The Smart and Surprising Trick for Easy Stovetop Oatmeal Every Morning

published Mar 2, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Oatmeal from scratch is one of life’s simplest pleasures. It’s warm and comforting and wholesome and endlessly customizable. But making oatmeal from scratch can be a challenge on super busy mornings. Though a lot of people love instant oatmeal, the packets just aren’t my thing. And as much as I love overnight oats, homemade instant oatmeal, or even slow cooked oatmeal, nothing gives me the same satisfaction of stovetop oatmeal.

Good news: It’s actually possible to have stovetop oatmeal every single morning. The trick? Freeze your oatmeal.

Why You Should Freeze Your Oatmeal

Freezing oatmeal isn’t a new technique, but it was one I forgot about for far too long. Recently a half-eaten pot of oatmeal inspired me to give it another go. It’s shockingly easy to make, warms up especially well, and is great for portioning out to kids or adults. Even better, everyone gets exactly as much hot oatmeal as they want, so it cuts down on food waste. Plus, I only have to clean a pot once a week!

Here’s how to stock your freezer with cooked oatmeal.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

How to Make & Freeze Oatmeal for Easy, Delicious Mornings

There are many ways to make oatmeal in advance, to make it tastier, or make it faster, but none has made my busy life easier than cooking a big pot of oatmeal and freezing it for reheating and eating during the week. You don’t need anything other than oatmeal, water, and a little salt to make it. I’ll make the oatmeal, and then top it with dried or fresh fruit, nuts, and anything else that strikes my fancy, during the week. (Need ideas? Here are 10 Sweet & Savory Ways to Top Your Morning Oatmeal).

Here’s how I do it: I cook up a double batch of Kitchn’s basic stovetop oatmeal and let it cool for about 15 minutes. Then I move the cooked and cooled oatmeal to these silicone cocktail cubes to freeze. You can use small muffin tins too, but I find we need 2-3 muffin cubes per person rather than just one of these large servings made from the silicone cubes. Once the oatmeal is frozen you can move the cubes to a zip-top bag or other airtight container for long term storage. Frozen oatmeal lasts well for about 3 months in the freezer.

During the week, I will throw a cube in a microwave safe bowl and reheat it for 1 to 2 minutes, adding milk to quickly cool it for my kids, or topping it with maple syrup and frozen berries for myself. It saves much more time than heating water for instant oatmeal and gives us the warm satisfaction of stovetop oatmeal without even dirtying a pot.

Get the recipe: Stovetop Oatmeal (We recommend doubling the batch.)

Your turn: Have you ever tried freezing oatmeal? How did it go? Tell us in the comments, below.