Do-It-Yourself Instant Oatmeal: Healthy and Insanely Easy

November 5, 2014   25 Comments

There is an entire ¼ aisle of my grocery store devoted to little packages of oatmeal.

DIY Instant Oatmeal

These packages are expensive and frequently loaded with added sugar. They also don’t taste very good but they are convenient.

What if you could save money and the environment by making your own instant oatmeal? I promise it will taste delicious instead of like sweetened cardboard.


Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out years ago. Bad, Snack Girl! What was holding me back is that I didn’t think that 1 Minute Oatmeal (or quick oatmeal) could be cooked by adding water. Quick oatmeal is cooked on the stove (like regular oatmeal) so I didn’t try.

But, guess what? If you add boiling water into a Thermos and wait three minutes – the quick oatmeal is the perfect texture!

You don't have to use a stainless steel Thermos. You could use a bowl and cover it after you add the water. I found this Thermos at Target and have been using it for a couple years now. It is worth the extra money because it is very high quality.

This opens you up to creating your own instant oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts and no added sugar (unless you want it). You can store individual servings in baggies or buy a couple thermos to have them ready to go.

This is a great alternative to the McDonald’s oatmeal, Starbucks oatmeal, or Real Medleys from Quaker.

I did a really simple version here with raisins and sliced almonds so you can get an idea of the proportions.

What would you put in your instant oatmeal?

DIY Instant Oatmeal Recipe

1.8 from 16 reviews

serves 1

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1/3 cup quick oats (AKA 1 Minute Oats)
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 generous pinch salt


Mix oats, raisins, almonds, and salt in a 10 ounce thermos. When ready to eat, add 2/3 cup hot boiling water and cover. Wait three minutes and eat.

Nutrition Facts

226 calories, 7.8 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 35.4 g carbohydrates, 11.5 g sugar, 6.7 g protein, 4.9 g fiber, 100 mg sodium, 6 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 25 )

This is great for a carry out b'fast and I have really enjoyed the idea from an earlier post about diy instant oatmeal--I keep that at my office for afternoon snack and make it with tea water in my tea cup.

I do something similar several times a week. I use regular oats and take some of my homemade apple preserves and throw in a few globs. I use hot water cover it and microwave for a minute. After it sits for 5 mins it's perfect. I love sugar - I know it's the enemy but it's ok in limited amounts.

I use a packet (oops)of organic instant oatmeal with flaxseed from Trader Joe's, add vanilla yogurt, a little milk and then fresh fruit - blueberries, strawberries, banana, etc. Stir it all up, put in fridge over night. Next morning, nuke it for up to two minutes. Creamy and delicious.

Great idea gonna use this idea for busy mornings and snack at work than thanks


Great idea. I don't work. This is my trick. Use a huge Pyrex measuring cup. Fill with combo of oats and OATBRAN. Add almonds and some raisins with vanilla extract and chopped apple. Cook on high for three minutes. Refrigerate. In morning take out a scoop of this, add no sugar maple syrup and FAJE or milk and eat cold or heat in microwave. You will lose weight from the bran.

I really like this idea. Will definitely try it.

I like to mix 1/2 cup Old Fashioned Quaker Oats, 1 cup water, 1 small apple cut up and then sprinkle the entire thing cinnamon. Microwave 3 minutes. It is delicious!

I like 5 minute Oatmeal (1/3 cup), 1 TBS raisins, 1 TBS ground flaxseed, 1 TBS ground walnuts or almonds, dash salt, a little honey on top after cooking...microwave on high for 1 min 15 seconds. Keeps me stable all day & has a good texture.

Always appreciate your recipes & tips daily. Thank you.

This may be a stupid question but what is oatbran and where do you find it?

I grew up eating Apples & Cinnamon Quaker instant packets, and love them. My fave by far! I always ate 2 of them & would make them with just super-hot tap water and let sit for a minute before eating. But my now sugar-conscious self hated all the added sugar so I created my own lazy way to cut down and see how I liked it - and I do! (I tried a few times to duplicate that flavor via homemade to no avail, too.) So here's my trick: I dump 1 flavored packet in a bowl, then use the empty packet to measure up another equal amount of plain, 1-min oats and add to the bowl. I add hot water and let sit for a few minutes. If i nuke it, it gets too glue-y textured for me. I like the chewy, firmness of the oats just from the hot water. Lazy? Yup. Half the added sugar? Yup. Better than 2 packets of Quaker? Definitely! LOL!

Why add the salt? Add cinnamon and get rid of that horrible salt--we get too much sodium from other foods already. :) Cinnamon provides the flavor without the need for salt.

@Rita - I tried cinnamon and found it a bit caustic. I went with a dash of salt because it heightens flavor. I do hear you on the sodium from other foods. Thanks for the comment!

This is my daily breakfast at work (with my 2nd cup of coffee!) - I have a container of "instant oatmeal mix" (this week it's oatmeal, cinnamon, raisins and chopped walnuts), and I put a few scoops (about 1/3 - 1/2 of a mug) into an empty mug, add a teaspoon of real maple syrup for sweetness, and top it up with boiling water. The perfect breakfast while I'm checking my emails at the beginning of my workday!

Similar to Kay (and I suppose this is more "DIY" and less "instant"!), I do the following:

combine in large bowl
steel-cut oats
rolled oats (not instant)
2T chia seeds
2T raisins
a lot of cinnamon

1T coconut flakes (not the sweetened kind)

1c water
stir well
stick in fridge overnight

The next morning, I stir it again and add

1 sliced banana

1 diced apple

I heat that up and then add 1/4c walnuts. (I tried adding the walnuts before heating, but they get that weird rancid-oil taste.)

(My wife says, "You know your breakfast doesn't have to be 1000 calories, right?" To which I reply, "Why not?" :)

I've been eating this style of oatmeal for years now and even when we travel, I can take them in zip-top bags, mix in red cups, and stick them in the ice bucket (assuming no hotel-room fridge) so it buys us some time the next morning before we get hungry.

I take 1/4 cup of oats add almond milk and put in microwave for 3 minutes. Stir after and add 1 heaping tsp ground flaxseed and a handful frozen blueberries. Healthy, Filling, Tasty and incredible cheap. Especially when you buy big bags of oats when they are on sale.

Why not add Sweet Leaf flavored Stevia drops for flavor AND sweetness! My favorite is English Toffee stevia drops. I also add a little bit of butter in my bowl and milk.

My husband and I have a kettle that plugs into the power outlet in the car and on many long trips we made our own coffee ... then oatmeal. I used the large flake slow cook oats, added boiling water, dried fruit and milk (we also have a cooler than plugs into the same outlet) ... saves a ton of money on a long trip. ... favorite memory? watching the sun rise over the mountains at Lake Tahoe while we enjoyed said breakfast at a picnic table.

Love this! I've enjoyed reading all your posts and recipes over the last year. I am an avid oatmeal eater (and lover!) so this one got my attention.

I also wanted to add that when in a time pinch, or traveling, I opt for Starbucks oatmeal. Since they make it with water and no added sugar - it's much easier to control what goes into it. A pinch of Splenda & half a packet of the Starbucks nut medley (50 calories & 1g of protein for half) gives me some flavor & some crunch. Just wanted to drop in my vote for the Starbucks vs. Mcdonalds oatmeal debate...enjoyed your post on that as well :)

If your cinnamon taste bad try a new kind. Different brands have better flavors. I bought whole foods brand it was pricey, but the taste is much better then my McCormick brand.

I might try this as a mid-morning snack at work. I have five quarts of dehydrated apple bits that I put up using the neighbors' apples. :)

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