so as to avoid choking.

#7. Cocum or Kokum

Hailing from the mangosteen family, cocum or kokum is used widely in Maharashtrian cuisine.

The benefits of cocum are the following

  • Treats skin ailments
  • Treats burns
  • Has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties
  • Rich in anti-oxidants
  • Contains Xanthones that is good for your body
  • Boosts the digestive process

How to use it:

Add it to dal, fish curry.

When to start:

You can start adding ½ a piece after the baby turns a year old.

Precaution:

Remove after cooking so as to avoid choking.

#8. Coriander seeds

Coriander, dhania or malli is lauded for its many benefits. They are as follows

  • Anti-bacterial properties
  • Helps hair growth so it’s beneficial for people with rosacea
  • Helps in digestion and soothes many digestive illnesses
  • Cures for mouth ulcers
  • Effective remedy for cold and cough
  • Contains powerful antioxidants
  • Good for patients suffering from diabetes
  • Helps ladies suffering from menstrual problems
  • Beneficial for patients suffering from high blood pressure, cholesterol etc.

How to use it: You can start adding half a teaspoon of coriander powder after the baby turns 8 months old.

When to start:

Most Indian dishes call coriander powder. Sambhar and khichdi are some examples.

#9. Coriander leaves

Coriander leaves, kothamalli thala or dhania patta is also not far behind the coriander seeds when it comes to benefits. The benefits of coriander leaves are listed below.

  • Known for its detoxifying nature.
  • Aids digestion and cures many digestive illnesses.
  • Improves the appetite.

How to use it: You can start adding a few leaves after the baby turns 8 months old.

Precaution:

Add it finely chopped or make it into a paste to avoid choking.

When to start:

Use it to prepare chutney, garnish rice dishes like curd rice, dal, curries, khichdi.

#10. Cumin seeds

Cumin seeds, jeera or jeerakam is an integral part of our tadkas and also imparts a nice flavor. The benefits of cumin seeds are as follows.

  • Source of iron so it can help people who are anemic.
  • Keeps the immune system healthy.
  • Good for the digestive system.
  • Cures cold and cough.

How to use it:

Use it to temper dishes, make jeera rice, flavor mashes etc.

When to start:

You can start adding a pinch after the baby turns 8 months.

#11. Curry leaves

Curry leaves, karivepiila or kadi patta is important but we tend to often overlook the many benefits that this leaf brings to the plate. The benefits of curry leaf are as follows.

  • Used as a remedy for anemia as it contains iron
  • Helps maintain optimum insulin levels
  • Lowers blood cholesterol levels
  • Good for the digestive system
  • Has anti- inflammatory and decongestant properties and hence is efficient in treating chest congestion
  • Has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and treats skin infections
  • Promotes hair growth

How to use it?

Use it to temper stir fries and dishes.

When to start:

You can start adding 3-4 after the baby turns 8 months.

Precaution:

Remove the leaves after cooking.

#12. Fennel

Fennel seeds, saunf or perunjeerakam is thought of after a hearty meal when we reach for it to freshen our mouths. The benefits of fennel are listed below.

  • Eases colic in babies
  • Contains anti-oxidants making it good for treating acne and other skin issues
  • Reduces cholesterol absorption by the arteries
  • Helps to maintain correct blood pressure levels and keeps the heart healthy
  • Helps to keep neurological diseases like dementia at bay
  • The fibre present in saunf makes it good for digestion

How to use it: You can start adding a pinch after the baby turns 8 months.

Precaution: 

Preferably use powdered fennel.

When to start:

Use it to flavour thandai, water, khichdi etc.

#13. Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek, vendhayam or methi ka daana is famous for being a galactalogue which means that it is helpful in increasing lactation. The other benefits of fenugreek seeds are

    • Good for skin and hair
    • Reduces cholesterol absorption by the body
    • Helps to control diabetes
    • Curbs heart burn, nausea and helps in digestion
    • Great remedy for upset stomach, reduces intestinal gas and bloating
    • Effective against dandruff

How to use it:

Make some yummy panch phoren dal, add it to buttermilk or use in making dosa and idli batter.

When to start:

You can start adding a pinch after the baby turns 8 months old or use a few seeds.

Precaution:

Use very little as too much of it can make the dish bitter. 

#14. Fenugreek leaves

Fenugreek leaves, methi or uluva ila are also just as good as the seeds.

How to use it:

Add it to roti for a delicious twist, make methi paratha, methi paneer, methi chicken or add it to dal.

When to start:

You can start half a small bunch after the baby turns 8 months.

Precaution:

Add it as a puree so it is easier to digest.

#15. Gambooge

Gambooge to Keralites is what Cocum is to Maharastrians. Keralites cannot imagine fish curry without ‘kudam puli’. The benefits of gamboge are as follows.

  • Used for weight control
  • Aids digestion
  • Boosts immunity
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Cures constipation
  • Good for the liver as it protects it from toxins

How to use it:

Add it to kerala style fish curry.

When to start:

You can start adding ½ a piece after the baby turns a year old.

Precaution:

Remove after cooking so as to avoid choking.

#16. Ginger

Ginger, inji or adrak is very popular as it helps in treating a lot of ailments. The benefits of ginger are listed below.

  • Known for its anti-inflammatory properties
  • Treats upset stomach, reduces intestinal gas and bloating
  • Beneficial in curbing heart burn, nausea, motion sickness
  • Helps to lower cholesterol levels
  • Treats allergies and can help treat asthma symptoms, bronchitis and influenza
  • Keeps cancer at bay
  • Useful for ladies with menstrual cramps

How to use it:

You can add a small pinch of grated ginger after your baby turns 10-11 months old.

Precaution: 

Remember to add a very little amount so that the baby doesn’t find the heat of ginger unbearable.

When to start:

Add a bit of ginger in upma, dal, rasam etc. It is also effective in fighting cough and cold.

#17. Dry ginger

Dry ginger, chukka or sonth is also as useful as ginger.

How to use it:

Add it to flavor dry fruit powder and aamras. It can be used in concoctions to relieve cough or use it to make chukku kappi.

When to start:

You can add a small pinch of powdered dry ginger after your baby turns 10 – 11 months old.

Precaution:

Remember to add a very little so that the baby doesn’t find it too spicy.

#18. Mint

Mint or pudina imparts flavor as well as aroma to food, let us look at the benefits of adding this to food. The benefits of mint are

  • Treats seasonal allergies, respiratory disorders and common cold
  • Relieves chest congestion
  • Treats indigestion and IBS

How to use it: You can start adding 3-4 leaves after the baby turns 8 months.

Precaution:  

Chop the leaves finely or add it as a puree.

When to start:

Add a bit to soups, pulaos, chutney etc.

#19. Mustard

Mustard, rai or kaduku is used by South Indians in the form of seeds to temper their dishes and North Indians use it in the form of oil. But do you know it benefits?

They are as follows

  • Helps in digestion and helps reduce constipation
  • Helps to alleviate asthma
  • Has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
  • Tackles cold and keeps chest congestion at bay
  • Improves immunity
  • Has phytonutrient compounds that helps to safeguard the gastro-intestinal tract against cancer

How to use it:

You can start adding less than 1/4 teaspoon after the baby turns 8 months.

Precaution: 

Don’t worry if you see black specks in the potty after you feed them any dish with mustard as the seeds are not easily digestible.

When to start:

Use it to temper dishes. The oil can be used in cooking.

#20. Nutmeg

Nutmeg, kadukka or jaiphal is that nut like spice you would have seen in the spice rack. The benefits of nutmeg are given below.

  • Helps in digestion
  • Reduces gas and treats diarrhea
  • Curbs vomiting

How to use it:

You can start adding a pinch of nutmeg powder after the baby turns 8 months.

 When to start:

Use a pinch to kheers, caramel custard, modak etc.

#21. Pepper

Pepper, kurumulagu or kalimirch is my favorite way to add spice to food. After pregnancy, while other forms of heat are frowned upon, this guy here gets a green pass. It may be because it is known for its healing qualities. The benefits of pepper are as follows.

  • Aids digestion and helps to treat an upset stomach
  • Treats cough, cold, congestion etc
  • Helps to treat throat and chest infections
  • Relieves muscle pain
  • Effective against intestinal parasites

How to use it: You can start less than a pinch after the baby turns 10- 11 months.

Precaution: 

Add very less so as that their delicate tummies are not affected.

When to start:

Use it in soups, rasam, snacks for kids, ven pongal, marinate for fish, chicken fry etc.

#22. Red Chillies

Red chillies, lal mirch or red chilli powder is extensively used in Indian cuisine. It is one of the things that makes our food fiery hot. The benefits of red chillies are listed below.

  • Contains Capsaicin which is a natural pain reliever
  • Fights inflammation
  • Reduces cholesterol and keeps the cardio vascular system fit as a fiddle
  • Reduces congestion
  • Boosts immunity
  • Induces sweating, thereby cooling down the body

How to use it: You can start adding less than ¼ teaspoon after the baby turns 1 year old.

Precaution:

Remember to add very less of chilly powder, as their digestive tract can easily get affected.

When to start:

Add a tiny pinch to curries, mixed rice etc.

#23. Green Chillies

Green chillies, pacchamulaku or hari mirch is yet another fiery member of the posse of spices we use. But did you know it contains Vitamin E? The benefits of green chillies are listed below.

  • Good for skin due to the presence of Vitamin E and natural anti-oxidants
  • Rest of the benefits are same as that of red chillies

How to use it: You can start adding a small slit green chilly after the baby turns one year old.

Precaution:

Remove it after cooking.

When to start:

Add a bit to curries, curd rice etc.

#24. Saffron

Adding saffron, kukumapoo or kesar is considered an extravaganza owing to its cost, but it is really good for us. The benefits of saffron are as follows.

  • A remedy for cold and cough
  • Helps people with asthma
  • Good for the digestive system
  • Cures skin diseases

How to use it:

You can start adding a few strands after the baby turns 8 months.

Precaution:

Dissolve the strands and add it to food.

When to start:

It can be used to flavor milk. You can also add it to kheer, sheera, homemade almond powder, paal poli etc.

#26. Sesame seeds

The benefits of sesame seeds or til are as follows.

  • Good source of calcium
  • Good source of dietary protein so it is good for growing kids

How to use it: You can add ¼ teaspoon after the baby turns 8 months old.

When to start:

Make laddus, sesame bar, muffins, sesame rice etc.

#27. Tamarind

Tamarind, puli or imli was an integral part of most of our childhood, long before chocolates took over. The benefits of tamarind are as follows.

  • Aids digestion
  • Prevents constipation
  • Treats bile disorders

How to use it: You can add ¼ teaspoon after the baby turns a year old.

Precaution:

Make sure the pulp is diluted properly and added.

When to start:

Add it to rice recipes, rasam, sambar, puliogare, curries, chutneys etc.

#28. Turmeric

Turmeric, manjal or haldi is really a super spice and due to that it is extensively used in Ayurveda. The benefits of turmeric are as follows

  • Rich in antioxidants and help to improve our health.
  • Contains an effective anti-inflammatory agent called curcumin.
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Aids digestion
  • Effective remedy for cold
  • Helps to prevent and control diabetes
  • Reduces chest congestion
  • Known for its anti-septic and anti-fungal qualities and helps to treat skin diseases

How to use it:

You can start adding a pinch to ¼ teaspoon after the baby turns 8 months old.

When to start:

Add a pinch to curries, mixed rice, flavor milk etc.

#29. Garam Masala

Garam masala is a trusted aid we all turn to while whipping up dishes. You have seen the properties of the individual ingredients listed above, so will not ramble again on how good it is.

Rather than buying garam masala available in the stores, you can buy the ingredients and powder it at home. But remember to make small batches as the oils are pretty volatile and may lose the flavor and aroma if you store them for long.

How to use:

Add a bit to curries, khichdi, rice preparations.

When to start:

You can start adding 1/4 teaspoon after the baby turns a year old. Some babies love the taste of garam masala in pulav and other rice dishes.

Also Read: Multi-purpose spice powder for babies and toddlers

#30. Oregano

Oregano is not something that is used in Indian cuisine, but now we have access to global cuisines and produce leading this guy up to our kitchens. The benefits of oregano are as follows.

  • Supports the immune system.
  • Is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
  • Tackles upper respiratory tract infections.
  • Stimulates appetite.

How to use it:

You can start adding a pinch after the baby turns 8 months old.

When to start:

Add a bit to pastas, omelettes, cheese toasts etc.

#31. Rosemary

Rosemary is yet another foreign herb that has showing up on our kitchen shelves lately. The benefits of rosemary are listed below

  • Treats headaches
  • Has anti-bacterial qualities
  • Helps to cure sore throat
  • Prevents hair fall and dandruff

How to use it

Add a bit to meat dishes.

When to start:

You can start adding a pinch after the baby turns 8 months old.

#32. Basil

We worship a type of basil called Holy Basil or Tulsi probably because our ancestors knew the benefits of basil.

The benefits of basil are as follows.

  • Aids the functioning of the cardio vascular system.
  • Cures cough and cold.
  • Relieves cramps and nausea.
  • Aids digestion and relieves constipation.
  • Has a calming effect on the nerves.

How to use it: You can start adding a pinch or a few leaves after the baby turns 8 months old.

Precaution:

 If you are using whole leaves, make sure you chop it fine or remove after cooking.

When to start:

Add a bit to tomato soup, carrot tomato soup, pastas, pizzas, cheese toasts, homemade fried chicken etc.

#33. Thyme

One more exotic herb that is now quite easily available. The benefits of thyme are as follows.

  • Treats respiratory issues.
  • Is an anti-septic.

How to use it:

You can start adding a pinch after the baby turns 8 months.

When to start:

Add a bit to meat dishes.

#34. Garlic

Wondering how garlic made the list of spices and herds despite not being a herb or spice? It is because it is an honorary member of the herb and spice world.

The benefits of garlic are as follows.

  • Increases breast milk in lactating moms
  • Reduces gas
  • Cures cold and cough
  • Fights yeast infection
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Helps fight infection

How to use it:

Add it to dals, soups, rasam, sambar, gravies.

When to start:

You can start by adding one or two cloves of garlic after the baby turns 8 months.

Precaution:

Chop it fine or mash it once cooked to avoid choking.

[fancy_box id=5][content_upgrade id=14759]BONUS: Download the FREE printable of age wise spice chart for babies[/content_upgrade][/fancy_box]

Conclusion:

Like most things, the timing of starting spices and herbs for babies are also a debatable topic. This post aims to give a general idea on when to start adding spices to your baby’s food.

Some households start adding spices like asafoetida as early as 6 months, with the exception of spices like chillies. This is because the heat can irritate the little one’s system. But remember not to give your baby any spice before 6 months. Breastfeeding or formula is the best food for babies up to 6 months.

Also, make sure you watch out for allergies and reactions. Always try the day rule while trying out new food items. Remember to follow the 7 day rule while trying out new food items.

Mommies, hope this post on spices for babies was useful.

When did you start adding spices to your little one’s diet? Which is the first spice that you have introduced? Which is that one spice that you haven’t given your baby/kid yet?

Share with me in comments.

About Author

A stay at home mom for a feisty 19 month old named Ahaana, Chitra Santosh has rekindled her romance with words once again now. Though Arakkonam is her home, she can be seen migrating to Mavelikara, a quaint little town in Alappey during summers. Studies have shown that this has no connection with the migratory patterns of birds.

2 Comments

  1. My baby is 8 months old. Till now he was bland food. This was perfect information regarding the spices. Also, i want to know when can i add onions and ghee to his diet?

    • Chitra Santosh on

      Hi Vaishali,

      Since your baby is 8 months old, you can start giving ghee to your baby. Start with 2-3 drops and see how the baby likes it.
      If your child likes soups and purees, you can add a bit of onion while you are cooking the dish. It is better to avoid raw onions till the child turns one.
      Also don’t forget to wait and watch to ensure that your child isn’t allergic/sensitive to the new food item.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Chitra

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