Basic Stovetop Oatmeal

RECIPE #270, DAY #460



ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Oatmeal. For one.” from my own Five in Five, a booklet I made for my step-father a few years back*

TIMING: 5-10 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Easy enough, just don’t walk away

TOOLS: A small sauce pan

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

dsc_0768HEALTH: I come back to oatmeal again and again for two reasons: it’s cheap and it’s healthy. We all know, thanks to Cheerios, that oats are good for you and help reduce cholesterol, among other things. While Cheerios have their own issues, rolled oats straight from the bulk section are an even better option, especially if you buy them non-GMO. So, basically, any time of day or night you can feel good about making yourself a 5-minute bowl of oatmeal.

EXPERIENCE: When I was growing up, we often had an assorted box of Quaker’s little packets of flavored, instant oatmeal in the cupboard. I pretty much only liked the maple-brown sugar, so the rest of the flavors would sit around forever in the back of the pantry, just like the strawberry Instant Breakfast and the edges of brownies.

When I grew up and discovered gourmet foods and healthier eating habits, oatmeal was always right there, peeking around the corner of all the vegetarian and health cookbooks. Turns out, the texture of actual rolled oats is much more pleasant than the instant stuff and–total bonus–it doesn’t take much more effort to make a from-scratch pan of oatmeal as opposed to the microwave version. Seriously.

We make oatmeal whenever our pantry is running low on breakfast food, and also whenever I decide we need to stop eating cereal and get sick of smoothies. The flavor variations are almost as boundless as types of desserts, so I have included some vague ideas below.


Optional stir-ins and toppings:

  • all-fruit spread of choice
  • chopped raw nuts
  • sliced bananas
  • fresh berries
  • raisins, dates, or currants
  • cinnamon
  • real maple syrup, in moderation
  • raw honey
  • milk or cream

I also found this great list of flavor combinations at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond. Teleport there, HERE. It’s on the healthy side, and includes Peaches ‘n’ Cream, Apple Pie, Coconut Cream, and Cranberry Orange.

And there is another at Greatist: HERE. It is broken up into seasonal tastes, with flavors like Pumpkin Pie, Cannoli, and Indian Spice. Also includes savory porridge, involving bacon or kimchi or whatnot.


  1. In a small pot, bring 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 cup water or milk, and a pinch of salt to a boil.
  2. Reduce to simmer and stir continually for about 5 minutes. Stop cooking before it reduces to the consistency you would like–it will thicken as it stands.
  3. Serve immediately with stir-ins and toppings.

Serve with a drizzle of milk or cream, coffee (or tea), and a rush out the door.

*Recipe has been changed from the original.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s