The right way to make oatmeal for breakfast

A couple years back I figured out the right way to make oatmeal for breakfast.  The basic problem with oatmeal is that if you cook it in the usual way (boil water, add oats, stir it to keep it from burning as it gets increasingly thick), you end up with slimy glop.  Quick-cooking oats basically guarantee glop no matter what you do.  Steel-cut oats are one solution to the glop problem, but they take a long time to cook, and I’m not a hipster.  Some people cook them overnight in a thermos, but this requires way more forethought than I can muster regarding breakfast.

So here’s the deal.  Boil water in a teakettle (I’m doing this anyway to make a cup of tea). Put 1c (or however much you want) dry old fashioned rolled oats in a big (but still single-serving) ceramic bowl.  Optionally add chopped up apricots or whatever.  When the water boils, first pour the tea, then pour water over the oats until they’re just barely fluidized – not swimming around freely, but so the water breaks the surface of the flakes.  Then microwave for 2 mins.  It quickly comes to a boil; use a big bowl so it doesn’t overflow.  The exact time depends on the microwave.  On the microwave we have now, I actually hit the ‘1 min’ button, let it steep for a minute or so after it beeps, then hit the ‘1 min’ button again – just to be sure it doesn’t overflow.  If I bothered to figure out how to adjust the power level, I could avoid this.  The resulting oatmeal is not slimy in the least; the individual flakes are distinct, and there’s no extra pot to wash.

Try it – it works great.  I add a small hunk of salted butter and a splash of Five Islands maple syrup.

Related: check out David MacKay with a delightful series of kitchen experiments to determine the most efficient way to boil water:



2 Responses to “The right way to make oatmeal for breakfast”

  1. bluelawscribe Says:

    I eat oatmeal daily. Sometime I pour applesauce or almond milk over the uncooked rolled oats and eat them raw. Add some chia seeds or flax seed meal, banana, raisins and walnut or almond bits and you have a hearty breakfast.

  2. Nathan Williams Says:

    Steel cut oats can be prepped overnight, which is how I usually do them. For 1/4c steel cut oats, boil 1c water in a small pot, add a pinch of salt, then add the oats, kill the heat, and cover overnight. In the morning, turn on the heat and cook for 5-10 minutes. (Cooks Illustrated recently did a variation of this, where they use 3/4c water overnight, then add the remaining 1/4c water for the morning cooking. I’m unconvinced it’s better, but it does work.)

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