Learn to make makhana or poped water lily seed snacks, in three delicious ways! Salted Caramel, Salt & Vinegar, and Cheezy Garlic. All are gluten-free and vegan!

Makhana Veggiekins Blog

I was first inspired to make my own popped water lily snacks when I picked up a bag at the grocery store. Instantly, the little puffs became one of my favourite snacks. And these are my three favorite flavouring options!

What is Makhana?

Makhana is a traditional Indian snack. It’s made from popped or puffed water lily seeds, also called fox nuts, which are then dry roasted with seasonings. The result is a crunchy, popcorn-esque snack. It reminds me of a Korean, skinless giant popcorn snack I used to eat growing up, but with an even better crunch.

Are Popped Water Lilly Seeds Gluten-Free?

Yes! Lily seeds are naturally vegan, gluten-free, grain free and paleo. Makhana is a wonderful snack that fits many diets. If you have a corn allergy, this is also an incredible alternative with a similar satisfying crunch.

Lily seeds are naturally high in fiber and protein, as well as magnesium and phosphorous, making them considerably more nutritious than popcorn. Oh, and there are no kernels to get stuck in your teeth either!

phool makhana lotus seed

Why Make Your own Makhana?

I was motivated to learn how to make makhana at home, because I started spending a lot of money on the pre-made storebought bags, and in the process, was creating a lot of packaging waste.

I also wanted to make them even healthier! These recipe are simple, come together with 5 or less ingredients and are free of any processed ingredients.

The most important ingredient you’ll need is the ful makhana, or the lotus seeds, which you can find at most Indian Markets. The first bag I ever tried was send to me by my wonderful friend Asha Patel. You can also easily find it online–here is a link to a bag I purchased recently.

How to Make Makhana

Makhana is used in many Indian recipes and makhana is so versatile it can be enjoyed in curries, or as a snack on its own. For example, if making a Makhana Matar Curry, the makhana is a little more tender and soaks up the sauce. 

The process of making this Indian snack, however, is shockingly easy. All you need to do is coat the puffs in seasoning and roast. I recommend doing this in a pan over medium high heat with just a touch of neutral oil. You can test to see when it’s ready by tasting a piece–you want to look for crunch throughout. As it comes, makhana is quite soft, so you do want to roast to make sure you get that crisp texture. 

Seasoning Makhana Three Ways

Here are my three favorite ways to flavor my popped water lily seeds:

Makhana Veggiekins Blog

Salted Caramel

This sweet and salty flavor is made with coconut sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. This is a butter-free caramel made with no refined sugars and it’s easy to make in the same pan that you roast your makhana in.

Salt and Vinegar

All you need fo this seasoning is salt and vinegar powder! Again, this is best seasoned to taste, so if you like it extra tangy, use a heavy hand on the vinegar.

Cheezy Garlic

For a vegan cheese flavor, use nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder. This has to be my go-to flavour and the seasoning I opt for most days. Bonus: you’ll get a nice boost of plant protein from the nutritional yeast!

More Seasoning Options

Makhana is an amazing blank canvas to work with. You can get creative with the seasonings and I highly encourage experimenting as there are countless ways to flavor your Indian water lily seeds, both sweet and savoury. Here are some other options to try:

  • Indian spices
  • Plain sea salt (this one’s self explanatory)
  • Dark chocolate (you could toss in maple syrup or sweetener of choice  and coat with cacao powder)
  • Furikake
  • BBQ 
  • Chili lime

More Crunchy Snack Recipes

If you make Makhana at home, be sure to let me know what you think with a comment below!

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Makhana Veggiekins Blog

Makhana 3 Ways – Fox Nuts/Lotus Seed Snack (vegan, gluten-free)

  • Author: Remy
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 3-5 servings 1x


A delicious Indian snack, Makhana, Fox Nuts or Popped Lotus Seeds are crunchy, flavourful and best of all, healthy. Here’s how to make them at home.



The Basics

  • 23 cups makhana
  • neutral oil
  • salt

Salted Caramel

Salt & Vinegar

  • salt, to taste
  • vinegar powder, to taste

Cheezy Garlic

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt, to taste


Salted Caramel

  1. For this recipe, we’re roasting the makhana prior to flavouring, to achieve a little crunch before coating. Cook in a pan with just a touch of neutral oil for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until crisp. You can test them by taking a bite–it should have a nice crunch throughout. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Next, in the same pan, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, water and melt down, gently stirring until completely smooth.
  3. Bring the mixture to a bubble, then add baking soda and stir quickly until colour slightly changes then immediately remove from heat and add makhana to the pan.
  4. Toss to coat and then spread as evenly as possible on a baking sheet to cool completely.

Salt & Vinegar

  1. In a pan over medium high heat, roast makhana with neutral oil for 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and vinegar powder, to taste, and enjoy.

Cheezy Garlic

  1. Toss makhana in a mixing bowl with neutral oil, salt, nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powder and smoked paprika.
  2. Transter to a pan over medium high heat and roast makhana with neutral oil for 4-5 minutes. Season with salt, to taste.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins

Keywords: snacks, healthy, gluten free, oil free, paleo, vegan, plant based, oil free


Filed under: Eat, Gluten Free, Oil Free, Snacks

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BY Remy • June 12, 2019

Roasted Makhana (Water Lily Seeds) 3 Ways (vegan, gluten-free)

Makhana Veggiekins Blog

leave a comment

  1. Kiley says:
    This is an amazing recipe! I air-fried mine and they only took about 5 minutes on 350. Such a great popcorn alternative and an amazing way to save packaging from the store-bought versions!

  2. Tiffany says:
    Hi there! I’m confused, the recipe says it’s for Lilly seeds, but the bag in your image is Lotus seeds. Those are 2 different plants. They are similar, but different. Could you please confirm? If you are using Lotus seeds I would suggest updating this post to reflect that.

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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.

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COPYRIGHT © 2020 Veggiekins   ☼   Website by Sunday Stories