What Is Sea Moss? Here's What You Need to Know About the New Superfood

It’s a superfood straight from the sea!

Sea moss seems like it’s everywhere these days, but what is it? The ingredient is much less familiar than seaweed, often recognizable as nori (dried and crispy) or fresh in seaweed salad, yet this edible algae seems to be ubiquitous in supplements, healthy recipes, and even your favorite pint of mint chocolate chip. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ve likely been consuming sea moss in some form for years, but a recent surge in popularity, in part due to the dense nutrient content of sea moss, has thrust it into the spotlight. And it’s not just a social media trend, nor a buzzy ingredient recently found in beauty products and cosmetics. We turned to an expert to share exactly what sea moss is, and how to best store, consume, and enjoy it. 

What Is Sea Moss?

Sea moss, which is also called Irish moss, carrageen moss, or Chondrus crispus if you’re getting scientific, has been used as a thickener for ages (you’ll see carrageenan listed as an ingredient in ice creams, nut milks and other creamy packaged foods) thanks to its versatility, flavorlessness, and nutritional benefits.    

“Sea moss is a type of seaweed that is usually available in powder or capsule form,” explains Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, author of Planted Performance, and founder of Greenletes. “You can buy it in its natural form, but most people use it as a supplement.”

Nutritional Benefits of Sea Moss

Sea moss is nutritionally dense, meaning a small amount packs in vitamins and minerals. “In its natural form, a one ounce serving of sea moss has a good amount of iron and folate,” says Rizzo. “Iron is crucial for transporting oxygen throughout the blood and maintaining energy, and folate is involved in DNA formation and protein metabolism.” 

Though nutritional research on sea moss is currently quite limited, Rizzo points to research on seaweed as a whole to consider sea moss’s full benefits. A study published in February 2020 suggests that seaweed may have prebiotic properties, which supports overall gut health. Red seaweed has also been found to contain antioxidants and in one study, prevented weight gain in mice. Of course, there’s much more to learn about sea moss, but the preliminary health research is promising.

How Long Does Sea Moss Stay Good For?

Raw (also called fresh) sea moss should be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for up to four months. Sea moss can also commonly be purchased as sea moss gel by the jar. An open jar of sea moss gel typically stays good for up to four months, if it’s properly sealed and stored in a cold refrigerator.

How to Cook With Sea Moss

Sea moss has a very faint flavor, similar to the brininess of seaweed or bivalves, and because you use so little of it, whatever you’re making with sea moss is unlikely to take on the flavor.

To make a sea moss gel, Rizzo recommends soaking the sea moss overnight in a bowl of water, draining it, then adding the sea moss to a blender with enough water to cover it. Blend until it turns into a viscous liquid that you can add to soups and smoothies as a thickener, or just for a nutrient boost. Most serving sizes of sea moss are just one ounce, Rizzo says, noting if you can tolerate more, add more. If you prefer less, that’s fine too.

“You can also buy sea moss powder, which can be mixed into other foods,” Rizzo adds. “I generally recommend food first before turning to a supplement, but you can absolutely include a supplement if you want. That said, you can get a lot of the same vitamins and minerals found in sea moss from many fruits and vegetables, so there’s no need to buy an expensive supplement.”

Sea moss can also be eaten raw, if the texture and flavor appeals to you, or steeped into a tea to soak out some nutrients into a sippable form.

Sea Moss Recipes

Ready to cook with sea moss? Consider adding it to the following recipes. 

Miso-Mushroom Ramen With Jammy Eggs

Miso-Mushroom Ramen With Jammy Eggs
Antonis Achilleos

Stir a bit of sea moss gel into this ramen broth to thicken it up and make the vegetarian soup extra lucious and nutritious. You can also use a little raw sea moss as a garnish, if you desire.

Mango Smoothie

Creamy Mango Smoothie
Grant Cornett

Add an extra boost to your smoothie with sea moss gel. Mango is the perfect base because it will cover any sea moss flavor with its own fruitiness. Start by adding just a small amount and work your way up to find your perfect sea moss gel or powder ratio.

Pistachio Milk

Getty Images

If you’re interested in making your own alt milks, sea moss may become an essential ingredient in this process. Just blending a bit in after straining out the pulp can help add a creaminess and viscosity that replicates the real thing. Your morning coffee never looked so creamy.

Cod and Clam Chowder

Cod and Clam Chowder Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Sea moss and clam chowder are the perfect duo. Some sea moss gel can be stirred in to help thicken the soup (you can even sub out some of the cream for whole milk, if you want) and some fresh sea moss as a garnish can add a fun oceanic flavor and adornment.

Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade raspberry ice cream
Picalotta/Getty Images

Take a trick from the pros and add some sea moss gel to your ice cream liquid before freezing it. You’ll be rewarded with a creamy scoop that won’t separate in the freezer, nor be too icy.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles