You’ve probably heard of chia gel, but what exactly is it? Chia gel is simply a mix of chia seeds and water (or other liquid). The chia seeds absorb the liquid and become gelatinous, making the liquid very thick, almost like a natural Jell-O.
Store your chia seed gel in a jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for at least a week.
Basic Chia Seed Gel Recipe
It’s very easy to make chia gel, and it takes only a few minutes. You need:
- Chia seeds
- Water or other liquid
- A bowl and a whisk OR
- A Ball jar with a lid or a beverage shaker
To make the gel:
Mix 3 tablespoons* of chia seeds with three cups* of water in a bowl. Whisk the mixture, let it sit for a few minutes, then whisk again. Keep whisking every few minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
Or, if you prefer, put the seeds and the water in a Ball jar or other beverage shaker and shake vigorously, then come back and shake again every few minutes to keep the seeds from clumping together.
Once you’ve made your gel, it’s a good idea to put it in the fridge and let it sit a few hours, or preferably overnight, so the chia seeds can absorb the full amount of water. (They soak up 10 times their weight in water.) Before using the gel, give it another good shake.
*You can change the amounts of chia seed and water to make a thicker or thinner gel, if you like.
Chia gel variations
You don’t need to stick with the basic gel. You can mix it up and make flavored gel just by using a liquid other than water. Easy peasy. For example, you can use store bought or homemade fruit or vegetable juice. Or you can use coconut water. Or, you can use broth to make a savory gel that you can add to soups.
Flavored chia gel
Here are some ideas for liquids you can use to add pizzazz to your gel:
- Apple juice
- Blueberry juice
- Coconut pineapple juice
- Mango juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Concord or white grape juice
- Homemade cantaloupe juice
- Homemade watermelon juice
- Guava flavored coconut water
- Homemade carrot juice
- Vegetable broth
Chia Gel Uses
Once you have your gel in the fridge, it’s ready to use any time you need it. Here are 5 ideas for how to use it:
1. Stir it into yogurt and top with chopped walnuts and fresh fruit for a breakfast or snack packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids (try blueberry flavored chia gel and fresh blueberries.)
2. Mix it into a beverage for a boost of energy and hydration. You can mix chia gel into water, coconut water, almond milk or juice. It makes a great pre-workout drink. (Try mango flavored chia gel mixed into guava coconut water.)
3. Mix it into oatmeal or another hot cereal during the last minute of cooking and top with fresh fruit and pumpkin seeds. (Try apple gel with apple chunks, cinnamon and raisins.)
4. Use it to thicken gravy or other sauce. Just stir a quarter to a half cup of chia gel into your sauce.
5. Add to stews to thicken the broth a little bit. Try chia seed gel made with broth for added flavor.
Chia Gel Benefits
Chia gel has a variety of benefits. Here are a few:
Convenience. Having the gel onhand makes it super easy to add more chia seeds to your diet. The gel is always ready to be stirred into your food or drink.
Digestibility. By using chia that has been soaked already and has formed a gel, you make eating chia seeds easier on your tummy because the seeds won’t be absorbing water from your body and possibly causing stomach pain.
Hydration. Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they absorb lots of water. When you eat (or drink) chia gel, the seeds have already absorbed the water or other liquid. According to nutritionist and author Sara Vance, chia gel can help prevent dehydration. The gel makes hydration last longer and helps the body retain electrolytes, according to Vance. So, have some as a pre-workout boost.
Chia seed gel is so easy to make and so beneficial that it’s good to always have a jar in your fridge.