Popped Amaranth Peanut Butter Cups.

Posted by in food, recipe | 27 comments

Last winter I found out from Ashley that you can pop amaranth grain. Best discovery ever. At first, I was limited to merely eating it as cereal – ha, so juvenile. But then, my pea brain finally started clicking and I realized how I could use amaranth in other, more decadent ways. Like adding it to dessert!

First things first, are you familiar with amaranth? I’m no expert but I do know it’s a grain that’s very high in protein and gluten free. You can cook it several different ways, but my favorite thus far has been popping. Like popcorn. Yes, it’s the funnest thing you’ll ever do. Yes, I said funnest.

When done properly it comes out looking like puffed rice cereal, which can then be doused in milk, eaten by the handfuls or added to rich, decadent peanut butter cups. Pretty sweet, right?

I thought so.

Popped Amaranth Peanut Butter Cups
adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
yields 12 large cups

1 cup all natural peanut butter {I used crunchy}
2 T butter, melted*
1/2 c powdered sugar*
1/2 c crushed salted roasted peanuts
heaping 1/2 c popped amaranth*
3/4 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method |  Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add in powdered sugar and peanuts, then mix until combined. Pour in popped amaranth and mix again until combined. Next, grease muffin cups with non-stick spray and fill bottom of cups with chocolate chips – it doesn’t have to be exact. Melt in the oven for 5 minutes. Then, with the back of a metal spoon carefully smooth out the top of the chips while they’re still warm. Next, drop generous spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture into each muffin cup. Smooth tops with the back of a spoon or your fingers and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before eating. I froze mine so they’d pop out easier with a knife. Store in an airtight container in the fridge to keep fresh.


  • To pop amaranth, place a medium-to-large pot over medium-high heat and let it get fully hot. Then, add small batches {scant 1/4 c} of amaranth, cover the pot, and quickly shimmy the pot back and forth. They’ll start popping almost immediately and as soon as you don’t see anymore popping {about 10-15 seconds total} quickly transfer them to a bowl. These can burn quick so be sure to work fast. Your first batch may not turn out but use it as a practice run to gage how you can pop most efficiently.
  • Melted butter is probably optional if you want to lighten these up. Or you could likely sub melted coconut oil.
  • Powdered sugar could be lessened or even omitted entirely if you want a less sweet cup. Just compensate with extra amaranth.
  • Use non-dairy chocolate chips and Earth Balance to make these vegan.

Oh my dear these are good! They’re everything a peanut butter cup should be, but with a little extra crunch from the peanuts and amaranth. And the chocolate bottoms give them an extra decadent touch.

The flavor is astonishingly similar to Reese’s PB Cups. If you wanted you could even add another layer of chocolate on top to get them closer to the real thing. But I preferred the peanut butter tops exposed. It gave them a more rustic look and I could taste the saltiness from the peanuts as soon as they hit my mouth.

I’ve somehow managed to not eat the entire batch yet. Somehow.

Ooh, this reminds me. I need to try eating my next one upside down.


xo. dana.

Interested in other amaranth recipes?
Amaranth & Oat Griddlecakes
Peanut Butter Amaranth Hot Cereal



  1. Yummo! I would have to use sunflower butter (boo allergies!) but I think it would taste really really good!

  2. i’m totally speechless. when i saw the photo and read the title, i literally cursed out loud. now i am drooling with my jaw on the floor. i want to tell you that you are amazing + awesome + a genius, but you might be getting tired of hearing that from me, hmmm?

    i want amaranth NOW. does it taste like quinoa? sorta nutty and delicious?

    • Michelle, you are so rad. How did I get a best blog friend like you again?
      As far as amaranth goes, it doesn’t really taste like quinoa, at least not in my opinion. The texture is similar though. Give it a try, especially the popping! It’s oh-so-much fun!

    • That’s great news! I hope you try my version. They don’t disappoint!

  3. These look epic! I tried to make Ashley’s popped amaranth cereal once but it all burned. I think I need to have another go though and make these little beauties..

    • Yes! Give it another try. It took a few batches for me to catch on but once it happened, I was an amaranth popping machine! Good luck!

  4. Those are so cool!


  6. A serious weakness of mine is something that has chocoalte and peanut butter in it. And as I’m drinking my morning cup of coffee and reading my daily blogs, these lovely babies show up. I want one for breakfast! Do you ship to Seattle? :-)
    Great photos, as always! How do you get so much natural light?

    • I WISH I could make food all day and just ship it to my friends. That would be a dream : )

      Fortunately our apartment has 3 HUGE windows on the east side of our living room and I get lots of natural light from them : )

  7. if you need me to review these, i would NOT be disappointed to find a batch of these in my mailbox ;) these look amazing!

    • Hmmmm, I might have to do that! Haha :D You’re great.

  8. I just ran across “amaranth” the other day and wondered what the heck it was. Thanks for saving me a google search. :) And I want to eat approximately 72 of those pbcs. Right. Now.


  9. Ohhhh this is amazing!!!!!! Many do I love popped amaranth!

    • Thanks Ashley! Your genius inspired me :D

  10. Yet another recipe I am adding to make. These sooner than later.

  11. These look awesome! I need to get some more amaranth to try these soon! :D

  12. I’ve never had amaranth but the fact that you can POP it is so intriguing! Haha ^^


  13. No. Freaking. Way. These just look… too amazing.

  14. I love love love the nuttiness of popped amaranth. I usually eat it for breakfast, but this is much more interesting. Must. Make. These. Now. Yum!

  15. These sound so delicious!! I’ve never tried popping amaranth, but this recipe is totally going to make me try. Have you ever experimented with other grains, like quinoa or millet?

    • I did try to pop some red quinoa but it just burnt and didn’t puff up like the amaranth. But it might be fun to try millet!

  16. these are so so good! i love popped amaranth and this is my new favorite way of using it!

  17. We made these tonight and they were wonderful! Thanks for the new, fun treat!


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