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Step away from that box of instant oatmeal packets! Instead, pick up a carton of rolled oats and learn how to make oatmeal from scratch. Even if you’re not a morning person, you can totally do this—and it’s healthy compared to sugary instant oats!

the best recipe for easy healthy oatmeal

Why You’ll Love This Oatmeal Recipe

  • Breakfast 101. Like my guides on how to cook steel cut oats, how to cook quinoa, how to cook brown rice, and how to pour cereal (click that link and enjoy a throwback), we’re getting back to basics with this post on cooking oatmeal. Learn what makes the perfect bowl of oatmeal and then start coming up with your own variations!
  • Oatmeal for Breakfast is a WIN. Oatmeal is a stick-to-your-ribs, cozy, satisfying, hearty and healthy breakfast. But unlike so many other filling breakfast options, oatmeal is also healthy—oats are loaded with fiber and they’re an excellent source of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
  • Customizable. Just like my Overnight Steel Cut Oats, Baked Oatmeal, and Oatmeal Pancakes, the world is yours with this oatmeal recipe, because you can add just about any toppings to put your own spin on it. And yes, I do mean any toppings—savory oatmeal is a thing too!
  • Ready in Minutes. Below, I share two cooking methods for oatmeal: on the stovetop and in the microwave. Whichever option you choose, you’ll still have breakfast ready to eat in under 10 minutes. (Who needs instant oatmeal packets? Not you!)
healthy oatmeal recipe with fruit

How to Make Oatmeal on the Stove and in the Microwave

The Ingredients

Basic Oatmeal Recipe Ingredients

Dietary Note

Be sure to buy certified gluten-free rolled oats if you’re on a gluten-free diet.

  • Milk. Dairy milk or plant-based milk both work.
  • Water. A combination of water and milk give oatmeal just the right consistency.
  • Kosher Salt. A pinch is essential! It enhances the flavor and keeps the oatmeal from tasting bland.

Optional Mix-Ins

  • Chia Seeds, Flaxseed Meal, or Hemp Seeds. For some bonus fiber and protein.
  • Nut Butter. Protein, healthy fats, and flavor, all in a single spoonful.
  • Cinnamon. A sprinkle of cozy spice for a cozy breakfast!

Flavor Ideas

  • Apple Cinnamon. Apple, walnuts, and cinnamon.
  • Maple Blueberry. Blueberries, sliced almonds, and pure maple syrup.
  • Banana Peanut Butter. Peanut butter, bananas, and granola for crunch.
  • Strawberry Cream. Diced strawberries and Greek yogurt—plain or vanilla.

The Directions

How to Make Oatmeal on the Stovetop

making oatmeal on the stove easy steps
  1. Boil. Combine all of the basic oatmeal ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
perfect stovetop oatmeal
  1. Simmer. Cook the oatmeal for about 5 minutes, or until it reaches your desired texture.
  2. Rest and Finish. Turn off the heat, let the oatmeal sit for 2 minutes, then top as desired and ENJOY!

How to Make Oatmeal in the Microwave

how to make oatmeal on the stove or microwave
  1. Combine in a Big Bowl. Stir together all of the basic oatmeal ingredients in a large bowl. Leave lots of room for it to expand!
oatmeal in a bowl for microwave or stovetop easy oatmeal
  1. Microwave for 90 Seconds. Use high power.
  2. Stir and Microwave for 1 Additional Minute. The oats should be softened.
  3. Rest and Finish. Let the oatmeal sit for 2 minutes, then top as desired and ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Warm up leftover oatmeal in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat with a splash of water or milk to loosen it up. (You can also eat leftovers cold.)
  • To Freeze. Freeze oatmeal in a freezer-safe storage container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat according to the instructions above.

Meal Prep Tip

Make a big batch of oatmeal on Sunday night, divvy it up into individual containers, and reheat it in the microwave for an effortless breakfast all week long.

old fashioned oatmeal recipe in a bowl with fruit topping

What to Serve with Oatmeal

  • Saucepan. The perfect size saucepan if you’re using the stovetop method.
  • Large Bowl. I love this mixing bowl set because it has every size you could possibly need.
  • Liquid Measuring Cup. Glass measuring cups last so much longer than plastic!

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t Use Quick Oats. As you can see from this recipe, rolled oats are fast enough! Quick oats are still healthy, but I find the texture of rolled oats is much heartier. Quick oats taste mushy.
  • Toast Them If You Have Time. If you can spare an extra minute or two, toast the oats in a little bit of oil or butter before adding the rest of the ingredients. It brings out their nutty flavor.
  • Salt Really Makes a Difference! Salt isn’t just to make foods salty. It’s an all-purpose flavor enhancer and a pinch of salt will add a little oomph to your bowl of oatmeal. Don’t skip the salt!
  • Adjust the Liquid as Needed. Do you like your oatmeal thinner? Or so thick you can stand up a spoon in it? Feel free to adjust the amount of liquid to achieve your just-right consistency.
oatmeal with fruit recipe

Oatmeal

5 from 2 votes
How to make oatmeal from scratch on the stovetop or in the microwave, plus topping ideas—just 10 minutes for a healthy, hearty breakfast!

Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes

Servings: 1 serving

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats also called old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup milk any kind you like
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Pinch kosher salt

Optional Mix-Ins

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds flaxseed meal, or hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter
  • Pinch cinnamon optional

For Apple Cinnamon

  • 1 diced apple
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
  • Extra pinch cinnamon

For Maple Blueberry

  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • Drizzle pure maple syrup

For Banana Peanut Butter

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter stir into the hot oatmeal
  • 1/2 banana diced
  • Handful granola optional for crunch

For Strawberry Cream

  • 1/3 cup diced strawberries
  • Plain or vanilla Greek yogurt

Instructions
 

  • TO MAKE ON THE STOVE: In a medium saucepan, combine the oats, milk, water, salt, and any desired mix-ins. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer until the oats are softened to your liking, about 5 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes, then serve with any desired toppings.
  • TO MAKE IN THE MICROWAVE: In a roomy microwave-safe bowl that will give you lots of room for the oatmeal to expand, combine the oats, milk, water, salt, and any desired mix-ins (to be extra safe if you aren't sure if your bowl is big enough, set it on a plate to catch any oats that boil over). Heat on high for 90 seconds, then stir and microwave until the oatmeal has bubbled up and softened, about 1 minute more. Let stand 2 minutes, then stir and enjoy hot with any desired toppings.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Warm up leftover oatmeal in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat with a splash of water or milk to loosen it up. (You can also eat leftovers cold.)
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze oatmeal in a freezer-safe storage container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat according to the instructions above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowlCalories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 9gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgPotassium: 334mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 231IUCalcium: 173mgIron: 2mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need to Cook Oats Before Eating?

No, oats don’t need to be cooked before eating. Recipes like Pumpkin Overnight Oats and Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats simply soak oats in liquid until they soften. Oats are actually steamed before packing.

Should I Put Milk or Water in Oatmeal?

I like a combination of milk and water, but you can use all milk for a thicker, creamier consistency or all water for thinner dairy-free oatmeal.

Which is Healthier, Rolled Oats or Quick Oats?

Quick oats and rolled oats are different types of oats, but the same health-wise. Quick oats are simply cut smaller than rolled oats so that they cook faster. I do find rolled oats keep me full for longer, so they can be more satisfying.

How Healthy is Oatmeal?

Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast! It’s high in the soluble fiber beta-glucan, it has more protein than most other grains, and it’s a good source of manganese, copper, certain B vitamins, and antioxidants called avenanthramides, which may help lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation.

Does Oatmeal Contain Gluten?

Oats do not contain gluten, but because they are often stored and processed with wheat, there may be cross-contamination. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, look for certified gluten-free oats.

Related Recipes

Oats are a versatile ingredient for so many healthy breakfasts!

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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