While there's nothing better than oatmeal cooked over the stove, sometimes cooking it in the microwave is your best (or maybe only) option. Whatever the reason, a microwave can produce a satisfying bowl of oats. If you know a few tricks, it can produce an even tastier one than you might imagine.
1. Use milk.
Oatmeal made with milk is not only richer and extra creamy, but it's also higher in protein and thus even more rib-sticking. Swap out the water 100 percent with milk, or just use a splash if you still want some creaminess but like it less rich. You can also use any non-dairy milk you prefer, like coconut or almond.
2. Add a mashed banana.
Mash an extra-ripe banana in the bottom of your bowl before adding the oats and liquid. Stir everything together halfway through microwaving to make sure the mashed fruit evenly coats the oats. The banana not only adds natural sweetness, but also lends an extra-comforting texture to the mix.
3. Sprinkle in spices.
Adding spices to your bowl of oatmeal before you cook it — whether you go for a sprinkling of cinnamon or something a bit more unique like ground cardamom — ensures they'll warm up and infuse into every bite of your oatmeal.
4. Stir in dried fruit.
Stir in your favorite mixture of chopped dried fruit before microwaving your oatmeal. They'll not only plump up while they cook in the hot liquid and oat mixture, but they'll also leach out some of their natural sweetness into the bowl as well. Apricots and dried cherries are a few of our favorites.
5. Add a spoonful of nut butter.
Just like the mashed banana, add a spoonful of your favorite nut butter — be it peanut or almond — to the bottom of the bowl before adding the oats and liquid. Give it a stir halfway through cooking to incorporate the melted nut butter into the mixture evenly. We can't speak highly enough about the combo of both mashed banana and nut butter. (And chocolate.)
What goes in your bowl of quick oats in the morning?