Off Topic: Spent Grain Treats


Are you curious how this posts ties in with beauty? It doesn’t, that’s how! But I think it’s a little bit fun so I wanted to share it. We’ll return to our regularly-scheduled makeup posts soon, though!

You see, my husband has a new hobby – brewing beer. I’m personally not a fan of it, but I’ve heard from unbiased taste-testers (also known as our friends) that it’s some pretty decent stuff. Of course the actual beer is the end goal, but you also end up with a bunch of grain that just goes in the trash. Or, you know, I could use it to make some yummy treats for this guy:

Spent Grain Dog Treats

The leftover grain is plenty to make a few batches of treats. It’ll spoil if you don’t use it in a few days, but you can freeze it if you need it to keep longer. One important thing though – don’t put hops in with the grain, because it can be toxic to dogs. I’m pretty excited about this because a) it keeps all that stuff from getting wasted, b) it’s way cheaper than buying store-bought treats, and c) I don’t have to worry about those contaminated pet treats (though I know most store-bought treats are perfectly safe).

How to make ’em:

Spent Grain Dog TreatsWe found a recipe for these treats via 17 Apart, and they’re practically easy enough to make in your sleep. You only need a few ingredients:

  • 4 cups of spent grains
  • 2 cups of flour (all purpose or whole wheat)
  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 2 eggs

Seriously, that’s it. And the prep is even more of a no-brainer; dump the ingredients in the bowl and mix them up well. You can mix them by hand if you feel like your arms could use a workout, ooooor… you can be lazy like me, and use a mixer with dough hooks. Depending on how much water is left in the grain this can be a pretty wet mixture, but you can just keep on adding flour until it’s the consistency you want.

Spent Grain Dog Treats

Once it’s all mixed up, there are a couple ways to prepare it for cooking – the lazy way, and the cute way.

Lazy way:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Press the dough in a thin layer all over the sheet.
  • Score the dough with a knife to make it easy to break into pieces after it’s cooked.

Spent Grain Dog Treats

Cute way:

  • Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper.
  • Use some dog-related cookie cutters like bones or paws to cut.
  • Place the ‘cookies’ on a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray.

In either case you cook them the same way. For the first 30 minutes cook them at 350 degrees (to fully cook the eggs), and then turn them down to 225 degrees for two hours to bake out all the moisture. Once they’ve cooled, remove them from the pan (breaking pieces apart if necessary) and store in a cookie jar or ziploc bag. Obviously at some point you should probably give some to the dog too.

And if you’re wondering, yes, I did try one! It tastes kind of like shredded wheat cereal – the kind without the frosting – with a peanut butter flavor. Overall, not terrible but really bland. But – Dexter loves them, and that’s really what matters, right?

Do you all cook for your pets too, or does this tip me firmly into crazy-dog-lady territory? If you have any favorite recipes, feel free to share them!



  1. MegGVG

    April 4, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I love that you posted this! My husband usually brews beer about once a month and I have always hated how much waste is involved, (even if the end product is yummy beer! Perhaps now they’ll be so enamored by grain treats they will stop trying to eat my beauty blender (they’ve snagged two so far..)!

    1. Nikki

      April 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Nooooo, not the beauty blender! But I’m so glad this was helpful :-) I also suspect the grains might make decent-tasting granola bars for people if you added a few extra ingredients (like honey, maybe?).

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