Tutorial: Preparing & Flavouring Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of my favourite breakfast staples because it’s really good for you, it’s super versatile, it CAN taste amazing, and depending on your choice of toppings can keep you from feeling hungry for hours! I get asked a lot of questions about how I prepare my oatmeal. This post it probably unnecessarily in depth, but I’m pretty passionate (possibly obsessive) about my oatmeal, so I think it warrants it’s very own and very long post. This is everything you need to know and more about how I prepare my oatmeal (and if it’s not, feel free to ask me a question in the comments!)

I’ve been using No Name brand large flake oats, I like them because they have a chewier texture and they’re only about $4 for a nice big bag. I also like quick oats (not instant!) as the cooking time is a lot shorter. I always cook my oatmeal in a little saucepan on my stove, I just find it a lot easier than doing it in the microwave because I can easily stir in any flavours and toppings that I want without having to mess up my bowl. I always use a 2:1 ratio of water to oats, usually either a 1/2 cup or 1/3 cup of oats, depending on how hungry I am.


These directions are for using 1/2 cup of uncooked oats:

  1. In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of water to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in a small pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of oats.
  2. If I’m adding any mix-ins that I want cooked or if I want to “infuse” a flavour into the oats, I add them now. Things like: chopped apple, raisins (if you like them more on the moist side), chopped dates (if you add them now rather than later they’ll pretty much dissolve into your oatmeal so it’s great for adding sweetness throughout the entire bowl.) If I’m making chocolate oatmeal I add about 2-3 tsp of cocoa. If I don’t need any of my mix-ins to be cooked, I skip the above step.
  3. Let the oats simmer for about 8-10 minutes until the oats have absorbed nearly all of the water.
  4. Now I add in any flavours that I want to be warmed or mixed into the oatmeal such as: sweeteners (molasses, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.), fresh fruit like blueberries, bananas, or apples (if you want them crunchy), dried fruit, spices (cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, etc.) Give it a final stir to incorporate your mix-ins and then scoop your oatmeal into a bowl.
  5. Now I add my toppings! Some of my favourite toppings are: peanut butter, chopped nuts, fresh, dried, or thawed frozen fruit, shredded coconut, and coconut milk.


  1. I never mix nut butters into my oatmeal, the flavour just seems to get lost. If you put a nice dollop on top of your oatmeal you can use your spoon to grab a little bit with each bite!
  2. For creamier oats substitute soy or almond milk for water as your cooking liquid. Instead of bringing your milk to a boil over high heat, just bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Use non-dairy milk in chocolate oatmeal for more of a “milk chocolatey” flavour.
  3. If you don’t like oatmeal because it’s mushy, then consider experimenting with large flake or steel cut oats, they’re completely different from instant oats. Large flake oats stay as individual oats and their texture is chewy, not mushy. If you buy large flake oats and you still hate oatmeal you can grind them up for oat flour or use them in oatmeal cookies!
  4. Pretty much any combination of fresh fruit plus peanut butter is bound to be delicious.

Some of my favourite oatmeal combinations:

Dark Chocolate Cranberry & Coconut – Step 2: Add 2-3 tsp cocoa and a few chopped dates for sweetness. Step 4: Quickly stir in about 1 tbsp of chopped dark chocolate and some shredded coconut. Step 5: Top with dried cranberries and some coconut milk.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookie – Step 2: Add raisins. Step 4: Stir in a pinch of cinnamon and some shredded coconut. Quickly stir in chopped dark chocolate and chopped bananas.

Apple Cinnamon Raisin – Step 2: Add chopped apple, molasses, a big pinch of cinnamon, and a little ginger. Step 5: Top with raisins and a dollop of peanut butter.

Vanilla-Blueberry-Banana – Step 4: Add some vanilla extract, and your sweetener of choice. Step 5: Top with tons of fresh blueberries, sliced banana, and some vanilla soy or almond milk.

Pumpkin Walnut Oatmeal – Step 4: Add molassses, 3 tbsp pure canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, raisins, and 1 tbsp of ground flax seed. Let it cook until pumpkin thickens. Step 5: Top  with walnuts and coconut milk.

What’s your favourite way to eat oatmeal?

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