This Toddler Mac and Cheese with pears and broccoli is the easiest pasta for toddlers and also works as some of the best pasta for babies. It’s ready in 15 minutes, only uses one pot, and combines fruits and vegetables!
Don’t be fooled. Just because this is a toddler mac and cheese recipe that’s great as a kid friendly pasta, that doesn’t mean it can’t appeal to the whole family.
This is a great, antioxidant-rich, post run meal too! Pasta for toddlers means pasta for the family.
Need quick pasta recipes for kids? You only need one pot, can use frozen broccoli, and is ready in less than 20 minutes!
Those are all the makings for a great family meal and macaroni recipe for kids. Right?
What Is The Best Pasta Shape for Babies?
This is great for babies and toddlers and a great way to use pear for baby led weaning. While baby led weaning can feel scary at times, as long as you’re being safe about the foods you’re introducing, it’s a completely natural experience for babies.
I prefer using shorter pasta shapes (ie – penne, macaroni, elbows) vs. longer strands like spaghetti or linguini because they are more compact.
Personally, I feel like they are easier to chew and feel more comfortable in terms of choking. I use shells if I’m making a toddler pasta salad too.
According to the CDC, though, spaghetti doesn’t pose a true choking hazard and you can definitely cut it into smaller pieces. So, it’s really what you’re comfortable with!
This also works as an easy pear recipe for kids, if that’s a new food (fruit) you’re looking to introduce. I love serving pear for kids this way, as the cooking softens the fruit and makes it much easier for babies and toddlers without teeth.
Pears and cheese go really well together (and wine, ahem), so this toddler pasta recipe is a match made in heaven (without the wine).
Since you’re making the sauce from cheese and milk, it’s a healthy pasta sauce for baby and for kids, without additives and preservatives in storebought pasta sauces.
What You Need For Toddler Mac and Cheese
Many of you may be thinking, “is pasta good for toddlers?” Absolutely! Pasta is a healthy carbohydrate and provides several nutrients.
Plus, it’s also a great vehicle for adding OTHER nutrients, like we’re doing here. That’s also why I think it’s among the best pasta for babies, too!
Maybe your child won’t eat broccoli or pears by themselves, but they’ll eat them in this cheesy pasta recipe. This is the best pasta recipe for picky toddlers.
- 10-12 oz your choice of pasta (I used shells)
- cheese (I used cheddar)
- broccoli (fresh or frozen works well!)
- salt, pepper, paprika
Use your favorite cheese! You can’t go wrong with a homemade white cheddar mac and cheese.
How To Make This Easy Pasta For Toddlers
Cheese pasta for toddlers is typically a hit. Pasta sauce is usually hit or miss, but most kids enjoy a cheesy sauce, which is why this easy toddler mac and cheese recipe is a winner.
We started baby led weaning with Camryn when she was around 6 months. This would be a great pasta for babies 6 months old. Though, Camryn didn’t eat much in the beginning. I’d say it took until 9-10 months until she started eating more solids regularly (in addition to breast milk).
Whether you’re looking to serve pasta for 10 months baby or a macaroni recipe for a 1 year old, this is your recipe! And you can cater your cheese pasta sauce for babies however you’d like.
Making this cheesy pasta sauce for babies is also very nutritious. They are getting some fat, which is important for brain development, calcium and Vitamin D through the milk and cheese sauce.
Plus, it’s a great flavoring for the small pasta shapes for babies.
Can You Freeze Homemade Mac and Cheese?
To freeze homemade mac and cheese, just let it cool before storing it in a freezer-friendly ziplock bag or container. You can freeze for up to 3 months.
Keep in mind that the University of Georgia Extension states that foods that you’re planning to reheat can and should be slightly undercooked before moving to the freezer, since you will be reheating.
When ready to reheat, just place it in a big pot on the stove and reheat until everything is cooked. You can also add more cheese if you’d like.
More Kid Friendly Pasta Recipes
All of these work great as pasta meals for toddlers!
- 12 oz pasta (I used shells)
- 3 Tbsp butter, divided
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar and mozzarella)
- 1 bag frozen broccoli
- 2 pears, diced
- Salt, to season
- Pepper, to season
- Paprika, to season
- Cook pasta according to directions. Drain (I like it slightly al dente since we’ll be heating it more shortly).
- While pasta is draining and cooling, add bag of frozen broccoli to pan and heat with 1 Tbsp butter.
- Add drained pasta back to pot and add remaining butter, ¼ cup milk, pears and 1 cup cheese of choice and diced. I was pretty liberal with these amounts.
- Top with more diced pears if desired.
To freeze, let cool before storing it in a freezer-friendly ziplock bag or container. You can freeze for up to 3 months.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 304Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 337mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 11g
What’s your toddlers favorite pasta dish?