Instant Oatmeal That Doesn’t Suck

How to Make Instant Oatmeal for the week with steel-cut oats, dried fruit, and all the toppings. Simplify your breakfast routine with this delicious recipe!

It you eat instant oatmeal a lot, I’m about to offend you.

I think the stuff just plain sucks. It’s like somebody cut up tiny pieces of cardboard, mixed in some sugar, and stuck it in crappy little pouches with a few freeze-dried berries. The only time I really purposefully eat it is if I’m camping. It’s barely worth the energy it takes to microwave it.

This was not always my view on the stuff. There was a period in my life where I thought that oatmeal was instant oatmeal. I didn’t realize that oatmeal existed that didn’t come in microwaveable packaging. Once I made the jump to real rolled oats (and then steel-cut oats) I never really looked back – sacrificing some time for flavor and extra fiber.

The only category that instant oatmeal can claim a win in is time. Real oatmeal (especially steel-cut oatmeal) takes time to make. But, thanks to a tip off from a friend (Thanks Sean), this method teaches you how to make instant oatmeal that takes the same amount of time to make as instant oatmeal and tastes like NOT cardboard.

Oh… it’s also cheaper.

instant oatmeal

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

How to Make Instant Oatmeal for the week with steel-cut oats, dried fruit, and all the toppings. Simplify your breakfast routine with this delicious recipe!
3.15 from 7 votes
Prep Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Breakfast & Brunch
Servings 8 servings
Yield 8 Bowls


  • 3 cups steel cut oats
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried strawberries chopped

Reheated Serving:

  • ⅓-½ cup cooked oats
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Peanut butter


  • Bring water to a simmer in a large pot with a pinch of salt.
  • Once simmering, stir in oats and let simmer for 30-40 minutes until oats are tender. It’s okay if they still have some bite to them. If they get really thick, feel free to add a bit more water. Stir regularly to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom. Heat should be on medium-low to medium.
  • Once oats are mostly cooked, stir in vanilla, cinnamon, and dried strawberries. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a storage container and store in the fridge for up to five days.

To reheat:

  • Scoop out 1/2-3/4 cup of oat mixture and mash with a spoon in a bowl. Add about 2 tablespoons of milk to the oats and microwave on high for 90 seconds.
  • Top oats with banana slices, fresh blueberries, and peanut butter.


Serving: 1BowlCalories: 301kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 10gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 0.5mgSodium: 10mgPotassium: 15mgFiber: 8gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 7IUVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 87mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Baked Oatmeal, Healthy Breakfast, Homemade Instant Oatmeal, Instant Oatmeal, Oatmeal at home

Did you make this?

Instagram logo

Snap a photo and tag @macheesmo so I can see your work.

How to Make Instant Oatmeal

The Oats

There really isn’t much of a trick to this method. Basically you just cook a metric ton of oats, mix in lots of good flavors, and then reheat individual servings as needed. Since you are cooking a bunch of oats, I recommend using steel cut oats. They will store better and have a better texture than the rolled oats in my opinion. For about a buck, you can buy enough in the bulk section to make enough oats for the entire week.

If you happen to buy your oats in the breakfast aisle, they will be more expensive. I sometimes see steel-cut oats in containers for like $9 which is just ridiculous. Even Whole Foods sells them for about $1.20/lb in the bulk section.

How to Make Instant Oatmeal - the oats
Lots of oats

Cooking steel-cut oats takes a lot of water and some time because of their thickness. It’s a great thing to do on Sunday morning and then you can eat some and store the rest for later.

To make them just bring a large pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Then pour in the oats!

How to Make Instant Oatmeal - time to cook
Action shot.

These will need to simmer for at least 30 minutes but probably closer to 40 minutes until they are tender. You don’t want them mushy at all since they are going to be reheated later.

Stir them regularly over medium-low heat so they don’t stick to the bottom and if they get too thick, don’t be afraid to add more water.

cooking oats - How to Make Instant Oatmeal
Simmer simmer.

When they are done they should be nice and thick and still have a tiny bite to them. But they shouldn’t be crunchy at all if that makes sense.

This was the consistency of my finished oats.

How to Make Instant Oatmeal - almost done.
Basically done.

Normally, I keep my oatmeal pretty standard, but since this recipe makes an enormous batch, it makes sense to add in some fun flavors.

I used some cinnamon, vanilla, and dried strawberries in true instant oatmeal fashion.

How to Make Instant Oatmeal - toppings
The good stuff.

Just stir this stuff into the oats when it’s done cooking!

You probably want to let the oats cool for 5-10 minutes and then you can store them in the fridge for 5 days or so.

How to Make Instant Oatmeal - storage.
Storage plan.

The Reheating Method

When you wake up in the morning, you may think that I sabotaged your breakfast. The oats will be in a near-solid block in your fridge.

That’s okay though!  Just scoop out about 1/2-3/4 cup of the oats per bowl depending on how hungry you are.

How to Make Instant Oatmeal - reheating.
This works. I promise.

Mash the oats in a microwaveable bowl and add in a few tablespoons of milk. Microwave the oats on high for 90 seconds just like you would instant oats!

When they come out, stir them up really well and top them with anything you want. I like banana, blueberries, and a small spoonful of peanut butter.

This is seriously the reheated version that I made days after I made my batch. I didn’t use the fresh stuff just to make the photo look good or anything.

How to Make Instant Oatmeal for breakfast
Breakfast in under five minutes.

This is one of those things that just makes sense after you read it but for some reason I never thought to do it until someone told me it worked.

So this is me telling you that it works.

How to Make Instant Oatmeal for the week with steel-cut oats, dried fruit, and all the toppings. Please stop buying packets of ground up cardboard.

Is there anybody out there that actually likes instant oatmeal? Will you give this method a shot? Pretty please?

22 Responses to “Instant Oatmeal That Doesn’t Suck” Leave a comment

  1. Good tip. You can make this even easier by cooking the steel cut oats in the Crock-Pot. They take about 4 hours on low, and it’s all hands-off!

  2. I’ll do this with steel cut oats (prepping a big batch) and then freeze the oats in a muffin tin. I just pop them out and store them that way! The oats reheat really well, and you can eat them over time, if you don’t want to eat oatmeal everyday. An added bonus, each muffin cup filled to the top will hold a 100-calorie portion of plain oats which is great for portion control.

    1. I eat rolled oats but I am going to try steel cut now. Also the tip about using the muffin tin is great, thank you.

  3. Before bed, put steel cut oats ( 1/2 cup oats, 2 cups water and a pinch of salt ) on the stove and bringing them to boil , shut it off and cover. In the morning you’ve got 2 big portions perfectly cooked.

  4. Nice one. I have an easier hands-free method if you have a rice cooker. Add your steel cut oats, salt, and ratio of water to the rice cooker, turn it on and bring the oats to a boil. Turn off the rice cooker and unplug it. Let it sit overnight. Voila! Voici tes steel cut oats.
    Really can’t be any simpler. Plus, you can make a big batch, AND get another use from a kitchen gadget.

  5. wouldnt cooking the oats twice turn them from a complex carbohydrate to a simple carbohydrate thus making them unsuitable for consumption by diabetics??

    1. Bill, I’m not a nutritionist so I’m not 100%, but I know Jason (who commented below on your question) is a chef and diabetic so I would trust his answer.

  6. That’s the thing about diabetics. We can eat/drink what we like, we just need to compensate for it. In the case of steel cut oats, you aren’t cooking them twice, you are reheating them. By soaking them you are preserving some of the vitamins and minerals present in the oats. This is far superior to the instant packets of oats which are merely pulverized oats that are pre-cooked, and in most cases stripped of vitamins in the process.

  7. Like you, I prepare steel cut oats once a week. Only I ladle them out into single servings and in the morning I can either heat it up if I’ve got plenty of time, or throw it in my bag for reheating at work if I’m running late. One of my favorite ways to eat them is with a big dollop of raspberries on time.

  8. A note to readers from my personal experience: I had a real hard time turning myself on to oatmeal, partially because everyone online is in love with steel cut oats. It is okay to not prefer steel cut! Steel cut oats have a bit less processing than rolled oats, but otherwise they are the same thing. I find the extreme chewiness of steel cut oats to be tiresome, but can eat my rolled oats over and over. (My favorite way is a spoonful of peanut butter along with a sprinkling of cinnamon/sugar/cocoa powder. PB-chocolate oatmeal!) So if you don’t enjoy your steel cut experiment, give rolled oats a try before declaring yourself “not an oatmeal person”.

  9. I make my steel cut oats as a pilaf – heat a teaspoon or so of butter until it gets light brown with a nutty aroma then stir in uncooked oats to coat (oats with butter). it smells like oatmeal cookies! Then cook as per recipe in this post. It’s a subtle difference but worth the effort in my opinion.

    Also, to change up the leftovers I’ve taken them from the fridge and formed them into a square (think thick slice of bread size) then browned them lightly in a frying pan and served with butter and maple syrup OR, if you’re ambitious, a nice lemon curd – which will change your life.

  10. Try this for quick oatmeal in the morning. Boil about 2 cups of water in a pot with a lid. Add 1 cup of oatmeal, stir, cover, and turn off the heat. Let sit overnight. In the morning your oatmeal will be cooked, and you can add more liquid to heat up, and add whatever fruit and spices desired, or serve cold with dairy or non-dairy milk. I don’t use the microwave either.

  11. I like to reheat my steel-cut oats with a sliced banana in the microwave and then stir/smuch well. The banana give a carmelized sweetness. I then add 12 raw almonds or 1 Tb of peanut butter for protein. Yum!

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating