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Homemade Instant Oatmeal

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Make your own instant oatmeal packets so you always have oatmeal ready to go! Add your favorite toppings or bring them along so you always have a delicious bowl of oatmeal, even away from home. Perfect for packing in lunches or taking along for camping.

small glass containers and zip top bags with homemade instant oatmeal mix in them

If you’re anything like me, you’re totally obsessed with oatmeal. This versatile and tasty food can serve as breakfast, snack, or even dessert if you’re creative in the topping department. And if you have packets of instant oatmeal on hand, it’s literally just a minute or so away.

Instant oatmeal is truly an amazing invention. I mean, who would have thought you could pour a little hot water on top of a bowl of oats and it would magically turn into a delicious bowl of oatmeal? Absolutely genius!

But what if I told you that you can make those magic little packets at home? Would you do it? What if I told you it was way cheaper, healthier, tastier, and magical-er (technical word)?

While I try not to judge, I think you’d have to be crazy to not give this recipe for homemade instant oatmeal at least one good try. I mean, it takes literal minutes to combine oats, brown sugar, and salt, and maybe a minute or two more to split it into portions.

A bowl of prepared oatmeal with toppings.

This recipe is SO easy and it will save you money, time, and mental energy. No worries about adding breakfast to the meal plan, just prep a batch of this DIY instant oatmeal, plan for some fun toppings on the side, and you’re ready to grab and go.

And did I mention how easy these are for camping? Before your trip, plan to prep and portion a batch. Then, when you get to your campsite, just boil water and pour it over the oatmeal. Instant deliciousness! No worries about cooking bacon, frying eggs, and toasting bread all on one tiny camp stove.

If you love oatmeal in all of its various forms (like I do!), I’ve got you covered with easy, creative, and delicious ways to use oatmeal. Try my baked apple oatmeal, chocolate chip oat bites, Almond Joy granola, OR my monster oatmeal cookies. I can’t pick one because they’re all my favorites!

INGREDIENTS

Once you’ve made a batch of this homemade instant oatmeal you’re going to be kicking yourself for not trying it sooner.

With grocery prices always rising, convenience foods lose their luster as soon as you realize how easy they are to make at home. This easy recipe can be prepped in advance and uses just 3 base ingredients: oats, brown sugar, and salt.

The wonderful part is you can get creative with add ins (like powdered milk or peanut butter) and toppings (hellooooo chocolate chips) to create the most amazing instant oatmeal of your life.

Love peanut butter? You can make it happen.
Fruit lover? Toss in your favorite freeze dried fruit (or even fresh fruit).
Chocoholic? Add in your favorite chocolate chips, chunks, or crushed candy bars.
Cookies and cream fan? Some Oreo crumbles and a dash of milk is all that is keeping you from fulfilling your deepest oatmeal dreams!

A large jar of oats with a wooden spoon in it.

WHAT KIND OF OATS SHOULD I USE?

When it comes to the kind of oats to use for this recipe, I highly recommend using instant or quick oats. These are the most similar to what you buy at the store, and they make mixing and serving the oats super easy.

If you don’t have instant or quick oats on hand, you can use rolled oats or old fashioned oats that have been processed in a food processor or blender until they are fine in texture. This will help them cook quickly and is a sort of DIY instant oat hack.

HOW TO MAKE INSTANT OATMEAL

The truly fabulous thing about this recipe is how easy it is to make. You’re going to be wondering why you ever purchased those tiny little packets because it takes just minutes to whip up your own.

All you have to do is add all of the ingredients to a large bowl (leave out any toppings though!), and give it a good whisk until everything is combined.

Mixing together oatmeal with brown sugar.

Then, once everything is mixed together and pretty uniform, you’re ready to divide it into ½ cup portions. You can do this in airtight containers with a lid, or in little plastic zip-top bags.

I prefer storing them in airtight containers because I have the serving bowl worked right into the prep. When I’m ready to mix up my homemade instant oatmeal, I just add hot water (or milk) and I’m ready to party right there in the same container.

The benefit of plastic bags is cupboard space, so if you’re low on space but want to prep a bunch of easy grab-and-go breakfast options, zip-top bags might be the way to go!

Keep your instant oatmeal packets (or containers) at room temperature until you’re ready to use them. Then, just grab and go (along with any toppings you want to mix in).

HOW TO USE HOMEMADE OATMEAL PACKETS

Once you’re ready to use your handy dandy DIY instant oatmeal, just pour the portion (about ½ cup) into a medium bowl. If you stored them in airtight bowls, even better!

A bowl with instant oatmeal inside, the lid off to the side.

Then add in an equal amount of hot liquid, like hot water or hot milk, or a mixture of two or more. If you have a heartier appetite you can prepare two or more portions, but just remember to scale up the liquid too!

Let the hot liquid stand for about one minute, then give it a good stir to combine. Add in any of your favorite toppings to your heart’s content.

CAN I ADD MILK?

Yes, you can definitely add milk to your DIY instant oatmeal. You can add it either as the hot liquid to activate the instant oats, or you can pour a little cold milk on top of the oats after they’ve been mixed with hot liquid.

But here’s the thing, if you’re taking these babies on the go you probably won’t have milk along for the ride, right? Don’t worry, I have a way to work around this minor inconvenience.

If you still want the creaminess of milk, just add 2 to 4 Tablespoons of powdered milk to each ½ cup portion. The powdered milk will mix with the hot water to give you a creamy, dreamy result that is just as good as the store-bought instant oatmeal packets.

small glass containers and zip top bags with homemade instant oatmeal mix in them

CAN I ADD PEANUT BUTTER?

Peanut butter lovers unite! Of course you can add peanut butter to your oatmeal. In fact, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t add peanut butter to… Well, anything! Peanut butter is a food chameleon and fits in wherever you want to spread it, smear it, or smush it (or blend it in a smoothie).

If you love using other nut butters (almond, cashew, etc), feel free to use those. Not only does nut butter add flavor and saltiness, but it also adds a few grams of protein and fat, helping to make this breakfast-on-the-go all the more satisfying.

If you don’t want to tote your nut butter around, consider adding 2 to 3 Tablespoons of peanut butter powder to the instant oatmeal portion. It’s SO good and adds the perfect touch of nutty goodness.

ADD TOPPINGS BEFORE OR AFTER PREPARING

Now, if you’re like me, you’re going to want to add in some fun toppings, right? I mean, this is where the creativity can come out and you can create something really delicious and satisfying.

If you like things sweet, you can add in some chocolate chips, freeze dried fruit, or marshmallows. If you like things salty or crunchy, try your favorite chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, or toasted coconut. If you can dream it, you can add it to your homemade oatmeal packets!

A bowl of oatmeal with toppings included.

As for when to add the toppings, that is totally up to you. I like to add mine after I’ve poured in the hot water or milk, as I don’t like the chocolate to melt too much.

But if you’re in a rush or like a uniform texture, go ahead and add your favorite toppings right to the zip-top bags or containers.

HOW TO STORE DIY OATMEAL PACKETS

Once you have your master mix all combined and ready to go, you’ll want to portion it into sizes that can be prepped just like store-bought packets can be. I like to use the ½ cup size since that’s about the same size as a standard package, and it’s a quick and easy breakfast or snack.

If you have a bigger appetite in the morning, you can store it in 1 cup portions, just be sure to scale up the hot liquid to 1 full cup as well.

I like to store mine in small glass containers with lids, because they’re so much easier to prep compared to pre-measured bags. The container acts as a bowl, so all I have to do is add in my hot milk or water, toss in the toppings, and I’m ready to go!

Instant oatmeal packets stored in containers and plastic zipper bags.

Packets on the other hand need to be emptied into a bowl or container, so it’s just an extra step at the time of serving. No biggie really, since it’s either done during meal prep or during serving, but I like the added convenience of using a container.

Packaging your homemade instant oatmeal in plastic bags is a great option for those with limited space for meal prep, or for those who want to replicate the familiar oatmeal packets from the store.

If you have kids, you know how important getting it as close to the original experience as possible is. If you know, you know!

Now that you’ve made up a batch of DIY homemade instant oatmeal, try a few of my other make ahead recipes! Try the always popular make ahead breakfast casserole, dreamy overnight French toast casserole, tropical piña colada granola, or my delicious pumpkin overnight oats.

small glass containers and zip top bags with homemade instant oatmeal mix in them
5 from 11 votes
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Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Make your own instant oatmeal packets so you always have oatmeal ready to go! Add your favorite toppings or bring them along so you always have a delicious bowl of oatmeal, even away from home. Perfect for packing in lunches or taking along for camping.
Prep Time5 mins
Bake Time1 min
Total Time6 mins
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (320g) oats1
  • cup (67g) firmly packed brown sugar2
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk until everything is thoroughly combined.
  • Divide into ½ cup portions (or keep mix all together) in airtight containers or small zip top bags at room temperature.
  • To use: pour a portion into a medium size bowl, then add an equal amount of hot liquid3 (I like ½ cup of mix and ½ cup of milk). Let stand for 1 minute then stir. Add toppings4 as desired.
  • Add nut butter on the go: consider adding 2 to 3 Tablespoons of peanut butter powder so you don't have to bring nut butter with you.

Notes

  1. Oats: I highly recommend using instant or quick oats for this recipe. You can use rolled oats or old fashioned oats and just process them in a blender or food processor until they are a finer texture in order for them to cook quickly.
  2. Brown sugar: you can use any sugar you like (light brown, dark brown, or white), I just prefer light brown sugar. 
  3. Preparing: if you are unable to bring milk with you to where you’ll be eating your oatmeal but still want the creaminess of milk, add 2 to 4 Tablespoons of powdered milk to each portion.
  4. Toppings: add any toppings you like. You can add them to each portion or keep them separate.
  5. Nutritional information: all nutritional values are approximate.
 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg

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5 stars
Thank you for this recipe, we made a big batch and have been enjoying delicious oatmeal all week. This is great for when we go back to school next week and need easy breakfasts. Good for kids also.

Do you think it would be okay to add in protein power to the mix?

5 stars
I love oatmeal but don’t love those sugar filled packets, so this recipe is perfect for me. I make them and have them through the week.

5 stars
This is so great to know! I love that you can control the sodium.

5 stars
Much more economical to whip up at home. I love that the kids can grab an easy and healthy breakfast.

5 stars
These are great to have on hand. My kids love that they can add their favorite toppings!

5 stars
Such a great recipe for a quick breakfast on a busy morning! And now that it’s cooler we are making this a few times a week! I love mine with apples in it!

5 stars
Such a handy recipe to have on hand! Thanks so much!

5 stars
This is pure genius, Lynn! My hubby eats oatmeal every morning and this is a great shortcut for busy morning. LOVE it!

5 stars
LOVED these, sent a bunch to my boys in college with their favorite mix-ins! Loved your tip for peanut butter powder for my high-protein conscious kid!

5 stars
We all loved this instant oatmeal and adding our own toppings once it was made. Keeping this in our pantry moving forward because everyone in our household ate (and more importantly, ENJOYED) it.

5 stars
I have been making this for my hubs to take to work in the morning. Top notch recipe!