The ultimate guide on How to make Oatmeal on the stove-top and Instant Pot. This easy oatmeal recipe makes the perfect creamy oatmeal with 6 fun flavor ideas to choose from! Healthy, delicious and fool-proof! Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free and refined-sugar free.
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Updated April 2021
Easy Oatmeal Recipe
There’s nothing like waking up to a warm bowl of oatmeal on a cold morning! Or really any morning for that matter. This hearty breakfast oatmeal is a staple at our house, and my kids can’t get enough of it. You can choose to serve it plain with a splash of unsweeteend plant-based milk or add toppings like fresh berries and crunchy nuts.
Any type of oats except for quick oats will work for this recipe, from old-fashioned to steel cut to gluten-free. In addition to accomodating the gluten-free diet, this oatmeal is vegan, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. If you’re looking for a healthy, yummy breakfast that’s going to give you long-lasting energy, you’ve found it in this easy homemade oatmeal!
Is Oatmeal Good for you?
Did you know that a bowl of oats is high in dietary fiber, iron and protein? Using certified gluten free oats and dairy free milk makes it a nutritious breakfast option.
According to this article, some oatmeal health benefits include:
- lowers cholesterol
- part of a healthy diet and exercise & helps you lose weight
- lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease
Plus, it makes a better option than cold cereal, especially during January and February when it’s chilly. I mean who isn’t craving a warm and comforting breakfast on those cold winter mornings.
Different Types of Oats
Steel cut oats and old-fashioned rolled oats are both made from whole-grain oats, so they have similar nutritional profiles. The difference lies in the textures and the cook times. Steel cut oats are chopped into pieces while rolled oats are steamed, pressed and then rolled flat.
Quick oats or instant oats are the most processed of all the oat varieties. Quick oats are pre-cooked, dried, and rolled and pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats. They generally cook faster than steel cut or rolled oats so they can get mushy if cooked for too long.
Which oats are healthier and better for you?
- Steel cut oats take longer to cook than rolled oats, and they’re also heartier and chewier.
- Rolled oats have a softer, creamier texture when cooked, as they absorb more liquid. Either type of oats taste great in this recipe! It really comes down to personal preference.
- Since steel cut oats are process differently, most people have mentioned that they keep you fuller longer until lunch time.
Does oatmeal have gluten?
Oats are naturally gluten-free, but they can sometimes be processed in a facility where wheat products are also processed so there can be cross-contamination. If you are sensitive to gluten, it’s important to check your labels and choose a brand that is certified gluten free.
Best Way to make creamy Oatmeal
Over the years, we’ve tested every method we had heard of.
In the summer time, we make classic overnight oats and then come winter when it’s the back-to-school madness, it’s a toss-up between baked oatmeal cups, steel cut oats in the Instant Pot (seriously the best for crazy school mornings) or a comforting bowl of classic stove-top oatmeal made with old-fashioned rolled oats.
And we’ve even got this Keto Oatmeal that is only 4g Net Carbs and 374 calories for my low carb friends.
With this ultimate guide for how you can make the best oatmeal, we’re including instructions for how to make oatmeal in the instant pot and on the stove.
Now what about slow cooker oatmeal? Since today’s post is all about trying to find the quickest and easiest method to make healthy oatmeal, we’ve decided to leave a crockpot oatmeal recipe out.
What You’ll Need
Each flavor variation has it’s own set of toppings, but the oatmeal itself is the same for each one. Here are the base ingredients you’ll need:
- Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats: These are our oats of choice, but you could also use steel cut oats and, of course, certified gluten-free oats.
- Water: Any liquid such as milk or almond milk also works.
- Himalayan Sea Salt: Or regular sea salt.
- Sweetener of Choice: If desired, sweeten your oatmeal with maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, stevia, erythritol, etc.
How to Make Oatmeal
This homemade oatmeal recipe comes together quickly on the stove or in your Instant Pot. Here’s the basic process for each method:
Make Oatmeal On the Stovetop
- Heat Water: In a medium saucepan, add the water/milk and turn the heat to medium-high.
- Reduce Heat & Add Remaining Ingredients: Once the liquid boils, reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the salt and rolled oats.
- Let Thicken: Allow to cook until thick, creamy and plump (about 10-15 minutes, depending on your desired level of creaminess), stirring every so often to avoid sticking.
- Serve: Divide the oatmeal into bowls and serve it with (dairy-free) milk, sweetener and toppings, if desired.
Make Oatmeal In the Instant Pot
Instant Pot Oatmeal couldn’t be more simple and is completely hands off. You can use steel cut oats or old-fashioned rolled oats.
Please NOTE that the Instant Pot instructions will NOT work for Instant Oats or quick oats so it’s important that you buy the correct type of oats.
- Grease Inner Pot: To avoid sticking, lightly coat the inner pot of your Instant Pot with coconut oil or cooking spray.
- Add Oats & Water: Add the oats into the Instant Pot, followed by the water/milk. Secure the lid and close the vent.
- Cook: Press the MANUAL (or PRESSURE COOKER for newer Instant Pot models) button and set to 4 minutes.
- Release Pressure: After the oats finish cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally (for about 10-15 minutes).
- Stir & Serve: After the pressure releases, open the lid and give the oatmeal a good stir. Any extra liquid will absorb as it cools. Serve with desired additions and enjoy!
- Sweeteners: brown sugar OR coconut sugar
- Natural or low carb sweetener such as honey, sugar free maple syrup, Sukrin Gold, monk fruit sweetener, Stevia etc.
- Fresh berries or freeze-dried berries: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
- Nut butter or seed butter: peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, pumpkin seed butter or sunflower butter
- Toasted coconut flakes
- Chopped nuts – pecans, walnuts, peanuts,
- Seeds – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- Sliced fresh fruit: bananas, kiwi, peaches, pears, strawberries, chopped apples etc.
- Chocolate: drizzle of melted chocolate or chocolate chips
Flavors & Variations
This oatmeal recipe is made to be customized! If you want some ideas for which toppings to add, be sure to check out these tasty variations.
- Almond Joy: Turn a nutty, chocolatey Almond Joy into a healthy breakfast with this candy bar inspired oatmeal!
- Apple Cinnamon: The comforting flavors of fall taste amazing any time of year. That’s why this sweet apple cinnamon oatmeal is such a classic!
- Banana Nut: Made with walnuts and banana slices, you’ll love this this protein-packed oatmeal recipe.
- Blueberry: Bring on the antioxidants by adding fresh blueberries to your homemade oatmeal. This flavor also features creamy almond butter!
- Peanut Butter and Jam: Freeze-dried berries, chopped peanuts, creamy peanut butter and your favorite jam make this oatmeal completely irresistible.
- Strawberry: Enjoy the taste of chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast with this indulgent yet healthy variation idea.
Tips for Success
I’ve collected all my best tips to help you out with this recipe! Keep these things in mind for perfect oatmeal every time.
- Increase the Cook Time for Steel Cut Oats: The cook times listed in this recipe apply to old-fashioned rolled oats. As mentioned, steel cut oats take longer to cook. If you’re using steel cut oats, adjust accordingly.
- Don’t Mess With the Oats to Liquid Ratio: If you like thinner oatmeal, that’s fine, just don’t add more liquid right off the bat. Instead, wait until your oatmeal is finished cooking, then thin it out with extra milk or water as desired.
- Don’t Omit the Salt! Even though this recipe only calls for 1/8 teaspoon of salt, it’s a super important ingredient. The salt actually enhances the flavor of the oatmeal and makes it so much tastier!
How to Store & Reheat
Leftover oatmeal should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last for up to 5 days! To reheat it, add a little bit of liquid to individual servings and microwave them for about 1 minute each.
Can oatmeal be made in advance?
Yes! This oatmeal recipe is great for making ahead of time. Simply cook it, let it cool completely, and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. I love storing individual portions of oatmeal for enjoyment throughout the week! That way, I can make a different flavor every time.
Other Easy Breakfast Ideas
Want more healthy and delicious breakfast recipes for your weekly meal plan menu? These are all great options!
- Overnight Oats (8 Ways)
- 9 Breakfast Egg Muffins
- Perfect Steel Cut Oats – 6 Ways – Instant Pot or Stovetop
- Baked Oat Cups (10 Ways)
- No Bake Energy Bites (12 Ways)
- Healthy Granola Bars (12 Ways)
Whether you're working with the stove or your Instant Pot, this is the Oatmeal to make! Featuring 6 fun flavor ideas, you can make any kind of oatmeal with this recipe. It's fool-proof!
- 1/2 cup rolled old-fashioned oats , gluten-free as necessary
- 1 1/4 cup liquid water, almond milk etc
- 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- optional sweetener of choice maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, stevia, erythritol etc.
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup , honey or low carb liquid sweetener (if desired)
- 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut plus more for topping
- 1 Tbsp slivered or sliced almonds
- melted chocolate , for topping (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped apples , I used gala
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup honey or low carb liquid sweetener , optional
- drizzled almond butter or date caramel , for topping (optional)
- 1/2 well ripened banana , mashed well
- 1 tsp sweetener of choice , optional - coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, SWERVE, stevia or monk fruit sweetener
- 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts or pecans
- almond butter , peanut butter or date caramel for topping, optional
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut , optional for topping
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon almond butter , plus more for topping if desired
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup honey or low carb liquid sweetener
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries plus more for toppings
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar , honey or low carb sweetener, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons strawberry or raspberry preserves, jam or jelly (homemade or favorite brand)
- 2-3 tablespoons smooth or crunchy peanut butter , plus more for topping
- 1 teaspoon freeze-dried strawberries for topping , optional
- 1/4 teaspoon chopped peanuts for topping , optional
- 1/3 cup chopped strawberries , plus extra slices for topping, if desired
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup , honey or low carb liquid sweetener
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 slices freeze-dried strawberries , optional for topping
- melted chocolate for topping (optional)
In a medium saucepan, add the liquid and turn the heat to medium-high heat. Once the liquid boils, reduce heat to medium-low, add salt and rolled oats.
Allow to cook until thick, creamy and plump (about 10-15 minutes depending on desired level of creaminess), stirring every so often to avoid sticking.
Divide into bowls and serve with (dairy-free) milk and sweetener, if desired.
Once base recipe reaches desired level of creaminess, stir in cocoa powder, coconut and sweetener, if using until mixed through. Divide into bowls and serve with more milk as desired and top with coconut, slivered almonds and melted chocolate before serving, if desired.
Once base recipe reaches desired level of creaminess, stir in the apples, cinnamon (and sweetener if desired) until mixed through.
Divide into bowls and serve with more milk as desired and top with additional chopped apples and a drizzle of almond butter or date caramel before serving, if desired.
Once base recipe reaches desired level of creaminess, stir in mashed banana and cinnamon until mixed through.
Divide into bowls and serve with more milk as desired and top with fresh banana slices, walnuts and a drizzle of almond butter or date caramel before serving, if desired.
Once base recipe reaches desired level of creaminess, stir in vanilla, and blueberries (and sweetener if desired) until mixed together.
Divide into bowls and serve with more milk as desired and top with fresh blueberries and almond butter before serving.
Once base recipe reaches desired level of creaminess, add sweetener (if using), peanut butter, jam and vanilla until combined.
Divide into bowls and serve with more milk and top with a drizzle of peanut butter, jam, freeze-dried berries and chopped peanuts before serving, if desired.
- Once base recipe reaches desired level of creaminess, stir in strawberries (and sweetener if desired) until mixed through.
Divide into bowls and serve with more milk as desired and top with fresh strawberry slices and melted chocolate before serving, if desired.
USE THESE MEASUREMENTS: 3 cups of rolled oats, 5 1/2 cups of liquid.
To avoid sticking, lightly coat the inner pot of your Instant Pot with coconut oil or cooking spray.
Add oats into the Instant Pot followed by milk. Secure the lid and close the vent.
Press the MANUAL (or PRESSURE COOKER for newer Instant Pot models) button and set to 4 minutes.
After the oats finish cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally (about 10-15 minutes).
After the pressure releases, open the lid and give the oatmeal a good stir. Any extra liquid will absorb as it cools.
Nutritional info does not include toppings.
James casey -
I made the almond joy, really good!! 5/5 stars
I love blueberry oatmeal and I made this using the steel oatmeal and it was delicious!!!! I added fresh blueberries and Gala apples and a little French vanilla….thanks soo much
this was so helpful! love all the options, thank you!
made two of them the other day. so delicious. thanks!