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Spent Grain Dog Treats

Spent Grain Dog Treats

One of our favorite guest authors, Jeff Snyder, was telling us about his spent grain dog treats one day and we thought, “That would make a great article!”, and he was nice enough to take us through his process and recipe, step by step! 

As I’m sure you can imagine, we talk a lot about upcycled ingredients and ways to upcycle your beer grains, be they base malts, crystal malts or specialty grains, but this one is probably the one that comes up the most.  We get into baking bread and making spent grain bread quite a bit, too, but our friend Paul is going to cover that one soon!

Malted grain seems to have a ton of uses, from the brewing process to dog treats and breads, all the way around the food system like livestock feed.

Needless to say that we were stoked when Jeff sent over an easy recipe for natural peanut butter dog treats (or tallow!) so that you can try it yourself!  Check out his process below!

By Jeff Snyder

Once I started brewing on an all-grain system, I was looking for uses for my spent grain.  Just tossing it in the garbage seemed wasteful and composting was not fully using its potential. So, I wanted other ideas.

A quick google search has several ideas, including making bread, crackers, and cookies.  It all seemed to involve a good bit of additional prep and I was looking for something easy. 

Plus, I use quite a bit of rice hulls to make brewing easier in my Brewzilla and I'm not sure that works in bread. 

Then I saw some recipes for dog treats. It seemed like a perfect way to combine a couple of my passions – homebrewing and my chukar hunting bird dogs.   Also, I noticed how my dogs LOVE spent grain.  

On one of my first batches, my German Shorthair mowed into the spent grain in a bucket that I had inadvertently left too low.   I think if I had not caught her, she would have consumed the whole bucket!

The recipe I use is very simple and it is everywhere on the internet in various forms.  I do offer some tips, though, that I found through trial and error in the process that allow it to be more mass produced with ease.

The Recipe 

  • 4 cups spent grain
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or corn flour 
  • 2 large eggs – I throw the shell in, too, but it’s up to you
  • Some peanut butter or beef tallow or something similar for flavor, or nothing.  I use a large dollop to ½ cup depending on my mood and availability.

Spent Grain Dog Treats Starter Kit


Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl or mixer.  I use an old kitchen aid mixer.  If you put half the grain in, then all the flour and eggs, then the rest of the grain, it avoids the flour cloud when I start the mixer up.  

Also, I put in the eggshells.   There seems to be some internet chatter of pros and cons to eggshells, but it does not seem to bother my dogs and I figure a little extra calcium cannot be bad.

Mixing Up the dog treats without baking powder

Once it is all mixed, roll out on a flour coated cookie sheet with plastic food wrap on top.  It avoids the dough from sticking to the pan and to the roller.  

Some people post pictures using cookie cutters to make squirrel shapes or birds.  I do not have time for that, and my dogs really do not care. So, I do a full sheet at a time per batch.

Rolling out the treats

Use a pizza cutter to score the sheet into the sizes that you want.  I do 2 batches at a time as that is what my oven will take.  I also will mix 2 extra baches to bake later and wrap in plastic wrap to keep in the fridge or freezer.

Scored Treats, ready to bake

Put them onto a cookie sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.  If you do shapes versus a whole sheet, then it takes about 30 minutes.    

Reduce heat to 225 degrees for 2 hours or until dry (to prevent mold growth).  Sometimes I just turn the oven off and leave overnight and that works, but I think you might want to experiment with your oven.

Store in airtight containers.

My dogs are addicted to these treats.  I will take some for the dogs on hunting trips and use them as a pick me up when we stop to rest. I do not use them as a reward while in the field, but now we are getting into dog training issues!

A Couple of Side Notes

My dogs tolerate these treats well and they are a good pick up on long hunts and runs. Rice hulls do not seem to matter to them.

They seem to store indefinitely in our dry climate (Northern Nevada) in an airtight container if you dry them out, but do not last long in my house.

Be liberal with the flour on the cookie sheet before rolling them out, it saves sticking even in batches high in wheat and rye. Corn flour seems to work even better and can be substituted in the recipe if you want.  

Plastic wrap is your friend between the roller and the dough – saves on clean-up.

Score them well with a Pam sprayed pizza cutter, they are hard to break up if not.

Jeff's Dogs waiting for their upcycled dog treats

Noel, Sam and Lilly Waiting For Their Treats

Well, it almost seems too easy!  I always thought that spent grain treats required a LOT more work and effort than that!  So now it’s time to make your own out of your latest ESB, Amber Ale or Imperial Stout!

Feel free to drop Jeff a comment or question below and let us know how your spent grain doggie treats come out!  Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date on all fun things home brew, what we’re brewing, and what’s happening next!  Have a question?  Shoot us a tweet or check out BrewChatterTV on YouTube where we cover all types of brewing topics and have some fun!  Brew On!

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