Want to make homemade veggie bites for your baby or toddler? Look no further than this easy vegetarian recipe! These kid-friendly bites are a great alternative to store-bought frozen ones and are so easy to make. They’re bound together with mashed potatoes and can be customized with any veggies you have on hand. The whole family will love them! Serve as a snack, side, or appetizer.
Veggie bites and tots are all the rage right now in the freezer aisle, especially those marketed for kids. They are certainly very convenient and some of them have a great ingredient list! Yay for vegetables becoming mainstream.
I’m all about a quick and easy, kid-friendly product that makes parents’ lives easier, but I had the itch to try a homemade veggie bite recipe. It turns out they are wildly easy to make and very customizable. So, if you’re looking for an alternative to store-bought options or tips for how to cook vegetables for toddlers or babies, this post is for you!
My rendition uses mashed potatoes, breadcrumbs, and egg as the “glue” to keep finely chopped vegetables together in delicious balls of yumminess. Plus, I added some spices and cheddar cheese for extra flavor. My daughter gobbles these up when I make them! Oh, but they’re not only for kids! They make a great snack, app, or side dish for teens and adults, too.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Mashed potatoes: Use about 1.5 to 2 cups of mashed potatoes. I love to make them in advance so I can quickly throw the veggie bites together. You can also use store-bought mashed potatoes. Just be wary of the sodium content in store-bought options, especially if you are making these for babies under 1 year of age. If you want to make them homemade, consider using my Instant Pot Mashed Red Potatoes or Mashed Purple Potatoes. You can substitute mashed sweet potatoes or winter squash if desired.
- Broccoli and bell pepper: Use 1 cup total of finely diced vegetables. You want them to be little specks in the balls. I love the broccoli and pepper combination, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand: baby spinach, cauliflower, onion, zucchini, asparagus, or peas. I don’t recommend using very firm vegetables like carrots, beets, or other root vegetables unless you roast them beforehand.
- Panko breadcrumbs: You can substitute plain breadcrumbs or even ground oats if needed. Seasoned breadcrumbs are a great substitution for additional flavor, but keep in mind that they can be high in sodium.
- Egg: This helps bind the mixture together. You can probably substitute a flax egg, but I have not personally tried it.
- Garlic and onion powder: Feel free to add or substitute other herbs or spices like oregano or parsley.
- Shredded cheddar cheese: I like to buy a block of cheddar and shred it myself, but pre-shredded is absolutely fair game. Substitute other cheeses, such as Swiss, feta, parmesan, or goat cheese, but remember that some cheeses are higher in sodium than others.
The full recipe card for veggies bites is at the end of the post. Here’s a preview of the steps with expert tips and photos to guide you.
Prep the ingredients. I recommend making the mashed potatoes in advance to save time. Use your favorite basic mashed potatoes recipe. I like to boil the potatoes in water until tender then stir in some warm butter and milk and mash. Cut the other vegetables into very small pieces so that they are little specks in the mixture. I did it by hand, but you could use a food processor if you wanted.
Combine the mashed potatoes, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, spices, shredded cheese, and chopped veggies in a bowl. Stir well.
Scoop out a rounded tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a ball using your hands. Repeat until you make 24 veggie bites. Place them in a greased or silicone mini-muffin pan. Alternatively, you can just put them on a lined baking sheet. Either way works. You can also make the balls bigger than a rounded tablespoon and just end up with fewer bites.
Bake until the bites are slightly browned on the top, about 20 to 23 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Storage and Reheating
Veggie bites will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave for a couple minutes or, better yet, on a lined baking sheet in the oven at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes.
You can also freeze these bites. Let them cool completely. If you will be eating them within a month, you can lay them flat in a freezer-safe container or bag (like a Stasher bag), using parchment or wax paper to separate layers if needed. If you want to keep them for a longer period, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn. Store them in a container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat veggie bites from frozen, let them thaw in the fridge overnight, remove any plastic wrap, then warm in the microwave or oven (as directed above). You can also reheat them from frozen. Remove any plastic wrap then place them on a lined baking sheet. Reheat for 15 to 20 minutes at 300 degrees F or until warmed through.
The serving options for these baked veggie bites are endless! Enjoy them as a snack, appetizer, side, or even as a vegetarian protein option (try them on top of pasta with my Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce). You can also use that or my Canned San Marzano Tomato Sauce as a dipping sauce if you serve them as a snack or appetizer. I even like them for breakfast with a side of eggs and fruit.
More Kid-Friendly Vegetable Recipes
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- 1.5 cups mashed potatoes - can use up to 2 cups, can sub mashed sweet potatoes or winter squash
- ½ cup finely diced bell pepper
- ½ cup finely diced broccoli florets
- 1 egg - beaten
- ½ cup plain Panko breadcrumbs - can sub other breadcrumbs of choice or ground oats
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare your baking pan of choice. I like to use a silicone mini muffin pan, but you can also use a greased mini muffin or regular muffin pan (just make the bites bigger if you do that) or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Stir until well-combined.
- Scoop out a rounded tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a ball with your hands. Place it on your pan. Repeat until you form about 24 balls. I like to make 24 and bake them in a mini muffin pan since there are 24 cavities. However, you can make them bigger and just have fewer balls.
- Bake for 20 to 23 minutes in the preheated oven until lightly browned.
- Serve warm and enjoy! If you are serving them to kids, remember to cut them into the appropriate size and shape for their age.
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- Make the mashed potatoes in advance or use store-bought ones to save time, but be wary of sodium content if you are making these for young kids especially those under 1 year of age.
- You can substitute other vegetables for the broccoli and bell peppers, such as cauliflower, chopped spinach, or zucchini, but don’t use very firm vegetables like carrots or beets unless you roast them beforehand. Make sure the veggies are finely diced so that they are small specks in the balls.
- Feel free to add other herbs and spices for additional flavor. Seasoned breadcrumbs are also a great choice if you are not concerned about sodium content.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. You can also freeze these bites. If using within 1 month, lay flat in a freezer bag or container, using wax or parchment to separate layers if needed, seal, and freeze. If you want them to last longer, wrap each bite individually in plastic wrap then transfer to containers, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Reheat refrigerated or thawed bites in the microwave for a few minutes or in the oven on a lined baking sheet at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes. If reheating from frozen, remove plastic wrap (if you used it) then reheat in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 300 degrees F or until warmed through.
Happy veggie-eating! – Lizzie