While oatmeal is quite possibly the easiest warm breakfast to make, sometimes it can turn out to be a little..underwhelming. There isn’t that much else that can go into oatmeal, so why does your homemade oatmeal not taste like the $12 oatmeal you get at your local cafe or restaurant? In this post, I’ll break it down for you: how to make oatmeal at home that’s creamy, hearty, delicious and still healthy. It’s all in the method and one or two ingredients you might have been skipping.
The kind of oats you use will determine the texture your oatmeal will end up with and the cooking time required. Quick-cooking or instant oats are thinly rolled, resulting in a softer porridge-like texture. They take the least amount of time to cook but in my opinion offer the least flavor and texture. Rolled oats are the kind I prefer: they have more texture and fiber than quick-cooking oats, but are still relatively “quick-cooking”. The trade-off between flavor/texture and time is worth it for me when it comes to rolled oats. Steel-cut oats resemble broken pieces of rice more than they resemble the images of oats that we’re used to seeing. They take much longer to cook but they’re even higher in protein and fiber than rolled oats. For every day use (and this how to make oatmeal guide), I use rolled oats.
The liquid that you choose to cook your oats in will lend flavor and that creamy texture you’re looking for. Use your favorite kind of milk whether it is dairy or vegan; definitely don’t use just water. Non-dairy options like almond milk and coconut milk can elevate your oatmeal. Cinnamon complements oatmeal beautifully. Just a pinch will add depth and a little sweetness to your oats. If you don’t like cinnamon you can use vanilla, cardamom, ginger or any other spice to add flavor. A pinch of sea salt and a tiny bit of sweetener go a long way (you can use regular salt too). In terms of a sweetener, I like to use a teaspoon of maple syrup or brown sugar. Toppings: this is where you can make it exciting. My favorite toppings include homemade granola, sliced banana, berries and toasted nuts and seeds. If you’ve never made granola at home before, you’re missing out! Check out the recipe for my easy homemade granola and my hazelnut chocolate buckwheat granola.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup milk of your choice
- ⅔ cup water
- A pinch of powdered cinnamon
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1tsp brown sugar or maple syrup (can skip this)
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, toast the oats, cinnamon and sea salt on medium-low heat for a minute until fragrant. Be careful to not allow the mixture to burn.
- Add the milk, water and sugar/maple syrup to the mixture, and stir gently to ensure that all the oats are coated. Allow the mixture to come to a boil on medium-low heat without stirring. Once it reaches a boil, reduce to low heat. This ensures that the oat flakes don't break up to form a porridge-like texture.
- Rolled oats usually take about 6-8 minutes to cook completely, but be sure to check your oats every couple of minutes to ensure they don't overcook and stick to the bottom of the pan. The cooking time may be different depending on the kind you're using. Adjust water/milk based on the consistency you prefer.
- Top the cooked oatmeal with homemade granola, berries, sliced bananas or dried fruits, chopped nuts and seeds.