A Quick, Hot, Comforting, Nutritious Low Carb Breakfast: Chia Breakfast Custard

I've been playing with chia seeds recently, looking for new and tasty ways to consume these little nutrient powerhouses. I've come up with a breakfast custard that's delicious, filling, and super-quick -- if you put your chia seeds in to soak the night before, you can have a hot breakfast in five minutes flat. And for those of you ramping up your fat to stay in nutritional ketosis, it's nice to know that once you subtract out the fiber, this gets 88% of its calories from fat. Here's how:

Chia Breakfast Custard

2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
liquid stevia extract
1 pinch salt

This recipe turns on one simple act of preparation: The evening before, put two tablespoons of chia seeds in a small bowl and stir in the water. Stick 'em in the fridge, and go to bed.

Okay, it's morning. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and pull your chia seeds out of the fridge. Stir them up with a fork, to break up clumps.

Pour your cream into a glass measuring cup. Now add the egg yolk -- throw the white into the dog's breakfast. Life's too short to spend worrying about creative things to do with the leftover egg white. Use your fork to stir the cream and the egg yolk together quite well. Stir in the liquid stevia extract and the salt -- I used 10 drops each of French Vanilla (NOW brand) and English Toffee (Sweet Leaf brand).

Now pour the cream-and-yolk mixture into your chia seeds, and stir the whole thing up with your fork, again, breaking up any clumps. Makes sure you stir all the way down to the bottom -- it helps to use a glass custard cup you can see through, so that you can spot any clumps of unincorporated chia seed.

Put your chia custard in the microwave and give it 1 minute on power 5. Stir it, and give it one more minute, again on power 5. Done!

I add a handful of sugar-free chocolate chips to mine, but that's up to you. A drizzle of sugar-free pancake syrup might be nice, or a dusting of cinnamon.

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1 serving with: 408 Calories; 36g Fat (77.8% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 10g Dietary Fiber; 4g usable carb

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Chia Custard

This is crazy timing! I just ran across a similar recipe just last week. To one can of coconut milk, add 2 Tbsp of chia seeds. Stir in a bit of vanilla, and sweetener. Let sit 1/2 hr and enjoy. Well it was not (done) in that time but it was nice and thick the next morning. Still not quite right, I simmered maybe a cup of heavy cream and slowly added to one yolk to temper, then added the milky yolk back into the pot and stirred til just thickened. Adding this to the chia/coconut milk mixture with cinnamon made this taste like rice pudding. I have not gone one day this entire week without eating this. It is absolutely delicious and my new favorite, not so guilty pleasure.

I Love this Chia Custard for Breakfast!

This has been my breakfast for months now, nearly every morning. It holds me until lunch hour at work, and is tasty and satisfying, especially during this cold winter. I use the whole egg and microwave for an additional 30 seconds.

Thanks, Dana! I love your slow cooker cook book and use recipes from it weekly. Own and use your 500 low-carb cook book also. Keep providing us delish low-carb recipes, OK?

Looking now for a recipe to use some un-sweetened shredded coconut. I bought a big pkg.on sale.

Very well written,I

Very well written,I appreciate you for sharing it with us.No doubt this article is very useful.
Keep sharing your knowledge like that it will help us a lot ahead.Thank you.

Orlando boot camp


Well, thanks, "Daniel", for your highly relevant comment (NOT), and for your attempt to post referral spam on our website. You have been reported to www.stopforumspam.com for your efforts. Oh, and welcome to our own Spammers Hall of Shame!

BTW, folks, when asked "what does not belong in a low-carb meal" during the sign-up process, "Daniel" here answered "bacon". FAIL!

Dairy free / Egg free?

Any suggestions for those of us unfortunate enough to be allergic to dairy and eggs?

Dairy and Egg Free

I'd go with coconut milk, skip the egg, and call it pudding instead of custard.

Cooking Omega 3

I had to come join your blog because my sister told me about this recipe to cook Chia seed. I was so surprised, because Chia seeds main benefit is Omega 3 which are corrupted when heated... Then I looked elsewhere online and found lots of recipes cooking chia seeds, and not many talking about not cooking chia seeds and nutritional benefits. I'm sure this recipe is good, but it might be some food for thought to try to keep your chia seeds raw.

Would this be a good choice for the Fat Fast?

Hi Dana,
Since this custard has 88 percent fat, would this be a good choice for a "feeding" on the Fat Fast plan?
I have made it several times with only using 2 tablespoons cream, 1 tablespoon real butter and water with some stevia.
I am only counting the cream and butter into the equation. I hope I'm not messing up by doing this...
Thank you Dana for all your hard work with the new book. It's wonderful!!


Fat Fast?

Only if you want to use it for two feedings, since it has 408 calories. If you can eat only half -- or if you want to double up one feeding -- yeah, it could work.

chia custard

I have been thinking how to use chia. I never seem to remember to put in salads, etc. Tried the custard ~ it looked really disgusting before cooking. Surprise! It was delish.
I used powdered stevia, don't have liquid sweetener. It was fine. I always wonder why you use some products, I assume you have good reason, but can't explain everything or you'd never finish!


Out of interest (as all the microwaves I've ever met have had different power settings), is 5 on your microwave full power? Half?

Microwave Power

Half. Good point, thanks.

chia seeds

Being lazy and thrifty, the first time I made this, I included the whole egg. It came out fine, except for tiny bits of white that didn't blend in, but tasted fine.

Then, I remembered that I've been wanting to try making cocoa meringue cookies. I used to be able to buy them. They were very low carb, despite being made with sugar. I've only found low carb recipes for vanilla. So now the whites are waiting in the freezer.

I didn't realize that the chia custard wasn't supposed to be liquid. I thought it made a great hot cereal, and was even better when I remembered how much I liked butter on oatmeal or farina. Definitely yum!


Long before I saw this recipe I had been taking a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds and covering them with some heavy cream. It really only takes a few minutes for them to thicken and soak it all up. I would add some truvia and salt and more cream and stick it in the microwave for a few seconds and voila! It's almost like Cream of Wheat...only more satisfying. I can't wait to try this custard...but if you're in a hurry, you really don't need to soak them overnight for it to work. These little suckers thicken FAST!

PIctures please!

I'm excited to try this. It sounds great, and I actually have an egg yolk in my fridge bc I used just the white for another recipe today. I've been putting chia seeds in my green smoothies/juices for years, because I was told that ground up is how you get the maximum nutrition. But lately I've been hearing that they offer different benefits when consumed whole, so I've been looking for new ways to try them whole as well. I've tried some chia puddings, and was not impressed. Of course those are typically vegan recipes, so they didn't have egg. I think that will add a lot of richness. Have you tried it with coconut milk? I wonder how that would be just bc sometimes I"m out of heavy cream...

I plan to do the oven method mentioned in the comments bc I also avoid the microwave. I'm convinced it destroys nutrients in a way that traditional baking/cooking doesn't. I still have one and still use it occasionally, but I'm trying to wean myself. I lived without one for a year and half in Brazil, but that was before I had kids and a lot more dishes to wash :) That is all that stops me, the extra dishes.

I don't know if you've entered the wonderful world of pinterest, but it is how blogs get pimped. In order to pin a blog post, there has to be a picture. I collect all of the new recipes I want to try on pinterest. Today when I was making my creme brulee almonds and had that leftover yolk, I was wracking my brain trying to remember what recipe I had seen that called for an egg yolk. I immediately went to my pinterest boards. Not there. I FINALLY remembered it was for a chia custard, but couldn't remember that it was your blog. I googled some key words I remembered from your post and found it. Anyway, even on posts that aren't recipes, if you add a related photo, people can pin it. I have boards dedicated to health that I would love to pin your articles bc they are so interesting and I want to be able to find them when I want them. Blog posts go viral on pinterest.

Tried it

I made this for lunch and it is creamy and delicious! I used coconut milk bc that was all I had on hand. The egg separated during cooking and I'm assuming that is why. It still tasted great. I added vanilla and only 10 drops stevia. It was more like dessert. Really yummy.

Chia Cereal Variations

This chia seed breakfast cereal has quickly become one of my favorite foods. I'm eating it 3 or 4 times a week (at least). Right now I'm eating a cranberry variation: I brewed a cranberry teabag in 1/2 cup water and then used that tea to make the gel. I also added about 6 dried cranberries that I made myself (sweetened with Splenda). Delish.

Tomorrow I plan to brew some chai in the 1/2 cup water so that I'll have a chai chia breakfast. 8-)

Have you considered a savory rather than sweet variation? Maybe more egg (I'd have to leave that out), crisp bacon, green pepper, onion, cheddar? I guess those of you who can still eat eggs don't need to bother, but I'm thinking I'll try this and see if it is reminiscent of those omelettes I can no longer have.

Homemade Nutella

I added a tablespoon of cocoa and a few drops of liquid Splenda to 4 ounces of hazelnut butter to make my own Nutella. Then I made the sunflower crackers but added a little splenda to it and sprinkled granular Splenda on top. This makes a really nice treat.

I have most of your cookbooks, so I'll go immediately and find the cheesy crackers. Thanks for the heads up.

Dogs shouldn't eat raw egg whites! Avidin binds biotin

The custard looks great. But please just throw away the raw egg white (or else microwave it before feeding it to your dog). Raw egg whites contain avidin, which binds with biotin, a key B vitamin that your dog needs to be healthy. Cooking the egg white neutralizes the avidin so it's safe. People also shouldn't eat raw egg whites (raw yolks are fine).

Good news

Chia seeds don't need to be soaked overnight! My family woke up this morning in the mood for some delicious custard. I hadn't soaked chia seeds last night. So we looked on the bag and found out that they only need a 5 minute soak. My wife put them to soaking and before I could even mix the cream and eggs they were ready!
Like I said, I used 2 drops of liquid Splenda and some vanilla extract to flavor our custard. If you don't know about it, here's an easy way to make vanilla extract that is much cheaper than having to buy it:
Split a vanilla bean down the middle from top to bottom and put it to soak in 1/2 cup of vodka for a 5-7 days. Voila!


I actually have some I made with rum; it's been macerating for a while, so I should break it out for holiday cooking!

Three things...

First, I just had the chia for breakfast. I'm allergic to eggs, so I omitted it. It didn't solidify, but still made a very warm and comforting breakfast. Thanks for the recipe. How about a chia seed cracker and/or pizza crust recipe? [without eggs please 8-) ]

Second, I see that one of your sponsors is Puritan Pride. They have the lowest price for chia seeds that I have found anywhere online.

Third, I refuse to give up my dairy products, but I'm getting closer and closer to paleo. My son is a bigger health food nut than I am (He won't use a microwave or anything plastic). My youngest daughter knows she feels better when doing Paleo but she still hasn't gotten into the whole cooking thing much. And all the rest of us keep trying to convince my oldest daughter that going wheat-free would probably solve the asthma, IBS, ADHD problems her family is beset by, but she is still clinging to her "healthy whole grains". THEREFORE, I've bought four copies of your new Paleo cookbook. Thanks for writing it. I'm making the sunflower crackers later this morning.


Eh, keep the dairy, buy the best quality you can afford, and call it primal. I figure that I come from deep dairying roots -- English and a bit of Dutch -- and I'm as evolved for it as anyone can be. Anyway, dairy's edible raw. :-D

As for your daughter, going wheat free might well help the asthma and IBS, but there's no guarantee on ADHD/ADD. I have ADD -- was diagnosed a couple of years back, and finally my life made sense -- and giving up wheat didn't fix it. That said, going low carb all those years ago definitely improved my mental state in general.

And there are versions of the sunflower crackers that include dairy in some of my other books. Sunflower-cheese crackers are AWESOME.

Thanks for buying my book!!


I've been looking for something to replace my oatmeal and this could be it. I add the entire egg, works out fine. I have a variety of sugar free flavored syrups that I've been trying. So far Salty Caramel is a winner. Next, I'm going to add some cocoa powder.

My kids like it!

Made the custard this morning, substituting 2 drops of liquid Splenda and a teaspoon of vanilla extract for the Stevia. Added some chocolate chips and after cooking and it turned out great! My 4-year-old is in a fascination with spiders phase and called it "spider eye custard":)
Re: dogs, Dana, I'm curious: how trim do your dogs look on their low-carb diet? How's their health? What about their teeth? I see so many obese dogs here in SF, and although I don't have dogs anymore, I cringe to think of all the fancy, "scientific formula" dog food I used to feed them, filled with rice meal. It made them hungry all the time and led to to very poor dental health, even though the vet told me that kibble was good for their teeth.
I can't wait for your fat-fast cookbook to come out. I'll snatch up a copy as soon as it's available on Amazon.
Speaking of cookbooks, I can't rave enough about Molly Stevens' "All About Braising" and "All About Roasting". Virtually every recipe in these books is low carb, and everything I've made has been outstanding. As an example, she has a recipe for roast chicken where you use the hot drippings to make a dressing for coleslaw to go along with it. Fantastic!
Keep the great recipes coming, Dana!

Okay, this recipe is awesome!

Okay, this recipe is awesome! I soaked my chia seeds overnight. I admit they looked like a nasty goopy mess this morning and I was afraid I was just wasting good cream and egg - but I mixed it all up and cooked it at 350 in my toaster oven for 15 minutes, until it was firmed up and nicely browned around the edges. I ate it with some additional whipped cream poured over the top. I think I just found a new favorite!


Not as quick that way, but sounds wonderful!

Eye of newt!

This was my first time trying chia seeds, although I bought a bag at Trader Joe's several weeks ago. I made just a couple of mods, since I don't have the liquid stevia; I used two packets of Truvia and a bit of vanilla (maybe 1/4 tsp?). It seemed awfully soupy after the two minutes in the microwave, so I popped it back in until it thickened up a bit more. I may have just used a bit too much water last night.

Hubby's comment was that the cooked seeds looked like eye of newt, which made me laugh because it doesn't take too much effort to imagine them as such, texture and all! So chia seeds will forever be known as "eye of newt" in our household.

Thanks for the recipe, it's perfect - quick, easy, delicious and nutritious! I'm just trying to get back into the low-carb lifestyle after falling off the wagon during vacation last summer. This was after losing 75 pounds in 8 months! (I still have about 40-50 pounds to lose.) It's tougher than I thought it would be to get back into the groove. Quitting carbs is like quitting smoking! But this nice breakfast will help. :)

Eye of Newt

Reminds me of tapioca, which also creates food full of little gelatinous pearls.

Could be you used too much water; I did measure. Could also be that your microwave is different from mine; they vary in power.

Would it help if I cheered you on? Rah! Rah! Rah!

Calculating %Fat

Hi Dana. This is similar to one of my breakfasts I call "Chia Oatmeal" which I will share at the end, and try yours this morning :-) thank you. I understand the concept of subtracting out the fiber grams to determine the useable/net carb because the fiber carbs don't affect blood sugar, but if it's not too complicated can you explain why we would subtract the fiber calories to compute the fat%?

Quick Chia "Oatmeal"
1/2 C Almond Milk
1/4 C Water
1T Chia Seeds
8 grams unflavored Whey Protein
1/2 tsp Glucomannan Powder (vary amount according to your desired thickness)(I get mine from Konjacfoods)
24 grams Nutiva Coconut Oil
1/4 t Vanilla or other flavoring
Cinnamon to taste
Stevia or other sweetener to taste

Mix Almond Milk and water together in small bowl, then whisk in rest of the ingredients. If your coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it will melt when heated.

After mixed well, heat in microwave for about 45-60 seconds, depending on strength of microwave. Whisk again when done to incorporate the coconut oil. Can be made on stove top, stirring as it heats. Keep in mind Glucomannan thickens as it heats, as will the Chia seeds so you experiment to find your desired degree of thickness.

This is super quick to throw together and stays with me a looonnng time. Reminds me of oatmeal...great on cold mornings.

1 Svg: 315 Calories; 29g Fat; 7.65g Carb; 7.2g Fiber; .45g usable carb; 9.35 Protein

(91.5% calories from fat based on your method of calculation, if I understand it correctly)

Thank you for all you do and share. My blood sugar is finally below 100 if I keep the fat% up, and consume my protein early in the day. Can't wait for your Fat Fast book! I need some more ideas :-)

Why subtract fiber calories?

Because fiber is counted at 4 calories per gram, just like any carbohydrate, but you don't actually digest or absorb fiber, so you don't actually absorb those calories. It just passes through.

I like the idea of the coconut oil!

egg whites

Note to self: get a dog!

Get a Dog

For all sorts of reasons, perhaps the least of which is disposing of spare egg whites. No one will ever love you with quite the same single-minded devotion, and they're the best security system anyone's ever come up with. Funny, too.

But do yourself a favor and get two. Two dogs are actually easier than one, because they keep one another company.

I've been wanting to use the

I've been wanting to use the chia seeds more but hadn't come up with anything interesting to do with them, LOL. I think I'll go put some in water right now! I don't one a microwave and don't want one or want to use one, so I'm hoping this works fine in my toaster oven.

Toaster Oven

I don't know that it will work that way. I'd recommend whisking it over low heat till it's heated through, instead.

It worked great! I had it

It worked great! I had it this morning, and it cooked up beautifully like a custard, lightly browned around the edges. I loved it. I don't think I would care for it heated over low heat. It was the nicely browned edges that made it a real treat.