You’re about to learn how to make healthy homemade cereal — it only takes one single ingredient! I know it sounds crazy, but it’s all thanks to the tiny “pseudo” whole grain, amaranth.
Photos via Edible Perspective
Learn how to make popped amaranth cereal for easy, healthy homemade cereal.
Amaranth has been around for over 8,000 years and is actually a seed, not a grain. It falls into that category of pseudo-grains along with quinoa and a few others. It’s a nutritional powerhouse but a little difficult to cook as a hot breakfast grain without turning slimy. When cooked in water or milk, it also has a very earthy flavor, much more robust than quinoa. However, when you pop it, the flavor totally mellows out.
A half cup of raw amaranth packs 13 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, 340 calories, 40% daily iron, 15% daily calcium, 60% daily magnesium, and it doesn’t stop there.
This is one of my absolute favorite seed-grains since learning how to pop it into cereal.
Amaranth is teeny tiny but when popped it’s about the size of quinoa. You can see the different of the raw amaranth and popped amaranth above. After it pops, it turns into a little white and tan puff and is so much fun to eat. I just love the texture!
There are some definite tricks to popping amaranth, and you’ll need to be prepared to burn a few batches before you dial in on the exact heat you need. Don’t worry — I’ll detail instructions and tips and tricks below to help you out. I recommend reading through the instructions and tips fully before you start.
How to pop amaranth:
[1 tablespoon raw = appx. 1/3 cup popped]
- 1-8 tablespoons raw amaranth
- Desired cereal toppings: cinnamon, banana, roasted nuts, nut butter, honey, berries, dried fruit, coconut, etc.
Heat a stainless steel small or medium pot over med-high – high heat. *A taller-sided pot works best!
Test if the pot is hot enough by adding a drop of water. If it instantly balls up and dances around the pot you’re good to go.
Once fully heated, add in 1-2 T raw amaranth, then cover with a lid and quickly shimmy/slide the pot back and forth just above the burner. If your heat is set correctly it should start popping within 1-3 seconds and finish popping within 10 seconds. It burns very quickly so be careful!
Just as the amaranth pops are slowing empty it into a bowl. You can hear it!
Replace the pan back on the burner to heat back up for 15-30 seconds.
Repeat the popping process until desired amount has been reached. Let cool in the bowl. Add toppings and eat. To store: Let fully cool and place in a sealed bag or jar for about 1 month in the fridge.
Tips & tricks:
- Wear oven mitts! The heat gets intense when you’re making multiple batches.
- If you can’t hear the amaranth popping hold the lid just slightly above the pot while you shake it back and forth until it’s done.
- Not every single amaranth seed will pop.
- It’s common that you’ll burn your first few batches before dialing in the right heat for your stove.
- I recommend 1-2 Tbsp of raw amaranth in the pot. You want a thin layer across the bottom. For my small pot I pop 1 tablespoon at a time so they just coat the bottom of the pan.
- It’s crucial that your pot is fully heated. I keep my heat a touch below full high heat.
- Use non-stick pots at your own risk. I’m not sure what happens to the coating when heated on high.
- I have had success using an electric stove top but gas is easiest.
- If you don’t cover the pot amaranth will pop everywhere.
- If the amaranth doesn’t start popping within 3 seconds your pan is not hot enough.
- Dump the amaranth into the bowl just as the popping is slowing down. If you wait until it’s completely stopped it will burn.
- If the amaranth instantly burns your heat is too hot.
- Do not add oil to the pot.
- Do not rinse the amaranth.
- If you’re using an electric burner you may have to slide the pot back and forth on the burner and not above it.
Before you know it you’ll have a fluffy bowl of homemade cereal sitting before your eyes (and mouth). The cereal has a nutty and slightly earthy flavor that is fantastic tossed with a little cinnamon and topped with banana before pouring over the milk. It has a nice crunch to it and doesn’t immediately turn soggy. I love drizzling a little honey and drippy peanut butter over top. So so good!
And if you want a little more flavor for your bowl try making cereal sauce! It’s basically a very thin and simple smoothie that you pour on instead of milk. You’re going to love it!
And while typically cereal never fills me up, you’ll be shocked that this will keep you going all morning long! I typically pop between 1/4-1/3 cup raw, which turns into a pretty giant bowlful!