Saturday, March 16, 2013

Big Batch of Oatmeal in the Microwave

Big casserole dish and big container of oats.
I love oatmeal and related porridges, they're my all-time favorite breakfast.  Even in the summer, I want a big, hot bowl of oatmeal to start my day. I've eaten oatmeal for breakfast for years now.   I even take my oatmeal with me when I stay in a hotel -- heating them up in the room microwave or using the coffee pot to make an "instant" breakfast porridge.  The only time I don't eat oatmeal for breakfast is if we're going out to a restaurant to eat.

I used to start each morning's individual bowl of oatmeal the night before, but now with a toddler in the house, I don't have time to do that anymore.  Now I make a big batch of oatmeal and divide it up into containers to eat for several days.  It still takes a bit of time in the morning to heat it up a portion, decide what I want to add for flavor/texture/protein/etc., mix that up, and pour on a milk "float" (non-dairy creamer and almond milk), but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Measuring out the oats.

In my photos you'll see my biggest Corelle casserole dish and a large Tupperware cereal saver container, this is what I pull out to make my big batch of oats.  When the oats container gets down to 1/4 left, I get nervous and buy another huge bag from the bulk bin section at my grocery store. I prefer old-fashioned rolled oats from the bulk bin rather than the brand-name canister with the old guy in a hat. The bulk bin oats seem to be "more whole", while the ones in the ones from the canister seem broken up and cause my oatmeal to be more gloppy.  

Here's my process to make five servings at once.


  • 2 cups of rolled oats (not instant)
  • 3.5 cups of water
I don't know if 2 cups of oats sounds like a large amount to you, but that's 2/5 of a cup of oatmeal, which turns out to be quite a lot after all the water is absorbed. 

Oats + Water


  1. Put the oats and water into a large casserole dish, stir.  
  2. Microwave for 2 minutes.  Stir.  
  3. Microwave for 2 more minutes.  Feel free to stir it, but at this point, leave it in the microwave overnight. 

    Yes, I know it could possibly get gross letting cooked food sit overnight like that, but I've never had a problem.  Plus I've heard that soaking grains like this makes them easier for you to digest, so I continue to do it.  And it allows the oats soak up so much more water than if you made the oats five minutes ago, so it's more filling.   
  4. In the morning, the oats will have soaked up all the water and be less soupy.
  5. Divide up the oats into five containers.  This is the point when I keep one bowl out, heat it up for two minutes, and have it for breakfast that morning. 
    Oats + heat (soupy)

I've also made variations on oatmeal/porridge by using some combo of oats plus
  • quinoa
  • millet
  • wheat berries
  • steel-cut oats 
  • bulgur wheat
  • hulled barley
  • rye flakes 
  • Bob's Red Mill 5-Grain cereal (whole wheat, rye, oats, flax seed, barley, and triticale)
  • Red River cereal (wheat, rye, flax)
It really depends on what I feel like having and what I've got in the house.


I typically decide at the last-minute what I want to add to my oatmeal.  It depends on what we've got in the house, the flavor I'm looking for, how much protein I need (more if I'm off to bootcamp exercise class on Saturdays), etc.  Some typical things I add are
  • flax seed meal (protein)
  • hemp seeds (protein)
  • oat bran (fiber + thickener)
  • wheat bran (fiber + thickener)
  • wheat germ (healthy stuff)
  • chia seeds (adds fiber and moisture)
  • cinnamon (flavor + supposedly helps control blood sugar levels)
  • cocoa powder (makes chocolate oatmeal!)
  • Grape-nuts cereal (crunchy texture)
  • chopped almonds (protein + texture)
  • fresh, freeze-dried, and dried fruit (flavor)
  • packets of oatmeal (Kashi Go Lean instant hot cereal, Trader Joe's maple & brown sugar oatmeal. RIP Quaker cranberry-almond.)
  • baby food pouches (son didn't like them)
  • Oats + time (left to sit overnight, thick!)

Here are some flavors/variations from the many bowls of oatmeal I've made in the past few years.
  • cinnamon
  • almond (using coffee flavoring syrup)
  • carrot cake oatmeal (shredded carrots and cinnamon)
  • spicy Mexican chocolate oatmeal
  • chocolate
  • peanut butter
  • chocolate-peanut butter
  • apple-cinnamon
  • cinnamon-raisin
  • pear
  • dried plums (prune)
  • banana
  • peach-almond
  • dried cranberry
  • fresh cranberries
  • dried cherry
  • pineapple
  • chopped almonds-brown sugar 


When was the last time you ate oatmeal?  Do you share my love of oatmeal?

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!