How to Make Cocoa Puffs at Home, Easily & With 7 Ingredients

October  4, 2016

Reese's Puffs? No. Honey Bunches of Oats? Yes.

My parents' list of acceptable and unacceptable breakfast cereals was completely arbitrary and utterly nonsensical: the parents' prerogative. Cocoa Puffs was a definite no—a summer camp or sleepover treat exclusively.

But would they have let me eat this homemade version (made from seven ingredients and free of refined sugar, if that's a concern for you) from Genevieve Ko's new book Better Baking? Well it doesn't matter anymore because I'm a grown woman and I can occasionally eat chocolate for breakfast in moderation if I want to. And I want to!

The process of making these DIY "Coco Puffs" (which are really more like a mix between Puffs and Krispies) is similar to that for Rice Krispies treats. Except that instead of mixing the popped grains into a threateningly sticky mass of melted marshmallows and butter (more on how to do that here), you coat them in a mix of coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa powder, honey, salt, and vanilla extract. Then you bake them for 25 minutes at 300° F until they've re-crisped.

Shop the Story

And yes, you could use Rice Krispies as the base of this cereal, though Ko recommends grains that are "light and airy" and "slightly inflated"—she likes Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs. You could also use the generic puffs that come in the nondescript bags on the outskirts of the cereal aisle: Try kamut puffs, why don't you!

Try not to eat each puff individually before you can get them into a bowl with milk. Photo by James Ransom

The base mixture is open to interpretation, too: Experiment with melting down peanut butter or tahini along with the cocoa powder and coconut oil, or adding in a pinch of cinnamon or cayenne.

For flavor and texture variance, Ko also folds in large-flake coconut along with the cereal. You can try other add-ins in its place: chopped nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Though now you're encroaching into granola territory...

Ideas for how to enjoy it:

  • In a bowl with very cold milk and fruit, obviously.
  • On top of oatmeal!
  • On top of ice cream.
  • As the top layer of a chocolate cream pie or pudding.
  • Folded into pancakes.
  • Layered into a trifle.
  • Crushed and used to top a cake (or to pair with frosting, between the layers).
  • Added to an Eton mess (or any other creamy-crunchy dessert).

What breakfast cereal would you like to recreate at home? Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
    Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
  • Niknud
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Riddley G. October 4, 2016
Niknud October 4, 2016
What she said.