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This master oatmeal recipe shows how to make it on the stovetop or microwave! It’s easy to make this wholesome breakfast.

Oatmeal recipe

Here’s a hearty whole grain that makes the ideal easy and healthy breakfast: oatmeal! We eat copious amounts of this stuff in our household. What’s the best, easiest way to make it? Here’s our master recipe: exactly how to make oatmeal on the stovetop and in the microwave! I’m not joking when I say this gets made multiple times per day in our house (the microwave version), and when we’re thinking ahead we make a big batch to eat off of all week. Here’s how to make the best oatmeal around!

Types of oats

There are two main types of oats you can use to make oatmeal: rolled oats or steel cut oats. A big pot of traditional oatmeal is best with Old Fashioned oats. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Rolled oats: Rolled oats are whole oat grains that are pressed flat with rollers. This is what you’ll typically think of when you think of oatmeal. There are a few types of rolled oats:
    • Old Fashioned oats: These are whole, circular oats. They provide the most texture and are the best preference for a pot of oatmeal.
    • Quick cooking oats or Instant oats: These oats are rolled thinner and cook faster than Old Fashioned, but they have powdery texture and can become mushy when cooked. Use them only in a pinch.
  • Steel cut oats: Steel cut oats are whole grain oats that are cut into nubs: they look like brown rice or barley. These oats take 30 minutes to cook, and have a very chewy texture. Avoid using them in this recipe, since they require different instructions: go to this Steel Cut Oats recipe.
Oatmeal

How to make oatmeal: on the stovetop

Making this oatmeal recipe on the stovetop it quick and simple! This method makes a big pot of creamy, chewy oats with 4 servings. Here’s what to do (or jump to the recipe below):

  1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in 2 cups oats and ¾ teaspoon each kosher salt and cinnamon.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until creamy and the liquid is mostly absorbed.
  3. Remove from the heat and let stand for 2 minutes, which allows more liquid to be absorbed. The standing time is important, in order to get to the perfect texture of oats!
How to make oatmeal

How to make oatmeal in the microwave (1 serving)

The microwave method for how to make oatmeal is our favorite, we’ll admit! It makes one tasty bowl of deliciously creamy, single serving oats. It’s important to use a microwave safe bowl with tall sides so that the oatmeal doesn’t overflow. This is easy to whip up with just a 2 minute cook time!

  1. Place ½ cup oats, ¾ cup water and ⅛ teaspoon each kosher salt and cinnamon in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Microwave on High for 2 minutes. If there is still a good amount of liquid, cook 10 to 20 more seconds.
  3. Stir and allow to stand for 2 minutes to allow the liquid to be absorbed. That’s it!

Oatmeal topping ideas

The sky is the limit when it comes to oatmeal toppings! In our opinion, a hint of maple syrup and a drizzle of milk are all it needs. But it’s even more fun to add some colorful fruit or a swirl of nut butter! Here are some oatmeal topping ideas:

Oatmeal recipe

Is oatmeal healthy? Nutrition info

Yes, oatmeal is part of a healthy diet. Here are a few of the main nutritional benefits of oats (source):

  • Oats are high in plant based protein. 1 cup of raw oats have 11 grams protein. That’s about 20% of your daily need!
  • Oats are high in fiber. 1 cup of raw oats have 8 grams of fiber, which is about 30% of the daily value.
  • Oats are very filling: they may reduce appetite and help you eat less calories.

For more benefits, go to Oats 101: Nutrition Facts.

More types of oatmeal recipes

There are lots more ways to make oatmeal, outside of the standard creamy pot of oats! One of our favorites for weekly breakfasts or entertaining is baked oatmeal, and there’s nothing more fun than a pot of beautiful purple blueberry oatmeal! Here are a few of our favorite methods:

This oatmeal recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Oatmeal recipe

Best Oatmeal Recipe


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This master oatmeal recipe shows how to make it on the stovetop or microwave! It’s easy to make this wholesome breakfast.


Ingredients

Scale

For stovetop oatmeal (4 servings):

  • 2 cups Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • 4 cups water
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon maple syrup

For microwave oatmeal (1 serving): 

  • ½ cup Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cup water
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Stovetop oatmeal: Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in the oats, salt and cinnamon. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until creamy and the liquid is mostly absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand for 2 minutes, which allows more liquid to be absorbed (or you can spoon into bowls and then rest).
  2. Microwave oatmeal: Place the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl with tall sides. Microwave on High for 2 minutes (if there is still a good amount of liquid, cook 10 to 20 more seconds). Stir and allow to stand for 2 minutes to allow the liquid to be absorbed. (For a double recipe, double ingredients and microwave 3.5 minutes.)
  3. Top with a drizzle of maple syrup, milk, and additional toppings as desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Breakfast
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Oatmeal recipe, how to make oatmeal

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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5 Comments

  1. I eat oatmeal every morning and instead of buying separate oatmeal packages, I wanted to try this. It was really simple to make, and the end result is delicious! I chose to add a bit of maple syrup and milk to my bowl, since I like things to be sweet. I’ll definitely be making this every week!