Homemade Cinnamon Crunch Cereal

by Susan on September 30, 2012

When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to eat “fun” dry cereal. This was way before the current worries over genetically modified corn, trans fats and gluten; my mother simply and wisely didn’t want to serve my sister and I bowls full of sugar for breakfast.

Fast forward, and of course I don’t buy the traditionally fun stuff for my longer list of reasons. I can pat myself on the back all I want, but I have to confess that over the past couple of months a seemingly healthy but not-so-much cereal has snuck into my pantry.

My boyfriend’s son loves Cinnamon Toast Crunch, so I picked up a healthier alternative at Whole Foods (after throwing out a box of the former, which I couldn’t stand having in my kitchen). Three Sisters Cereal’s Cinnamon Sweets has a lot of good going for it: no hydrogenated oils, HFCS, preservatives or artificial flavors. High in whole grains. Packaged in recyclable bags made using renewable wind energy.

The cereal still has a whopping 10 grams of sugar per serving, however, and the company cannot guarantee that it doesn’t contain genetically modified grains.

While it’s certainly a case of the lesser of evils, my kids now love this stuff and I’d rather it not become their daily breakfast. What’s an obsessive mother to do? Why, try to make her own healthier alternative, of course…

A few weeks back I stumbled upon a really creative cereal recipe when searching the internet for paleo breakfast ideas. I Breathe… I’m Hungry’s Cinnamon Faux-st Crunch Cereal has just about the coolest name ever, not to mention promised to be a promising homemade alternative to the addictive stuff in my pantry.

Melissa’s recipe not only ditches the sugar, but omits gluten and grains altogether. It seemed too good to be true!

I’m happy to report that the cereal actually rocks. I have not convinced either of my kids that it’s an all-out replacement for the packaged stuff, but I’ve now found a recipe *I* am willing to eat, and which they both found pretty tasty as well.

It’s also much easier to make than it might first appear (I had a particularly fun time cutting out the individual pieces with my pizza cutter).

Melissa created her original version to work for those ditching sugar and sweeteners completely, so she uses apple juice for both its liquid and sweet properties. I knew that version would be a little too bland for my kids, so followed her guidelines to sweeten things up a little.

I also opted to use almond meal as opposed to hemp hearts; while I personally love the latter, I wanted to try a version that would be easy and accessible for everyone (and I know some don’t have access or the inclination to pick up the hemp).

Homemade Cinnamon Crunch Cereal
adapted from I Breathe… I’m Hungry

1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tbs. cinnamon
1 tbs. melted coconut oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granular natural sweetener (stevia, xylitol, erythritol)

Preheat oven to 300. Combine first three ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add melted oil, water and sweetener. Stir to thoroughly combine.

Press out “dough” on a baking sheet lined with parchment or covered with a Silpat sheet. I found greasing my hands helped me to really press it down and spread it out. You want to spread it as thinly and evenly as possible.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 250 and bake for another 10. Remove baking sheet and turn off oven.

Using a pizza cutter, cut the cereal into little squares (Melissa used keyboard keys as a guideline for size). Put back in the oven and allow to sit for at least an hour to crisp up. I left mine for a little under 2 hours and it came out perfectly crunchy and crisp.


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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

LUCIE December 10, 2012 at 4:58 am

What if I don´t have coconut oil or can´t eat it? Is there an alternative option for that? Would LOVE to try it!! Can i substitute the almond flour with soy or other flours not don´t contain wheat? 🙂


Susan December 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Hi Lucie! Thanks for your interest and questions. You can almost always use butter or a dairy-free butter sub like Earth Balance in lieu of coconut oil. I haven’t personally tried it out here, but I think it should work. In terms of the flour, it’s definitely worthy experimenting! I would love to hear how it works for you.


Lucie ( Other Lucie than the first one :)) February 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Hi! Also regarding the almond meal, could you substitute it with wheat bran and other brans (oat, etc.) since i am allergic to almonds?


Susan February 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I haven’t tried it myself, but you could certainly try! you are mainly using the almond to create bulk, so I think oat bran would be a good substitute. If there are other nuts to which you’re not allergic, you could also grind those up to create your own alternate meal. Please let me know if you tinker and how it turns out!


Stef February 27, 2013 at 7:56 am

Could this be made without flaxseed and still hold its consistency? Thanks!


Susan February 28, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Hi Stef, great question! Sadly I don’t think it would work, as flax has binding properties (which is why ground flax + egg is often used as a vegan egg replacement). You could certainly give it a try with more nut meal, but I don’t know that it would stay together. Please let me know if you do try, though, and how it turns out!


alice April 4, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Hello! could you substitute almond meal for flour? 🙂


Susan April 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm

hi Alice! You certainly could. The finished product might differ slightly in appearance since the almond meal isn’t finely milled, but the taste will be the same.


The Slapdash Sewist June 4, 2013 at 12:33 am

This is an awesome recipe, thank you! A tip for rolling it out: I mounded the dough in the middle of a Silpat and then put another Silpat on top of it and used a rolling pin to roll it out very thin and even, then just peel off the top Silpat. Voila! It takes about 30 seconds.


Susan June 4, 2013 at 1:59 am

thanks so much for the tips! This is definitely one I’ve been meaning to revisit, and using the 2 Silpats is a great idea.


Leah March 15, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Net carbs in each recipe?


Susan March 16, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Hi Leah! Sorry, I don’t calculate the nutritional info. You could try plugging into Sparkpeople or a similar website to see if you can determine it. Thanks!


Sarah B July 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm

If making two servings, not counting sugar alchohols in erythritol, net carbs are 7 g.


Katie April 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Would I be able to make this with liquid stevia instead of a granular natural sweetener?


Susan April 6, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Great question Katie. I often have better luck with liquid stevia when not a lot of added sweetness is needed. You could certainly try it, but I’m not sure if you’d get the right level of sweetness without using too much of the liquid (which could then turn a little bitter).

If you do try it, please let me know how it goes!


Jolene August 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm

What is the shelf life on this? Thanks.


Susan August 2, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Hi Jolene,

I wouldn’t keep it for more than a couple of days as I think it would begin to get soft/soggy. I would suggest storing in the fridge to maintain the freshness.


Casey September 3, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Just curious how many servings this makes? Looks good! I made something similar, but it had way more fat and thus I found it greasy. I want to try this one.


Susan September 4, 2015 at 9:41 am

Hi Casey! I can’t really vouch for how many servings as I don’t personally calculate them. This recipe definitely isn’t greasy or soggy at all and has a nice crunch.


Casey September 5, 2015 at 1:25 am

I followed the recipe exactly as written with oven temps and times exact. They are all very soft, no crisp at all. My guess is the error is due to oven temps varying. I’m going to try again and try to either increase the heat or the time in there. They taste okay, but just soft. I would guess this made about 4 bowls of cereal, depending on how big a bowl you like. I have been munching them dry, they are kinda like little chips. I just need to make them crunchier!


Dee February 17, 2016 at 9:35 pm

Thank you for this! I miss cereal so much I could cry of happiness that I found this recipe!


Susan February 18, 2016 at 11:31 am

Love to hear that! 🙂


Erin August 8, 2016 at 1:26 pm

What is the serving size for this?


Susan August 8, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Thanks for your interest! I don’t really calculate nutritional info or serving size for my recipes, though.


Sherry May 26, 2017 at 10:44 pm

I love this! We are low carbers and we LOVED cereal! I tried this several times and it got better each time I made it. We absolutely love it!! We use almond milk and this just hits the spot for a cereal craving. And it’s so easy to do.
Thank you !


Susan May 31, 2017 at 10:28 pm

So glad you liked it! I found it’s tasted better each time I make it, too. Guess practice makes perfect 🙂


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