When the weather finally turns cooler, the mornings call for a hot bowl of perfectly cooked oatmeal. I used to buy individual packets of instant oatmeal and microwave little bowls for my kids and myself, and then I discovered it was much faster, healthier, and more economical to make it from scratch on the stovetop. Yay for no more cleaning up boiled over oatmeal cement out of the microwave. And we all like the taste and texture of homemade oatmeal so much more! Let me show you how I make oatmeal.
My mom, sister, and I were randomly talking about how we make oatmeal, and discovered that even though we’ve never really watched each other make it, we all go about it exactly the same way! And we all think we make it the best.
How to Make Good Oatmeal
Boil your oats in a mixture of water and milk. There is much debate about this, but I think that half water, half milk makes oatmeal very creamy, without making it gummy. I always use whole milk because that’s what I have on hand.
Use old fashioned oats rather than quick oats for better texture. We really like our oats to maintain a bit of a bite to them. To me, this is the difference between a bowl of oatmeal and a bowl of mush. The texture should be toothsome and hearty.
Don’t forget the salt. Even though our oatmeal will likely lean more toward sweet than savory when the toppings come down, adding salt to the cooking liquid really boosts the flavor of our oats, and keeps them from tasting bland. I keep a little salt bowl of Diamond Crystal kosher salt right by my stovetop and use it in almost everything I make. I love that it dissolves quickly in the pan, so that I can taste and adjust as needed, and has a clean salt flavor. It is not used interchangeably with table salt however: 1 teaspoon of table salt equals 2 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
Another way to make a delicious bowl of oatmeal is to add spices. Adding cinnamon right at the end of the cooking time rather than at the beginning will keep the spice flavor strong. Since ground spices release their flavors readily, adding them at the end will prevent the flavor from “cooking off”. Some other spices that work really well with oatmeal are cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger.
The best part of making oatmeal is adding the toppings. While some topping choices may vary, the one topping that I ALWAYS add is BUTTER. Adding butter to finished oatmeal gives it a silky smooth texture, and the fat helps carry the flavors we’ve added to our oatmeal to our taste receptors. Adding just a little bit of fat also allows flavors to bloom, making our oatmeal anything but boring. My favorite bowl of oatmeal has a pat of butter melting over the top and is sprinkled with brown sugar. Simple and comforting!
A really good bowl of oatmeal is warm, comforting, and satisfying. I’m always amazed at how much less my boys snack when I make them oatmeal for breakfast. We try to keep it in our breakfast rotation a few times a week as it is a healthy, economical, and convenient option.
I’d love to hear any helpful oatmeal tips or tricks you all have discovered. Here’s one: to cool down piping hot oatmeal quickly for young kids, add frozen berries. Here’s another fun way to incorporate frozen berries. It’s always fun to see creative ways to serve oatmeal, and how everyone makes it just slightly different!
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #lovelylittlekitchen
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- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1 cup whole milk*
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
Topping ideas: butter, brown sugar, toasted pecans, maple syrup, cream, chopped dried fruit
- Add water, milk, oats, and salt to a pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- When the liquid begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the oats are tender, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon.
- Divide into bowls, and top with butter, brown sugar, toasted pecans, maple syrup, cream, chopped dried fruit, or all of the above!
*We like our oatmeal a little on the thicker side. Add up to 1/2 cup more milk for a thinner consistency.
- Serving Size: 1 Serving
- Calories: 193
- Sugar: 3.5g
- Sodium: 429mg
- Fat: 4.6g
- Saturated Fat: 1.6g
- Unsaturated Fat: 2.4g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 31g
- Fiber: 4.4g
- Protein: 7.3g
- Cholesterol: 6.1mg