Introduction: Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Picture of Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Instant oatmeal is great for a quick breakfast at the office. Not only is it easy to make your own, the homemade version is more filling and less expensive (LESS EXPENSIVE! MORE FILLING! *ahem*) than the store bought stuff, and you can make it without all the sugar and preservatives.

Update: This morning was the first bowl of oatmeal of the season, so I took the opportunity to add a brand new photo (and more appetizing, I hope).

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

Basic oatmeal:

quick-cooking oats
nonfat dry milk powder (vegans and the lactose-intolerant can skip this)
one Splenda packet (or 2-3 teaspoons of sugar)

Additionally, for apple-cinnamon oatmeal:

dried apple bits

Step 2: Measure, Mix, and Store

Picture of Measure, Mix, and Store

Into a container or bag, put:

1/2 cup oats
1 tablespoon milk powder
1 splenda packet
1/8 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)

If you are making apple-cinnamon, add:
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle with dried apple bits (as much as you like)

Seal the container and shake it up. You now have one serving of instant oatmeal to take to work, school, etc.!

Step 3: Eat

Picture of Eat

To use your instant oatmeal: put it in a bowl, add about a cup of hot water (give or take), stir, and let it sit for a few minutes to cook.



canida (author)2006-12-06

Trader Joe's sells a rolled 4-grain 'cereal' that makes for a more interesting flavor than quick oats alone. It takes slightly longer to cook, but just by a minute or so. Your local yuppie grocery will probably sell something similar in bulk.

tchansen (author)canida2006-12-11

I find that hot water out of the tap is sufficient for kids - not too hot and they can go to town on it right away. Plus, it is quicker when everyone is in a hurry.

lanceearlhaines (author)tchansen2010-08-22

your oats are raw still, very starchy with this approach, starchy equals gas, just ask the beans.

tchansen (author)lanceearlhaines2017-02-16

Instant oatmeal; they aren't raw.

jsanceri (author)tchansen2007-01-02

Please be careful with this. Hot tap water can leach higher amounts of lead or other metals from plumbing or the hot water tank. It is not recommended you drink hot water from a tap.

lanceearlhaines (author)jsanceri2010-08-22

whats the difference if the hot water heater heats it compared to the stove or microwave? i think heating actually will remove minerals plus the heavier particles settle to the bottom of the hot water tank instead of flowing through like with the cold. Geeze lead pipes! do you drink out of lead goblets too just for kicks. I truly hope no one still has lead pipes. I guess if they did they wouldn't be able to read this anyway because of the going insane and being delirious. Really frigin' old buildings i guess? Copper and iron are not in amounts that will harm you in tap water from modern pipes. Well water is a different story, have it tested if you don't want tainted oatmeal.

schneb (author)lanceearlhaines2010-11-25

I just heard a story about lead being used in making the brass fittings--a college somewhere investigated water quality in a building where students/staff said it tasted bad--and found lead levels that were really, significantly high.

Here's the link:

If the link doesn't work, it's for the 'Living on Earth' show, for Nov. 19 2010.

Here's another article for that story:

lupita007 (author)2010-12-28

omg i love this recipe!!!!!!!!!!

lanceearlhaines (author)2010-08-22

Even whole oats are very "instant" in microwaves. only 2-3 minutes extra cooking time. less time than boiling water. and less time than blender or processor pretreatments. I am lactose intolerant so I don't use milk or powdered milk. Try my combination: water, cook stir and add 1 tablespoon ground flax seed (omega Fatty acids and lignins etc...for us chemistry geeks) then almond milk to desired consistency. Top with blueberries! or any combination of various fruits. I like frozen berry medleys because along with the almond or soy milk the frozen berries make it cool down ready to eat even instanter-er. I l know that's not a word so hush. This is my heart saver recipe. ask me how this will lower cholesterol better than any other oatmeal recipe and I'll oblige you with an answer. Notice the lack of the sodium ion, chloride ion and any artificial sweetening agents or sugar. Healthiest breakfast ever! unless you are allergic to oats, lol. take this over the top like me and sprinkle on some fiber one original cereal l to boost dietary fiber without adding sugar. Talk about regularity! oh and drink lots of water or you might get stopped up. This breakfast will clean out your arteries and your colon. I'm glad people are eating real food and not that sugared chemical preserved crap kids beg parents for. Hurray for real food!!!!!!!!

pattyaitch (author)2010-08-15

I buy Oatmeal in bulk at the health Food store~~~the regular kind. It can be made into instant with a couple of pulses in a blender. if you are a 'stay-at-home' with kids, or even without, instant can be a convenience. Make up a bigger batch ahead of time, that you can ladle out in 1/2 c. increments, as needed. Eat at home or take with you to the office~~~if you still have to go to one.

lemonie (author)2007-01-20

I think I failed to understand this. You appear to be telling people how to prepare oats, like western civilization doesn't know how. I find this quite painful, but recognise that some people haven't any idea how to feed themselves...

NinjaKitten (author)lemonie2007-05-14

I could swear there's a rule somewhere about constructive criticism. For myself, since I have 4 kids, this is a HUGE help. I usually end up buying three or four different boxes, because they all like different flavours. This method means that I can make it in bulk and then just add fresh/frozen fruits the way they like it. Thanks!

lemonie (author)NinjaKitten2007-05-15

I see some value in this, but it seems a bit obvious. I appreciate advanced cooking, but favour that people should be able to fend for themselves with the basics. L

rickymetz (author)lemonie2010-06-30

"Basics" will vary from country to country, as well as culture to culture. I can't ever recall eating oatmeal as a child, but I can recall eating grits. Although grits is a staple in the southern U.S. it would be silly to assume that every individual in the south, much less the entire country, would be familiar with the dish, both in taste or preparation. Point being, the instructables community is a diverse group of individuals with varying degrees of experience and of knowledge. What is mundane and commonplace to one, is fresh and exciting to another!

lemonie (author)rickymetz2010-06-30

Did you see the comment I posted Jun 21, 2010?


rickymetz (author)lemonie2010-07-06

Oops. No I didn't, sorry about the unnecessary lecture.

Adalei (author)lemonie2010-06-21

I found this helpful. My parents never ever brought up oats for anything other than oatmeal-chocolate cookies, and they made those like, once. I'm glad I found this :D

lemonie (author)Adalei2010-06-21

I do wonder what frame of mind I was in back then (>3 years ago)... See comment May 15, 2007. 1:21


DiscoInstruct (author)2006-12-08

MikeTutle - Based on your Splenda argument, I shouldn't eat salt either. It's half Chlorine.

bigjeff5 (author)DiscoInstruct2008-12-05

I think the bigger problem with salt is the Sodium is sure to blow you up as soon as it dissolves! It's explosive in water people! That's the reason I never eat salt myself. You people are living on borrowed time. Sure, I have a firm grasp on chemistry... ;)

greggspen (author)bigjeff52010-06-18

I can vouch for this I just fed some salt to my dog and he blew up. Admittedly it was salt petre mixed with sulphur and charcoal, rammed into a pipe, fused and ignited but the net effect was much as you described.

gewthen (author)bigjeff52009-01-11

You don't have a firm grasp on chemistry. You are referring to pure sodium. Table salt is NaCl (sodium chloride) not Na.

Clanky (author)gewthen2009-01-11

It's a joke. He is kidding. Just for laughs. Get it?

gewthen (author)Clanky2009-01-12

I know it's a joke, but no need to provide information that is inaccurate in the process. digjeff5 make it sound like if you eat salt you'll blow up...that's all.

Clanky (author)gewthen2009-01-13

Thing is, if you are smart enough to use a computer and sign up to be on, it should be obvious that salt does not make you blow up. If one did not know before, they are probably not fluent in English or else very sheltered against the evils of sodium chloride.

shadesofsisyphus (author)Clanky2009-02-12

I still think it would be funny to convince someone that eating salt will make you low up. Then have them tell their friends.

gewthen (author)Clanky2009-01-14

I have a really busy schedule now. So I'll just be nice and let you know that I won't be part of this conversation now. I really can't believe all you people have the time to spend on reacting to a harmless comment that was meant in the beginning to clarify some information. No harm was desired and no conflict was wanted... so leave this alone. I don't think there is much else to say on this topic other than for the sake of saying it. While i was about to post this I found, "We have a "be nice" comment policy. Please be positive and constructive with your comments or risk being banned from our site". And that is exactly what I was doing and was about to do. It sounded that even though it was a joke it was providing inaccurate information that could be read as being real valid information. That is all and there is nothing more. I have met may stupid people that can use the computer and all it takes to use a computer is the ability to understand its interface -- just like understanding the interface of a stove or a car. Being able to use the interface of a computer does not imply a certain knowledge level of chemistry or the natural world. I have a really busy schedule now. So I'll just be nice and let you know that I won't be part of this conversation any more.

bigjeff5 (author)gewthen2009-01-12

Re-read the grandparent, the parent, and then my comment. Maybe you'll get it. Salt is one Sodium molecule (explosive reaction in water) and one Chlorine molecule. The parent suggested not eating salt, because Chlorine is deadly. I suggested it was the Sodium that would kill you first. They were both jokes, thanks for ruining them.

mooshisho (author)2010-02-06

If you've one of those "health foods" stores around, you can get oatmeal for even cheaper.  :)  I have a Henry's and a Sprouts by my place, and they have various different oatmeals in their bulk bins.  The quick oats run for 79 cents a pound and are usually on sale every couple of weeks at 59 cents a pound.  :)

-- Moo

PS.  I like to make mine with milk and top it off with blueberries, bananas, and cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Yum!

laebis (author)2009-03-21

Hi! Just wanted to say thanks for the directions! I was getting frutrated, because there are all of these fancy directions or recipes, or directions for rolled and steel cut oats. I was looking for some basic directions for instant oatmeal and these are very clear. Just what I was looking for, and the pix are a great touch. So again, thank you.

grisworld (author)2009-02-18

Just eating a bowl of it with some maple syrup and it's just awesome!

ChefSharon (author)2009-01-04

This is a wonderful recipe! Thanks for posting!

kopplu (author)2008-12-15

My wife puts some oatmeal in a bowl, cuts an apple in small cubes, adds cinnamon and finally some skimmed milk. Puts it in the microwave for a minute and a half and you have a hot filling meal.

majwaj (author)2008-11-24

This is like Scottish "brose" which was an alternative to porridge. Used to be made from ordinary oatmeal but OK with processed oats. In a bowl, half cup oats, teaspoon salt (essential), add boiling water and stir like hell. Eat with milk and honey or golden syrup (or even maple syrup!)

LasVegas (author)2006-12-06

This is the only way I make oatmeal! I Haven't used a pan for oatmeal in years. It's surprising that so many pay so much for the same thing in pre-measured bags.

canida (author)LasVegas2006-12-06

But the pre-packaged versions give you all of those wonderful extras- preservatives, fake fruit bits, weird polysyllabic chemical additives, and probably some form of high-fructose corn syrup! Just think what you're missing out on.

Tetranitrate (author)canida2006-12-06

I love the ones that came with the little sugar dinosaurs that melted and made the oatmeal weird colors. Brings back memories of cold winter mornings before elementary school.

Lisa Fla (author)Tetranitrate2008-10-16

I thought those stupid dinosaur eggs would convince my kids to eat oatmeal. WRONG, they just tore open every pkg and got the stupid candy eggs out. grrrrr

LasVegas (author)canida2006-12-06

Don't forget the riddle on the wrapper! lol

miketutle (author)2006-12-08

Splenda? Folks, get some good organic unprocessed sugar or some powdered stevia instead. Tastes great and no frigging CHLORINE (!!) like Splenda has. Why in the world we think that a "sweetener" made in a lab will be good for us is beyond me. "Made from sugar. So it tastes like sugar." ?? Yeah, SUGAR+CHLORINE!! Go check out Splenda's own website for their response to this. Check it at WikipediaWikipedia as well. But, do check out the stevia. It is the primary sweetener used in Japan and is a natural plant. My father grows his own plants and they are awesome alternatives to the rotten white sugar and fake chemicals out there. Plus, stevia comes in little packets or drops. It's sale in the US and UK has been opposed by the standard sugar industries for obvious reasons. That should tell you something right there.

rikome (author)miketutle2007-05-18

I know this response is completely belated, but -- being a chemist -- when I saw this comment I had to respond.

Yes, splenda has the element chlorine in it. Chlorine, when it's just the element, is incredibly harmful. But a compound that has chlorine in it (for example NaCl, which is table salt) has drastically different properties than chlorine alone. The element chlorine = harmful. When it's in a compound such as NaCl (table salt) or sucralose (spendla) it's harmless. The idea that, because its compound has chlorine in it, splenda is somehow more dangerous is completely inaccurate.

Now, had Splenda just mixed sugar and chlorine together -- as two separate compounds -- those who ate it would have been killed. But the chlorine does not exist as a separate element, but as a part of the compound itself. Again, the compound with chlorine in it (sucralose) has completely different and harmless properties than when you have strictly chlorine by itself.

dkong (author)rikome2007-06-25

I understand that chlorine, as part of the Splenda compound, is different than the chlorine atom that would wreak havoc on its own, but Splenda itself is a harmful substance. An example: jelly beans. When the manufacturer of Jelly Belly has botched beans early in the manufacturing process, they send the unfinished jelly beans to the pig farms for use as their slops. However, the line of sugar-free Splenda filled products are not allowed to be given to the pigs because the Splenda causes the pigs to become sick and die. Considering that pigs can eat practically anything a human can, including its own species. Isn't it odd that it cannot eat Splenda? STAY AWAY FROM THE STUFF. By the way, I, like many others am allergic to Splenda--which doesn't really taste like sugar. Stevia and Sucanat are definitely a better choice.

sehrgut (author)dkong2008-10-16

Botched jelly beans are a cheap carbohydrate source for pig slop. The reason they don't send the Splenda jelly beans to the pig farms is that the don't have any calories (being made with Splenda). There's no point in feeding animals low-calorie or no-calorie foods. Pigs can eat Splenda, there's just no reason for it.

mcbarnicle (author)2007-10-04

I like to add homemade fruit jam or mashed up fresh fruit to my plain oats for flavor and sweetness. I usually cook them in a microwave for 60secs after eyeballing the oat / water mix. I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon or dried fruit, but if you want that "store-bought" taste this method looks good. Oats and fruit are an excellent "slow-burning" source of energy and nutrition to get you through the first few hours of the day. While this instructable may appear obvious and maybe even unnecessary to some of us. Experience tells me there are a lot of people who do not know how to make oats, toast, boil an egg, cook rice etc etc so thank you for this.

liquidblackout (author)2007-05-22

I think the title is the part that is causing a lot of confusion. I would consider it more as "pre-portioned" or something like that.

The pre-packaged versions contain "sugar" - plain white sugar. They also have added vitamins and minerals, not that I'm promoting them or anything. I just think something should be said in their defense. Honestly, if you want to replicate it exactly, just have a look at its nutritional information and ingredients list

michaelbogue (author)2007-03-28

I make mine in the microwave, takes about 2 1/2 minutes. Make sure to include enough water and stir half-way thru or it will blow up. Makes a big mess! Big advantage is no pots to clean afterward.

taki_183 (author)2006-12-09

you can add vanilla extract also to give a nother flavor( be careful cause it is a stong ingridient)

ChickenSangwich (author)2006-12-08

Yeah, good ol NaCl. Sodium Chloride. MikeTutle sounds like another conspiracy nut. Stevia does sound interesting though. Millions of Japanese can't be wrong?

reenum (author)2006-12-08

I'd like to make my own brown sugar and maple oatmeal. Any ideas as to what proportions of brown sugar I need to put in there? Also, is there a maple flavoring I can use instead of syrup?

MitHof (author)reenum2006-12-08

You can get powdered maple sugar at some health food or gourmet stores. You might also be able to crush maple sugar candies. If you are just looking to make your own maple-flavored syrup (for adding after the oatmeal has been cooked), most grocery stores carry maple extract in the baking aisle. Recipe is on the box. I had to make my own when I lived overseas and maple syrup couldn't be found anywhere.

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