Keeping on theme with easy breakfasts for back-to-school (and really every day in between), these DIY instant oatmeal jars are the perfect healthy breakfasts that will keep you full until lunch. They take only minutes to prepare, cost less than individually packed instant oats, and allow you to control what other ingredients you add to them.
Instant oatmeal is easy and convenient and can be eaten straight out of the jar, which makes it even more portable than the packets. The idea for these started because of the price of oats – a big tub of rolled oats is cheaper than the individually packaged instant oatmeal packets and the newer instant oatmeal cups. But, the real draw is that I can add whatever I want as a topping and can control how many added ingredients are in each cup. I prefer my oatmeal less sweet, and found that the prepackaged instant oats were always too syrupy sweet for my liking. With these DIY instant oatmeal jars, I can add as much or as little brown sugar or maple syrup as I feel like that day, and can change it up the next day.
DIY instant oats are also so versatile. You can add whatever toppings you have around, and change them based on what flavors you are craving that day. Some of my favorite toppings would never be found in the premade instant oatmeal packs, and it is fun to try new combinations with the seasons. To make the oatmeal thicker and creamier, we grind some of the oats into oat flour and mix them back into the rolled oats. This is optional, but I love the texture it provides.
You can put these DIY instant oatmeal in jars ready to take with you, or leave it in a big mixture to scoop out when you have time to sit down at home.
DIY Instant Oatmeal
Makes about 4 servings, can easily be multiplied
2 ½ cups rolled oats
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
Water or milk to serve (½ cup per oatmeal cup)
Optional toppings (amount per oatmeal cup):
2 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons dried fruit (raisins, cherries, blueberries, chopped apples, or chopped apricots are all good)
2-3 tablespoons fresh fruit*
2 tablespoons chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pepitas work well)
2 tablespoons coconut flakes
1 tablespoon chocolate chips
Place ½ cup of the oats in the bowl of a food processor, blender, or small spice grinder and pulse until the oats are about the texture of cornmeal. Transfer to a large bowl. This process creates oat flour which will make the instant oatmeal thick and creamy.
Add the remaining oats, cinnamon, and salt to the bowl, and stir to combine. Scoop ½ cup of oat mixture into 4 jars or other lidded heat-proof containers. Add any optional toppings to each jar. Cover the jars and store at room temperature until ready to use.
When ready to serve, add ½ cup of boiling water to each jar. Stir to combine, cover, and let the oats sit for 5 minutes before eating. If you don’t have access to hot water, you can add cool water and microwave on high for 1 minute. Let sit 2 minutes and enjoy. Add more hot water or milk as needed to reach your desired texture.
*If you use fresh fruit, don’t add it to the jar until you are ready to make the oats, or add after you heat the oats.