Oatmeal

10 Reviews / 4.9 Average
I actually don’t even like oatmeal, but it’s a very easy “real food” meal that both of my daughters happen to LOVE. It's such a simple and quick breakfast recipe that you can pull together even on busy mornings. Plus, it doesn't include any artificial flavors or sweeteners like the ones you get in a box at the store. Serve it with a side of fresh fruit for a delicious, healthy breakfast.
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My girls love it so much that my 1st grader takes oatmeal to school as her snack every single day and my preschooler sometimes takes it as part of her lunch (in a Thermos to keep it warm). Apparently a lot of people use water to make their oatmeal, but our secret is milk. I feel the same way about hot chocolate, too. Forget the water…use milk! At the start of our budget pledge last year I tried making oatmeal with water as a cost saving measure and my 6-year-old would have nothing to do with it. I didn’t even tell her anything was different I just served it like I normally do, and she knew immediately that something was wrong. And she wouldn’t eat it either. So after more than a year of playing around and tweaking our oatmeal recipe just the way my kids like it I thought I would share.

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126 thoughts on “Oatmeal”

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    1. Before the days of microwaves, we made oatmeal in pans. Recommendation was to fill the pan with cold water after serving, and that worked well. You wouldn’t want to shock the pan by going from boiling to ice cold, so I’d let it cool until after we eat and then soak/rinse with cold water.

    2. I serve my oatmeal and immediately wash with hot water while the oatmeal cools in my bowl. It takes less than a minute to wash. :)

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Ashley. Regular is just rolled oats with no added ingredients. Those are fine. ~Amy

  1. Lisa, this recipe is great, but I thought you were cutting artificial flavoring, too? Vanilla extract is not flavored by the vanilla bean it is actually artificially flavored. Do you use some alternative?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Abbey. There is artificial vanilla and pure vanilla extract. Lisa sometimes even makes her own. Pure vanilla extract is made by soaking beans in alcohol for several weeks. She does not use artificial. :) ~Amy

  2. If you like the texture of steel-cut oats, but hate the long cooking time, start the night before. Add 1 cup oats to 3 cups boiling water, stir, cover, and let sit overnight. In the morning, add another cup of liquid (water, milk, juice, whatever) sweetener, spices, etc, stir and heat to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and let it cook until it’s thick, then let it sit for 5 minutes, uncovered. REALLY good.

  3. What is the difference between oatmeals, i have been told to stay away from oats that cook instantly because they loose their nutritional value. Is this true? I love the steel cut oats but hate the 25minutes required.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Brenda. Steel cut oats, because they are in a more whole form, probably do hold onto a bit more nutrients when cooked than their rolled counterparts. The only difference between old fashioned rolled oats, quick oats, and instant oats, is how thinly they are rolled and how quickly they soften when cooked. ~Amy

    2. As soon as the grain is cut in any way, it starts to oxidize the nutrients. So steel cut isn’t any better nutritionally than rolled oats or quick oats. You would have to buy whole oat groats and slice them yourself to retain the nutrition. Basically, oats are fibre, which is still excellent for you.

  4. Has anyone tried this in the microwave, similar to the store bought packets? Also, should I use “traditional” rolled oats or the quick oats? Thanks :)

    1. Megan, I use quick oats.I use 1/2 cup oats and 1 cup almond milk. I microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds. I let it sit for a minute and then add honey and cinnamon.

  5. 5 stars
    We are moving slowly toward “real food” and I was still using oatmeal packets from the store. But we are iced and ran out, so I decided to look up how you do it. It was a big hit! The only thing I did different was to use my hand blender to blend the dry oats a bit before cooking. About half are still whole oats, but there are smaller pieces and powder that make it creamier and more likethe consistency you get from the packets. I made up several more packets of measured, blended oats with cinnamon and raisins for the next several days!

    1. Melynda, your tip about blending the oats first so they have the texture of the packets worked great! I have been trying to switch to rolls oats but missed the taste of the packets and this did the trick!!

  6. I absolutely love oatmeal. To save a little money I usually use half milk and half water – there is not much of a difference in taste, and it tastes sooo much better than when you just use water!
    Plus, there are so many varieties- add any fruit!
    I usually add two or three differend kinds of fruit to keep it interesting- anything from apples, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, oranges, mandarin oranges, pineapple, … you get the picture.
    Tastes amazing!

  7. Tried this for my child’s school snack today. She loved it! It was delicious and easy. Thank you for the idea and the Thermos tips!!

  8. Hi, I’m new to the website so not sure if this has been discussed before but what is the best oats to get? Rolled, quick oats, steel cut, and is plain instant ok? Thank you for any tips! :)

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kristie. You can use whatever you prefer though I would avoid instant. The texture of instant is far more mushy. :) ~Amy

  9. 4 stars
    I am in my late 60’s and this is pretty much how I have made my oatmeal for many many years. I also have made it in my crockpot overnight

  10. I send oatmeal to daycare with my 21 month old usually once or twice a week, and have a question if I could prepare it differently. I send dry quick oats with a little brown sugar, a several shakes of cinnamon and either dried or fresh fruit. I pack this the night before, all in a single glass dish, and place in the refrigerator. His teachers add the water and microwave it in his classroom. Would honey and vanilla be ok to add to the dry ingredients like this?

  11. This is such a great recipe! I love the oats like this, and it is easier for my kids to eat. Love your site, keep up the great work! xoxo

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Shaina. Honestly, buying organic items free of pesticides, GMO’s and such is always a good idea. However, we know it is not always affordable nor are a large variety of organic items always available. When picking and choosing pay close attention to the EWG’s Dirty Dozen + list. This post will help guide that:https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/05/02/what-to-buy-organic/. We do look for organic grains whenever possible. ~Amy

  12. 5 stars
    Thanks for the awesome recipe. Made it for breakfast this morning. I like to use it as a base and add things like cranberries, pecans, sunflower seeds, etc. Do you soak your oats over night and if so do you just soak in water or do you add yogurt/kefir/something to the water to help make the oats more easily digested?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Nicole. We have not practiced soaking our oats but I have read a bit about its potential digestive benefits. ~Amy

  13. We are just starting out making healthier food choices. I am trying to start slow ( since I have NO IDEA what I’m doing) I am starting on making our breakfast healthy and more natural. My kids love oatmeal in the morning, so I would like to try your recipe. Please forgive my ignorance, but would it be ok ( healthy/natural) to use Quaker quick oats for this recipe?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Sabrina. Congratulations on making the choice to get started! We hope you use this blog as a guidepost. And yes, you can use quick oats. They will have a bit less texture and cook a bit quicker. ~Amy

  14. Oh,by the way, your right, the secret is the milk. It makes the oatmeal taste so good…naturally! Thanks again!

  15. Thank you so much for this recipe. I was worried that my four year old daughter wouldn’t like it because I usually make her oatmeal with brown sugar and the fake maple syrup that is pretty much just sugar, but the LOVES this recipe and I even let her cook it (with supervision of course) and I think that helped! This oatmeal is the best I have tasted ever with no butter, salt, and sugar!! Thank you so much!

  16. 5 stars
    Shredded coconut, mashed bananas, applesauce, peanut butter, etc. I hope all of you that comment realize how helpful you can be! We are pledging to kick the instant packets habit here, and this recipe is perfect! My family and our health thank you!

  17. 5 stars
    I didn’t like oatmeal until I tried this recipe. The only thing I did different was use real maple syrup along with the honey and I put dried cranberries in with the oatmeal so they got all plumped up by the end. This is so good I think I’ll be able to get my husband to eat it!

  18. I just made a great Fall oatmeal that my kids LOVED (and so did I even though I’m not a big oatmeal fan). I used my pumpkin coffee creamer, which I made from the Deliciously Organic webpage: http://deliciouslyorganic.net/homemade-coffee-creamer/

    1/3 cup whole milk, 1/3 cup pumpkin creamer, 1 Tbs pumpkin puree–warm in saucepan. Add 1/2 cup rolled oats and cook for 3 min. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice before serving!

  19. I just made this for my oatmeal loving daughters! I put apples in it, they love apple oatmeal. I asked my daughter (age 9) to let me know what she thought because it was a new recipe- she said “Ummm, yeah, this is good!”

    Sweet-ness!!! Didn’t dump a ton of brown sugar in it (none at all in fact) and I got a huge thumbs up from the kids!

    Although I have to say- I do not have picky eaters at all- but none-the-less, oatmeal is by far one of their faves- and now it is even better! :-D

  20. Quadrupled the recipe for my whole family. I only added a tablespoon of real peanut butter and topped with sliced strawberries. My kids gobbled it up! We have tried many of your recipes and/or incorporated the 100 days rules to other recipes for several weeks now. I can’t believe how much my kids are willing to try and really do like. Thank you for helping us get healthier.

  21. I love to use a dry fruit mix in place of the raisins. Everything softens up. Cinnamon is key because it keeps the glucose levels from spiking which can happen with oatmeal. I use water and mix in dry milk that I need to rotate in my food storage. For a treat I occasionally stir jam or a little chocolate in.

  22. I have a 10 month old and want to introduce oatmeal to her breakfast menu. Do you know if I can use vanilla extract at this age? I know I have to stay away from honey and no milk yet, do you have any ideas/suggestions to keep it sweet without the honey or vanilla extract?

    Thank you!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Andrea. I’ve not heard anything about vanilla extract, but, if you are unsure, I would check with your doctor. You could always sweeten it with fruit such as banana. Jill

  23. Yum yum! Why don’t you just microwave them, and stir everything in at the end (or before you cook)? To me microwaving oatmeal is much less mess. I hate cleaning a sticky pot, especially if it boiled over! :) Love your website!

  24. I have been making this same recipe for oatmeal for over a year for my toddlers. They love it, I just wish their older brother and sister did…

  25. Try simmering the raisins and cinnamon in the milk/water before adding the oatmeal…it sweetens the liquid even more than adding them at the end. yum!

  26. That’s funny, I’ve never made oatmeal with water. My kids love it when I make it this way – cook/microwave milk with the oats and a couple dashes of cinnamon. When cooked, I mash a half of a banana in it. That’s it!

  27. I sometimes use apple juice or other juice as the liquid for oatmeal, which is helpful for the lactose-intolerant folk. I buy Silver Palate Thick and Rough oatmeal and combine the liquid and dry oatmeal together first, cook it on medium, turn the heat off when it starts bubbling, then stir and cover for a few minutes. Comes out creamier.
    Re: buying anything in bulk: The idea is nice (old-fashioned, “natural,” I’ve found more spoiled, buggy, dirty material that way. Boxed is more reliable if it’s a good, chemical-free brand.

  28. My youngest daughter loves oatmeal for breakfast every morning, but doesn’t like the texture of whole oats. I just throw a few cups in the blender and hit pulse a few times. It chops them up enough to give them a smoother texture while maintaing the same nutritional value (I also do this for my baby boy, but I pulse his to a powder and use that to make his baby cereal…the same trip works with rice, barley, and rye but you have to cook the grains for 10 minutes since they are still raw…not cooked and dehydrated like boxed baby cereals).

  29. My girls love this oatmeal made in the mornings! We used to do Quaker (shameful, I know). Now I make this for them, but we use more milk. I use 1/3 cups oats and 2/3 cup milk. Cook for about 5 minutes. Once I remove it from the heat I add some vanilla extract and maple syrup. After it sits on the stove for a few minutes (and cools off), it soaks up a little bit more of the milk and gets really creamy! When I make it for myself, I do half water, half milk. Super yummy. I use fresh or frozen berries. Thanks so much for this fantastic website!!

  30. Until now, it had never really occured to me that using milk rather than water would make oatmeal taste any different. I tried it, and I am so glad I did! It tastes SOOO much better (especially with whole milk because it is so creamy). Thank you for posting this. :)

  31. My kids LOVED this oatmeal this morning! I don’t like oatmeal, so I didn’t try it, but the scraped bowls and quiet breakfast table told me it was a hit! So far this week (I just discovered your site), we’ve had the PBJ Smoothie, the peanut butter banana smoothie, berry sauce, and now the oatmeal. The kids (and hubby!! SHOCK) have loved all of it. Thanks for the recipes! My doughnut maker should be here this week and I’m going to try bagles!