This handy Microwave Oatmeal how-to guide includes easy-to-follow instructions, troubleshooting tips, and flavoring and topping ideas. It’s all you need to make a hearty, healthy, and delicious bowl of oatmeal in minutes.
Busy mornings call for quick and easy breakfasts, like no bake breakfast cookies, protein overnight oats, and Microwave Oatmeal. The convenience of popping a bowl of old-fashioned oats in the microwave is a lifesaver.
Freshly cooked oatmeal is ready in minutes and is deliciously warm, soft, and comforting. Customize the bowl with anything you like - peanut butter, jam, nuts, maple syrup, and more. There are endless options below to help you mix up the flavors.
Besides being quick and easy to customize, oatmeal for breakfast starts your day with plenty of health benefits. It’s an excellent source of carbs, fiber, plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Plus, it helps regulate digestion and improve blood sugar control.
That’s not all! Unlike packets of instant oatmeal, plain rolled oats have no added sugar, colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. All of this and they still don’t take long to cook in the microwave. How great is that?
- Making oatmeal in the microwave is quick, easy, and perfect for healthy weekday breakfasts.
- Customize the flavors with endless toppings, mix-ins, sweeteners, and more.
- This is just as speedy as making instant oatmeal packets, but it leaves you in control of toppings, flavors, and sweeteners.
Rolled oats - Also known as old-fashioned oats, rolled oats are the best for making microwave oatmeal. Oats are inherently vegan and can be made gluten free with certified gluten free rolled oats.
Water - You can’t go wrong using water to cook rolled oats in the microwave. The oats become soft and fluffy and are the perfect canvas for creating customized oatmeal flavors. Scroll to the Tips section for milk options.
Step 1: Mix oats and liquid. Add the oats to a deep microwave-safe bowl and pour the water over top. Stir to combine.
Step 2: Cook in the microwave. Heat the oats in the microwave, then carefully remove the hot bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. Give it a good stir, add your favorite toppings, flavors, and sweeteners, and enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- A ½ cup serving of dried rolled oats expands to about 1 cup of cooked oatmeal.
- Is the water boiling over? Either too much liquid was added or the liquid was overheated. To prevent this, make sure there’s enough room in the bowl for the oats to expand by only using ½ cup of water at the start. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between each and adding a bit more liquid to the bowl.
- I suggest using ⅔ cup water for every ½ cup of uncooked oats. You may need to play with the ratio depending on your desired consistency. For example, a 1:1 ratio (½ cup each) will yield thicker oats, while more liquid will give the oats a soupy consistency.
How long should I microwave oatmeal?
The cook time will vary based on the type of oatmeal you use and your microwave’s wattage. I recommend using rolled or old-fashioned oats, but you can use this guide if you use a different type:
- Rolled or old-fashioned oats: Cook on high for 1 minute and 45 seconds to 3 minutes.
- Oatmeal packets (AKA instant oatmeal): Double check the packaging instructions, but it usually takes between 1½ to 2 minutes.
- Quick cooking oats: These cook almost exactly like instant oatmeal packets, 1½ to 2 minutes.
- Steel-cut oats: These take the longest, between 5 to 10 minutes. They’ll also be more tough and chewy.
Can you use milk in microwave oatmeal?
Yes, you can substitute any type of milk for the water in this recipe. Use regular dairy milk or a dairy free alternative, like almond, cashew, coconut, oat, or soy milk.
What can I add to plain oatmeal?
Anything goes! Upgrade your bowl of cooked microwave oatmeal with any of these tasty enhancements:
- Sweeteners - Granulated sugar or brown sugar, agave, honey, date syrup, and maple syrup. Swirl in fruit spreads like jams, jellies, and preserves for natural sweetness and fruity flavor.
- Extracts and spices - Use vanilla extract or warm spices, like pumpkin spice, cinnamon, or nutmeg.
- Crunchy toppings - Try almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds, pepitas/pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, shaved chocolate, or chocolate chips.
- Creamy toppings - Add a spoonful of almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter, or homemade Nutella.
- Fruity toppings - Add your favorite chopped fruits, like apples, bananas, mango, peaches, pears, or pineapple. Fresh berries are always a great topping as well. If you use frozen fruit, I recommend stirring it into the oatmeal immediately after removing it from the microwave and letting it stand for a few minutes so the heat thaws the fruit.
Should you add protein powder before or after microwaving oats?
Protein powder is a great way to make an extra filling bowl of oatmeal. Add a scoop of your favorite unflavored, chocolate, or vanilla protein powder to the oats and liquid mixture immediately after microwaving.
Custom oatmeal flavors
Can’t decide on flavors and toppings? Try one of these custom flavors:
- Cinnamon Chocolate: Cook the oats in milk, then sweeten them with maple syrup, cinnamon, and mini chocolate chips.
- PB & J: Mix in creamy peanut butter and your favorite jelly or jam.
- Pecan Pie: Microwave the oats with milk so they’re extra creamy. Top with brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and pecans.
- Pumpkin Pie: Cook the oats with milk, then stir in a scoop of pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup.
- Savory Oatmeal: If you prefer savory flavors, season the cooked oatmeal with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Top with roasted vegetables, like sweet potato, carrots, and brussels sprouts. You can even add shredded cheese and an egg if you like.
Refrigerator: If you happen to have extras, keep the leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 days.
Reheating: To reheat leftover oatmeal in the microwave, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 20-second increments, stirring in between each, until warm. If the oatmeal seems dry, add splashes of water or milk to loosen it up.
More rolled oats recipes
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- ½ cup rolled oats
- ⅔ cup water
- Add the oats to a microwave-safe bowl, then pour in the water and stir to combine.
- Microwave the oats for 1 minute and 45 seconds. Remove, then let it sit for 3 minutes. Stir, add toppings and enjoy!