A kitchen cabinet that’s overcrowded with half-eaten boxes of cereal is a wasted opportunity. What can you do with the selections the kids begged you to buy, before they moved on to new favourites? What about those “new year, new you” brands you bought just months ago, and now ignore on your way out the door?
We talked to chefs and cheap-eats experts who offered great ideas for getting the most from every box.
Extend The Life Of Cereal You Already Have
To make it even better, try TikTok’s “frozen cereal challenge”: If you’d like to enjoy your cereal even more, consider this genius hack from TikTok. Pour cereal into a bowl, thenfreeze it overnight (some folks even go ahead andfreeze a whole box, so kudos to them for having so much open freezer space). Then, when you’re ready to eat it, just pour milk on top and enjoy cereal that doesn’t get soggy as quickly. With this chilly spin on an old favourite, you’ll probably eat more of the cereal you have, reducing food waste (and keeping yourself away from the breakfast drive-thru line in the morning).
Oops, is it already stale? Try this TikTok trick to recrisp: There’s an easy way to bring stale cereal back to life in an oven or air fryer, thanks to anotherTikTok hack. Spread the cereal in an even layer on abaking sheet and crisp it in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 5 to 10 minutes. In anair fryer, cook it at 390 degrees for 2 to 4 minutes.
Use Cereal In Other Meals
Mind-blowing “fried” chicken: Many chefs already love how cereal — which is essentially just crisp bits of processed grains and sugar — serves as an excellent way to create breading, no fancypanko needed.
Ali Khan is a Food Network host and food writer who hosted five seasons of “Cheap Eats” on the Cooking Channel. He and his family recently tried an at-home Sunday dinner taste test, pitting air fryer chicken breaded with cornflakes against an oven-baked chicken that had been breaded with panko.
“We were all amazed, but the cornflake version was so much better,” he said. Here’s the America’s Test Kitchenrecipe he used.
“The directions call for chicken breasts, but any piece of the bird works,” she said. “The crispy cereal coats every bite and is a really nice finishing touch. I substituteHarvest Flakes for cornflakes.”
Fish and chips, “Below Deck” style:Bravo’s “Below Deck Med” chefDave White loves the idea of cereal as breading, but he takes a more oceangoing approach with the suggestion to make fish and chips with whatever cereal you have on hand.
“Start with a delicious, meaty white fish — I’d use snapper,” he said. “To bread it, which in France is called a pané, set up one bowl of flour, one of beaten eggs with milk, and one with your favourite cereal, crushed. Dust the fish in flour, then bind it in the beaten eggs and milk, and finally roll it in cereal crumbs. Fry, along with batons of potatoes, season with malt vinegar and salt, then serve with tartar sauce and a littlefennel remoulade.”
Don’t forget dessert:Frankie Celenza is the culinary host of “Struggle Meals,” which brings affordable recipes and easy-to-understand techniques to everyday people. He suggested using highly flavoured cereals for new takes on delicious desserts.
“I’m thinkingMilk Bar style ice cream, which uses cereal-infused milk for the ice cream and is sprinkled with caramelised crushed cornflakes. Another idea is to add sweet cereal to a nut milk, let it steep, then strain it.”
If you’re a fan of Rice Krispies treats, consider switching them up a little, suggested Robin Selden, managing partner and executive chef of Marcia Selden Catering.
“It’s fun to take that melted buttery marshmallow deliciousness and use any cereal that you have left over to make all sorts of treats,” she said. “I love to embellish mine with little surprises, like cocoa puff treats with chopped Andes chocolate mints and mini semisweet chocolate chips.”
Other sweet ideas come from Beth Moncel, the founder ofBudgetBytes.com. “You can use crushed-up cereal as a topper for yogurt parfaits and smoothie bowls, or make a no-bake cookie by combining cereal with melted chocolate, then dropping by spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Or combine cereal with nuts and chocolate chips for a quick snack mix.”