5-Ingredient Healthy Cocoa Crispies

As a kid, I used to love cold cereal…I still do!


Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Just Right, Raisin Bran….these were regulars in our pantry. Since I’ve been older, however, I can’t even rationalize eating the ‘healthy’ knock-offs of these classics, much less the aforementioned due to the typical abundance of preservatives, additives, ‘natural flavors’, and obscene amounts of sugar.


As always, when I find myself in this situation, I make my own healthy version!


Buckwheat served as the perfect proxy in this recipe. After being soaked and combined with just a few other ingredients, a delicious, crispy, chocolaty, perfectly sweetened cereal was born!

Healthy Cocoa Crispies Cereal
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 c. raw buckwheat groats
  • 3 T. cocoa powder
  • 5 T. maple syrup
  • ½ t. sea salt
  • 1 t.vanilla
  1. Place buckwheat groats in a bowl and cover them with purified water (about 1-2 inches above the groats).
  2. Let them soak overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  4. Drain and rinse the groats.
  5. Pat them dry with paper towels as best as you can (gets a tad messy).
  6. Mix them with the remaining ingredients until well combined.
  7. Pour the mix onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Make sure to spread them out into an even layer.
  8. Place the pan into the oven, and bake the cereal for three hours.
  9. Remove the pan and break the crispies into pieces. You will have to kind of peel the layer off of the parchment paper, but it will come off easily.
  10. Bake the cereal for another 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes).
  11. Remove the pan and let the cereal cool (it will crisp as it cools).
  12. Serve over yogurt or with milk.
Weight Watchers points (new system): 5
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 Calories: 191 Fat: 1.5 g Saturated fat: 0.5 g Unsaturated fat: 1 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 43.7 g Sugar: 18.8 g Sodium: 241 mg Fiber: 4.2 g Protein: 4.5 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

Though this recipe requires some time to come together, most of it is hands-off…. :-D

….and did I mention, it still creates that signature chocolate milk?….


This is the best way to get a cold cereal fix AND it can be happily enjoyed by all diet types (vegan, paleo, gluten-free, grain-free).

What’s your favorite cold cereal?

I would have to say Raisin Bran! I love anything with raisins. My husband loves Cinnamon Toast Crunch, so that may be up next for a makeover. :-D

Shared with: Make Your Own Monday, Natural Living Monday, 5 Ingredient Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Healthy 2day, Wheat-Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Gluten-Free Friday, Wellness Weekend, Healthy Vegan Friday

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Comments: 56

  1. Dawn Shelton May 6, 2013 at 5:35 am Reply

    YEA! can’t wait to try this!

    • Lauren May 6, 2013 at 7:40 am Reply

      Haha, thanks Dawn! :-D

  2. Oh my goodness I love cold cereal. Mom never let us buy the chocolate version of anything, but as I have a major love affair with chocolate, I would never turn this down. Granola is my breakfast staple and I would eat this for that and a snack. All. Day. Long. Looks gorgeous and delicious! Have you tried it with anything other than buckwheat groats?
    Mary Frances @ The Sweet Tooth Life recently posted..Strawberry Yogurt SconesMy Profile

    • Lauren May 6, 2013 at 7:40 am Reply

      I haven’t, but I suspect quinoa might work too! :-)

  3. Amber May 6, 2013 at 7:37 am Reply

    So brilliant! Love this Lauren. Great recipe. You’re always so inspiring. :-)

    Admittedly, I did not like overly sugary or chocolaty cereals as a child. For example, I never ate fruit loops, but LOVED shredded mini wheats (still had sugar, but not as much). But one thing has always stayed true throughout the years, my cereal HAS to be crunchy…and it cannot go soggy quickly in milk. -) I’ve been working on nut free dehydrated cereals. Still getting the flavors just right, but it’s SOOO fun to make homemade cereal, isn’t it. In my many efforts to keep a green, low waste kitchen, making cereal is a great way to decrease box and plastic waste. Love it!! I am very excited to try this cereal. I can tell you my husband will LOVE it (he’s a HUGE chocoholic).

    Have a fabulous week!

    Amber recently posted..Chickpea and Sweet Potato Medley (gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian)My Profile

    • Lauren May 6, 2013 at 7:44 am Reply

      Thanks girl! I hope you both enjoy it! :-D

  4. Anna @ Your Healthy Place May 6, 2013 at 9:40 am Reply

    Great idea to use the buckwheat groats as the cereal grain! Delish!

  5. Susan May 6, 2013 at 9:56 am Reply

    Lauren, you have really hit a nerve with this one – I used to eat chocolate cereal all the time, but like you, I now cannot justify it. I may just have to try this, and I think that since buckwheat tends to be strong flavored (and I doubt my husband would like it), that a mix of quinoa and buckwheat would be good. It sounds like this would work well in place of granola on the açai bowls we enjoy for breakfast. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Lauren May 6, 2013 at 4:25 pm Reply

      That sounds like a good idea Susan! Let me know if you try it that way. :-)

  6. Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl May 6, 2013 at 10:13 am Reply

    This looks like such a great recipe!! I wonder if my kiddos would go for it, well, I know I would!!
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl recently posted..A Marvelous Giveaway, Recipe and Monday!My Profile

    • Lauren May 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm Reply

      Thanks Kim! My girls really enjoyed it, so hopefully yours would too. :-)

  7. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance May 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm Reply

    You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had buckwheat groats! I should look into that. This looks so tasty, and what a great alternative to make if you have kids that keep asking for the boxed, processed, sugar-laden cereals!
    Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted..Kelp Noodle(!) and Veggie Stir FryMy Profile

    • Lauren May 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm Reply

      They are really good Michelle, and they work really well as a flour when ground!

  8. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate May 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm Reply

    Love this idea!
    Matt @ The Athlete’s Plate recently posted..Mini #Whole30My Profile

  9. Megan @ Allergy Free Alaska May 6, 2013 at 9:08 pm Reply

    Oh my goodness, Lauren! I am REALLY looking forward to trying this! What a great recipe!
    Megan @ Allergy Free Alaska recently posted..The Everything Guide to Making Gluten Free Bread – Including Troubleshooting TipsMy Profile

  10. Amy May 7, 2013 at 5:50 am Reply

    I am trying this with bulgar (because that is what I have) I will let you know if it works!

  11. Christina May 7, 2013 at 11:57 am Reply

    Looks delish but I can’t find raw buckwheat. Will toasted work?

    • Lauren May 7, 2013 at 12:39 pm Reply

      I haven’t worked much with the toasted, but I’ve read that it can have a stronger taste, which may not work well here. If you have a close health food store, you might call and ask if they carry the Bob’s Red Mill brand of raw buckwheat groats or if they have it in bulk. I’d hate for you to take the time to try this and have it taste bad! :-(

  12. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan May 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm Reply

    I could eat cold cereal morning, noon, and night, it’s the perfect all around meal (or snack)! I need this ASAP. I’m thinking cocoa rice krispie treats??
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan recently posted..Chocolate French Silk Pie with Pretzel CrustMy Profile

    • Lauren May 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm Reply

      Haha, do it girl!! :-D

  13. Christina May 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm Reply

    Thank you. I will look into it. I live on an island so resources can be scarce.

  14. Amber May 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm Reply

    The buckwheat goats are soaking as we speak!! :-) Can’t wait to try this.

    Amber recently posted..Chickpea and Sweet Potato Medley (gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian)My Profile

    • Lauren May 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm Reply

      Ahhhhh! :-D Let me know Amber! I hope I don’t strike out! :-O

  15. Terris | Free Eats May 8, 2013 at 9:05 am Reply

    These look so good. I’m always looking for good gluten-free, corn-free cereals for my 7 year old son. Since there aren’t many options I usually make my own. This looks like something he would love! Thanks for the great idea.

  16. Peggy May 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm Reply

    Awesome looking recipe and great pics!
    Peggy recently posted..Allergic Solution Baking Mixes GiveawayMy Profile

  17. jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur May 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm Reply

    Homemade cereal is the greatest, especially when it’s of the chocolate variety! I”ve avoided all store bought cereals for a while now, but I had a nasty habit of eating all of the marshmallows out of lucky charms when I was a child.
    jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur recently posted..Carob Swirl Banana Bread with Sweet and Salty Pretzel StreuselMy Profile

    • Lauren May 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm Reply

      Hahaha! We were never allowed sugary cereals, but I would pick the raisins out of Raisin Bran so I can relate on some level! :-)

  18. Gabby @ the veggie nook May 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm Reply

    I was never allowed to eat unhealthy cereals as a child and now looking back I’m glad I wasn’t. So I love that something like this will allow me to indulge the desires of my inner child while making my now grown-up nutritionist mind happy :)
    Gabby @ the veggie nook recently posted..virtual vegan potluck- coconut lime layered barsMy Profile

  19. Suzette May 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm Reply

    Happy Mother’s Day!! This looks SO GOOD!! Do you think this would work with steel cut oats?

    • Lauren May 12, 2013 at 6:46 pm Reply

      Thank you Suzette! Hmmm…I don’t know, as buckwheat is quite a bit harder in texture. Maybe don’t soak it as long and it might?….Let me know if you try it!

  20. GiGi Eats Celebrities May 13, 2013 at 9:15 pm Reply

    Totally walking down memory lane ;)
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..On The RocksMy Profile

  21. […] 5-Ingredient Healthy Cocoa Crispies from Oatmeal with a Fork Another great “cereal” food made from soaked and dried buckwheat.  Guess what I’m going to soak tonight . The only sub I’d make is a candida-diet friendly sweetener. […]

  22. […] As a kid, I used to love cold cereal…I still do! Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Just Right, Raisin Bran….these were regulars in our pantry. Since I've been older, however, I can't even rationalize ea…  […]

  23. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) May 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm Reply

    YUM, this looks so good! I have never had buckwheat groats! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com
    Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) recently posted..Strawberry Corn Muffins – #glutenfree #dairyfreeMy Profile

  24. Anne May 15, 2013 at 7:54 pm Reply

    I make a raw granola with buckwheat ehhh it’s ok but I wonder how sprouted oat grouts would be

  25. Laurie May 16, 2013 at 5:25 am Reply

    Could you dehydrate this instead of using the oven??

    • Lauren May 16, 2013 at 9:30 am Reply

      Sure! Just account for a longer ‘baking’ time. :-)

  26. Addy June 6, 2013 at 6:31 pm Reply

    I just tried this recipe and I found it has a really strong aftertaste, could that be the buckwheat groats? Or maybe the cocoa? If you have any clues for what to change, let me know!

    • Lauren June 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm Reply

      Did you use the raw groats? The only thing I can fathom is that you used the toasted groats by mistake. They have a really strong taste…

  27. Jen July 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm Reply

    Can you use stevia instead of maple syrup?

    • Lauren July 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm Reply

      The maple syrup is the biggest component in keeping the cereal together, so I don’t think stevia alone would work. You could perhaps make a syrup from granulated stevia and water and try that…

  28. […] Buckwheat served as the perfect proxy in this recipe. After being soaked and combined with just a few other ingredients, a delicious, crispy, chocolaty, perfectly sweetened cereal was born!  […]

  29. Candace July 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm Reply

    Just made this. So yummy! Thank you for the recipe! I have really missed cold cereal :D Now I can have it again!!!

    • Lauren July 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm Reply

      Yay! Thanks for the feedback! :-D

  30. Heather July 24, 2013 at 8:06 pm Reply

    YUM!!!! I can’t have much chocolate anymore (boo!), but I want to make this for my husband! Maybe he won’t realize it’s been “healthified” (although he knows who he’s married to, so I’m sure he’ll figure it out lol!) :)

  31. Christopher James August 13, 2013 at 6:56 am Reply

    Your Cocoa Crispies look so yummy. I want that in my kitchen.
    Christopher James recently posted..review3 launchedMy Profile

  32. […] (via 5-Ingredient Healthy Cocoa Crispies | Oatmeal with a Fork) […]

  33. Kate August 21, 2013 at 11:09 pm Reply

    Hi there, I was just wondering if the oven should be set to 200 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius? And thanks for the great recipe!

    • Lauren August 22, 2013 at 7:19 am Reply

      Hi Kate,
      It is 200 F. I hope you enjoy it! :-D

  34. Arielle August 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm Reply

    I wonder if cocoa crispie-clusters would work….

  35. Marina January 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm Reply

    How long do you think the cereal would last?

    • Lauren January 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm Reply

      I’d say up to two weeks. Let your nose and eyes be your guides though. :)

  36. June Abney May 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm Reply


    I just made this and it is DELICIOUS! What a great wholesome cereal! I love the crunch!

    I can eat so much more of this than the grain free granola I was making…thank you for this wonderful recipe and for introducing me to buckwheat groats!


    • Lauren May 15, 2014 at 3:31 pm Reply

      Thanks so much June, I’m so happy you enjoyed it! :-)

  37. Samantha Diaram October 26, 2014 at 1:19 pm Reply

    So I made this with all the blood, sweat, and tears …just kidding it was super easy, super delicious and amazingly simple.I did a couple different things for those of you who want to try :
    1) doubled the recipe (because I love cereal and i had a big box of goats)
    2) added cinnamon (because I couldn’t find vanilla but that’s for next time still yummy)
    3) Turned the heat up to 250 (because I didn’t have 3 hours –it cooked in half the time!)

    I have to say I am your number one fan thank you for making eating better convenient (as I have literally no time), cheap ( for a graduate student like me) and yummy (because when something taste good and is good for you such a win) !

    • Lauren October 26, 2014 at 3:48 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Samantha! I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe! :D

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