#870 When you get the milk to cereal ratio just right

Aim for perfection

Things could go a few different ways near the bottom of that cereal bowl:

1. Drowning in white. You poured 2 fast and 2 furious and overfilled the bowl. Now after you spoon up those last few soggy Honey Nut Cheerios you’re left with a good inch of sloshy, super-saturated, sandy-colored syrup at the bottom. Well, the damage is done, so I say bottoms up to that. Just tilt your head, tilt your bowl, and say hello to a peppy morning full of jitters and fast-talking.

Drowning in white

2. Corn Flake beach. Here’s where you end up with too much cereal and not enough milk. You first notice it when you’re halfway through your bowl and those Corn Flakes seem a bit too crunchy for their own good. So you look down and notice you’re swimming in the wading pool, my friend. Assuming you’re out of milk or are very lazy you have to frantically start rationing, aiming for just enough milk on each spoonful to get by. Let’s hope you make it and don’t end up with a fat lump of slightly damp Corn Flakes sitting pathetically in the corner of your bowl.

This beach needs a surf

3. Cereal Bowl Bliss. Oh mama, this here’s the perfect milk to cereal jackpot. Maybe you’re like my friend Mu, who has lifted the art of obtaining Cereal Bowl Bliss into a noble, decades-long search for perfection. Yes, he has studied milk absorption for years, and knows that a bowl of Froot Loops and a bowl of Frosted Flakes have nothing in common other than a mascot who lives in the jungle. See, Mu points out those Froot Loops float high and dry while the Frosted Flakes are like crispy sponges that require a lot more milk to make it through. And then there’s the bowl itself. Sure, a big, deep bowl may look great when you pull it out of the cupboard, but watch out for the illusion of size. You may end up drowning in white if you’re not careful. Lastly, if you’re ready for Advanced Milking, you may be interested in the patient art of The Sit, which involves letting your beautiful bowl of cereal just lay on the counter for a good minute or two before eating. This will allow your cereal to soak up a consistent amount of milk, and prevents those dreaded bone dry first bites of crunchiness which offset your whole ratio. Remember: this is Advanced Milking, folks. Not for the faint of heart or extremely hungry.

Anyway, when you get the milk and cereal ratio just right at breakfast, you’re all aces, my friend. And when you hit it, you hit it, and you know you hit it, because that last spoonful goes down smooth and sweet without a hint of drowning in white or surfing up onto Corn Flake Beach. So nailing the perfect amount of milk in that big breakfast bowl of cereal?



Don't get furious -- slow and steady will win this race

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

52 thoughts on “#870 When you get the milk to cereal ratio just right

  1. My favorite thing about cereal shenanigans is when you eat a big-ass bowl of Lucky Charms, and be very VERY careful not to eat any marshmallows until you’ve eaten all the non-sugary bits. Then you just get a mouthful of ‘mallows! That, my friend, is AWESOME!

    1. If there were a ‘like’ button on here I would click it, again and again for what you just said my friend! That right there is the best thing of life, it’s downright AWESOME!

    2. ok, i do this every time, since i started eating them as a kid.. and now, goto the store and look for “Marshmallow Bits” by the Hot Chocolate. the vanilla ones are EXACTLY the same… add to a glass of milk. and BAM. the same thing

  2. Sometimes a lot more milk than cereal is a good thing. Especially when the cereal has a little extra something like honey (Honeycombs) or maple (Oatmeal Crisp Maple Nut), the milk at the end taste even more awesome than the cereal itself.

  3. When I’ve eaten all cereals I always add a handful on new ones until I’ve eat all the milk, too. That’s why I don’t have this problem whit getting the ratio right.

  4. +1 to The RFK as Dave – I’m all about the all marshmallow spoonful with Lucky Charms

    Neil – One question: At the end of the Cornflake Beach you have cornflakes sitting in “the corner of your bowl”? Please describe the typical geometry of the bowls you eat out of. I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten out of a bowl that had corners. Good try my friend.

    I tend to intentionally go for a bit of “Drowning in White” personally, because I like that gulp of syrupy milk at the end of the bowl. It depends on the cereal though – Choco-Krispies are great – you get homemade chocolate milk. Cinnamon Toast Crunch seems like it would be great (and is for the first 3/4 of the gulp), but then you get an actual thick pasty syrup at the end, which is even a bit too much for a sugar freak like myself.

    1. My father’s favorite bowls were square. Corners on all 4 sides. They were too small, so he’d have seconds, and they were old plastic things that had the fiish worn off after many decades of use, but that’s what he picked over the nice shiny new ones my mother bought. When he passed I thought of keeping them for sentimental value, but I know I would never use them.

      Anyway, they do (or used to) make square cereal bowls.

  5. Oh yes, I do love a perfect ratio there. Although for me, my idea of perfection is a small amount of milk. I LOVE crunchy cereal, so I keep just a small pool of it at the bottom to drown a bites worth of cereal before I scoop it out and enjoy.

  6. If you’re going to go wrong one way or the other, it’s better to err on the side of too much milk.

    I know. I can be pretty controversial sometimes.

  7. I think the most challenging cereal to eat just right is Shreddies. First of all, it’s a major milk-gobbler, so getting the ratio right is tricky. Secondly, you have to let the bowl sit just the right amount of time for the squares to get soft, but – and this is extremely important – not mushy. If the squares start losing their integrity, it’s game over. When I’ve got Shreddies in the sweet spot, don’t even talk to me, because I am not listening.

  8. I don’t like soggy cereal, so my milk ratio is a lot less than a normal person’s. And I wouldn’t dream of letting it sit for a minute or two to soak up the milk!

    I like the Lucky Charms marshmallow ending too. I also discovered the joys of generic cereal – the cereal part of generic lucky charms was more sugary than the normal lucky charms.

    When I end up with leftover milk at the end, I put the bowl on the ground for my cats to lick up.

  9. I once was so tired that I poured orange juice on my cereal. That was not so pleasant.

    THIS WEBSITE ROCKS MY WORLD! Most of the links to the right are lame, by comparison.

  10. I know just how much milk to pour from the carton. I also count how many berries or how many pieces of banana so I have the perfect milk/fruit/cereal ratio….I need a life….. =>

  11. @ Carolyn:

    The generic brand Lucky Charms are the BEST. At school (college) the dining halls have this cereal called Marshmallow Mateys with marshmallows in the shapes of anchors, parrots, and other such pirate-y things…they are heaven on earth.

  12. If you want to hit the mark every time, what you have to do is hold down the cereal with your free hand as you pour, especially with lighter cereals. That way, the milk doesn’t raise up the cereal and deceive you as to the ratio. Additionally, this move can cut down on the time you need for a proper Sit. Give it a shot; it’ll change you world.


  14. I like lots of milk on mine, or maybe a nice bowl of milk ‘n saltine crakers. I dunk cheese puffs in milk. ;p

  15. I pour the milk (and sometimes juice) into the bowl first, then add the right amount of cereal. That, for me is the best way to optimize the ratio. Then I *thoroughly* mix milk and cereal (and any fruit) up….and then do “the sit”.

    It was either Neal Stephenson or Douglas Coupland who first made me aware that there were people who were totally obsessive over cereal crunchiness…or non-soggy-ness! :o)

  16. I used to eat Light ‘N’ Tasty bran muesli all the time, but now i am a Crunchy Nut X) but when i ate the muesli, i always got the ratio just right, so i experienced Cereal Bowl Bliss each morning. When i finished my breakfast there was always next to no milk left in the bottom- it had all been soaked up by the muesli and had served its purpose. My secret is to pour the cereal into a shallow/wide bowl, and then pour the milk up to just where you can see it peeping above the cereal line on the sides. :) Same goes for Crunchy Nut.

    Sometimes with my muesli, if i am having tinned peaches and yoghurt with it, having the mango juice from the tin instead of milk is THE BEST EVER.

    The only cereal i like to drink the milk at the bottom with is Coco Pops. As the ad says, “Just like a chocolate milkshake- only crunchy!”

  17. I completely bypass the whole conundrum by just not putting on any milk at all. I prefer my cereal dry and crunchy. Plus, I’m guaranteed to get the perfect milk:cereal ratio every time; none:however-much-I-want.

    Cereal Bowl Bliss every morning =AWESOME!

  18. i love cereal. it is the best food ever. amazing. and i usually have 3 bowls a day, and take some dry stuff to school too.
    so i have the milk ratio thing down pat. dont worry amateur cereal eaters. you’ll get it soon.

  19. Fun (and fool-proof…so far) alternative to cereal-bowl milk-ageddon:

    1 personal-sized container of yogourt (I like Activia strawberry)
    —> Empty into a bowl
    Fill empty yogourt container with cereal or granola
    — > Empty into same bowl as above
    Fill empty yogourt container again with frozen or fresh blueberries
    — > Empty into same bowl as above
    Throw out container, mix stuff in bowl, and enjoy perfect ratio of yogourt to cereal to fruit!

    (I know it’s not milk… but it’s a nice change!)

    Love this site, btw! :)

  20. I get the ratio just right every time except for Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I always seem to put a little too much, but it’s not that bad… Cinnamon milk is awesome.
    Why wait a minute for the milk to set in on the cereal? Just push the cereal down with the spoon.

  21. Freddo, both of my daughter’s have square bowls; where have you been?
    In my books, Captain Crunch has got it all going on!

  22. UGH i had fruit loops and too much milk and i hate to waste milk and i don’t have anymore fruit loops so down the drain it goes??…

  23. I think I’ve perfected an advanced version of the Sit.

    Pour a bowl of Wheat Chex about three-quarters full, and fill it to the brim with milk. Once you’ve done that, go do something else for fifteen minutes. Come back, and take a bite.

    You’re welcome.

  24. Ahh! So true! I think the hardest cereal to master is frosted mini wheats. Sometimes they can be so absorbent so gotta pour more than looks necessary but other times there not absorbent! It’s so annoying! But then it also makes the mastery of the milk:cereal ratio that much more Awesome!

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