This is one of our base recipes. If you love our overnight oats recipe, you’ll love this simple stovetop oatmeal recipe! It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, is made with pantry staples, packed with nutrition, and full of flavor. Make a batch of stovetop oatmeal for breakfast this week, and as always, adjust to YOUR taste!
Must-Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for Making the Basic Oatmeal Recipe
Learning how to make stovetop oatmeal is as easy as 1-2-3! Combine, stir, and simmer – that’s it!
The basic oatmeal-to-water ratio is 1:2, but because we use milk for half of the liquid in the recipe, it is 1:1:1 (oatmeal:water:milk).
Stir together the first five ingredients to ensure even flavor distribution.
If you want a creamier oatmeal, use a creamy milk. Skim and almond milk are thinner, whereas whole milk and cashew are creamier. Be mindful of daily saturated fat intake if using whole.
Don’t over-stir, or the oats will become gummy. Just a quick stir to mix everything together, and that should do the trick!
If using a fruit or vegetable puree, such as applesauce or pumpkin puree, stir it in with the water, milk, and spices.
Toast nuts before adding for best flavor.
You can change the type of oats you use in this recipe, depending on what you like and have on hand! Just note that cooking times may vary. Learn more about the different types of oats in this article: Different Types of Oats.
- Water: substitute equal parts milk for extra creamy stovetop oatmeal.
- Milk or milk alternative: use any milk or milk alternative of your choice. We recommend plain varieties to reduce added sugars, but if you have sweetened on hand, leave out the added sweetener.
- Sweetener: use honey, maple syrup, agave, or brown sugar.
- Spice: use cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, apple pie spice, pumpkin spice, or make your own spice blend!
- Oats: old fashioned, rolled, or quick oats all work. Steel cut oats work in this recipe too, but note that cooking time increases. Cook according to package directions.
- Fruit: use any fruit of your choosing. Diced apple, diced pear, sliced banana, fresh berries, and thawed frozen blueberries are just some ideas! If using dried fruit, reduce to 2 Tablespoons. If using pureed fruit, mix it in with the milk.
- Nuts or Seeds: use any chopped nuts or seeds. Sliced or slivered almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flax seeds, or hemp seeds all add great texture and nutrition. Toast before adding for better flavor. You can also substitute 1 Tablespoon nut or seed butter.
We love buying our spices from The Spice House. Click on the picture below to view & try out hundreds of flavorful spices and herbs!
Base Recipe Variations
Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste!
Want to make your stovetop oatmeal vegan? Use a milk alternative, such as almond, soy, or cashew milk.
Need some recipe inspiration?
Check out some of our favorite variations!
Use these kitchen tools for recipe success!
Is Stovetop Oatmeal Healthy?
Yes! Hot oatmeal is a great breakfast to start your morning. (Read more about healthy oatmeal breakfasts here.) Packed with fiber, protein, and flavor, stovetop oatmeal will keep you satisfied and energized throughout your morning. This recipe features oats, milk, fruit, and nuts/seeds.
Oats of any variety are a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Fiber is important for digestion, satiety, stable blood sugar, good cholesterol, and healthy gut bacteria. Carbohydrates are important for energy and focus.
Milk or Milk Alternative
Whether you choose to use cow’s milk or a plant based alternative, you are sure to get some nutritional benefit. Cow’s milk is a great source of protein, calcium, vitamins A & D, and more. There are so many plant-based milk alternatives that it’s hard to generalize their benefits, so be sure to read the nutrition label. Soy milk is the most comparable to cow’s milk.
For more on this subject, check out our plant-based milk vs cow’s milk article!
Dried, fresh, frozen, shredded, and pureed fruits are all packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Together, these nutrients help reduce inflammation and prevent chronic disease.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain plant-based protein and healthy monounsaturated fats which are good for heart health. These nutrients also help you feel satisfied until your next meal.
Serving Suggestions for the Best Stovetop Oatmeal
Enjoy this oatmeal recipe as is, or add a splash more milk, a drizzle of nut butter, a sprinkle of dried fruit, or a few dark chocolate chips to your taste!
How to Store Cooked Oatmeal
Want to make a big batch of oatmeal today to eat throughout the week? Multiply the recipe by your desired yield, cook, cool, then place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
When ready to eat, dish out individual servings, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy hot or cold!
Want More Breakfast Oat Recipes?
Try out these base recipes, then have fun customizing them to your taste!
Baked Oatmeal Cups Base Recipe
Stovetop Oatmeal Base Recipe
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup milk or milk alternative
- 1 teaspoon natural sweetener (or to taste)
- ⅛-¼ teaspoon flavor extract and/or spice
- Dash salt
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
Optional Toppings or Mix-Ins
- 2 Tablespoons dried fruit or ½ cup fresh, frozen (thawed), or pureed fruit
- 1-2 Tablespoons toasted nuts, seeds, or nut butters
- 1-2 Tablespoons toasted coconut
- In a small saucepan, combine milk, water, sweetener, spices, flavor extract, and salt. Bring to a boil.
- Add oats, reduce heat, and stir to combine. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until oats are plump and liquid is mostly absorbed. Remove from heat and let settle for another minute before eating. Oatmeal will thicken as it cools.
- Mix in or top with optional ingredients. Enjoy!