I’m a huge breakfast guy. I’m one of those people that has to have breakfast within an hour of waking up, every single day. On the rare occasion we go out for brunch, I go for traditional breakfast faves like eggs, French toast, pancakes, oatmeal, bagels with lox, I love all that. Alexa on the other hand, is more of an -unch person.  She loves eating more savory things for breakfast, last night’s leftovers being her very favorite.

Steel-cut oatmeal has been a long-time favorite Winter breakfast for me, but lately I’ve been branching out, inspired by the fact that we have a ton of other whole grains in our pantry such as oat groats, spelt berries, wheat berries, farro and rye berries.  These grains all came from Cayuga Pure Organics, a bean and grain farm located near Ithaca, NY that is a provider for our CSA.

I’ve been treating these grains the way I would treat steel cut oatmeal, and it’s my new favorite way to start off the day! Follow these instructions to turn any whole grain into a warm, hearty breakfast flavored just to your liking.


Heartier whole grains such as rye berries and wheat berries cook quicker if you soak them overnight prior to cooking. A single serving is about 1/2 cup of dried grain. Just measure out the grain and put it in a bowl covered by at least a couple of inches of water (preferably filtered). Cover, and leave overnight.  The next morning (or some hours later), strain the grain and put it in a heavy pot with water in a 2:1 water:grain ratio.  Don’t worry about using too much water as this type of grain doesn’t turn into a porridge, the individual rye berries retain their integrity so you can just strain the grain when it’s cooked through, or fish it out with a slotted spoon.

Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until they tastes done.  These rye berries took about 40 minutes. They’re still al dente even after all that cooking, and they’ll pop in your mouth when chewed. At that point, you can add whatever flavorings you want, sweet or savory.   I like a touch a sweetness, so here I grabbed a small handful of raisins and sunflower seeds and it was perfect. Other great sweet options include maple syrup, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, walnuts, almonds, cashews, fresh apples, bananas, etc.  For the more savory side, Alexa adds things like sesame oil, soy sauce, steamed vegetables, balsamic vinegar, and pine nuts.  What flavor combinations come to your mind? We’d love to hear your favorites, it’s going to be a long Winter and we’ve got a lot of grain to get through!

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13 thoughts on “Rye Berries for Breakfast

  • December 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Great pics! Looks yummy, I’ll have to try …

  • January 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Does it keep if you make a huge batch and put it in the fridge for reheating? It looks really good but I’m not sure if i have 40 minutes every morning to spare to make it!

  • January 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Yes it keeps well in the fridge. I’ve kept it as long as 5 days and it was still delicious, any longer than that and just do a quick smell to make sure it still smells ok. I wouldn’t add the seasonings until you’re ready to eat it, so keep the plain grain in the fridge and add the toppings once you’ve heated it up, either in the microwave or on the stove. Enjoy!

  • January 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I’ve been eating a lot of oatmeal lately, not necessarily because I enjoy it though. Never really thought of trying anything like this before, but you know what, it does look pretty good. Your sweet additions make it sound pretty awesome. I think I’ll try my first batch with maple syrup and walnuts.

  • February 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    It’s definitely a nice way to break out of the monotony of oatmeal, go for it!

  • March 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Hi Matthew,
    I am just like you when it comes to breakfast. I HAVE to eat within the hour and I LOVE sweet breakfasts (but not so sweet like eating a dessert). I recently discovered a new love for experimenting with all grains in breakfast recipes. As a suggestion to add to your grain breakfasts here is what I have discovered and going to keep eating until I die:
    Make a servings worth (about 1/2 cup) of steel cut oats and whole wheat farina (cream of wheat) and place it in a small sauce pan with 1/4 banana, whatever sweetener you want to taste. This is the base. After that decide what kind of breakfast you want. For example, last week I was in the mood for a “sunny” breakfast so I sliced a couple of fresh strawberries with half an orange (squeeze the orange into the bowl first though) and I filled the pan with just enough almond milk to cover the oats. Make sure you stir this all too so everything will soak. Place in the fridge overnight. In the morning you may have to put a bit more liquid in the pan so it will not burn when it is heating. I do this by adding just enough water to loosen it up. I cook the oat mixture on the stove at med-high heat until the consistency I like is reached. Make sure you frequently stir while cooking so it won’t burn on the bottom. After cooking I will top with more fresh fruit, add chopped nuts, a tsp of honey and sprinkle on a T of granola. LOVE IT. Yesterday, I made a chocolate fig and bluberry breakfast. Using the base, chopped figs, a bit of cloves, slice concord grapes and 1/4 c blueberries with a T of coconut butter. This was awesome too. Experiment. I also like to mix millet or quinoa instead of the oats. This adds crunch. AND I have found a love for Teff flour. I will add a T of this to the base. It makes the oat mixture a bit dark but adds a great creaminess. Ahh, I love breakfast. One of my favorite meals.
    Ok, I am sure I have typed your eyes off.

  • March 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Hi Matthew and Alexa!

    I was excited to see Cayuga Pure Organics on here! I live in Ithaca, and cook with their grains and flours as much as possible. I’ve got some great recipes for entrees and sides on my blog (www.cayugastkitchen.com), but haven’t schemed up a breakfast with their products yet. (Though I love quinoa porridge with coconut milk and spices!).

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • April 10, 2019 at 1:23 am

    4 large eggs, beaten 1 Tbsp milk 1 4 tsp kosher salt 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 green onion, white and light green parts, finely chopped (about 1 Tbsp) 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 heaping cup well-packed chopped leafy greens (such as spinach, kale, or Swiss chard leaves without ribs) 1 2 cup cooked whole grains (wheat berries, farro, barley, or millet) 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives Freshly ground black pepper Flaky salt Crusty bread, toasted English muffins, or warm corn tortillas, for serving

  • August 15, 2020 at 11:38 am

    Hi Matthew, I really like the idea of making a plain batch and keep on the refrigerator. You suggested to reheat in the microwave or stove. My question is do I add some liquid or butter/ oil when I reheat it or does it reheat it well by just adding fruit, nuts or spices? Thank you in advance

  • November 6, 2020 at 8:35 am

    Do you know if these grains need to be cooked? I use steel cut oats to make overnight oats regularly and am looking into trying rye and wheat berries the same way. I take the steel cut oats, mix with milk and yogurt, season and put in the fridge for 12 hours or so. They are quite chewy but I love the texture. Would this work if we coarsely ground/cut the rye and wheat, or is cooking necessary?

  • November 28, 2020 at 10:16 am

    This week I tried rye berries in my overnight muesli soak for the first time. They did not become tender enough to be edible. Two days ago I read that rye berries should be soaked to aid in digestion, so I soaked some in water overnight to soften them. This morning (2 days of soaking) they are soft but still very chewy. I strained off the water and added them to my bowl homemade muesli for the overnight soak in milk. Looking forward to tomorrow’s breakfast!

  • April 7, 2021 at 9:26 am

    Matthew, I was wondering about cooking the rye berries as you suggested and then adding them to my normal granola recipe instead of rolled grains or with them. The rye would then dry out with the rest of the grains/mixture and then be stored for longer periods than the refridgerator 5 day limit. Has anyone tried this?


  • October 10, 2022 at 9:44 am

    I use a small clean coffee grinder (the kind with spinning blades) and put in 1/3 cup of oat groats or, recently, half oat groats and half rye berries and run the grinder for 10 seconds. Then dump it in a small pot and add 2 x 1/3 cup of water. (Using the same 1/3 measuring cup, which is now clean!) I throw in a small handful of sliced almonds and usually some blueberries and a pinch of salt – before turning on the heat on medium. This cooks up really, really, really fast – faster than “Instant oatmeal” and has to be watched and stirred almost constantly. When the bluebs are about to start to bleed, it’s ready! So fast, no overnight, no soaking. The rye adds tang, haven’t tried straight rye berries yet.

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