Amaranth is part of the ancient grains and has been harvested for over 8000 years.  For Vegans, it’s one of the best sources of protein.

Have you ever thought you knew things about a type of food that turned out to be completely wrong?

For me, it’s the Amaranth grain.

I always thought that it was Indian in origin and confined to Indian cooking.

None of that is true!

A mound of amaranth grain with more grain being poured over it
What is amaranth? It is an ancient grain that is packed with nutrition and a great source of protein

What is amaranth?

Amaranth is part of the ancient grains and has been harvested for over 8000 years.  For Vegans, it’s one of the best sources of protein.

I happened to be researching ancient grains when I saw the truth about Amaranth.  It completely floored me and I felt that I need to research it some more.

The first thing that threw me off is the name.  The first part of name, “Amar” translates to “immortal” in Hindi. So, you can see why I associated it with Indian cuisine.

Amaranth has found its way in Indian cooking and is more commonly known as “Ramdana” which translates to “God’s Grain”.

But, here is the real skinny on Amaranth…

The truth about amaranth

– Amaranth is the group name of about 60 different amaranthus plants – Source: Whole Grain Council.

– Of all 60 different plants, 3 of them are commonly grown as food consumption

 – Amaranthus cruenus

Amaranthus hypochondriacus

Amaranthus caudatus (AKA Love Lies Bleeding!)

– It was originally grown and harvested by the Aztecs.  How cool is that! We are consuming the same grains that the Aztecs used to eat.  It makes me so happy to know that fact.  Source:

A small brown bag with sides folded down and filled wil amaranth grain. Its next to a small mound of amaranth grain
This grain has been harvested for over 8000 years

– The Aztecs didn’t just use it for food.  They used it in their rituals and also for medicinal purposes.   This grain has so much nutrition, so, it’s understandable that they thought it has healing powers.

– When the Spanish Conquistadors took over, they burned most of the plants.  They considered the plants to be “evil”.  Anyone caught with it was punished heavily.  Can you imagine living in a world where owning a grain could cause you to lose your life?

– The grain almost went into extinction, but, you just can’t keep a good grain down! It found its way into Mexico and Central America where it flourishes today.

– It’s considered a “Psuedo-grain” and not a true cereal grain.  True cereals grow from the Poaceae family of plants.  Pseudo-grains grow from other plants.  To me, it makes no difference! Psuedo or true, I will devour it.

Where can I find it in the grocery store?

The grain, if the store carries it, will be in the flour section or the “lentil” section.  I have to admit that I have found it hard to get this grain in my local grocery store.

– I think there are very few Publix that carry it. The good news is that you can always ask the store manager to stock the shelves with it.

– Walmart has it in only some of its stores.  They are also very happy to carry it in their stores if you ask them.

Overhead view of A small brown bag with sides folded down and filled wil amaranth grain. Its next to a small mound of amaranth grain
Lucky for us, this ancient grain is so easy to find in your local grocery stores and online

– Whole Foods occasionally carries them in their grains aisle

– I haven’t seen it in any Target stores, but, I did ask the manager if they would be kind enough to carry it in their stores.  They said they would try their best to carry it, so, you might get lucky and see it in your local Target soon.

If all else fails, there is always the Cyber Aisle!

Where to buy it online

I feel so lucky to be living in the cyber age where I can order almost any ingredient online.  This 8000-year-old grain is so easy to order online!

– (Affiliate Link) Amazon

Walmart – You can order it online and have it shipped to your local Walmart.  This way you don’t have to pay for shipping.  Of all the ways to order it online, I found Walmart to be the cheapest

Google Express – I believe that Whole Foods sells Amaranth via Google Express

Vitacost – Vitacost is my go-to place for anything vegan or vegetarian that is hard to find elsewhere.  They also have a huge collection of Amaranth for you to choose from.  This link is from search results for all their Amaranth products.

Directly from Bob’s Red Mill – I haven’t purchased anything directly from Bob’s Red Mill, so, I can’t vouch for their ordering process.  But, they carry Amaranth and other grains online.

How to store amaranth

– Remove the Amaranth from their packaging and transfer to a glass bottle.

– Keep it tightly sealed

– Store in a cool, dry place.  I keep it in the back shelves of my pantry

A stainless steel 1 cup measuring cup filled with cooked amaranth and a few dry red chilies next to it. An amaranth salad on the other side
Cooked amaranth is a very hearty and delicious side dish

How long does amaranth last?

Amaranth is “immortal”, so, they can last for a very very long time.  My personal preference is to use them within 6 months of opening the packet.

Amaranth doesn’t go bad, but, I live in Florida where I see flour bugs (weevils) quite often.  So, I like to use all dry ingredients as soon as I can.

Amaranth is good in so many recipes, so, a one-pound bag can be consumed in less than a month.

Nutritional benefits

Amaranth is known as a superfood for good reasons.  Cook one cup of Amaranth and you get so much nutrition from it!

Just one cup of Amaranth has:

– 9g of Protein (18% RDA)

– 5g of Dietary Fiber (20%)

– 11% Calcium

– 28% Iron

– 40% Magnesium

– 15% Vitamin B6

As a vegan/vegetarian, those numbers make me do cartwheels!

I find that Amaranth also gives me so much more energy because I don’t feel sluggish after eating a salad.  I also find that it helps my digestion process.  So, I see so many benefits of it.

What are ancient grains?

Ancient grains are grains that haven’t changed in thousands of years.  They existed in the early days of man (or possibly before that) and continue to thrive in our century.

Some of these ancient grains are processed and have gone through selective breeding in their long history.  But, they remain part of the ancient grain collective.

They are also referred to as heritage grains.

Source: The Ancient Grain Council

Overhead view of amaranth grains in a steel bowl. Lemon wedges and parsley surround it
Everyone will love the recipes that are made with this ancient grain

List of ancient grains

1. Amaranth – I have an AMAZING amaranth recipe.  It’s the best Amaranth recipe you have ever seen!

2. Buckwheat – I am working on a dessert recipe using buckwheat and will post it soon.

3. Chia –  Having chia seeds on this list makes me really happy.  Have you tried my Mandarin Oranges or Peanut Satay sauce?  I put chia seeds in them and they made the recipe taste incredible!

4. Millet – No plans for a recipe just yet, but, I am working on it.

5. Quinoa – I have so many delicious recipes that use Quinoa.  My favorite are Quinoa Fajitas and Quinoa Salad Wraps

6. Sorghum – I haven’t had much opportunity to work with this grain, but, I hope to learn more about it soon.  I would love to make some vegan waffles out of them.

7. Farro – I discovered farro about 6 years ago at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Queens.  I have to say that I loved how delicious it tasted and try to eat is often.  You have to try my Farro salad which is beyond delicious.

8. Teff – Of all the grains on this list, Teff is the one that has given me the biggest challenge.  I haven’t been able to get a good recipe out of it, but, I love the challenge that it gives me.  I would love to make vegan bread out of it someday.  Teff is not easy to find in stores, but you can easily find it on (affiliate link) Amazon.

Source: The Chopra Center

There are more ancient grains like rice, spelt, millet and others.  The Ancient Grain council has the complete list of grains it considers ancient.

Amaranth vs quinoa

Both grains look so much alike and they are easy to confuse.  They have the same color, shape, and texture!

The main visual difference, however, is that quinoa is slightly larger and a little lighter in color.  Even with a clear visual difference, it is easy to mix those two up.

One tiny mound of amaranth grain on the left and a tiny mound of quinoa on the right for comparison
The difference between amaranth and quinoa are subtle, but, easy to spot.

The solution?

I label them with the brand and type of grain.  I am sure I could have put fancy labels or even printables with the name of grains written in calligraphy.

But, where is the fun in that, right?

Two glass bottles with amaranth and quinoa labeled respectively
Storing these grains is as easy as putting them in glass jars with a tight lid

The difference in nutrition of these two grains is much more significant.

Quinoa has slightly less protein

Quinoa has 8g of protein and amaranth has 9g.  I will take that extra gram of protein any day.

Amaranth has slightly more calories

Amaranth has 251cal and quinoa has 222cal.  That’s not a huge difference, unless you are counting calories.

Amaranth has more carbs

Quinoa wins this round because it has only 40g of carbs where as the other grain has 46g.


The biggest difference is when you cook them.  At that point, there is no confusion as to which one is quinoa and which one is amaranth.

A small plate with cooked amaranth and A small plate with cooked quinoa for comparison
When cooked, it’s really easy to tell quinoa apart from amaranth

Amaranth recipes

– You HAVE to try my Amaranth Tabouli recipe!

Overhead view of a brown bowl filled to the top with Amaranth Tabouli
Amaranth is a great way to change up your tabouli recipe

– Amaranth Porridge by The Foodie Affair

– Pancakes by King Arthur’s Flour (Not exactly a blogger, but the pancakes look delish!)

– Porridge by Madeline Shaw

Front view of cooked amaranth on a small plate with amaranth salad in the back. Salt bowl and small bowl with amaranth grain in the background
Amaranth can be used in making desserts too.

How to cook amaranth

1) Add 3 cups of water to a strong bottom pan

2) Bring it to a boil

3) Add 1 cup of dry amaranth seeds

4) Give it a quick stir

5) Close the lid and let it cook on low heat

6) Simmer until the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes)

Remove from heat and use in recipe. Its normal for the cooked amaranth to be sticky and clumpy.  You can crumble it in the recipe you put it into.

front view of amaranth grains being piled into a cone shape

How To Cook Amaranth

It only takes 2 ingredients to cook amaranth
5 from 107 votes
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Course Ingredient
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 1 person
Calories 716 kcal


  • 3 cup water
  • 1 cup Amaranth


  • Add 3 cups of water to a strong bottom pan
  • Bring it to a boil
  • Add 1 cup of dry amaranth seeds
  • Give it a quick stir
  • Close the lid and let it cook on low heat
  • Simmer until the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes)

Remove from heat and use in recipe



    Its normal for the cooked amaranth to be sticky and slightly clumpy. You can crumble it in the recipe you put it into.


    Calories: 716kcalCarbohydrates: 125gProtein: 26gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 45mgPotassium: 980mgFiber: 12gSugar: 3gVitamin C: 8.1mgCalcium: 329mgIron: 14.7mg
    Keyword How to cook amaranth, what is amaranth
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    1. I think that while amaranth is an ancient grain, and you’re right to point out that we still have several of those, there isn’t any evidence I know of that the Aztecs had an ancient culture. They didn’t reach Mexico much before the Spanish.

      The Maya and Olmec civilisations are much older, & the Inca settled Peru before the Aztecs conquered what is now Mexico. It isn’t trolling to point this out. You shouldn’t be so defensive.

      1. Sad that you feel this way. I did a ton of research for this post, so I know what I said in my post is true. You don’t get to tell me how I feel until you have done your own research.

    2. I tried to cook amaranth this morning 3cups water and 1cup grain. boiled 25 minutes and there was still lots of water. what did I do wrong?

      1. Hello Zephyr, what kind of pan did you use? I used a strong bottom pan. Also, you want to boil the water first before adding the amaranth. Is that what you did? Thanks

      2. 3 cups is too much. I usually pop Amaranth and whole grains in a little cooking oil just like popcorn I find it adds an extra softness and nutty flavor

      3. You are dry popping them and that is just one way of cooking it. This recipe was tested several times using 3 cups of water and it works perfectly. We live in a world where there are many ways to make things, not just your way. So, I am happy to hear you have a method and I have mine.

    3. Can uncooked Amaranthe be used in my cold cereal mixed with my other gluten-free grains? Villa says:

      Can uncooked Amaranthe be used in my cold cereal mixed with my other gluten-free grains?

    4. Hi Rini,
      My question is regarding recipes you shared here – the two porridge ones. Both of them use a different ratio of milk instead of 3 cups of water. The first question here in the comments was in regards to someone use 2 cups of water instead of 3; and all other recipes I looked at used 3c water. The different liquid measurement is obviously because the porridge is using milk vs water, but can you explain why? I would have actually thought because water is less viscous, we’d want more milk…?


      1. Hello Eileen. Thank you for your question. I use less water because I like a more quinoa consistency when it’s cooked. If I am going for a dessert type of recipe, then I will use more water. I made amaranth rice pudding recently and there, I used more water. It depends on where you end up using it. Even more water with porridge consistency is fine for a salad type recipe.

    5. how do you know when amaranth is cooked? I tried for the first time this morning to make a porridge – 2 cups water to 1 cup amaranth with some chopped apples – and simmered 20 minutes. It had the consistency of cream of wheat and when I bit into it, while was softer/translucent, it also had a bit of a ‘pop’ on the tooth, like the feeling of husk. should it have more tooth than porridge/cream of wheat? I have a little indigestion now, so maybe it wasn’t cooked fully? thanks! cannot find an answer anywhere!

      1. Thank you, Jen. I am glad to hear you tried it. I think you may have made an slight error in the ratios. It should be 3 cups water to 1 cup Amaranth. Follow the rest of instructions as listed and that should work. Let me know if you have other problems. Love that you added apples to your recipe.

    6. Thank you for your informative and good natured post. I’m willing to take the challenge to turn anything “healthy” into something delicious.

    7. Can you post a picture of the Amaranth plant that you get these seeds from?
      I found an article that stated the plant is also called pigweed, which I seem to have an abundance of. I am wondering if I can harvest these seeds.
      Thank you for your knowledge of this grain.

      1. Hello Patrea, here is the link to the whole grain council. They have images of the plant which is purple in color. I am not sure if it is similar to pigweed. Pigweed is an actual weed, I think. It tends to grow in my garden and take away nutrition from my plants, lol. Amaranth is actually purple whereas pigweed is green. I am not a huge expert on it, but, that’s my experience.

      2. FYI there are so many kinds of Amaranth it’s hard to know if what you have are the tasty ones. I’ve heard it called pigweed also, maybe that’s a southern thing! Is you check Heritage Farms in Iowa they grow a green leaf Amaranth in their test gardens and have some recipes for it.

      3. Amaranth is a member of the genus Amaranthus. Where I live (Texas) there are about two dozen different species, and three of those have the common name of pigweed. One of them is Amaranthus retroflexus, which Wikipedia also identifies as pigweed. says “Nearly all amaranths are edible, including ‘love-lies-bleeding’ and even the common roadside weedy forms. But those sold as edible varieties are selected for their good seed production and especially tasty leaves”

      4. I am not sure those pigweed variety are edible. We have them growing here in Florida too but they are definitely not edible. I Buy the amaranth grains from stores and make sure they are food grade.

    8. I’ve found that people often mistake the Aztecs to be way more ancient than they really were – with the excitement you expressed above, I wondered if you realized how un-ancient they were? 🙂

      1. Fortunately your trolling didn’t work this time. They are classified as ancient grains by many sites.
        The list goes on and on. Maybe spend your time doing research on ancient grains and Aztecs instead of trolling websites.

      1. Sorry for the delay, Tomass. I am slow at responding to comments ????. I did reply to your previous comment. Let me know what you think. Thank you

    9. I tried to cook Amaranth like you suggested, but it was still same same size, not soft and for sure not clumpy. I boiled it for next 15 min and still the same. With source and fish it was still OK, but I left with feeling that something was wrong, as I expected it to turn into something like porridge.

      1. Hello Tomass, I am not sure what your amounts of water and amaranth were. Can you send me your quantities? Also, at what temperature were you cooking it?

    10. I have some amaranth and was never quite sure what to do with it. I wanted to make some no-bake energy cookies that I rely on often when I have a sweet tooth (raw oats, peanut butter, honey, raisins/nuts/dried fruit/coconut/whatever) and I was out of oats and it’s Pandemic time! Yikes, what to do??? I toasted/puffed some of the amaranth I’ve had for WAY too long on the shelf and some of it puffed and some just toasted brown and smelled and tasted like sesame seeds. I made the no bake cookies out of what I toasted, formed it in to balls, put them in the freezer til they firmed up, and VOILA! They are delicious and much lighter than ones made with oats!

    11. You are overlooking Einkorn in your heritage grains list. I recently made carrot cake and zucchini bread with it. I have the seeds (grain) and grind them to make the flour, though you can buy the flour. While it does not rise like modern wheat – less gluten – it still make delicious breads.

      1. Hello Nina, sorry to hear about your Husband. Unfortunately, I am not a health care professional, so, its not a question I can answer. I think your doctor will be better able to answer it

    12. Can you use this as a substitute for rice.. Like can you eat it with a curry? What does it taste like- is it bland?

    13. Thanks for the recipe.
      I am Mexican living abroad for the past 25 years. I was very excited to find amaranth in the grocery store.
      I am having people over for lunch, some of them are allergic to gluten, so I was thinking about your recipe with amaranth, since I’ve made it before with couscous.
      I want to try this time with this grain, but wondering if it would be ok to puff the amaranth instead of boiling it?

      Thanks in advance.

    14. Thanks for the post, it’s so useful. I bought a pack of puffed amaranth and not sure what to do with it? I was gonna top my oatmeal porridge and smoothie bowls with bits of puffed amaranth if that would work?

      1. Thank you, Diana. Puffed amaranth are made for porridge and smoothie bowls. Definitely put them in it. Try them in soups or cookies tood. They will taste amazing in an oatmeal raisins type of cookie recipe.