Cinnamon Toast Breakfast Quinoa

By Ann Fulton

Cinnamon Toast Breakfast Quinoa ~ A favorite childhood breakfast cereal is all grown up and offers a healthy and delicious way to start the day!
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My childhood bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is all grown up (and healthy!) thanks to this crunchy, hearty, perfectly sweet quinoa. 


So many of us are trying to incorporate more healthy grains into our diets.  It’s easy to do it occasionally, but if we’re not wowed by the options, it’s hard to make them a regular part of our diets. 

For me, this cinnamon toast breakfast quinoa is a game changer.  (All thanks to Kate!)

This warm, toasty bowl reminds me of a grown-up, healthy version of my brother’s favorite childhood breakfast cereal – Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  My sister and I thought it was pretty tasty, too!  (I always liked snacking on dry handfuls straight from the box. Am I the only one who could eat dry cereal like chips?)

I so enjoy this grown up, healthy version of that childhood favorite that lately I’ve been feeling compelled to cook a quick batch of quinoa every few evenings so I can wake up to THIS! ⇩⇩⇩

Cinnamon Toast Breakfast Quinoa ~ A favorite childhood breakfast cereal is all grown up and offers a healthy and delicious way to start the day!

It’s crunchy, nutty, sweet, and oh-so satisfying.  Occasionally I add some chopped banana or dates, but more often that not I keep it simple and enjoy the basic recipe as pictured.

By the way, if you find the frequently recommended cooking ratio of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water leads to somewhat mushy grains, you may like my preferred method for Perfectly Cooked Quinoa every time.The usual ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa gets a little tweaking in this sure-fired method of cooking light and fluffy quinoa every time!

You could make this satisfying breakfast with freshly cooked quinoa, but a pre-cooked batch offers two benefits.  Besides making for super-speedy morning prep, cooking the quinoa the day before gives the cooked grains time to dry out a bit.  This, in turn, allows them to firm up and separate, resulting in a little “toothiness” and chew.  (No mushy quinoa here!)

Tip: Even if the package indicates that the quinoa has already been rinsed, I recommend always rinsing it well before cooking. Quinoa has a natural bitter coating called saponin that will lend a bitter or soapy taste if any of it lingers on the grains.  (I say this after once trusting a reputable brand that was labeled as pre-rinsed. To salvage, I rinsed the bitter grains after cooking and then did my best to drain it very well!😂) 

Cinnamon Toast Breakfast Quinoa ~ A favorite childhood breakfast cereal is all grown up and offers a healthy and delicious way to start the day!

If you’re looking for a way to eat this powerhouse grain on a regular basic, this bowlful of deliciousness might just be your answer!

Cinnamon Toast Breakfast Quinoa
Yield: 1 serving
Who thought quinoa for breakfast could taste like cinnamon toast! As written, the recipe yields 1 serving, but I like to make a big pot of quinoa early in the week for easy breakfasts all week long.
  • Rounded 2 tablespoons chopped raw pecans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top if desired
  • Pinch (1/16 teaspoon) kosher or flaky sea salt
  • 1 cup pre-cooked quinoa* (for best texture, chilled leftover is ideal but freshly cooked may be used)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more if desired
  1. First, toast the pecans before adding the remaining ingredients. To do so, warm the pecans in a small saucepan (use a larger saucepan if you are making multiple servings) over medium heat, shimmying the pan often, until the pecans smell fragrant and toasty, about 4-5 minutes. (Tip: To save a few precious minutes in the morning, I often prep a big batch in the oven – spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant – and then let them cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge.)
  2. Add the coconut oil, cinnamon and salt to the pot. While stirring constantly, cook until the cinnamon is fragrant, about 15 seconds.
  3. Add the quinoa to the pot and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, about a minute, reducing the heat to low if the quinoa threatens to scorch in the hot pan. You just want to warm and toast the grains lightly. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the maple syrup.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. It’s delicious as is, although you’re welcome to add an extra sprinkle of cinnamon, maple syrup, or any of the additional serving ideas mentioned below.
  • 1 cup of dry quinoa yields a little over 3 cups cooked quinoa

Delicious as is, but optional accompaniments include the following: 1/2 banana, chopped; 1 tablespoon chopped dried cherries or dried cranberries; a sprinkle of hemp, chia or flax seeds; milk or yogurt of choice

A few more ideas: Stir in some unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut along with the nuts; top the finished quinoa with a spoonful of applesauce



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The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

Recipe adapted from Cookie+Kate via YumUniverse by Heather Crosby. 


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    1. Ann Post author

      It does, Vanessa. To maintain maximum crunch if planning on reheating though, I’d wait to add the pecans until ready to serve.

    1. Ann Post author

      Thanks Sheri! The reason I don’t list nutritional breakdowns with each recipe is because the numbers can change significantly depending on brands people buy and how exact the measuring is. In saying that, if you email me through the contact page, I can have our dietitian, Emily, provide you with her best estimations on the nutrients you would like to know about. Hope that helps!

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Jodi, I tend to cook extra quinoa so I have that ready to go, and then quickly cook an individual serving on the stovetop in the morning. I think it would still be quite good if you prepare it entirely and then reheat. To maintain the crunch of the pecans, however, I would simply sprinkle them in just before eating.

  1. AnnaLee

    Made this, this morning. So good! My sweetheart is not a fan of oatmeal, but absolutely loves this quinoa breakfast. Thank you!