How to Cook Rolled Oats

Rolled oats are synonymous with healthy breakfast options, and for good reason. Oats are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious start to your day. Cooking rolled oats is a simple process that can be done in a variety of ways. In this article, we will discuss the different ways you can cook rolled oats along with some tips and tricks to make your oatmeal even more delicious.

Choosing the Right Oats

Before we get into the cooking methods, let’s talk about the different types of oats you can use. Rolled oats, also known as old-fashioned oats, are the most common type of oats used for oatmeal. They are oat groats that have been steamed and then flattened with large rollers. You can also use quick oats or instant oats, which have been pre-cooked and then dried, making them quicker to cook. Steel-cut oats are another option, but they have a different texture and require a longer cooking time.

When choosing rolled oats, look for ones that are unflavored and unsweetened. Flavored and sweetened oats often contain added sugars and artificial flavors, which can be unhealthy.

Basic Stovetop Method

The most common way to cook rolled oats is on the stovetop, and it’s a simple process that takes just a few minutes.

– In a medium-sized pot, bring 1 ½ cups of water or milk to a boil.
– Add 1 cup of rolled oats and reduce the heat to medium-low.
– Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are soft and the liquid has been absorbed.
– Remove from heat and let the oatmeal sit for a few minutes before serving.

You can customize your oatmeal by adding your favorite toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butter, or honey. You can also add flavorings like cinnamon, vanilla extract, or cocoa powder.

Microwave Method

If you’re short on time, you can cook your oats in the microwave. This method is also useful if you want to make just one serving of oatmeal.

– In a microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 cup of water or milk and ½ cup of rolled oats.
– Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until the oats are cooked.
– Let the oatmeal sit for a few minutes before serving.

The microwave method is quick, easy, and mess-free. You can also add the same toppings and flavorings as you would for stovetop oats.

Slow Cooker Method

If you want to make a big batch of oatmeal, you can use a slow cooker. This method takes longer, but the result is a creamy and delicious oatmeal that is perfect for meal prep.

– In a slow cooker, combine 4 cups of water or milk and 2 cups of rolled oats.
– Add any flavorings or toppings you want (except fresh fruit).
– Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
– If you want to add fresh fruit, do so during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking.

The slow cooker method allows you to set it and forget it while your oats cook. You can store the oatmeal in the refrigerator for up to a week and reheat it as needed.

Baked Oatmeal Method

Baked oatmeal is a fun and flavorful way to enjoy your oats. It’s perfect for a weekend breakfast or brunch.

– Preheat your oven to 350°F.
– In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of rolled oats with ½ cup of chopped nuts, 1 tsp of baking powder, ½ tsp of salt, and any flavorings you want (cinnamon, vanilla extract, etc.).
– In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 cups of milk, 1 egg, and ¼ cup of honey or maple syrup.
– Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well.
– Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the oatmeal is set and golden brown.

Baked oatmeal is a great way to enjoy oats without the mushy texture of traditional oatmeal. You can serve it warm with fresh fruit, yogurt, or whipped cream.

Tips and Tricks

– For creamier oatmeal, use milk instead of water.
– Cook the oats with a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor.
– Don’t be afraid to experiment with different toppings and flavorings.
– Use a pot with a non-stick surface to prevent the oats from sticking.
– Store leftover oatmeal in the fridge for up to a week and reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.


Q: Can you cook rolled oats without boiling water?
A: Yes, you can soak your oats overnight in milk or yogurt for a no-cook breakfast option.

Q: Can I use quick oats for my oatmeal?
A: Yes, quick oats can be used, but they cook faster and have a mushier texture than rolled oats.

Q: Is oatmeal gluten-free?
A: Oats are naturally gluten-free, but they can cross-contaminate with gluten-containing grains during production. Look for certified gluten-free oats if you have a gluten sensitiveness.

Q: Can I freeze oatmeal?
A: Yes, you can freeze oatmeal in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight and reheat as needed.

Q: How much oatmeal should I make for one serving?
A: A serving size of oats is typically ½ cup of dry oats, which yields about 1 cup of cooked oatmeal. Adjust the quantity of water or milk accordingly.