Microwave Oatmeal (4 Flavors!)

Food

Here’s an all-inclusive guide on all things Microwave Oatmeal, with four different recipes! I’m sharing my go-to base oatmeal recipe plus a recipe for Banana-Peanut Butter Oatmeal, Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal, and Maple-Brown Sugar Oatmeal.

We made an entire guide on How To Make Oatmeal on the stovetop (with four different recipes!) and we’ve shared a similar guide for making Overnight Oats (with four more different recipes). While the recipes on both of those guides are incredible, they all take a bit more preparation and cooking time (hot oats) or a long chilling time (overnight oats).

With these Microwave Oatmeal recipes, we’re optimizing for the quickest possible prep time while not making any sacrifices on flavor! 

four flavors of Microwave Oatmeal

four flavors of Microwave Oatmeal

Microwave Oatmeal

I was practically raised instant oatmeal packets — maple and brown sugar was always my go-to! And, I’ll admit I still enjoy them every now and again. They’re a nostalgic breakfast for me!

You really can’t beat the convenience and how quickly they come together. That is, until today’s post — Microwave Oatmeal that’s nearly as easy as the packets — no more than 5 minutes of prep time! And, these oats are ridiculously tasty, thick, and creamy!

Not only is it more economical to make your own oatmeal, but also, when you ditch the packets, you can make your bowl of oats exactly how you’d like them. You don’t need to worry about what preservatives or chemicals may be lurking in your breakfast.

QUICK TIP

Oatmeal makes a hearty and filling breakfast that will give your body energy and important nutrients. And while it’s loaded with nutritional benefits, it shouldn’t be something you have to gag down! These four recipes will have you craving oatmeal every single morning!

What oats to use

There are three types of oats and the difference between the varieties is how much the original ‘groat’ has been processed.  Groats are the hulled kernels of grain, and are the most unprocessed version of the whole grain. The more the grain is processed, the more it affects the taste, texture, and cooking times.

For these microwave oatmeal recipes, we’re using Quick Oats. Quick oats are partially cooked, dried, and then rolled and pressed thinner than old-fashioned oats. They cook up quickly and yield a great creamy texture in that short time in the microwave.

We don’t recommend using quick oats in stovetop oatmeal because they’re exposed to a lot more heat and longer cook time. That can make them mushier in texture. But with the short cook time and the microwave as the heat source, they end up wonderfully creamy instead of mushy. 

Microwave Oatmeal with berries

Microwave Oatmeal with berries

Microwave Oatmeal Ingredients

While oatmeal can be made with just oats and water, I’m all about truly delicious oatmeal that you’ll actually be craving the next day. So, here are a few more ingredient options, and they’re all pantry staples that don’t take much effort or time to add.

  • Quick oats: These oats cook up ridiculously fast and end up deliciously creamy (almost porridge-like consistency). 
  • Plant-based milk: While any milk works well in these oats, we prefer plant-based milk like unsweetened vanilla almond milk or macadamia nut milk. It adds so much more flavor than water, without adding a lot of extra calories (especially if you get 30-calorie almond milk or 40-calorie macadamia nut milk). It also gives the oatmeal much creamier texture. For richer tasting oatmeal with dairy milk, use 1%, 2%, or whole milk.
  • Light brown sugar: Just a little bit of sugar takes oats from meh to amazing! If you’d like to use a natural sweetener instead, try coconut sugar or pure maple syrup. Start with a little because it’s always easy to add more. And on the flip side, if you love sweeter breakfasts, increase the amount of sugar or sprinkle some on top of the oats right out of the microwave.
  • Salt: This ingredient balances and intensifies all the flavors. While it’s just a small amount and may seem tempting to omit, it’s a huge player in overall flavor.
  • Flavor enhancers: I love adding vanilla extract and ground cinnamon to my base recipe, but either can be left out (or increased).

Peanut Butter Microwave Oats

Peanut Butter Microwave Oats

Microwave Oatmeal toppings

With the four recipes I’m sharing today, I also recommend some topping ideas in the recipe card. But toppings for oatmeal are truly endless! Use the base recipe and create your favorite bowl of oats using some of the topping ideas below:

  • Bite-sized pieces of fresh fruit: Bananas, pineapple, kiwis, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mango, etc.–try whatever fresh fruit you like.
  • Small frozen fruit: I prefer fresh, but frozen berries are quite good in oatmeal — especially wild frozen blueberries. (yum!) 
  • A handful (or two) of granola: Granola adds a fun contrasting texture.
  • A handful (or two) of nuts: Try sliced or slivered almonds, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, chopped pistachios, chopped cashews, or peanuts.
  • Chia seeds: These small, unassuming seeds are packed with good nutrients, are rich in antioxidants, and provide fiber, iron, and calcium. They add an interesting textural topping.
  • Dried fruits: Raisins, dried cranberries, currants, dried cherries, dried blueberries, dried figs, chopped dates, etc. are all great on top of oats.
  • Nut butter: Almond butter, cashew butter, or peanut butter drizzled over oatmeal is delicious. Or get a flavored almond butter for even more flavor — we love these! (Not sponsored)
  • Coconut: Toasted, unsweetened coconut adds a nice texture and flavor.
  • Sweetener: A sprinkle of brown sugar or drizzle of honey, pure maple syrup, or agave nectar makes a tasty topping for a bowl of hot oats.

Strawberries and Cream Microwave Oatmeal

Strawberries and Cream Microwave Oatmeal

Oatmeal tips

  • Let the oatmeal stand: While you likely wouldn’t want a bowl of piping hot oats straight out of the microwave, it’s important to let the oats stand and cool a bit. As they cool, they continue to thicken and the flavors intensify a bit further.
  • Taste test: Before sitting down to enjoy the oats, make sure to give them a quick taste test and add a little extra if flavors are lacking. An extra pinch of salt or a little extra sugar can make all the difference!
  • Cook it to your liking: If you would like sturdier oats, microwave them an extra 30 seconds so they can continue to absorb liquid. We like creamy oatmeal, so 90 seconds is perfect for our preference, especially after it has stood for 2-3 minutes. If you do microwave longer, just keep in mind they continue to firm up quite a bit outside of the microwave.
  • Salvage overheated oats with a splash of milk or even coffee creamer.
  • Get to know your microwave: Each microwave is a little different. If yours tends to run hotter, start with less time and if it runs cooler, you may need extra time added on. It might take a little experimenting with your microwave, but once you’ve tested through the oats a couple of times, you’ll know the exact timing to use with your particular microwave.

QUICK TIP

Quick oats absorb liquid rapidly as they sit and slightly cool. So to avoid overly thick/dry oatmeal, cook for a little less time and let the oats stand at room temperature for a few minutes to thicken and become nice and creamy!

Maple and brown sugar Microwave Oatmeal

Maple and brown sugar Microwave Oatmeal

More easy breakfast ideas:

Microwave Oatmeal

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Here’s an all-inclusive guide on all things Microwave Oatmeal, with four different recipes! I’m sharing my go-to base oatmeal recipe plus a recipe for Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal, Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal, and Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal.

Microwave Oatmeal

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Here’s an all-inclusive guide on all things Microwave Oatmeal, with four different recipes! I’m sharing my go-to base oatmeal recipe plus a recipe for Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal, Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal, and Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal.

Ingredients

Base Oatmeal Recipe

  • 1/2 cup QUICK oats
  • 1 cup milk (we use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1/8 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • Optional toppings: fresh berries, drizzle of sweetener or extra brown sugar, nuts/seeds, chia seeds

Peanut Butter Banana

  • 1/2 cup QUICK oats
  • 1 cup milk (we use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1/8 tsp table salt)
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup diced ripe banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • Optional toppings: additional sliced banana, chia seeds, an extra scoop of nut butter, peanuts or other nut

Strawberries and Cream

  • 1/2 cup QUICK oats
  • 1 cup milk (we use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1/8 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • 2-3 tablespoon additional milk or coffee creamer, optional
  • Optional toppings: additional strawberries, chia seeds

Maple brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup QUICK oats
  • 1 cup milk (we use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1/8 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • Optional toppings: extra sprinkle of brown sugar, nuts (we like pecans), chia seeds

Instructions

  • BASE RECIPE: In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the quick oats, milk, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon if using. Microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir for about 15 seconds. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir. We love it at this consistency — it continues to thicken as it sits. Let stand to thicken for 2-3 minutes or return to microwave for another 30 seconds for thicker (less creamy) oats. Remove and stir. Add in the vanilla extract if desired. Add any desired toppings and enjoy!

  • PEANUT BUTTER BANANA RECIPE: In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the quick oats, milk, salt, and brown sugar. Microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir for about 15 seconds. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir. We love it at this consistency — it continues to thicken as it sits. Let stand to thicken for 2-3 minutes or return to microwave for another 30 seconds for thicker (less creamy) oats. Remove and stir in the vanilla extract if using and peanut butter. Use the back of a spoon to thoroughly mash the peanut butter into the oats. Stir until peanut butter has integrated into the oats and then mix in the diced bananas. Add any desired toppings and enjoy!

  • STRAWBERRIES & CREAM RECIPE: In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the quick oats, milk, salt, and brown sugar. Microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir for about 15 seconds. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir. We love it at this consistency — it continues to thicken as it sits. Let stand to thicken for 2-3 minutes or return to microwave for another 30 seconds for thicker (less creamy) oats. Remove and stir in the vanilla extract if using. Gently mix in the strawberries. Drizzle on some coffee creamer or additional milk for extra creamy oatmeal. Add any desired toppings and enjoy!

  • MAPLE BROWN SUGAR RECIPE: In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the quick oats, milk, salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon if using. Microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir for about 15 seconds. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir. We love it at this consistency — it continues to thicken as it sits. Let stand to thicken for 2-3 minutes or return to microwave for another 30 seconds for thicker (less creamy) oats. Remove and stir. Add in the vanilla extract if desired. Add any desired toppings and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Calories are for the base recipe with no add-ins.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 13.3g | Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 4.9mg | Sodium: 105.4mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 21.2g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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