Crunch time! 10 inspiring and unusual ways with cornflakes – from spicy upma to a tantalising tart

Cornflakes are, arguably, not the most exciting breakfast offering. Invented by John Harvey Kellogg, a pro-abstinence campaigner who deliberately created food that was as bland as possible in order to curb sexual arousal, the cornflake can seem an uninspiring cereal to eat in 2021. However, when you start adding cornflakes to other food, it’s a different story. Here are 10 fantastic cornflake recipes that are appealing enough to have John Harvey Kellogg spinning in his austere grave.

Cornflake tart

Serve cornflake tart with custard to be decadent.
Serve cornflake tart with custard to be decadent. Photograph: Jill Mead/The Guardian

We’ll start with a cornflake tart, which reader MizPepperPot recalls eating as part of her school dinners. The tart is a glorious mixture of butter, golden syrup, lemon zest and jam, stirred through with cornflakes, piled high on to pastry and baked. MizPepperPot recommends serving with custard.

Cornflake baklava

There is something happily perverse about Kellogg’s themselves inventing ways to make cornflakes more enticing, which is why I’m thrilled to include this recipe for cornflake baklava that I found on the Australian Kellogg’s website. In truth, it’s a bit of a cheat – it requires Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes rather than the originals, but it’s worth making anyway. Buy filo pastry sheets, make a syrup, chop some nuts, mix with cornflakes, swirl it all up, bake, and there you have it: a cereal-based baklava.

Cereal milk ice-cream sandwiches

Meera Sodha’s cereal milk ice-cream sandwiches
Meera Sodha’s vegan cereal milk ice-cream sandwiches. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian

More decadent still is Meera Sodha’s recipe for cereal milk ice-cream sandwiches. The vanilla ice-cream is infused with the taste of cornflakes, Momofuku Milk Bar-style, and the sandwich element is also made of crushed cornflakes. Not only is this a far, far better use of cornflakes than breakfast, but it’s also vegan.

Plum, apple and cornflake crumble

Yotam Ottolenghi’s plum, apple and cornflake crumble for breakfast – why not?
Yotam Ottolenghi’s plum, apple and cornflake crumble for breakfast – why not? Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay

Even Yotam Ottolenghi has got in on the act of elevating cornflakes. Very cleverly, his plum, apple and cornflake crumble – not too sweet, but humming with cinnamon and nutmeg – has been designed to work as a breakfast. Stewed fruit on the bottom, crushed cornflakes on top, and served with a dollop of Greek yoghurt. It’s a bit of work, so be prepared to get up early to make it, but it is wonderful nonetheless.

Cornflake-crumbed fish tacos

Thomasina Miers’ cornflake-crumbed fish tacos.
Thomasina Miers’ cornflake-crumbed fish tacos are a riot. Photograph: Yuki Sugiura/The Guardian. Food styling: Aya Nishimura

Cornflakes aren’t just used to jazz up puddings; they’re a very worthy addition to plenty of main dishes too. Primarily, as Thomasina Miers’ recipe for fish tacos proves, as a crumb. The whole dish is a riot, not least because it’s served with pineapple ketchup, but the star is the homemade fish fingers; dipped first in flour, then in egg and finally in cornflake dust. Magnificent.

Popcorn chicken

The same principle can be utilised for other meat, too, as demonstrated by Cooking With a Wallflower’s recipe for Korean-style oven-fried popcorn chicken. Soak chicken pieces in buttermilk, then dredge them in crumbed cornflakes before baking. Being Korean-style chicken, most of the flavour comes from an intense gochujang sauce, but the cornflakes are important too.

Mormon funeral potatoes - outstanding is Stuart’s verdict, and his favourite.
Mormon funeral potatoes – outstanding is Stuart’s verdict, and his favourite. Photograph: Thawatchai Chawong/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Fried Mormon funeral potatoes

Easily my favourite use for crumbed cornflakes is this recipe for fried Mormon funeral potatoes. These are incredibly bad for you, but legitimately outstanding. Bacon, cream cheese, onion, sour cream and jalapeños are chucked into a food processor, then mixed with a combination of eggs, cheese, hash browns and cornflakes. Scoop out a ball, roll it in cornflakes and deep fry it. Try it, I dare you.

Cheesy cornflake pancakes

Emily from Fuss Free Cooking found a cereal cookbook from the 1980s, which includes this recipe for cheesy cornflake pancakes. It’s hard to say what cornflakes add to pancakes, other than a kind of rusky texture, but they apparently make an excellent alternative to panko breadcrumbs and, in this case, a fine counterpart to eggs and bacon.

Cornflakes upma

Cornflakes upma is an Indian breakfast dish that turns cornflakes into a savoury delight. Palate’s Desire’s recipe contains too many ingredients to list here, but there are two important things to know about upma. First, it requires the careful frying of spices, onion, lentils and tomatoes. Second, you then throw in a load of cornflakes, cook it through, tip it into a bowl and eat it with a spoon.

Cornflake chivda – breakfast meets Bombay Mix in a moreish snack.
Cornflake chivda – breakfast meets Bombay Mix in a moreish snack. Photograph: Indian Food Images/Alamy

Cornflake chivda

Finally, Baking and Boys’ recipe for cornflake chivda. It’s Bombay Mix, basically, but with cornflakes. Mustard seed, sunflower seeds, nuts and raisins are fried together in oil, then mixed with cornflakes, sprinkled with sugar and left to cool. Voilà! The perfect grazing snack for any time of day.


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