The “Life-Changing” Boxed Cereal Hack I Now Do Every Single Morning

published Jun 26, 2024
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Cereal being poured into bowl.
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Who hasn’t sat down in the morning to an uninspired bowl of cereal for breakfast? While there’s probably a cereal for every breakfast preference at this point, cereal alone can only do so much. It’s a pretty one-note breakfast, whether that particular note is chocolate, whole grains, or just generally “sweet.”

I admit, I’m a touch biased. I’m not a big cereal person, and aside from a random annual-ish craving, I don’t tend to reach for cereal in the mornings. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for this particular breakfast food, I was intrigued when I came across an unapologetic post from Molly Baz that touched on her cereal preferences. She adds ice to the milk in her cereal bowl and then tops it with salt. I’m kind of a salt fiend, so I had to try it for myself. Here’s how it went.

My Honest Review

I may be a cereal-skeptic, but I’m not a fool. This was life-changing. As a well-documented fan of a savory-sweet combo, I was quite frankly embarrassed that I hadn’t thought of this myself. As is the case with other sweet and savory combinations, the salt adds a depth of flavor to what would otherwise be a pretty one-note breakfast. The ice is also welcome here. Who wants to eat cereal with room-temperature milk? As someone who frequently ices down everything from my coffee to my cocktails, finding a new place to put ice is a delight. Also, as I write this, it’s summertime. Super-chilled milk for cereal is great in warm weather — it’s truly a revelation.

As far as any concerns you might have about “watering down” your breakfast, I poured myself what I would consider a medium-sized bowl of cereal and the ice was not even close to melted by the time I finished it, so that’s not a worry. I opted for a sprinkle of Diamond Crystal kosher salt on my cereal, but use whatever you’ve got — no need to be precious. I tried this little experiment twice: once on a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, and once on plain Cheerios. I preferred the Honey Nut, because, as mentioned above, the contrast of salty and sweet is where it’s at. 

Molly sprinkled hers on Special K, which also has a very light sweetness, but I honestly think this would really shine on a cereal that was even sweeter, like frosted corn flakes or shredded wheat. I encourage you to try this out and give me a shout in the comments. I’m not going to be switching over to cereal for my regular breakfasts anytime soon, but this might have convinced me to get it into the rotation more often.

Credit: Andrea Rivera Wawrzyn

Tips for Adding Salt and Ice to Cereal

  • Don’t overdo it with the salt. You want to enhance the flavors, not eat salty cereal. A hefty pinch is more than enough. Remember that you can always add, but you can never take away.
  • Use large ice cubes. Ice cube trays come in many shapes and sizes. For this application, you want the ice to melt as little as possible, so use the largest cubes you have on hand.
  • Opt for a lightly sweet cereal. This little breakfast hack works best on cereal that has some sweetness to it, so look for something lightly sweet rather than totally plain.