Easy Oatmeal Recipe

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Learn how to make oatmeal like a pro! It’s truly one of the easiest (and fastest) healthy meals you can make. Enjoy a basic bowl of oatmeal or get creative with endless sweet and savory flavor options. I’ll give you a few ideas and tips!

Bowls of oatmeal on a table.

When it comes to healthy breakfast recipes, overnight oats, baked oatmeal, egg muffins, chia seed pudding, and shakshuka are always on repeat. But let’s not overlook the humble bowl of oatmeal! While this healthy recipe may seem like a no brainer, many folks often search for the perfect recipe – one that creates a rich, creamy, and fluffy pot of oatmeal. Well, your search can stop here as I’ll show you how you can achieve the best bowl of oatmeal in a snap!

The texture of oatmeal can vary, depending on the type of oats you buy. Here are three popular varieties:

  • Steel Cut Oats: Steel-cut oats are whole oat groats chopped into pieces resembling little rice grains. They retain their shape well after cooking and results in a chewy and creamy like porridge. But, the cooking time is fairly long – about 30 minutes.
  • Old Fashioned Rolled Oats: This type is my favorite to use for oatmeal! Rolled oats are steamed then rolled flat, which allows them to be cooked faster while still creating a deliciously creamy and hearty texture.
  • Quick Cooking Oats: These are the most processed oats, undergoing pre-cooked, dried, rolled, and pressed steps. Their downside? They tend to produce a mushier oatmeal. But on the bright side, they only require about one minute to cook. So if you’re in a rush, this is a great option.
Small plates of steel cut oats, rolled oats, and quick cooking oats on a table.

Ingredients For The Best Oatmeal Recipe

It takes just three ingredients to make the perfect bowl of oatmeal. Can’t beat that, eh?

  • Rolled Oats: These will create deliciously creamy porridge in just 5 to 10 minutes. Remember to buy certified gluten-free oats if you’re gluten-sensitive or celiac.
  • Water or Milk: For the liquid you can use water, milk or dairy-free milk (like almond milk or cashew milk), it’s up to you! For that perfect level of creaminess, a 50/50 water and milk combo is great.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt will transform a bland bowl of oatmeal into a flavorful one. Trust me, don’t leave it out.
  • Toppings: What’s oatmeal without toppings? Have fun with spices, fruits, nuts, and so much more (see below!)
Ingredients for oatmeal laying on a table

Is Oatmeal Gluten Free?

If you’re gluten intolerant or celiac (like me), you do need to be careful with what brand of oats you buy. While oats are naturally gluten-free, the facilities that process oats often process grains such as wheat, barley, or rye. And that creates significant grain “dust” which cross-contaminates the oats with gluten.

Additionally, the different types of crops are sometimes harvested with the same tools, leading to cross contamination. So it’s best to buy certified gluten-free oats to avoid any surprise flare ups.

How To Make Oatmeal Like A Pro

Just remember this ratio 1:2. For every portion of oats, you need double the amount of liquid. For a single serving with 1/2 cup of oats, that means you’ll need 1 cup of liquid.

Oatmeal being boiled and stirred in a pot.

On the Stove

Whether you’re making a single portion or 10 portions for a crowd, it’s easy to make perfect oatmeal on the stove. Here’s the process:

  • Boil water. In a small pot, bring the water or milk and salt to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the oats. Stir in the oats then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes to let the liquid absorb, while stirring occasionally.
  • Top and serve. Add flavorful toppings, a drizzle of milk if you’d like, and enjoy.

In the Microwave

This method is best for small or individual portions. Here’s the process:

  • Combine: The water or milk, oats, and salt in a bowl. Give it a quick stir.
  • Heat: Microwave the bowl (uncovered) on high for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. The oats will start to bubble a bit, so it’s best to use a larger bowl.
  • Top and serve: Again, you can add flavorful toppings, a drizzle of milk, maple syrup, etc., and enjoy.

Make Your Oatmeal Taste Amazing

Popular toppings include maple syrup, spices, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and nut butters. Those are wonderful sweet toppings, but let’s not forget that oatmeal can be savory too! Think of oatmeal like a piece of toast (they’re both made from grains after all). So whatever you’d top on toast you can top on oatmeal!

Sweet Flavors

  • Apple Cinnamon: Add diced apples, chopped pecans, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  • Banana Blueberry: Add sliced bananas, blueberries, a drizzle of almond butter, and a sprinkle of chia seeds.
  • Strawberries and Cream: Add diced strawberries, a dollop of yogurt, and a sprinkle of flaxseeds.
  • Raspberry Chia Jam: Add a spoonful of chia seed jam, coconut flakes, sliced almonds, and extra milk on top.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: Stir in cacao powder, then add a drizzle of peanut butter, and shredded coconut.
  • Pumpkin Spice: Stir in pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and top with chopped pecans and maple syrup.
  • Coffee, Walnut & Dates: Replace some of the liquid with a little bit of brewed coffee as it’s cooking. Then top it off with chopped dates, toasted walnuts, and banana slices.
Bowls of sweet oatmeal flavors on a table.

Savory Flavors

Savory oatmeal recipes in 2 bowls.

How To Store Leftover Cooked Oatmeal

Did you make a little too much oatmeal? Or do you want to meal prep it? Well good news, you can save it and enjoy it throughout the week.

  • To store: Let the oatmeal cool, then place in a sealed container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
  • For freezing: If you want to store it longer, just place it in the freezer. It will stay good for several months.
  • To reheat: Add a splash of water or milk to revive its creaminess and microwave your bowl for about 45 seconds (if previously thawed in the fridge). Give it a stir, and pop it back in the microwave for one more minute until you’ve reached your desired temperature.

Common Questions

Can you make oatmeal in a slow cooker?

Yes – but sticking with steel-cut oats are best for this. To make it, add 1 cup of steel cut oats, 3 cups of milk (or water), and give it all a stir. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high while stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Is it better to use milk or water?

You can go either way. But milk definitely makes for a creamier consistency. If you want that creamy consistency without using milk, stir a mashed banana into the oatmeal when it’s almost done.

What if my oatmeal is dry?

Just add a splash more water or milk, and stir it in.

Is oatmeal good for you?

Most definitely! Oatmeal is considered to be one of the healthiest breakfast options that’s a nutritional powerhouse, rich in antioxidants, it lowers cholesterol, and so much more.

Bowls of oatmeal recipes on a table next to a napkin.

More Ways To Use Oats

A bag of oats can take you much further than just a bowl of oatmeal. Here’s a few ways to get creative with them.

  • Blend some oats into creamy oat milk.
  • Mix with chocolate and bake them into the best no bake cookies.
  • Stir with a few other ingredients to create energy balls.
  • Create a crumble topping and bake it into a deliciously warm berry crisp.

A warm bowl of oatmeal will surely satisfy all your comfort food cravings. If you make it, I’d love to hear what you think (and what your favorite toppings are) in a comment below!

A table of sweet and savory oatmeal recipes.

Easy Oatmeal Recipe (with Healthy Toppings)

5 from 21 votes
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 7 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

Learn how to make the perfect bowl of oatmeal! Rolled oats are transformed into a hearty, creamy, and healthy breakfast option that's ready in just 10 minutes. Watch the video below to see how I get creative with toppings!

Video

Ingredients 
 

Basic Oatmeal

Instructions 

  • In a small saucepan, bring the water or milk and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, stir in the oats and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the oatmeal simmer for 5 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency. Make sure to stir occasionally.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid, then let it rest for a few minutes. This will give the oats time to absorb the liquid. If they look too dry, stir in a splash more liquid.
    Oatmeal being stirred in a pot.
  • Top your oatmeal with your favorite ingredients then serve!
    Oatmeal recipe with blueberries, bananas, and almond butter.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 702mg | Potassium: 479mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 927IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 351mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make oatmeal, oatmeal, oatmeal recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally published November 2020, but updated to include new information.

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




66 Comments

  1. I’m not sure if I did something wrong but the flavour was way too salty for me! I cook and bake often and I’m sure that I used a 1/4 tsp so I don’t why it tasted like this. Could it be the salt that I used?

    Other than that, the texture is great and it was easy to make!

    1. Hi Summer – if you used table salt, that can often taste “saltier.” I always use kosher salt or sea salt in my recipes. :)

  2. Hi, just about to make this for my children but I was wondering how much sugar & salt will I need if I want to make it sweet and salty.
    PS: I love ❤️ your recipes

    1. Hi Freya – It will depend on what kind of flavor you’re going for. But most of the recipes are going to be sweet and salty since the oats themselves are not sweet.

  3. Being able to make oatmeal & all its different ways is my favorite way to express my food creativity! Aka play with my food 😅

    I take pictures and share with my family to inspire them to get up and make themselves something to eat!!5 stars

    1. Sharing is caring! I’m glad you love this oatmeal recipe and all the ways you can get creative with it.

  4. This is my go to oatmeal recipe! It’s so simple and delicious and you can switch it up with a ton of different flavor combinations and toppings. I absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for a healthy breakfast recipe!5 stars

  5. Hello! Can this recipe be modified to make oatmeal for a few days at a time? How should it be cooked differently, and how should it be stored for preserved and optimal quality? 
    Thanks!!

  6. Greetings. I have a silly question – how many cups does one serving yield? I would love to incorporate this into my weekly meal prep, and just wanted to convert the single serving to a 2 cup portion.
    Many thanks!

  7. Isn’t it good to soak the oats overnight? It makes the oats more digestible and the end result is an even creamier oatmeal! And I never thought of making a savory oatmeal. Thank you for the idea and for such great recipes and planning ideas! I recently found your Youtube station and have been loving it!

    1. Give the savory version a try as well and let me know what you think! Also, welcome to the Downshiftology community :)

  8. I have been making the oatmeal recipe with apples, cinnamon, maple syrup and nuts. It’s really great and dresses up the oatmeal to be a very satlsfing meal. I meal prep the oatmeal and I will be trying your other varieties too! I need to have more fiber in my life so this wonderful! As usual your recipes rock! Thanks so much!5 stars

  9. I cook my oats in vanilla custard with diced canned peaches and a couple of tablespoons of the canning liquid ( my favourite is mango syrup) . Igbo I’ve been a good boy I did a scoop of ice cream5 stars

  10. Pumpkin Spice is looking very delicious , i am going to follow this recipe. thanks to your hard work to make this article.

  11. Hi!
    Thank you for the amazing recipes!
    Just wanted to know if it would be okay to heat the overnight soaked oats recipe.

  12. Finally, a way to have my 4 children eat every bite of a healthy breakfast with plenty of variety so they don’t get bored eating the same oatmeal recipe.5 stars

  13. Just tried my first savory oatmeal ever!! I tried the savory mushroom recipe you shared and it was DELICIOUS! I also used your tips and tricks on how to poach an egg and it turned out beautifully. So happy with these recipes :) I’ve also been eating the strawberries and cream version all week as well-SO GOOD-Thanks Lisa!5 stars

  14. I don’t eat a lot of oatmeal much anymore because it’s so carb heavy, but when I do, I follow your recipe. I LOVE all the flavor combos- I typically like the sweeter ones for breakfast (morning) and the savory ones for evening (breakfast for dinner).  5 stars

  15. Made this savory oatmeal with egg and avocado, it was a total success!! Even my toddlers liked it. Thanx so much for awesome ideas!5 stars

  16. My favorite type of breakfast. A little pinch of salt really does make the difference. Like to mash the banana and add a spoon of almond butter in my oatmeal to get the creamy texture. I also like to put a tbsp of homemade nutella in the middle of a bowl before I pour the oatmeal on it for the act of surprise when you dig in.5 stars

  17. I LOVE ALL of your recipes and videos. Is there any way you can send me or publish to video, recipes for steel-cut oats? Overnight, chewy oats are my absolute favorite, and/or cooked recipes would be so Very Appreciated. Thank you much for taking the time to address my request. You’re the Best!! 😉5 stars

    1. Hi Denise – Thanks so much! I will definitely keep in mind of doing a small snippet on how to cook steel-cut oats.

  18. Thank you for reminding this option for breakfast! Very good ideas for topping. Will definitely try some of the savoury ones!

  19. Lisa, I love your website and simplicity to present all these wonderful recipes , I always share with mom and daughter every creation i copy from you. My daughter learned to make “granola bars” and mom has baked your breads.
    Thanks for giving us a different insight on savory oatmeal.5 stars

    1. Thanks so much Jennifer for your kind words! I’m happy you love my recipes and share them with your family. That means the world to me! x

  20. So many great oatmeal recipes here! I’m a sucker for sweet oatmeal but I’m now very tempted to try some of these savory oatmeal recipes. They all look so good!5 stars

    1. Thanks so much Michelle! I’m glad you enjoyed all the variations, definitely give some of those savory ones a try!

  21. Thank you for your amazing website and ideas. I am visiting your page at 1130pm and now I thinking of making oatmeal 🙂5 stars

      1. As always, thank you for your great recipe. My only comment is that I would love to get the ratios for the toppings, I worry I might not get it right. Thank you for inspiring us to meal prep and eat delicious food, you make it always seem possible and so easy. 

  22. Here’s my favorite savory oatmeal. I learned this oatmeal variation at a zen meditation retreat and it is now one of my favorites at home. To cooked oatmeal add diced apple, nori cut or torn into small pieces, walnut pieces, and a splash of tamari.
    Another variation I like but don’t make often any more is oatmeal cooked with a bouilion cube or broth and some quartered mushrooms. When the oatmeal and mushrooms are cooked, top with grated cheddar cheese and some onion powder.

  23. Glad you made this oatmeal post and to see more savory ideas which is good because I cook oatmeal for supper often and now I can add some variety.5 stars

  24. I really want to try the savory ones! When I have oatmeal I cook it with a banana for natural sweetness and for milk I use coconut milk, then I add nut butter and chocolate chips 😜

  25. I am in complete oatmeal heaven!! I feel a little boring making it ‘just plain’ with so many options but it cooked perfectly. Can’t wait to make a savory version next.5 stars

  26. With the cold weather finally upon us here in Sonoma County (NorCal), we’re getting our oatmeal brekkies on. It’s super quick to make the steel cut oats (we like those best) in my Instant Pot with a combo of creamy coconut milk & water. I make a bunch and store in frig for the week. I had heard that the steel cut was best nutritionally so that’s what we generally use. The savory topping options you shared here look yummy so we’ll try some this week. Thanks!

    1. Steel cut is definitely a great choice for thick and creamy oatmeal, especially if you have an Instant Pot. Can’t wait for you to try the savory options! I hope to add more savory flavors to the site over time as well. So stay tuned.

  27. My breakfast 90%of time is 1/2 cup quick oats cooked in MW with 1 cup water. Then add either blueberries or strawberries or hydrated dried apricots and maple syrup and 2% milk. Once a week or so i’ll have a poached egg on an english muffin.