What if I told you there’s a better way to make oatmeal? Forget the instructions on the back of the bag. It’s about time I highlighted my go-to method for homemade oatmeal.
This oatmeal is extra flavorful and fluffy, not mushy. It’s miles better than packets of instant oatmeal or standard stovetop oatmeal. I really look forward to these oats in the morning, and they make great leftovers.
The trick is to toast old-fashioned oats in the pot first, before adding any liquid. This brings out their inherent nuttiness. You’ll find the rest of the details below, but it’s very simple to do and absolutely worth the extra few minutes.
You’ve heard me talk about what a difference toasting oats makes in my steel-cut oat recipe and toasted muesli recipe. Now we’re applying the same principle to rolled oats. Try this delicious and healthy oatmeal for breakfast!
Watch How to Make Oatmeal
How to Make Oatmeal
This basic oatmeal recipe yields extraordinary results. It’s quick, too!
You’ll find the full recipe below, but here’s the gist:
- Melt butter or coconut oil in a saucepan. Technically, you can toast the oats in a dry skillet, but a little butter or coconut oil makes the final result taste even nicer.
- Add old-fashioned oats and cook, while stirring, until they smell wonderfully toasty. Old-fashioned oats, otherwise known as rolled oats, are key here. Quick-cooking oats turn to mush, and steel-cut oats require much longer on the stove.
- Pour in milk and water, plus some cinnamon and salt. Use your milk of choice (non-dairy milks work just as well), or replace it with an equal amount of water for simplicity’s sake. The cinnamon is optional but adds complementary flavor. Salt simply enhances all of the other flavors—oatmeal without salt will taste bland, and oatmeal needn’t be bland.
- Stir and cook for several minutes, then turn off the heat (yes, turn off the heat!), cover, and let the mixture rest for 7 minutes. During that time, it will magically transform into the best oatmeal you’ve ever had!
Favorite Oatmeal Toppings
- Fruit: Sliced ripe banana, fresh or defrosted berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries), or fresh pomegranate
- Chia jam or fruit compote
- Drizzle of maple syrup or honey
- Pat of butter or drizzle of heavy cream
- Sprinkle of whole chia seeds, flax seeds or ground flaxseed
- Pinch of warming spices, such as extra cinnamon, ground ginger or pumpkin spice
- Greek yogurt
- Nut butter, such as peanut butter, almond butter or pecan butter
To feel full longer, add a generous dollop of nut butter or Greek yogurt to your oatmeal. They both offer some delicious creaminess in addition to healthy protein and fat.
Old-fashioned oats are a heart-healthy whole grain offering a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. According to my nutrition breakdown, which you can view in full underneath the recipe, one serving of this oatmeal offers a good source of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and thiamin (vitamin B1).
Oats also contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that offers a range of benefits. Beta-glucan fiber is known to reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels, encourage the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract, and reduce blood sugar and insulin response. Beta-glucan is why you feel so full after eating a bowl of oatmeal. Read more about the health benefits of oats here.
More Wholesome Oat Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this oatmeal, be sure to try these recipes throughout the seasons:
- Apple Steel-Cut Oatmeal
- Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
- Cherry Pecan Muesli
- Homemade Bircher Muesli
- Overnight Oats (Recipe & Tips)
Please let me know how you like this oatmeal in the comments. I love hearing from you.
How to Make the Best Oatmeal
- Prep Time: 3 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 18 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: N/A
- Diet: Gluten Free
The trick to making the best oatmeal? Toast it in the pot first. This oatmeal is flavorful, fluffy and truly delicious! Recipe yields 4 bowls of oatmeal and leftovers keep well for about 4 days.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ cup milk of choice or additional water
- Generous pinch of fine salt
- Pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
- Melt the butter in a medium-to-large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the oats and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the oats smell toasty and some are starting to turn lightly golden, about 4 to 6 minutes.
- Pour the water and milk into the pot, being careful to avoid splatters. Add the salt and cinnamon, if desired. Stir to evenly incorporate the oats, then watch the pot until the mixture is bubbling rapidly around the edges. Continue cooking until the bubbles expand a couple of inches toward the center of the pot, about 3 minutes in total.
- Cover the pot and turn off the heat. If using an electric cooktop, move the pot to a cool burner. If using a gas cooktop, leave it be. Either way, let the covered pot rest for 7 minutes.
- When the timer’s up, remove the lid to check on the oats. The oats are done when they appear slightly dry and separated on top, with very little moisture remaining at the bottom of the pot. If it’s still too wet, recover the pot and let it rest for 1 to 2 minutes more. Serve as desired.
- Leftover oatmeal will keep for about 4 days. Let the oats cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.
Recipe adapted from Megan Gordan’s cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, also featured in my recipe for Toasted Oatmeal with Strawberry Chia Jam and Coconut Whipped Cream.
Change it up: This recipe is very flexible. You can reduce or omit the butter, if desired (just toast the oats in the dry pot). Use all water and no milk, if you prefer. Omit the cinnamon or play with your own spices, to taste. Pumpkin pie spice blend would be nice, or ground ginger.
Make it gluten free: Be sure to buy certified gluten-free oats.
Make it dairy free/vegan: Use coconut oil or vegan butter (or omit and toast the oats in a dry pot). Choose a dairy-free milk or use water instead.