We might do a big fancy brunch on the weekends, but microwave oatmeal is our go-to for a quick breakfast on weekday mornings. It’s Pete’s favorite breakfast. And since we’re working from home, we’ve perfected a toothsome flavorful bowl of microwaved oats with a variety of fun toppings so it never gets boring.
There are lots of tips for you below to help you make the tastiest microwave oatmeal in under two minutes. We show you how to get the oats/liquid ratio just right, how to make sure it doesn’t boil over, and a bunch of ideas for toppings too.
WHAT IS THE RATIO OF OATMEAL TO WATER OR MILK?
The best liquid-to-oats ratio for a perfect microwave oatmeal is 1:1. A serving of oats is typically ½ cup of dry oats, so you would use ½ cup of water or milk. For a full bowl, use a cup of oats and a cup of water. Personally, my favorite sized serving is 3/4 cup of oats and 3/4 cup of water. Using a 1:1 ratio will give you a fluffy, almost toothsome oatmeal that’s hearty and delicious!
DO YOU USE MILK OR WATER TO MAKE OATMEAL?
Personally, Pete and I both prefer to make our oatmeal with water and then add flavor to it with toppings. But I sometimes add a plant-based milk to make it creamy. I’m lactose intolerant, though. So even though I might love dairy, dairy doesn’t always love me back. Truly, it’s your own personal preference whether you make oatmeal with water, milk, or plant-based milk.
HOW LONG SHOULD I MICROWAVE OATMEAL?
This is the best tip for getting your oatmeal just right. Microwave the water (or milk) FIRST. Pour your water or milk into a microwave safe bowl. I like to use a glass measuring cup with a handle. Microwave the water for one minute. Pour the water evenly over the oatmeal in the bowl. Then microwave the bowl again for 30 seconds. Add your toppings last, after microwaving. (Otherwise the nuts and fruits will get chewy or mushy.)
HOW DO YOU COOK OATMEAL IN THE MICROWAVE WITHOUT BOILING IT OVER?
If your microwave oatmeal is boiling over, there are two possible scenarios. Either there’s too much liquid, or you’ve microwaved it for too long. Like I mentioned above, a 1:1 ratio of dry oats to liquid is best. Also make sure your bowl is no more than 3/4 full, so it has room to fluff up. If you’d like a more soupy oatmeal, add a little more liquid to it after it’s cooking. And never microwave oatmeal for more than a minute at a time.
Also, be mindful of the wattage of your microwave. The higher the watts, the more power, and the less cooking time you’ll need.
QUICK-COOKING OATS vs OLD FASHIONED OATS
Old Fashioned oats are best for making microwave oatmeal as the oats are whole and produce a great texture and flavor. Quick-cooking oats tend to be mushy and quite honestly I never use them.
WHAT ARE THE BEST OATMEAL TOPPINGS?
There’s such a great variety of toppings that are delicious with microwave oatmeal that your morning bowl of oats should never get boring. If you have family staying with you, it’s fun to create an oatmeal bar too so everyone can pick their own toppings! From fresh fruit, to nuts, dried fruits, and spices, here’s a list of oatmeal topping ideas for you along with the amount you’d add to a bowl of oatmeal. Pick one from each category to make the perfect bowl of oatmeal.
MICROWAVE OATMEAL TOPPINGS: NUTS & SEEDS (USE 2 TBSP PER BOWL)
Adding nuts or seeds to oatmeal gives it a little protein kick that makes it filling. Plus, I think the nuts add to the texture and comforting flavor of a hot bowl of oatmeal. I have some fun nut and fruit pairings below with our fruit topping suggestions.
- almond slices
- dried coconut
- pumpkin seeds
- peanut butter
- almond butter
- chia seeds (only use 1 Tbsp of these)
FRUIT TOPPINGS ( USE ¼ Cup PER BOWL)
Here’s were you can get creative with fruit and nut pairings! I like to do banana walnut, cherry almond, or apple and pecan. Blueberry and pecan is great too, a bit like a muffin in a bowl. And cranberry apple is one of our favorites during the winter months. Picking your favorite flavor pairing makes oatmeal seem like dessert, even if there are no sweeteners added. If you’re warming up your oats in the microwave, I’d suggest adding the fruit after it’s heated so the fruit keeps its texture.
- banana slices
- fresh blueberries
- fresh strawberries
- fresh apple slices
- dried cherries
- dried blueberries
- dried cranberries
- dried apple rings
MICROWAVE OATMEAL SWEETENERS (USE 1 tsp PER BOWL)
- maple syrup
- brown sugar
TYPES OF MILK THAT ARE GREAT FOR OATMEAL (USE ½ Cup to 1 Cup)
- Regular Dairy Milk
- Almond Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Cashew Milk
- Oat Milk
- Soy Milk
SPICES THAT TASTE GREAT ON MICROWAVE OATMEAL (USE 1 tsp PER BOWL)
A little vanilla adds a touch of sweetness and baked-goods flavor to any oatmeal. We love to use cinnamon everyday. And pumpkin pie spice is wonderful during the fall and winter months!
- pumpkin pie spice
- cardamom (start with just a 1/2 tsp of this spice per bowl as it can be strong)
- 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 3/4 cup water or milk
- 2 Tbsp nuts (see notes for list of ideas)
- 1/4 cup fruit (see notes for list of ideas)
- 1 tsp sweetener (see notes)
- Pour water or milk into a micrwave safe measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute.
- Add oats to serving bowl and pour microwaved water over oats and stir.
- Microwave bowl of oats again for an additional 30 seconds.
- Top with your prefered toppings of nuts, fruit, spices, and sweetener. Enjoy!
NUTS (2 TBSP)
FRUIT (¼ Cup)
fresh apple slices
dried apple rings
SWEETENERS (1 tsp)
MILK (½ Cup to 1 Cup)
SPICES (1 tsp)
pumpkin pie spice
TOPPING PAIRING IDEAS
- Banana, Walnuts, & Vanilla
- Apple, Walnuts, & Cinnamon
- Blueberries, Pecans, Vanilla, & Brown Sugar
- Dried Cherries, Almonds, & Vanilla
- Dried Coconut, Walnuts, & Brown Sugar