How to Make Oatmeal
Here, how to make classic oatmeal, baked oatmeal, microwave oatmeal and even slow cooker oatmeal.
By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen
Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.
Oatmeal is a satisfying, warming way to start your morning, and if you have any doubts about eating it from a nutritional standpoint, rest assured that it has many health benefits, from reducing inflammation to lowering cholesterol levels. Plus, it’s one of those foods that sticks with you throughout the day, leaving you full and satisfied so you’ll be less likely to reach for that midday snack. But enough about why you should eat oatmeal and more about the how to cook it. We’ve covered all of your oatmeal questions, from the best type of oats to eat to three different ways to make oatmeal.
What Are the Best Oats for Oatmeal?
There aren’t that many ingredients necessary to cook oatmeal. Oats. Liquid. Salt. That’s really all. However, you’ve got choices when it comes to the type of oats: rolled oats, old-fashioned oats, quick or instant oats, steel cut oats or quick steel cut oats. If you want to learn more about each variety, we go into detail in our story What Are Rolled Oats?. But don’t overthink things. Most oatmeal recipes call for rolled oats (also known as old-fashioned oats) because they take just about six minutes to cook and yield a pleasingly soft but not mushy texture. Quick oats are processed more than rolled oats and are softer and mushier when cooked. They’re great for little kids and camping, but the texture of rolled oats is what we think of when we imagine a bowl of hot oatmeal on a cold morning.
How to Make Oatmeal on the Stove
Making oatmeal on the stove is the best way to make a big batch for many people. If you forget what to do, fear not: unless you buy your oats in bulk, the oatmeal recipe will be on every package you get. Or just remember to always use 1 cup liquid for every 1/2 cup of oats.
- Measure 1 cup water or milk per person; add to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add 1/2 cup of rolled oats per person and a pinch of salt to the boiling liquid.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is creamy and the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
How to Make Oatmeal In the Microwave
Making oatmeal in the microwave is the fastest and easiest way to make a single bowl of oatmeal. Plus, there’s minimal clean up because you cook the oatmeal in the bowl you eat it from. You’ll use the same ratio of liquid to oats as you do for stovetop oatmeal. For the record, this ratio works for quick and instant oats too, in case you have those on hand.
- Measure 1 cup water or milk; add to a microwave-safe serving bowl.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of rolled oats and a pinch of salt.
- Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir and microwave 1 minute longer if needed. Eat the oatmeal straight out of the bowl.
How to Make Baked Oatmeal
Baked oatmeal is a breakfast dish that could be a dessert (and we mean that in the best way possible). Based on an Amish technique, baked oatmeal uses butter, eggs and milk as the liquid that cooks the oats, softening them and transforming the dish into a custard-like creation. Although they sound fancy, baked oatmeal is really easy to make: you just mix the ingredients together and bake them. Fresh fruit, sugar and other ingredients can be mixed in to vary the flavors.
- Add 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, 3 tablespoons sugar, a pinch of salt to a large bowl. Whisk together 1 2/3 cup milk, 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir the liquids into the oats.
- Scatter 2 cups berries in bottom of 2-quart casserole dish.
- Pour the oat mixture over berries and bake in a 350 degree F oven until lightly browned and just set, 45 to 55 minutes.
How to Cook Steel Cut Oats
Some people prefer to make their oatmeal with steel cut oats, which yield a bowl with al dente, chewy texture. Steel cut oats are the least processed oats and take the longest time to cook. Standing over the stove and stirring them occasionally for 35 to 45 minutes isn’t our idea of fun, but we do love them. Our solution to the problem? We cook steel cut oats overnight in a slow cooker. They’re hot and ready to eat in the morning, and if there’s a sleep over with ten kids, we make an extra big batch.
Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats
- Measure 4 cups water, 1 cup steel cut oats and 1/2 teaspoon salt into slow cooker.
- Set slow cooker on low for 8 hours overnight.
Jazz up microwave oatmeal with apple that cooks along with the oats plus a dash of warm spice.
This breakfast bake is easy on the calories and fat and as pretty as a picture. With its berries and oat-almond topping, it's almost like a tart, sweet fruit cobbler-great with a little Greek yogurt or milk on top.
The slow cooker is our favorite way to cook steel cut oats. This porridge is a tasty blend of oats, wild rice and barley or farro. The recipe makes 12 servings, perfect for when you’re hosting brunch.
As much as we love a bowl of steaming oatmeal on a cold morning, we might love an oatmeal cookie even more. And hey, the lines can easily blur between breakfast and dessert. When there are raisins involved, they’re even better.
Overnight oats have moved out of fad and trending stages and are now commonplace. This recipe features freeze-dried blueberries, but you can use any freeze-dried fruit you like. For more info on overnight oats, check out Everything You Should Know about Making Overnight Oats.