DIY Microwave Oatmeal MixHere’s what I found on the label of Quaker Oats Peaches and Cream instant oatmeal, the kind that comes in little packets and heats up in the microwave in the time it takes to retrieve a spoon to go with it:

–partially hydrogenated soybean oil
–artificial color
–artificial flavor
–corn syrup solids

They do this. To poor, humble, wholesome oatmeal. The label boasts well over 20 ingredients.

Even the more natural brands tend to be higher than need be in sugar and use instant oats rather than the rolled oats (rolled have a lower glycemic index and are slower to digest…both pluses).

So I set to crafting a “Make Your Own” Microwave Oatmeal…one the kids can do on busy weekday mornings with as much ease as opening a little packet. Compared to the boxed version, this one tastes better and is cheaper and greener and may help with kids’ math skills and solve world peace.

Make your own Microwave Oatmeal

Here’s how:

Start with just a few ingredients, not a few dozen: Rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and brown sugar. Add a little cinnamon or other spices if you like.

Put everything into a big jar with enough room that you can shake it all up. When you’re ready to make a bowl of oatmeal, just scoop it from the container, add twice as much water as oats, and pop into the microwave.

Once it’s cooked, give it a stir and add a splash of milk if you like.

Breakfast is done. And it’s a much nicer way to treat your oats.

**Need more ideas for morning eats? Here’s my recipe for Overnight Steel Cut Oats and one for Easy Breakfast Quinoa

Make Your Own Microwave Oatmeal

Serving Size: Makes enough for 7 bowls

Make Your Own Microwave Oatmeal

This recipe makes a lightly sweetened oats mixture that's ready to be scooped up and microwaved into single-serving bowls of nourishing oatmeal. Be sure to use a deep cereal bowl for cooking the oats since they can bubble up and overflow.


  • 2 cups rolled oats (not quick oats or instant oats)
  • ½ cup dried fruit (raisins; dried cranberries, blueberries or cherries; or diced dried apples, apricots or peaches)
  • ½ cup sliced, slivered, or chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts)
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Put the oats, dried fruit, nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon into a large jar, storage container, or ziplock bag. Shake well until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
  2. To cook a bowl of oatmeal, first give your jar a hearty shake to mix any ingredients that have settled to the bottom of the container. Pour a rounded 1/3 cup of the oatmeal mixture into a deep cereal bowl. If the bowl is too shallow, the oatmeal may overflow in the microwave.
  3. Pour 2/3 cup of water into the bowl and stir well. Microwave on high until the water is absorbed and the oats are tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir. The oatmeal will thicken as it cools.
  4. Add fresh fruit, more nuts, and milk if desired.
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bowl of oatmeal photo credit: Alena Haurylik/Shutterstock


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  1. Mary LG
    09.04.2012 at 6:37 AM #

    Lovely idea and so agree about the instant packets! We don’t have a microwave so my own solution has been to make a big batch of oatmeal the night before, dole it out into individual ceramic bowls, and refrigerate. In the morning, the girls pop their bowl into the toaster oven with a spoonful of brown sugar and milk. Super simple and yummy without all the unnecessary gunk.

    • katiemorford
      09.04.2012 at 7:33 AM #

      Good to know you can do this in the toaster oven as well. I’ve also heard you can pour milk in with the oatmeal, effectively soak it overnight, and then heat it in the morning. That boosts protein and calcium as well.

  2. Miranda
    09.04.2012 at 9:54 PM #

    Instead of microwaving the oatmeal, can you pour boiling water over it? Or is that just with instant oatmeal?

    • katiemorford
      09.04.2012 at 11:05 PM #

      I don’t think that would do it, unfortunately. If the boiling water method is a must for you, try this same recipe using quick oats. Add the boiling water to the oat mixture, cover tightly with plastic wrap until the oats absorb the water, then stir. It’s worth a try!

  3. Pamela
    09.05.2012 at 7:22 AM #

    Thanks for this Katie~~what a shame to take something as wholesome as oats and create an unhealthy breakfast for kids! Your ideas are so simple and so delicious~~and healthy!

    • katiemorford
      09.05.2012 at 7:52 AM #

      Thanks Pamela!

  4. Tina
    09.10.2012 at 2:02 PM #

    My sister-in-law makes old fashion oats, just like microwave packages. She puts the oats and water in a mug an zaps it. Works just the same, only this time you can pronounce all the ingredients!

    • katiemorford
      09.10.2012 at 2:15 PM #

      Smart sister-in-law!

  5. Leslie
    09.27.2012 at 10:17 AM #

    Another great idea!, thank you. I just made a batch and then a bowl for myself..delicious..

  6. 01.21.2013 at 4:30 AM #

    Love this recipe! Will be linking back to this in my upcoming post 🙂

    • katiemorford
      01.21.2013 at 8:34 AM #

      Thanks Marla….I’ll keep my eye out for it. Lovely to be included on your terrific blog.

    • katiemorford
      01.21.2013 at 8:34 AM #

      Thanks Marla….I’ll keep my eye out for it. Lovely to be included on your terrific blog.

  7. 03.06.2013 at 3:58 PM #

    Easy enough! I love empowering the kids to make food for themselves. This is definitely a keeper.

  8. KevinE
    06.24.2013 at 12:03 PM #

    Much too sweet for me with the added sugar, I found the fruit made it sweet enough!

    • katiemorford
      06.24.2013 at 12:18 PM #

      The beauty of home cooking…making it just as you like it! Thanks for the comment.

  9. Desiree
    07.02.2013 at 8:24 PM #

    How wonderful it is to have stumbled upon your site! Thank you!

    • katiemorford
      07.02.2013 at 9:21 PM #

      Glad you found me, Desiree. Welcome.

  10. arabillie
    11.01.2013 at 8:31 AM #

    Another way to flavor with fruit, especially if you have kids who (like 2 of mine) are picky about texture or “chunks in their food” – add pure fruit baby food. I use this technique for both oatmeal and yogurt… we buy plain, unflavored, unsweetened base along with a wide assortment of pure fruit purees (I still make these at home sometimes, but never with as wide a variety as you can buy!). It lets the kids customize their choices a lot more than what’s on the shelf at the store since they can mix and blend as they like, too.

    I do get people wondering why I’m buying baby food when my kids range from 7-18 at this point, though….

    • katiemorford
      11.01.2013 at 9:41 PM #

      Good tip for easily incorporating fruit into oatmeal. Agreed, this might be a good option for kids who don’t like a lot of texture. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Carrie
    03.16.2014 at 11:16 AM #

    Just yesterday I picked up the microwave oatmeal at the store. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, put that box down. Decided to stick to my old fashioned oats in have at home. I add cinnamon and a little brown sugar. This is great, I can have them ready to go in the mornings! Thanks!

    • katiemorford
      03.18.2014 at 9:37 AM #

      Great. I know, so easy, right?

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