A 3-Ingredient Dessert Trick with Instant Oatmeal

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Coco Morante)

Instant oatmeal can be a lifesaver on busy mornings, but it’s also great when you want to throw together a quick dessert! With just two more ingredients, this pantry staple is transformed into a hot, comforting fruit crumble. Read on for easy instructions for this warming weeknight treat for two.

The Perfect Versatile Dessert for Two

One packet of instant oatmeal makes enough crumble topping for two servings of dessert, and you can use any flavor you’ve got in the cupboard. I happened to have a box of Pecan Pumpkin Instant Oatmeal from Trader Joe’s, so that’s what went into the mix for today’s dessert. If you’ve only got a plain variety, add a couple teaspoons of sugar and a dash of cinnamon.

How to Make Instant Oatmeal Fruit Crumble

To make a fruit crumble topping, all you’ve got to do is incorporate some butter into the instant oatmeal. A good ratio is 2 tablespoons of butter per 45-gram packet of instant oatmeal. This produces a topping that spreads just a bit, but still sits nicely on top of the cooked fruit.

Just cut the butter into small pieces straight from the fridge, then use your fingers or a pastry blender to incorporate the butter into the instant oatmeal, smushing them together until everything sticks together.

You’ll use the mixture to top two (1-cup) servings of chopped fresh fruit, which could be apples or pears in the winter or stone fruits come summertime.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

Bake in a 375ºF oven until well-browned, 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re baking your desserts in a toaster oven, make sure you’ve got the rack on its lowest setting, as far from the heating elements as possible. If you have a convection setting, go ahead and use it, as it’ll help you achieve a more evenly-browned topping.

Oh, and watch the crumbles closely as they bake — they can go from golden brown to burned in minutes, especially in a toaster oven with less-than-even heat. Let the whole thing sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly, then dig in and enjoy!