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.

218 CALORIES36g CARBS5g FAT6g PROTEIN
6 Comments

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 of rolled oats for about the same amount as the 6-8 packets.

If saving money, eating healthy, and enjoying delicious meals are things that interest you, you’ve got to try The Best Microwave Oatmeal. You won’t be disappointed!

Microwave rolled oats in two bowls with strawberries, chia seeds, jam, Greek yogurt, and pistachios.

Key Ingredients

You will need the following key ingredients to make this delicious breakfast recipe:

  • Rolled Oats: You can use quick oats or rolled oats, but keep in mind the cooking time will differ depending on which one you choose.
  • Milk: I prefer to use unsweetened almond milk in my oatmeal recipes, but you can use any type of milk you like. If needed, you could also use water.
  • Cinnamon: This warm and delicious spice is commonly used in oatmeal recipes because of how beautifully it complements the nutty flavor of the oats.
  • Vanilla extract: Not only does vanilla extract add a bit of its own flavor, but it also enhances the other flavors in the dish and ties everything together.

Flavor Ideas for Microwave Oatmeal

There are so many ways to customize this easy microwave oatmeal. Try one of our flavored microwave oatmeals - Banana Peanut Oatmeal, Apple Oatmeal with Peanut Butter, Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, or Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal or use one of the ideas below. 

  • 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, but it also makes the oatmeal super creamy and delicious. Add a dollop of 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 it's soft. Then add the oats, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla and you'll end up with oatmeal packed with apple flavor without the need 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

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. 

Easy microwave oatmeal cooked with rolled oats and milk served with fresh fruit, nuts, and yogurt.

How to Store Microwave Oatmeal

Let’s say you pop some oatmeal in the microwave for your youngster, only to find out that they are in a mood and will absolutely not eat anything but cereal. What do you do with that poor, delicious oatmeal? You save it, of course!

Oatmeal holds up really well both in the fridge and in the freezer. Simply let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight storage bag or container. Once properly contained, you can store cooked oatmeal in one of two ways:

  • In the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
  • In the freezer for up to 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish:

The easiest way to make sure your oatmeal doesn’t boil over is to use a larger container than you think you need. When you use a small container, the milk or water tends to bubble over and spill out of the container during the cooking process. Another good option is to cook the oatmeal in 30-second increments, giving it a quick stir every 30 seconds.

Yes! Instant oats and rolled oats are the same grain, so they are equally as healthy. The only difference between the two is how they are processed. Rolled oats are flattened out for quick cooking, while instant oats are pre-cooked and dried for even quicker cooking.

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.

This is entirely based on your own preference! Everyone is different. Personally, I love making my oatmeal with milk because I find that milk makes it creamier. However, water will work perfectly fine too.

The best oatmeal toppings are whatever you want them to be. Truly! Some of my favorite choices include fresh fruit, dried fruit, chopped nuts, seeds, nut butter, and Greek yogurt. The options are basically endless, so you can switch it up every time you make oatmeal in the morning.

Tow bowls of microwave oatmeal topped with fresh fruit, chia seeds, and nuts.
The Recipe
Microwave oatmeal with fresh fruit in a bowl with a spoon and Greek yogurt.

The Best Microwave Oatmeal

PREP TIME: 1 Min
COOK TIME: 3 Min
TOTAL TIME: 4 Min
6 Comments
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Ingredients

USMETRICS
  • 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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Instructions

(Hide Photos)
1

Add everything to a microwave-safe bowl and stir to combine. Microwave for 2:30-4:00 minutes until the 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.

Oats being stirred in a bowl with milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
2

Microwave for 2:30-4:00 minutes until the 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.

Cooked microwave oatmeal in a bowl with toppings on the side.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 218
Calories from Fat 46
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
8%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 153mg
7%
Total Carbohydrate 36g
12%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
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.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
6 Comments
On The Best Microwave Oatmeal
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David Hillman
May 23, 2022 - 10:08
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4
Using a Sharp 1200 watt Carousel microwave I have had the best results using the beverage setting for just over the oatmeal recipe volume. For this recipe the 1.5 cup beverage setting cooks and does not boil over. For a 3/4 half recipe try the 1 cup beverage setting on your microwave.
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Amy Phillips
May 4, 2020 - 13:04
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5
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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5
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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5
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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2
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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