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How to Eat Chia Seeds: the Ultimate Guide +101 Ways

You know chia seeds are a superfood, and they’re good for you. But now you need to know: how do you eat chia seeds? Answer: the possibilities are endless.

How to eat chia seeds? Let's count the ways.
How to eat chia seeds? Let’s count the ways.

So, first, let’s take a look at the basic ways to eat chia seeds, then see how you can mix it up a little and put preparing chia seeds into practice in your kitchen and your life.

What you don’t need to do to chia seeds

But first, a quick tip. A lot of people wonder if they need to grind chia seeds before using them. The short answer: no. Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds do not need to be ground  in order for you to get the nutritional benefits, according to Lindsey Duncan, a naturopathic doctor writing on DrOz.com. However, you can grind them if you choose.

Basic ways to eat chia seeds

Here are the 6 general ways to eat chia seeds:

  • Soak the seeds overnight in water or juice and drink them. If you consume chia seeds this way, they get gelatinous and add an interesting texture to the drink. If you have issues with weird textures in food, you might want to eat your chia seeds some other way.
  • Make chia gel, which is quite a bit thicker than chia water, and eat it straight or add it to drinks, smoothies or cold soups. Chia gel keeps in the refrigerator for a week or longer.
  • Throw raw seeds whole or ground into a smoothie, or other drink, or even a soup. Blend, then eat or drink. This way, you incorporate the seeds so you don’t even taste them. They are a natural thickener, though, so they’ll make your food a little thicker.
  • Sprinkle them whole onto your food. If you eat chia seeds this way, use a smaller amount (say half a teaspoon vs. the one or two tablespoons you might blend into a smoothie or soak in a glass of water.) And, make sure to drink  plenty of water with your meal. The reason? Chia seeds absorb water and expand. If they don’t have water to take in, they can leach it from your body, resulting in a wicked stomach ache.
  • Bake them or cook them into bread or other deliciously carb-y foods.
  • Use them as a thickener. You can throw chia seeds into soups, gravy, other sauces, pudding or homemade jams or jellies as a healthy thickener. You can then eat your creation or use it in another recipe.

So, those are the basic ways to eat chia seeds. However, there are almost limitless variations.  Here are 30 twists on the basics to give you more ideas for eating chia seeds. You can make:

Chia drinks

1.Chia water. This is probably the easiest, simplest way to use chia seeds. It’s good for cooling off and staying hydrated.

2. A chia fresca. This is a traditional energy drink that’s common in Mexico and is great for hot weather. YumUniverse.com has a recipe.

3. A chia smoothie. The variations are endless. Seek out a chia smoothie recipe or just throw a tablespoon or two of seeds into your favorite smoothie.

4. Chia juice. It’s easy to make chia juice. All you need is a juice (store bought or homemade), chia seeds and a bottle or jar or drink shaker.

5. Chia tea. Mix flavored chia gel with iced black, green or white tea.

6. Chia hot chocolate. SavoringEveryBite.com has a recipe.

7.  A chia seed cocktail. Chilled Magazine offers a recipe for a strawberry basil chia mojito.

8. A frosty, like this “seeded” watermelon frosty.

9. A milkshake. Throw a teaspoon of chia seeds into your favorite milkshake recipe, or try this chocolate pistachio shake.

Chia gel

10. You can make basic chia gel by mixing chia seeds and water. (Ratio: about 1 tablespoon per cup of liquid. Adjust if you want the gel to be thicker or thinner.)

11. Or, make a flavored chia gel by using juice instead of water.

12. Or make chia broth gel. Just use veggie broth instead of water to make a chia gel, and it’s ready to add to any savory dish, like gravy or soup.

 Chia breakfast

13. Make a chia breakfast bowl. This is pretty easy: put any raw fruit you like, or a combo, into a bowl. (Ideas: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, bananas, apples.) Sprinkle a half teaspoon to one teaspoon of chia seeds on top. Add the milk of your choice (almond milk is especially good.)Mix. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Top with chopped nuts or seeds (walnuts, pumpkin seeds) and any other topping you like (such as dried, unsweetened coconut.) Eat.

14. Chia oatmeal. Sprinkle chia seeds into your oatmeal or other hot cereal in the last few minutes of cooking. Add fruit and a splash of almond (or other) milk.

15. Chia seeds on cold cereal. Sprinkle a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of chia seeds on your cold cereal. Top with soy milk or other milk of your choice.

16. Chia yogurt. Stir a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of chia seeds into your favorite yogurt. Bonus: top with fresh fruit.

17. Summer oatmeal. Chia seeds act as a thickener in cold oatmeal recipes. TheYummyLife.com has recipes for six different flavors.

18. Top a banana with peanut butter or tahini. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. chia seeds, 1/4 tsp. hemp seeds 1 T. sunflower seeds on top.

19. Mix 1/4 tsp chia seeds with 1 T. nut butter of your choice and spread on toast. Top with banana slices and a drizzle of honey.

20. Throw half a teaspoon of chia seeds into a scrambled egg, and let sit 10 minutes before cooking.

21. Make a chia omelette. Do like you would for chia scrambled eggs, but make an omelette instead. Suggestion: roasted asparagus, garlic and gruyere.

22. Chia breakfast casserole. Add chia to any breakfast casserole. Or, try this apple chia breakfast casserole.

23. Chia sweet breakfast burritos. Take a whole wheat tortilla and load it with the fresh fruit of your choice (good ones: strawberries and blueberries or pineapple) and top with coconut yogurt and sprinkle on 1/4 tsp. chia seeds and a drizzle of maple syrup. Roll and eat.

24. Savory chia breakfast burritos. Mix 1/2 tsp. chia seeds with 1/2 cup refried beans and let it sit for half an hour. Spread onto two whole wheat tortillas. Add toppings of your choice (scrambled tofu or eggs, veggies, cheese, salsa.)

25. Mash 1/4 tsp. chia seeds with half an avocado and a squeeze of lemon juice. Put on a bagel or sprouted whole grain toast. Sprinkle with sea salt (or ghost pepper salt if you like it spicy.)

26. Mix half tsp. chia seeds with 3 T. cream cheese. Let it sit for half an hour or overnight. Spread on a garlic or everything bagel.

27. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp chia seeds on a soft cooked egg on rye toast.

28. Spread chia seed jelly on toast.

29. Bake a sweet potato. Mash 1/2 tsp. chia seeds into a small banana. Cut the sweet potato in half and mash the chia banana mixture in. Drizzle with maple syrup. Add a dash of cinnamon.

30. Add half a teaspoon chia seeds to potato pancake batter. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Fry the potato pancakes and serve with apple sauce.

31. Make chia seed pancakes.

Chia pudding

32. Chia breakfast pudding. Whole Foods has a recipe with non-dairy milk, figs or dates and coconut.

33. Chia pudding for dessert. Make a chocolate chia pudding topped with raspberries for a decadent-tasting finish to a healthy meal.

34. Chia pudding parfait. Layer chia pudding in glasses with fruit, whipped cream and granola.

35. Throw ground up chia seeds into a sticky rice pudding to thicken. Serve with mango or other fruit.

36. Use coconut chia pudding in a graham cracker crust for a no-bake pie. Top with fresh berries.

Chia dip or spread

37. Add 1/2 tsp chia seeds to 1 cup of refried beans. Add a tsp. of vinegar and 1 tsp. hot sauce to make a spread for rice cakes or toast, or a dip for chips.

38. Add 1/2 tsp. chia seeds to any store-bought or homemade dip to make it more nutritious.

39. Add 1/2 tsp. chia seeds to your favorite hummus recipe.

40. Make a yogurt dip for fruit by adding 1 tsp. chia seeds plus 2 tsp. maple syrup to one container of vanilla or strawberry yogurt (soy or dairy).

41. Add 1 tsp. of chia seeds to  your favorite spinach dip recipe.

42. Sprinkle 1 tsp. chia seeds into caramel dip for apples.

43. Add 1 tsp. of chia seeds to a tub of spreadable cream cheese. Add 2 T. chopped Italian parsley, 1 tsp. lemon juice and 3 T. minced green olives. Spread on crackers and top with cucumber slices.

44. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to a jar of store bought jam or jelly. Mix well and return to the jar.

45. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to a tub of homemade or store bought apple butter.

Chia soup

46. Throw 1 to 4 T. ground or whole chia seeds into a pot of your favorite hot soup to turn it into a stew. Add 15 minutes before the end of cooking.

47. Make a cold chia soup for summertime. You can whisk chia seeds into any cold soup to thicken and add an interesting texture. Or make chia gel using broth (see above) and use that as the base for a cold soup, adding coconut milk, diced cucumber, diced tomato, fresh corn and cilantro.

48. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to a can of store bought soup to make it a little bit healthier.

49. Add 2 tsp. whole or ground chia seed to any creamy soup recipe. If you have a Vitamix, you can make warm soup right in your blender.

50. Use homemade chia juice as the base for a cold fruit soup. Just pour 1/2 cup chia juice in a bowl, add fresh fruit and drizzle with coconut milk. (Example: use blueberry chia juice and fresh blueberries. Optional: add 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil or mint.)

Chia salad

51. Make a chia fruit salad by cutting up seasonal fruits, adding a teaspoon of chia seeds, a few tablespoons of soy or other yogurt and topping with dried, shredded coconut and a drizzle of honey.

52. Chia potato salad. Add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of chia seeds to your favorite potato salad recipe. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

53. Salad topping. Throw a half teaspoon of chia seeds on top of any salad for a little crunch and a nutritional boost.

54. Chia slaw. Add a mix of chia seeds, hemp seeds and sunflower seeds to red or green cabbage slaw, or carrot slaw.

55. Chia cucumber salad. Cut up a cucumber. Mix 1 tsp. of chia seeds with 3 T yogurt or sour cream and 2 tsp. lemon or lime juice. Add sea salt and 1 T. chopped cilantro or parsley.

56. Pasta salad. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. of chia on top of any pasta salad for a healthy crunch.

Chia sandwiches

57. Add 1tsp. chia seeds to any egg salad recipe.

58. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to your favorite tuna salad recipe.

59. Add 1/2 tsp. of ground chia seeds to 1/4 cup of Italian dressing. Whisk, and let sit until it thickens. Drizzle on an Italian sub. The chia seeds help  thicken the dressing to prevent it from drizzling out.

60. Use 1/2 tsp. of chia seeds in any veggie burger recipe.

Chia snacks

61. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. chia on top of celery stuffed with nut butter or cream cheese.

62. Add 1/2 tsp. chia seeds to your favorite trail mix recipe.

63. Add 1/tsp chia seeds to your popcorn.

64. Make chia crackers. Nyoutritious.com has a recipe.

65. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. on top of homemade kale chips.

Chia dinners

66. You can use chia to make a crust for tofu or fish. Alive.com has a recipe for chia-crusted tofu with lime salt.

67. You can add 2 tsp. of ground chia seeds to any meatball recipe, including veggie meatballs. Serve in spaghetti or on a sub.

68. Do the same in any meatloaf — meat, bean or veggie.

69. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp chia seeds on top of pasta primavera.

70. Add 2 tsp. whole or ground chia seeds to any pasta sauce during cooking.

71. Add 1 tsp. round chia seeds to any breading for fish, chicken or tofu.

72. Put 1/2 tsp chia seeds on top of a baked potato with your favorite topping. (Example: broccoli with cashew cheeze sauce or hummus with salsa.)

73. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to any curry recipe (potato curry, red lentil curry, vegetable curry.)

74. Toss 1 tsp. chia seeds into a stirfry five minutes before it’s done.

75. Stir 1/2 to 1 tsp. ground chia into the stuffing for stuffed mushroom caps or stuffed zucchini.

76. Add 1 to 3 T chia seeds to a big pot of chili to make it extra thick and hearty.

77. Use chia seeds to make a gluten-free pizza crust. Check out this pizza recipe from GlutenFreeGirl.com.

78. Add chia seeds to a dinner frittata.

79. Make chia sushi rolls.

80. Add chia seeds to packaged or homemade falafel (add a little extra liquid too) and serve in a sandwich or on a salad.

82. Add 1/2 tsp. chia seeds to couscous at the same time you add the couscous to the boiling water.

83. Toss 1 tsp. chia seeds with 1.5 cups red quinoa cooked in broth. Add 1/4 cup chopped green olives and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (dairy or vegan.)

84. Make a chia dinner bowl. Start with a base of a warm grain (brown rice or any other whole grain) mixed with 1/2 tsp. chia seeds. Add veggies of your choice and top with sauce of your choice (for example, yogurt cucumber sauce or salsa.)

85. Throw 1 tsp. chia seeds into the rice cooker while your rice cooks.

Chia gravy

86. Use chia seeds in place of cornstarch or other thickeners to add body to your favorite gravy. To do this, whisk in a tablespoon of ground (or whole) chia seeds. If you desire a thicker gravy, add more, little by little.

87. Make chia mushroom gravy.

Chia jam or jelly

88. Make homemade chia jelly for PB&J sandwiches.

89. Make chia freezer jam. AllRecipes.com has a recipe that uses four types of berries. Yum.

 Chia desserts

90. Use ground chia seeds mixed with water as an egg replacer in baking.

91. Make chia seed banana bread. Essential Wellness has a recipe.

92. Chia energy bars. Add 1 T. chia seeds to any recipe.

93. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to any homemade ice cream recipe.

94. Make chia seed brownies.

95. Use chia seed jelly or jam in any fruit oat bar recipe.

96. Use chia seeds as a thickener in pie filling. Us in place of another thickener or throw in 1 tsp. of chia seeds.

97. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. chia seeds on top of any fresh fruit topped with whipped cream.

98. Make chocolate chia seed bark. try this recipe from YouBeauty.com

99. Stir 1 tsp. chia seeds into 1 cup of applesauce and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. Serve topped with minced apples, chopped walnuts, a drizzle of maple syrup and cinnamon.

100. Add 2 tsp. chia seeds to coconut frosting for cupcakes or cake.

101. Make dessert balls. Here’s a recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.

So,there are 101 ways to eat chia seeds. For more ideas, check out our recipes. Happy chia eating!