The Best Microwave Oatmeal

The Best Microwave Oatmeal ready in 3 minutes! Add your favorite toppings and enjoy a health breakfast that will fill you up all morning. Jump to Recipe

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Easy Microwave Oatmeal will make you fall in love with oatmeal and is so much better than the packets available in the store. Plus it's healthier, more affordable, and can be customized any way you like. Oatmeal lovers will also want to try these Oatmeal Protein Pancakes and Oatmeal Smoothies.

The key to making delicious microwave oatmeal in less than 3 minutes comes down to three things - using milk instead of water, choosing old fashioned rolled oats (not instant!), and adding a touch of cinnamon and vanilla. From there you can dress it up any way you want and you are guaranteed to have perfect oatmeal every time.

For a long time, I ate packets of microwave oatmeal every morning believing I was having a healthy breakfast even though I wasn't crazy about the mushy texture and flavorings. I just assumed I was someone who didn't really like oatmeal. That all changed when I finally started making my own oatmeal at home using old fashioned rolled oats and adding my own toppings. Not only was the oatmeal 100 times tastier, but the texture also was so much more appealing, and I could buy a whole container or rolled oats for about the same amount as the 6-8 packets.

Flavor Ideas for Microwave Oatmeal

  • Banana Peanut Butter: The oatmeal I eat most often is a simple combination of bananas and peanut butter. Just mash up a banana in the bowl before adding the oats and then follow the directions as usual. Not only will this sweeten up the oatmeal naturally, it makes the oatmeal super creamy and delicious. Then top of with peanut butter for one filling, tasty breakfast.
  • Cinnamon Apple: We almost always have apples in the house, so I love making cinnamon apple microwave oats. Start by dicing up an apple. Place it in your bowl and microwave for 60-90 second until its soft. Then add the oats, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla and you'll end up with oatmeal packed with apple flavor without the needed for added sugar or sweetener.
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly: We love peanut butter and jelly so when I am in a rush I top my oats with some no sugar added preserves and a scoop of nut butter. Sometimes I use halved grapes or strawberries instead of the preserves to keep the oatmeal nice and light,
  • Fruit and Cream: I love adding fresh fruit to my oats and usually add a scoop of Greek yogurt as well to create creamy oatmeal packed with fruit. This also ups the protein content of the oatmeal to keep you full all morning.
  • Pumping up the nutrition: To pack even more nutritional benefits into your morning oats, I almost add a teaspoon of chia seeds and flax meal to my oats. Sometimes I add protein powder as well, especially when I know I have a long morning and need lots of energy

Microwave oatmeal with berries in a bowl with extra berries on the side.

How long to cook oatmeal in the microwave?

Here are the general guidelines for cooking oatmeal using the microwave. Cooking time will vary based on the type of oatmeal and the strength of your microwave.

  • Quick cooking oats: Cook on high for 1.5-2 minutes.
  • Rolled or old fashioned oats: Cook on high for 2.5-3 minutes.
  • Steel cut oatmeal: Generally, it isn't recommended to cook steel cut oats in the microwave since they take significantly lower to cook.  Here is how to cook them on the stovetop.
  • Instant oatmeal and oatmeal packets: Instant oatmeal is similar to quick cooking and usually takes around 1.5-2 minutes to cook. 

How do you make oatmeal without it boiling over?

There are a few tricks to making sure your oatmeal doesn't boil over. The first and most basic is to use a large container. If your bowl is small, it is likely that your oats will boil over and make a huge mess. You can also cook the oatmeal in 30-second increments and stir it along the way. Lastly, some people find that cooking their oatmeal in the microwave at 70-80% power for a bit longer reduces the likelihood of it boiling over. 

Are microwave instant oats as healthy as rolled oats?

When you buy instant oatmeal or the microwave oatmeal packets, they contain oats that have been processed to reduce the cooking time. Usually, this means the oats have been pre-cooked, dried, and cut or pressed into thinner pieces to help the cook more quickly. Nutritionally speaking, plain instant oats still offer the same whole grain, heart healthy benefits of more traditional oats. The place to be careful is with the oatmeal packets that normally contain lots of added sugar.

Meal Prep Options

Even though this is a 3-minute recipe, sometimes I like to make a double or triple batch and store the leftovers in the fridge for an even easier breakfast. These oats will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, add a touch of milk and stir. Then reheat for 30-60 seconds until heated through. For freezer oatmeal meal prep, try these Frozen Oatmeal Cups.

The Recipe
Microwave oatmeal with strawberries and blueberries in a bowl with a spoon.

The Best Microwave Oatmeal

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  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

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Add everything to a microwave safe bowl and stir to combine. Microwave for 2:30-4:00 minutes until oatmeal is cooked through. The time it takes to cook will depend on the strength of your microwave. Top with your favorite toppings - fruit, nuts, nut butter, chia seeds, yogurt, and more.


Please note: The oats and liquid will boil during cooking so it is important to use a large bowl so the oats don't overflow.

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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 218
Calories from Fat 46
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 153mg
Total Carbohydrate 36g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 7g
Protein 6g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

How to make microwave oatmeal with berries and almond milk.
† SmartPoints™ calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.
On The Best Microwave Oatmeal
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Amy Phillips
May 4, 2020 - 13:04
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You must put this in a very large bowl, or yes, it will overflow. This came out kind of runny at first but then when it cooled it became the perfect consistency. I love to double the cinnamon, add frozen berries for taste and to cool, and a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds. Yum!
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Jane R.
May 14, 2019 - 14:06
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My new favorite way to make oatmeal in the microwave. So much better (and cheaper) than the packets. Usually I add some fruit and I top everything with yogurt.
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Sarah H.
May 14, 2019 - 14:05
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Loved this!! My oatmeal came out perfect and I added some sliced bananas and peanut butter.
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C. Southworth
July 10, 2018 - 05:40
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I tried this and the oatmeal overfilled the bowl and made a large mess in my microwave. Make sure to microwave in about 30 second bursts, not for 3 minutes at a stretch. At least not in a high-powered microwave.
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July 10, 2018 - 06:28
Sorry to hear this! It's important to use a large bowl so that the oats don't overflow during cooking. I am going to add a note about this to the instructions. Thanks for the feedback.
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