December 10, 2023


Cooking Is My World

Easy Oatmeal Recipe – Downshiftology

Easy Oatmeal Recipe - Downshiftology

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, 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 1/2 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

  • Jammy Egg & Spinach: Add a jammy soft boiled egg or poached egg, garlic sauteed spinach (or garlic sauteed Swiss chard), avocado slices, and chives.
  • Fried Egg & Salsa: Add a fried egg, pico de gallo (or classic salsa or avocado salsa), and microgreens.
  • Savory Mushroom: Add sauteed mushrooms, a poached or fried egg, a dash of tamari soy sauce, and chopped green onions.
  • Butternut Squash and Peppers: Add roasted butternut squash, diced and sauteed bell peppers with garlic and onions, and a sprinkle of goat cheese.
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 Answered

  • 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.

Oatmeal Recipe Video

You too can master the perfect bowl of oatmeal. Watch the video below for an easy, step-by-step guide and get inspired by all the topping variations!

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 (+ Healthy Toppings)

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 above to see how I get creative with toppings!

  • Thankfully, there are many options for gluten-free oats nowadays. I always buy this brand.

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

©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

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