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Creamy Fonio Cereal (Easy Breakfast Porridge)

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Wake up with a bowl of delicious Fonio Cereal! This creamy porridge is a quick and easy hot breakfast that is super healthy and absolutely delicious!

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My husband travels for work and often brings home small souvenirs. It’s usually something like a t-shirt, a candy bar, or stickers (so many stickers, he’s obsessed lol), but sometimes he brings home different treats.

And that’s how I discovered Fonio, a type of millet native to West Africa! This little ancient grain resembles couscous and cooks just as quickly.

This creamy Fonio Cereal is my favorite way to cook it, and it’s the perfect hot breakfast for busy mornings! You’ll also love this easy porridge… it’s ready in 10 minutes, healthy and the nutty taste is so good. Plus, it’s endlessly customizable with different toppings.

Ready to try this recipe for yourself? Then keep reading for all the delicious details!

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A spoon in a bowl of the finished breakfast recipe.

Ingredients

The tasty recipes require only a few basic ingredients. Here’s what you need:

  • Phonio – The star of the recipe! You can find fonio at Whole Foods and The Fresh Market, as well as online. I used Yolélé Fonio for this recipe, but Amazon has other brands as well. Find more places to buy the grain here.
  • Milk – You cook the grains in milk, which gives the dish a creamy texture. Any kind of milk will work, regular or plant-based. I used my favorite soy milk.
  • Salty – A pinch of salt is optional, but it brings out the nutty taste. I recommend using kosher salt.
  • Toppings – Okay, now the fun part… the toppings! I like to serve this hot cereal with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of brown sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup, but there are so many other options. Check out the Toppings section below for ideas.

This nutritious recipe is vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free! For a vegan option, use plant-based toppings and dairy-free milk, such as soy, almond, or oats.

You also need

You will need a small saucepan (preferably with a heavy bottom) to prepare this recipe, as well as a wooden spoon to stir the mixture during cooking.

Ingredients for Fonio Cereal arranged on a marble counter.

How to make Fonio porridge

This tasty Fonio breakfast couldn’t be faster or easier to prepare! Below is a detailed recipe card, but here’s a quick rundown of the steps:

  1. Combine milk and fonio. Stir together the milk, fonio and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil. Cook the mixture over high heat, stirring frequently, until it boils.
  3. Simmer. As soon as the porridge starts to boil, reduce the heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until most of the milk has been absorbed and the mixture is creamy and thickened.
  4. Add toppings. Transfer the finished cereal to a bowl and serve hot, garnished with your favorite toppings.

And that’s it… your creamy Fonio Porridge is ready to eat!

Tip: These hot cereals will thicken as they cool, so keep a close eye on them as they cook. If it gets too thick, just stir in an extra splash of milk before serving.

A photo collage showing how to make fonio porridge cornflakes step by step.

Top ideas

Now that you’ve mastered the basic recipe, have fun picking out the perfect toppings! Here are some simple ideas:

  • Fruit – Everything is allowed here, both fresh and dried fruit. Try strawberries, blueberries, banana, mango, raspberries, blackberries, pomegranate, pineapple, citrus fruits, apples, apricots, figs and more. For an extra treat, try these delicious caramelized bananas!
  • Nuts – Sprinkle your favorite nuts on top to give this creamy cereal some crunch. Try almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, macadamias, etc.
  • Jam – A dash of jam (such as strawberry, raspberry, blackberry or cherry) adds a lot of flavor. Tip: Combine the jam with peanut butter for a delicious PB&J taste!
  • Nut butter – Add extra flavor and protein by stirring in a dollop of nut butter. Almonds, peanuts, cashews and other types would all work great.
  • Coconut – Give your breakfast a tropical twist by adding some grated coconut, or for extra crunch some coconut chips!
  • Chocolate – Treat yourself to an extra delicious morning meal by topping the finished dish with pieces of chocolate or chips.
  • Muesli – A little bit of granola is the perfect way to add texture. Try it with my easy to make Homemade Granola or even this Tropical Trail Mix.
  • Sweeteners – This cozy breakfast is nice as is, but a little sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar) drizzled or sprinkled is a welcome addition.
  • Spices – Add extra flavor while cooking by adding a few dashes of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, allspice or even pumpkin pie spice.
  • Savoury – Fonio Cereal can also be enjoyed with savory toppings, such as roasted vegetables, fried eggs, hot sauce or crumbled cheese.

Storage

Fonio Porridge cooks so quickly (less than 10 minutes!) that you really don’t need to prepare it in advance. If you do have leftovers, store them in an airtight container for up to three days. Then gently heat in the microwave, adding extra milk if needed to thin the mixture.

A close-up of the finished acha porridge in a blue patterned bowl.

Related recipes

Looking for more healthy breakfast ideas? Try one of these recipes next:

Interested in more fonio recipes? Checking out The Fonio Cookbook! It was written by chef Pierre Thiam, the creator of Yolélé (the brand I used for this recipe).

A bowl of fonio cereal with a spoon in it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is phone?

Fonio is a small grain native to West Africa. It is a cultivated grass and part of the millet family. Other names for fonio are acha, iburura and hungry rice. It is considered an ancient grain, as it has been cultivated in the same way for thousands of years. Fonio thrives in hot, dry climates and grows quickly without the need for pesticides and irrigation, making it a sustainable crop.

How does fonio taste?

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Fonio has a delicious, mild earthy taste and slightly nutty flavour. It will take on the flavor of whatever spices you use to cook it.

Is fonio gluten free?

Yes, fonio is gluten free. People with a gluten intolerance can safely enjoy this nutritious whole grain.

Is fonio a super food?

Fonio is often referred to as a superfood because it is a nutritious, easily digestible whole grain that is a great source of vitamins, minerals and plant-based protein.

Is fonio good for health?

Fonio is a nutritious whole grain with a lot of fiber and a good source of vitamins, minerals and vegetable amino acids. It also has a low glycemic index score and is naturally gluten-free. All this makes it an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Learn more about the benefits of fonio on Healthline.

Close-up of a spoon in a bowl of finished hot cereal.
A bowl of Fonio porridge served in a patterned blue bowl.

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Fonio cereal

This hot, creamy breakfast porridge is a cozy treat… serve it with your favorite toppings!

Cooking time10 minutes

Total time10 minutes

Class: Breakfast

Kitchen: West African

Portions: 1 person

Calories: 260kcal

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup fun
  • 1 ¼ cups milk (see explanation)
  • pinch kosher salt
  • toppings, such as fresh fruit, nuts, maple syrup, or brown sugar

Instructions

  • Combine fonio, milk and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Mix well.

  • Bring the mixture to a boil, stir frequently and reduce heat to low.

  • Cook until the milk has been absorbed and the porridge is creamy and thickened, stirring frequently (about 4 to 6 minutes).

  • Serve hot, topped with your favorite toppings. Enjoying!

Notes

The typical Fonio Cereal ratio is 1 part fonio to 4 parts milk (for one serving: ¼ cup fonio and 1 cup milk). However, I prefer to add a little extra milk for a creamier result (so ¼ cup of fonio and 1 ¼ cup of milk). Try it both ways to see which one you prefer! Tip: If you use less milk, you also have a shorter cooking time (about 3 to 5 minutes).
Recipe makes one serving. If you are feeding more people, simply double (triple, quadruple, etc.) the ingredients to make the desired amount.
Milk gives the creamiest result, but you can also prepare this recipe with water instead of milk, or with a mixture of water and milk. I used soy milk, but other milks (regular and vegetable) will also work.
Be sure to read the information before this recipe card for more information about this grain, recipe tips, topping ideas and more!

Power supply

Calories: 260kcal

Close-up of a bowl of Fonio porridge with a spoon in it.

Fonio cerealFonio cereal