My Grandma’s Fried Cereal

Alexandra Hnatyshyn

November 6, 2019

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By: Alexandra Hnatyshyn

It’s been said that the way to your heart is through your stomach, and for me, that reigns true.  My most cherished memories involve spending time in the kitchen with my family. I can recall spending Thanksgiving morning with my dad, making pies and oyster dressing while listening to Led Zeppelin and talking about his teenage years spent listening to punk music and sneaking into dive bars.  I will always love every Christmas spent in the kitchen with my mother, helping her decorate the hundreds of cookies she makes every year to give to family and friends. We spend hours icing cookies and eating the “ugly ones” with a glass of wine and our favorite movie playing on the tablet propped up on the kitchen counter.  

My love for spending time in the kitchen stems from my grandmother.  I loved to watch her cook. If you asked her to make you something, she’d hurry into her corner kitchen, open the refrigerator that’s covered in Family Circus comic strips, family photos, and magnets with proverbial sayings like, “this too shall pass,” and grab a stick of butter to begin cooking.  As soon as she’d turn the gas stove on and add a pad of butter into the pan, it was storytime. She’d tell me about her childhood and honestly answer any silly question asked by her curious granddaughter.

My grandma was a soft, kindhearted old soul, who spent her life raising my father and his six siblings, and later taking care of her slew of grandchildren.  She grew up penniless and raised her seven children in a very poor environment; and from experience, she knew how to take something simple and make the most of it.  She was a humble cook; not a proponent of measuring ingredients, instead adding “a little of this and a little of that” to make a nourishing, stick-to-your-bones meal.  If you called to ask about measurements in a recipe, she would lovingly tell you to “just eyeball it.” She’d take leftover grits, cold from the refrigerator, slice them into thick patties, and fry them in butter to eat with spam.  Her grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup could cure any ailment you had because she made it with Tony’s seasoning, extra butter, and a runny egg hidden within the melty cheese. But of all the meals she cooked for me, my absolute favorite has to be her fried cereal.  Yes, fried cereal.

As odd a snack it is, it’s a triumphantly simple treat that requires two ingredients: plain cereal and butter.  My grandmother did not abide by measurements, so this recipe comes from years of trial and error to find the perfect ratio of cereal to butter.  She used to make this for me to munch on when I was home sick from school and stuck on the sofa watching The Price is Right, or when I spent the summers climbing the magnolia trees in her backyard, only coming down to eat lunch or go to church.  Now, I enjoy this snack for my regularly scheduled game nights and movie marathons. It’s a 5-minute recipe that simply requires tossing the cereal

mixture and butter in a pan until the cereal is crispy, buttery, and golden brown.  It’s all taste and no fuss. Fried cereal hits every flavor note: it is slightly sweet from the cereal, slightly salty from the butter, it’s crunchy, and has a dense brown butter flavor when cooked just right.  It takes minutes to make and can feed a group of friends or one hungry gal (guilty!). While this snack takes me back to moments I spent with my grandmother, I hope this dish serves as chance for you to take something simple and make the most of it.  

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Noellie’s Fried Cereal


  • Butter

  • Honey Nut Toasted O’s cereal (any generic Cheerios)

  • Puffed Rice cereal

  • Plain Rice Squares (generic Chex cereal)

*The ratio for this snack calls for half a stick of butter for every 3 cups of cereal.


  1. Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat.  

  2. When the butter has melted, and is slightly bubbly and just starting to brown, add in one cup of each cereal by the handful.

  3. Toss the cereal to ensure the mixture is evenly coated in the melted butter.  

  4. Continue to lightly toss the mixture.  Add a pad or two more of butter if the mixture does not appear coated enough.  As well, you might need to lower the heat if the pan seems too hot or the cereal seems to cook too quickly.  

  5. When the cereal turns golden brown with a few bits slightly burnt, it’s done.  Turn off the heat, and transfer the cereal into a large bowl.

  6. As the cereal cools, it may stick together, but that can be fixed by poking and tossing with a spoon.  If you’re making for a larger crowd, it’s best to cook in batches. This is delicious as is, but feel free to add a little salt or even some cinnamon if you want to experiment with the taste.  Enjoy!


Contributor Alexandra Hnatyshyn is a New Orleans native and e-commerce fashion merchandiser currently residing Little Rock, Arkansas. While her strong-suit may be fashion merchandising, she is a writer and chef at heart. Inspired by her grandmother’s cooking, she can be found in the kitchen making meals that warm the soul and remind her of home. You can follow her here and see what inspires here .

Alexandra Hnatyshyn


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