How to Make the Best Oatmeal

For rolled oats: Use 3/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of milk. Toast the oats and warm the milk and water mixture as below. Once you add the oats, cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let the oats sit on the burner for 7 minutes – no peeking or stirring! Check the oats after 7 minutes and let them stand a few more minutes if needed.

Recipe adapted from Whole Grain Mornings.

  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 3 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup  milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

To serve:

  • Brown sugar, honey, or other sweetener
  • Heavy cream or milk


1 Toast the oats: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oats and toast, stirring occasionally, until they begin to smell fragrant and nutty, 5 to 7 minutes.

2 Cook the oats: In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, bring the water, milk, and salt to a low simmer. Add the toasted oats and gently stir a few times.

Bring the oats to a slow boil, then decrease the heat to low and partially cover. Cook, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking or clumping, until the oatmeal is thick and the oats are softened, 25 to 30 minutes.

The porridge may still be a little loose at this point, but will continue to soak up liquid as it sits.

3 Let the oatmeal sit: Remove the pot from heat, and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes.

4 Serve the oatmeal: Divide the oatmeal between bowls, top with brown sugar and cream, and serve.

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  • Mark

    Savory oats are my favorite. A dash of low-sodium soy sauce, a bit of Tabasco, and and handful of sunflower seeds. Add a fried egg and an avocado on special occasions. You’d be surprised at how good it is.

  • Yolanda

    I love oatmeal. I REALLY love oatmeal. Here is how I do it on the stove top. Bring 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Stir in 1/2 cup rolled oats. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes.

    If I am making rolled oats for just myself, I can also make it in the Instant Pot. To the pot liner, add 1 cup water, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats. Place a pat of butter on it. Push “manual” and set it for 4 minutes. Quick release. It works fine for that amount.

  • June

    How to make just one serving?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, June! Cooking just one serving by itself is kind of tricky. Since oatmeal stores and reheats so well, I’d recommend making a full batch and storing the leftovers for breakfasts later in the week. You can even freeze oatmeal, if you like!

  • Linda

    I also soak my steel cut oats overnight. They cook up quick. I throw in some dried fruit and nuts, sometimes a chopped apple. Delicious!

  • Laura

    If you soak steel cut oats, they’ll cook in 5 minutes. I do this every day–Bob’s Red Mill Steel cut oats. I put tomorrow’s oats in water in the morning after I wash my saucepan and let them soak all day and overnight until the next morning.

  • Lana

    I have a Zojirushi rice cooker and I can load it with water and steel cut oats at bedtime and set when I want it to finish in the morning and wake up to my oats all ready to eat! I can do one serving in my 3 cup rice cooker. I love it more for the oats than the rice cooking function.