September 22, 2017

Amaranth is often called a grain, but it's really a seed, and you can cook it like rice and oats. Here's how to use gluten-free amaranth seeds in all kinds of recipes.

Amaranth | Photo by Bigstock

Small But Mighty

As you can see from the photo, amaranth seeds are teeny tiny. But don't let their diminutive size fool you. Naturally gluten-free Amaranth seeds are a complete protein, high in fiber, iron, amino acids and calcium, are easily digestible, and have been shown to lower cholesterol. Pretty amazing for such a small package! And with their pleasantly nutty taste, they add flavor as well as nutrition to any dish.

How to Cook Amaranth

Amaranth is cooked a lot like rice, oats, and other grains: Combine one cup seeds and two cups water or other flavorful cooking liquid (like stock or milk) and bring it to boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the grains are fluffy and the liquid is absorbed.

Amaranth is simple to incorporate into your favorite dishes and baked goods. You can also combine amaranth with other grains, like brown rice or oats, to maximize the flavor and health benefits in your meals. If you're a fan of quinoa, you can substitute amaranth for most recipes that call for quinoa, like this recipe for Quinoa and Black Beans.

Quinoa and Black Beans
Quinoa and Black Beans | Photo by Dianne

Baking With Amaranth

The tiny seeds can be ground into a flour, to use in gluten-free baking. Because of its strong nutty flavor, we recommend using one part amaranth flour to three parts other gluten-free flours. If you're simply looking for a health boost, replace one cup of all-purpose wheat flour with amaranth flour in your favorite cookie and bread recipes, like in these Peanut Butter and Amaranth Cookies

Peanut Butter and Amaranth Cookies
Peanut Butter and Amaranth Cookies | Photo by Francine Lizotte, Club Foody

If you like these, you'll also love Sourdough Amaranth Wheat English Muffins and Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins combining amaranth, bread, and brown rice flours for a grab-and-go snack.

Breakfast Ideas

Simmer amaranth for a porridge-like consistency with a bit of natural sweetness. Keep an eye on it, though, as it can go from perfect to gummy in a few minutes. Try this recipe for Gluten-Free Hot Breakfast Cereal.

More Ways to Use Amaranth

Thickener: Amaranth has a natural sticky quality that's great to thicken soups, smoothies, and sauces. Add a tablespoon or two to sauce and soup while it's cooking. And instead of using frozen fruit to thicken your smoothies, mix in a tablespoon or two of amaranth seeds, like this Banana and Brazil Nut Breakfast Smoothie.

Popped Amaranth: Toast amaranth seeds in a dry skillet over high heat, shaking the pan continuously. Eat the toasted seeds like popcorn (with a bit of salt or nutritional yeast sprinkled on top), or toss them on top of salads, vegetables, or soups for a bit of texture. You can also serve popped amaranth with milk and fruit for a breakfast cereal or layer it into a yogurt parfait.


Amaranth and amaranth flour have a lot of great nutrients. To keep them at their best, refrigerate amaranth for up to 6 months, or buy small quantities and use it quickly.

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