I’m always looking for ways to streamline my breakfast routine. While I am the type to get up an hour early just to give myself time to enjoy breakfast, I don’t want to spend any more time than absolutely necessary preparing that breakfast. I want to have as much time as possible to sip my coffee and enjoy my meal.
So, when I saw this cool technique over at TheKitchn.com, I knew I had to share it with all of you. The concept is easy. Prepare your oats on one day, divide, and freeze for easy reheating later. It’s pretty much the same thing I do with my baked oatmeal, but this is regular oatmeal with all sorts of chunky toppings (plus the initial preparation is much faster).
I flavored my oats with brown sugar and cinnamon, then topped them with sliced almonds and dried cranberries because that’s what was in my pantry. Other great ideas for flavorings and toppings include (but are certainly not limited to): ground flaxseed, vanilla or almond extract, walnuts, grated coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dried apricots, walnuts, or whatever else your heart desires!
Heat and Eat Oatmeal
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats $0.34
- 3½ cups water $0.00
- ½ tsp salt $0.02
- 3-4 Tbsp brown sugar $0.08
- ½ tsp cinnamon $0.05
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries $0.50
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds $0.83
- Cook the oats with the water and salt according to the package directions. Once the oatmeal is cooked, stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Coat the cups of a muffin tin with non-stick spray, or smear in butter or coconut oil (for easy removal of the frozen oats). Fill each cup in the muffin tin with about ⅓ cup of oatmeal. Sprinkle the dried cranberries and almonds over top. Push the toppings down into the oats slightly, so that when the oats freeze they will hold onto the toppings.
- Place the muffin tin in the refrigerator until completely cooled, then transfer to the freezer until completely frozen. Once the oats are completely frozen, transfer them to an air-tight freezer bag.
- To serve, place 2-3 pucks of oatmeal into a microwave safe bowl and heat on high until warm (stir occasionally). You can add a splash of milk to keep it moist as it reheats.
Step by Step Photos
I used old-fashioned rolled oats because I like their texture the best. This would also work great with steel cut oats, but they do take longer to cook. Quick oats would also work, but they don’t have much texture. My muffin tin has 12 cups and each one holds 1/3 cup, so I estimated I’d need 4 servings of oatmeal. That’s 2 cups of oats, 3.5 cups of water, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Be sure to follow the directions on your package. They may differ slightly depending on which type of oats you have.
I cooked the oats according to the directions (only takes about 5 minutes), then added 3 Tbsp of brown sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. You can adjust this to your liking. I don’t like my oats super sweet, so I didn’t add much sugar.
There’s no point to this picture except to say that these oats look so freaking delicious! I love oats.
I had already measured the cups of the muffin tin with water, so I knew they would hold 1/3 cup of cooked oats. This filled 10 of the cups, or five servings of two pucks. You may want to coat the muffin tin with non-stick spray, butter, or coconut oil to help them slip out after they are frozen.
Next, add your toppings and press them down into the oatmeal so that it grabs and holds onto them once frozen.
You’ll get less icicles if you cool them in the refrigerator before transferring them to the freezer, although it isn’t 100% necessary. Let them freeze until stiff, then pop them out (a butter knife helps) and transfer them to a heavy duty zip top freezer bag.
Label the bag and keep it in the freezer. When you want to eat your oats, just pop a couple pucks in a bowl and microwave on high until they’re heated through. You’ll want to stir every now and then to make sure it heats evenly. Also, a splash of milk helps keep them moist as they heat.
Oatmeal isn’t hard and usually doesn’t take a lot of time in the morning, but on those rare mornings when I’m so tired that I can’t see straight, this type of thing is a life saver. It’s already seasoned, and I don’t have to go fishing through my pantry for the toppings. It’s just ready to heat and eat!