Creamy Oatmeal:
How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal

Plus Three Secrets to Great Oatmeal
One Old, Two New

Hang onto your breakfast slippers, people, because there’s a great new way to cook oatmeal. It's a 50:50 blend of steel-cut Irish oats and old-fashioned rolled oats cooked on the stove in a mix of milk and water. The result is a taste and texture that's creamy and light but also – there's just no other way to put it – almost chewy, a real porridge, thick but not too thick, creamy but not too creamy.
For an endlessly variable healthy breakfast staple, serve Creamy Oats "sweet" with fruit, glazed pecans and a splash of maple syrup or "savory" with sautéed veggies and an egg on top.

How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal with Creamy Oatmeal ♥, half steel-cut oats and half old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in part milk, part water. Great texture. Great for meal prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.

How to Make Creamy Oatmeal Cooked from Scratch on the Stove. Just Three Ingredients. Great Texture, Nothing Mushy. Weekday Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Breakfast Meal Prep. Year-Round Breakfast Staple, Savory or Sweet. Hearty & Filling. Weight Watchers Friendly.
  • "... really like your blended rolled and steel-cut oats!" ~ Charlie

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If You Don't Like Oatmeal, This Might Be Why.

A dear friend spoke with regret, "I don’t really like oatmeal."

I responded with confidence, "Then you’re not using enough salt."

At lunch a few weeks ago, my friend Riffi recalled this long-ago conversation. Me, I have no memory of it.

Still, it doesn’t surprise me: the first secret to good oatmeal is salt.

What does surprise me is that the Microwave Creamy Oatmeal with Peanut Butter that’s been my go-to breakfast three or four or even five mornings a week for the last fifteen or so years now – that’s three thousand bowls of oatmeal! – has new competition been displaced.

The second secret to good oatmeal? Milk! Cooking oats with even a small measure of milk yields oatmeal that’s light and creamy at the same time.

The third secret to great oatmeal? A mix of steel-cut oats and old-fashioned rolled oats. The combination makes for a heady texture, fulsome and satisfying.

And my friend Riffi? She now eats oatmeal – cooked with enough salt, mind you – a few times a week. Wait until she learns my new secrets!

And you? If you've just never liked oatmeal, give it another chance. Just add salt while the oats cook.

How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal with Creamy Oatmeal ♥, half steel-cut oats and half old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in part milk, part water. Great texture. Great for meal prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Meal Prep Your Morning Oats

If I had a private chef, I'd request freshly cooked oatmeal every morning. But haha, that's not my life and I bet, yours either?

Next best is having a big container of already-cooked Creamy Oatmeal in the fridge, ready for a fast warmup and a hot breakfast. It's almost as convenient as a bowl of cereal and way more flexible since the oatmeal can be warming up in the microwave while an egg cooks.

Morning protein!

So this is a great oatmeal for meal prep. In fact, for our household use, I've scaled up the recipe to fit my largest pot, it lasts two of us about a week.

When this oatmeal's ready and cooked and waiting in the fridge? We eat hardly any store-bought cereals!

That's one for the win column!

How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal with Creamy Oatmeal ♥, half steel-cut oats and half old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in part milk, part water. Great texture. Great for meal prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.

What's In Creamy Oatmeal? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

Two Kinds of Oats, Rolled and Steel-Cut For a wonderful thick and creamy porridge texture, my recipe calls for a mix of two different forms or oats. The first is called "rolled oats" or "old-fashioned" oats. (Quick oats and instant oats don't work here.) The second is called "steel cut" or some times "Irish" oats; these are small pellets of oats. For rolled oats, I'm a big fan of the Quaker old-fashioned oats, easily found in most any grocery store in small or large tubs. For steel-cut oats, I have great luck with different sources, including Trader Joe's.

Two Liquids, Milk and Water For a rich (but not too rich) and creamy (but not too creamy) oatmeal, my recipe uses both milk and water to cook the oats. For a long while, I insisted on whole milk but readers convinced me to try lower-fat milks and y'know, they're right! Whole milk works and creates a richer, extra-creamy oatmeal but 2% and even skim milk makes a fine, fine breakfast oatmeal as well.

Salt Our household salt is Morton's kosher. If using Diamond Chrystal kosher salt, use extra, almost twice as much. If using table salt, use less, about half. But whatever you do, don't skip the salt. As my friend Riffi relayed, salt makes all the difference.

How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal with Creamy Oatmeal ♥, half steel-cut oats and half old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in part milk, part water. Great texture. Great for meal prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • Is Oatmeal Healthy? Yes! There are so many health benefits from eating oatmeal, including the reduction of LDL, the "bad" cholesterol that clogs our arteries and contributes to heart disease, the number one killer of both men and women. There's many years of research to back this, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved "heart healthy" claims in the late 1990s.
    More info here, Oatmeal: How and Why to Cook Oatmeal Every Day.

  • Will the Recipe Work Without Steel-Cut Oats? Yes! The cooked oatmeal will be smoother and less rustic without nubbly bits of oats. But it will still be perhaps the best bowl of oatmeal you've eaten in a long while ...

  • Does the Recipe Work with Non-Dairy Milks? Maybe. To my taste, non-dairy milks just don't produce a tasty oatmeal. But for anyone who already likes a certain almond, coconut, oat or other milk, it sure seems like plant-based milks should work fine, so maybe it's just me who's not used to their taste. Maybe a reader will give one a try and report back?

  • How Long Does It Take for Creamy Oatmeal to Cook? It takes just a couple of minutes to measure the oats, liquids and salt into a pot on the stove, then about 25 minutes for the oats to plump up and the steel-cut oats to turn tender.
    During this time, watch and adjust the temperature and stir every four to five minutes, especially near the end as the mixture thickens. You don't want the milk to scorch or the oatmeal to stick, regular stirring makes all the difference.
    I often use this morning time to make the coffee, feed the dog, empty the dishwasher, all those morning chores that keep me close and not too distracted. If I sit down to read the paper or journal, oops, the time gets away from me. Alexa can help! Just repeat, "Alexa, set the oatmeal timer for 5 minutes" for regular reminders.
How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal with Creamy Oatmeal ♥, half steel-cut oats and half old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in part milk, part water. Great texture. Great for meal prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Morning Oatmeal: Make It Savory!

Breakfast oatmeal doesn't have to be sweet, it really doesn't. Especially in the summer, we like to sautée a few vegetables and put an egg on top.

Dreamy good, that soft yolk streaming into the creamy oatmeal.

How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal with Creamy Oatmeal ♥, half steel-cut oats and half old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in part milk, part water. Great texture. Great for meal prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.

But Morning Oatmeal + Seasonal Fruit? Heaven

Even just a touch of fresh fruit tastes like a real indulgence on Creamy Oatmeal.

To die and go to heaven? Sprinkle on a few Maple-Glazed Pecans, crisp nuts with a lick of sweetness.

And In the Fall? Pumpkin, Of Course.

Every year, we fall back in love with Creamy Pumpkin Oatmeal. I think you might too!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If waking up to healthy homemade oatmeal hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal ♥, half steel-cut oats and half old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in part milk, part water. Great texture. Great for meal prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 8 cups
  • 1-1/3 cups (130g) old-fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup (130g) steel-cut oats
  • 3 cups milk (whole, 2%, 1%, skim)
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (don’t skip or skimp!)

In a heavy saucepan that’s big enough for stirring and for the volume to more than double, bring the oats, milk, water and salt to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

Once it comes to a boil – there will be big sloppy bubbles – reduce the heat to medium low to maintain a slow simmer; stir every so often (about every 5 minutes), scraping the sides and bottom of the saucepan. Keep an eye on the pot, if it boils too hard, the oats can scorch! Cook until the steel-cut oats are tender and the oatmeal has thickened, you'll need to stir more often toward the end.

SERVE IT PLAIN I l-o-v-e this oatmeal plain, all by itself, just tiny teaspoons at a time, really savoring the texture and creaminess, you can actually taste and touch the oats!

SERVE IT SIMPLE Place a teaspoon or two of good butter on top of the hot oatmeal, it'll melt and pool. Then sprinkle with a teaspoon or two of raw sugar or a drizzle of honey and maybe a few toasted walnuts. So good!

DRESS IT UP Top with seasonal fruits, a few Maple-Glazed Pecans and a tiny splash of maple syrup.

MAKE IT SAVORY Top with a few sautéed vegetables and an egg or two, fried, poached, soft-boiled or however you like 'em!

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Creamy Oatmeal is really special served straight from the stove but also reheats beautifully. Before reheating either in the microwave or on the stovetop, stir in a little extra milk or water to loosen the oats. Believe it or not, I like this oatmeal cold too! Again, it's that great texture!


To scale this recipe up or down for more or fewer servings, use these easy-to-remember ingredient amounts to yield about 4 cups cooked oatmeal.

  • 1 cup oats (by weight, use 1/2 old-fashioned oats and 1/2 steel-cut oats)
  • 4 cups liquid (by volume, use about 1/3 milk)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
RECIPES NOTES I often tweak long-tested Kitchen Parade recipes to make small improvements. But I've changed this recipe quite dramatically since it was published back in 2014, even though I'd made dozens of pots for an entire year before even sharing it! The changes are a result of taking cues from readers and even more pots of oatmeal. Here's what's different with the "new and better" Creamy Oatmeal.
  • RANGE OF MILKS Before, I was most insistent about using whole milk, I just found the oatmeal more special. Since then, friends raved about it cooked with 2% milk and hmmm, I really like that too! It's now our standard. I think you're good, whatever kind of milk you keep on hand, from skim to whole.
  • MORE LIQUID Before, I called for far less liquid. That made the oatmeal super-thick which was great but it also meant it was too easy to burn the oatmeal and oh my, the pot could be hard to clean up afterward. More liquid fixes those issues! I also prefer the looser texture.
  • GOOD FOR MEAL PREP Before, I also thought it best made in small batches for eating on the spot. Now? It's a meal prep standard in this household, something I make week in and week out in large batches (and some times double large batches) for quick and wholesome breakfasts during the week.
STUFF THAT WORKS All old-fashioned oats is excellent but the 2:1 mix of old-fashioned oats:steel cut oats has amazing texture, it’s almost chewy. Please, no quick oatmeal here, no instant oatmeal here, just old-fashioned oats and steel-cut oats. In the beginning, I cooked this oatmeal only with whole milk. Then I switched to 2% milk, our usual drinking milk; at first I found it quite creamy and quite good – just not as special as whole milk. But now? We only use 2% milk and I a-d-o-r-e this oatmeal! Short on milk? Don't worry. Even a single cup of milk makes a big difference, even when it's low in fat. Just be sure to use a total of eight cups of liquid. Salt? Don’t even think about leaving it out. I’ve also added a tablespoon or two of chia seeds (before cooking) and protein powder (after cooking) to the Creamy Oatmeal: both work great. Most often, I throw in a handful of red quinoa (about 1/3 cup), it adds some protein, a little color and still more texture to the oatmeal. It's especially nice with savory bowls with eggs on top. For a natural sweetener, I like to throw a ripe banana into the pot to cook right along with the oats. This works especially well for the "sweeter" bowls of oatmeal, ones topped with fresh fruit and nuts, say.

STUFF THAT DOESN’T WORK For vegan and dairy-free “creamy” oatmeal, I tried both almond milk (homemade and commercial) and coconut milk: “fine” but to my taste, these are nothing special. I had high hopes that Creamy Oatmeal would turn out well in the slow cooker – but sorry, no-no-no. It was edible but lost all the amazing texture that happens on the stovetop. Since I have such good luck “slow cooking” in the oven at low temperature overnight, it was worth a shot to cook oatmeal this way. But yuck, what a disaster! The oats were like glue and went straight into the garbage. One batch, I added chai-style spices; somehow the oatmeal tasted “sweet” even without added sugar. Some will like this but we didn’t.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup (assumes 2% milk): 83 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 3mg Cholesterol; 25mg Sodium; 13g Carb; 2g Fiber; 3g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 3 & Freestyle 3 & myWW green 3 & blue 3 & purple 1 CALORIE COUNTERS 100 calories = generous half cup (4g protein).
Inspired by recipe for Oven-Baked Oatmeal from a great breakfast spot here in St. Louis called Half & Half, first published in my column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Do click through, the Raspberry Compote is very worth making, the whole combination is magnificent!

More Favorite Ways to Cook Oatmeal

~ oatmeal recipes ~
Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots ♥, just a little sweetness, just a little oil, this lets the oats and nuts and dried fruit be the real stars.

Swiss Bircher Müesli, classic overnight oats ♥, a breakfast treat with dried fruit and nuts.

Easy Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries & Bananas ♥, it's nutritious and ever-so-variable, sweetened with maple syrup or honey or sorghum or even a sugar-free syrup.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ oatmeal recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Charlie5/09/2014

    Jan and I really like your blended rolled and steel-cut oats! I just sent your blog to my oatmeal-loving cousin.

  2. I'll have to let my spouse know--he's been stirring PB into his microwaved oatmeal, year round, for years. Has a whole efficient engineer system going with the spoon that spreads the PB on his sandwich which becomes the spoon that adds the PB to his oatmeal which then becomes the spoon he eats his oatmeal with. I just smile and alternate my breakfasts.

  3. It is sooo salty?!? 2 teaspoons? I had to make a second batch without salt and mix the two together to reduce the taste of the salt!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna