Breakfast on a Budget – Cream of Corn Cereal

The theme for January’s posts is Kitchen Management – things like gluten free grocery shopping on a budget, stocking a gluten free pantry, and how to clean a messy kitchen.  The posts will be shorter and more frequent than normal (since I won’t have to multi-test as many recipes) and there will be several chances for you to chime in with questions, opinions, and tips.

Yesterday we made a short trip to Whole Foods for fresh produce and soymilk (we’re going through fruit like crazy since John got a juicer for Christmas) and I ended up talking to another couple that looking at the gluten free cereals. They were trying to decide if a small bag of granola was worth $5.

And while I have paid more than that for the same brand of granola (what can I say, I’m pregnant and I was craving granola), we usually don’t by packaged cereal at all. The gluten free cold cereals are expensive, and I don’t think that they are worth the price. Instead we rotate through a pretty extensive selection of hot cereals: grits, oatmeal, kasha, cream of corn, cream of rice.  We add a variety of spices and dried fruits to the cereal to provide even more variety.

Here is the recipe for Cream of Corn (or Corn Mush if you have kids that are Goodnight Moon fans). What do you eat for breakfast?

Cream of Corn (aka Corn Mush)
(yields: 4 c. or 4 servings)

1 c. corn meal (we use Hodgson Mill**)
2 c. milk (we use plain soymilk)
2 c. water

Cooking Instructions:
1. Bring 1 c. milk and 2 c. water to boil in a medium saucepan.
2. While the water is heating, mix the remaining 1 c. milk with the cornmeal. 3. When the milk/water mixture is boiling, turn the heat to low and slowly pour in the wet cornmeal. Whisk the mixture continuously while you add the cornmeal to prevent lumps.
4. Cook the cereal over low heat for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so to prevent scorching. The cereal is ready when it has thickened to the consistency of cream of wheat.
5. Serve in large bowls and top with butter (or CF sub) and salt, and your choice of sweetener. (I’m partial to maple syrup)

Change it Up: If you want to add some variety, try adding 1/2 – 1  c. dried fruit to the liquid mixture in Step 1.  Or top the cereal with sliced fruit after serving. We really like sliced bananas on our Cream of Corn, and I think that fresh peaches would be delicious in the summer.

** If you’re tired of looking at the label of every single brand of cornmeal trying to find one that is gluten free, then I would suggest that you buy The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide. I refer to it regularly and its a great help in quickly identifying the brands/items that are gluten free.


  1. I really like using Amaranth as a cereal. I got it from Shauna James’ book. It’s hearty and leaves you feeling full and ready for the day.

  2. I have a Cake question for you.

    Will my GF cake hold up if I ice it with fondant, instead of traditional frosting?

    I have a party that I’m planning for and I need to make a small GF version of the big cake that is being made. Fondant is what the other individuals have chosen to use and knowing that GF baking is often different than regular baking I just want to know if you think that the cake will hold up under the weight of the fondant.


    • Carolyn, The gluten free cakes that I’ve made have all been just as sturdy as a normal cake so I would think that they could handle the fondant. I use a flour mix of 1 part sorghum flour: 1 part brown rice flour: 1 part tapioca flour. For each cup of flour I add 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum.

  3. Carolyn Patrick says:

    Hello Mary Frances, General Mills has a gluten-free cereal now. It is Rice Chex. A cup of that with milk and fruit is a good nutritious breakfast. Enjoy your emails.

  4. I’d like to chime in about the General Mills GF Rice Chex as well! It’s definitely worth the price: $2.75/box versus what I normally pay for a box of GF cereal. Far more affordable than the usual GF fair. I like to add a variety of nuts, unsweetened coconut and honey to pump up the flavour and nutritional value! It’s not available here in Canada so when friends from the US come to visit they always bring me a cart full. I’m currently on box 3 of a 7-box gift set!

    I also like to switch things up a bit and have GF oatmeal, grits, quinoa, a variety of dry cereals from Nature’s Path, brown rice with warm milk and honey, yogurt, fresh fruit and homemade muffins and quick breads when I’ve got the time to make them. I usually follow this up with a probiotic/Kefir chaser for good measure! Keeps the tummy happy for the better part of my morning.


  5. I, too, usually down a bowl of rice chex for breakfast.
    When I have time, I love to dice potatoes and make hash browns with eggs and ham.

  6. I like millet for hot cereal .I have pretty much given up on cold cereal.I did get some puffed corn which was okay.I would think puffed rice,which comes in larger bags would be GF also.

  7. Pat Meadows says:

    I’ve recently become gluten-free by necessity. I also am a whole-grain loving person. I used, in fact, to make 100% whole wheat bread, grinding the wheat ourselves. Sigh. It’s the only thing I really, truly miss.
    For the breakfast problem, we are now buying buckwheat, brown rice, millet, sorghum and corn *as grains*. All except the brown rice keep a long time as unground grains. We have both a hand-operated flour mill and an electric flour mill. The hand-operated mill that we have is a Corona; it’s a cheap one. You can buy them for less than $50 at online brewery supply houses. Home brewers use them to grind barley and make malt for brewing.
    Cheap mills such as the Corona are *definitely not suited* to grinding fine flour, but they are the *perfect tool* for making hot cereals from whole grains. We use the Corona in preference to the electric flour mill for hot cereals.
    So I can have all of these as delicious hot cereals, or any mixture of them. I can buy the grains from Bob’s Red Mill or for about $1.39/lb. That’s pretty cheap for whole-grain hot cereal prices. The freshly ground (then frozen) cereals are VERY SUPERIOR in taste too, just very much nicer and fresher tasting.
    I like rice cereals made from brown rice too, but unfortunately brown rice does not keep as well as the other grains, and needs to be frozen for long storage. So we buy it ten pounds at a time. The others we buy in larger quantities and keep in 5-gallon buckets with gamma seal lids.
    We buy the buckets and lids online too – is one supplier of them. Emergency Essentials ( is another such supplier. Many people find they can get the buckets (although not the good lids – gamma seal lids) free from doughnut shops, sandwich shops, or supermarket bakery departments. Don’t get ones that held pickles – you’ll never get the smell out.
    This all sounds like a big deal, I suppose, but it isn’t really. It takes us a few minutes once a week to grind the grains for cereals by hand.
    Even buying a $200 or so electrically-operated mill – or a better-quality hand mill such as the Country Living Grain Mill – is well worth it if you use any quantity of GF flours. Again, we can grind (and store in the freezer) a week’s worth of flour in about ten minutes. Like the cereals, freshly ground flour is the best flour. And our brown rice flour is powdery soft and fine – all our electrically-ground flours can be really fine and soft, if we wish. To repeat, however: don’t get a Corona (around $50) expecting to use it for grinding fine flours – but they are *the perfect tool for hot cereals or coarse meals*.
    Pat Meadows

  8. How about puffed rice?

  9. Carol Stephan says:

    General Mills now has 4 gluten free cereals. We have tried the corn chex and rice chex and they are just like the ones before the GF label was added and are still the same price!