Thick but not mushy, fluffy but not chewy, oatmeal can please even the pickiest of eaters. Additionally, with its neutral flavor and customizable texture, it’s the ultimate blank canvas for building a hearty, satisfying, & economical breakfast.
The most important thing to remember about oatmeal? It’s best the way *you* like it. Go ahead and experiment. Your scrumptious bowl of whole-grain goodness awaits.
Water or milk (2:1 for rolled, 4:1 for steel cut)
Add-Ins & Toppings (see reference guide)
Bring 1 cup of water or milk to a simmer.
Add a generous pinch of salt (optional).
Stir in oats & add-ins/flavorings
Reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally for 5 min. ~25-30 for steel cut. Add more water if necessary to avoid scorching.
When grain is tender & water fully absorbed, add toppings & serve.
📝 Notes Tips & Tricks
For creamier oats, start them in cold water. For chewier, wait until the water is boiling.
To test for doneness: run a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pot. If thick enough, the displaced oatmeal will take a few seconds to cover the bottom.
To soften dried fruit (e.g., plump the raisins), add towards the beginning of cooking.
For next-level flavor, toast the oats first in some butter or coconut oil until slightly browned.
Don’t over-stir the oats. They will become gummy.
Rice cookers make cooking oatmeal hands-off & essentially fail-proof. They are also nonstick & temperature controlled (less scorching, easier to clean). Add all ingredients (reduce water by ~1/3rd) and set to quick cook. For a more developed flavor & softer texture, use the porridge setting. A popular hack is using the timer feature. Add ingredients at night and set the timer for breakfast time. Your home will smell delicious when you wake up.
To skip cooking entirely, try “overnight oats.” Soak raw oats in milk, water, or yogurt + flavorings overnight). Cover to keep from drying out.
Cooked oatmeal lasts for ~ five days.
To meal-prep oatmeal, make a batch and store it in a large container or individual jars in the fridge.
Dry oats last approximately one year in a cool dark place.
Varieties of Oats:
Instant (aka quick oats): trades speed for lack of texture & depth of flavor; often includes added sugar & flavorings
Rolled (aka old fashioned or whole): traditional varietal, most common
Steel-cut (aka Scottish or Irish): requires longer cooking time, richer/nuttier flavor
Muesli: rolled oats with nuts, seeds, & dried fruit added. (Fun fact - this was developed in 1900 by a Swiss doctor for his hospitalized patients).
Nutrition & Cost:
Serving sizes vary by type of oatmeal (e.g., ½ cup of rolled oats is 150 calories, ¼ cup of steel cut is 160)
USDA recommends ~6 oz of grains per day (2x amount in photo below)
Oatmeal has ~5 grams of protein per serving (compare to 6g in an egg)
Bought in bulk, oatmeal costs ~18 cents per serving.
📓Toppings & Add-Ins Reference Guide
Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, vanilla extract
Sweet: maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, fruit (e.g., berries, bananas, apples), jam, dried fruit (e.g., raisins, cherries, chopped apricots)
Creamy: milk, half/half, butter, yogurt, nut butter (e.g., almond, cashew)
Crunchy: nuts (e.g., slivered almonds, walnuts, pecans), seeds (pumpkin, sesame, flax, chia), toasted coconut, salt flakes
Savory: bacon, egg, cheese, sauteed veggies (spinach, mushroom, onion), hot sauce
🛍 Shopping Recommendations:
🗂 Recipe Box:
Banana & Almond Butter: ⅓ frozen banana (no need to chop) + 2 T nut butter
Cinnamon Raisin: A few dashes of cinnamon & a handful of raisins
Apple Pie: Diced apple, nuts (e.g., pecans/walnuts), maple syrup, cinnamon
Peaches & Cream: diced peaches topped with greek yogurt or half & half
🎓 Further Study
How Much Oatmeal Should I Eat? [Livestrong]
The Best Rice Cookers [Wirecutter]
7 Ways to Make Leftover Oatmeal [Food52]
👨💻 Know anybody who would make a great researcher or writer? We’re hiring!
🎁 Email us an oatmeal picture for a chance to win a prize.