How To Make Creamy Oatmeal • Kath Eats

Since the beginning of (blog) time, I’ve been crafting the perfect bowl of oatmeal. Here are a few tips on how to make creamy oatmeal that is neither gummy nor dry. 

No one likes gummy oatmeal

Back in the days when , I’d bring it up in conversation and some people would say “ewwww oatmeal.” Their associations were usually of cooking rolled oats added to boiling water that were gummy, watery, and/or dry. “This is not that!” I’d say. My whipped banana oatmeal recipe is anything but gummy or dry. Don’t let a packet of instant oatmeal prepared with lukewarm water in a hotel turn you off to the food! 

I’ve always made oatmeal with milk, heated it slowly while stirring gently over medium heat, and with very thinly sliced super-ripe bananas stirred in. The bananas are not just for flavor but for texture too. In fact, when I was doing my dietetics coursework, I did a research project to demonstrate the effects that milk, bananas, and stirring had on the final consistency of the bowl of oats. (Spoiler alert: all three make it creamier!) 

How To Make Oatmeal Creamy

Which Type of Oats is best for creamy oatmeal?

I am biased towards old fashioned rolled oats due to their balance between cooking time and texture so that they produce a very creamy bowl of oatmeal! Steel cut oats are also great for this, but since they take longer to cook, I don’t tend to choose them as often. 

What Type of Liquid is best for creamy oatmeal?

I’ve always used a combination of half milk and half water that I found to be the perfect blend of flavor and creamy texture, but of course all milk works too. Try not to use only water unless you have to – the flavor is just so bland! You can use a dairy-free milk like coconut milk, soy milk, oat milk (!) or almond milk, but I typically use full-fat dairy milk for its protein and fat content staying power.

What temperature is ideal for cooking oatmeal?

I’ve always used medium heat so I don’t burn the milk! I also want the oats to be able to release their starches slowly without too much of the liquid boiling off, which leads to a more dry product. I tend to turn off the heat just before the oats reach my desired consistency because they will continue to thicken a bit as they cool in the bowl. 

What can I add to oatmeal for a sweet flavor?

I am biased towards the thinly sliced ripe bananas in the above recipe! Bananas have the ability to emulsify things (i.e. smoothies) unlike any other fruit. This dramatically effects the creaminess in the end product. They also sweeten the oatmeal naturally and provide a delicious flavor! Check out this post on for more flavor ideas, including cinnamon, vanilla extract, brown sugar, dried fruit, maple syrup, coconut milk, and one of my favorite toppings, peanut butter. 

Can you make creamy oats in bulk?

YES! You can make a big batch of oatmeal to reheat on busy mornings. Your oatmeal will cool into a big block. When you’re ready to reheat, the key is to add a little milk to rehydrate and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. The more you stir upon reheating, the more creamy they will get. 

My Favorite Oatmeal Toppings

  • Granola
  • Nut butter
  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Coconut flakes
  • Chia seeds
  • Cereal
  • Muffin
  • PB&J
  • Crumbled anything
  • Crunchy anything

My Favorite Stir-In Oatmeal Ingredients 

  • Banana slices (to whip!)
  • Chia seeds for thickness
  • Pumpkin
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Fruit of all kinds (dried like raisins or fresh like chopped pear)
  • Pinch of salt (always!) 

What is the healthiest type of oatmeal?

This is a trick question! All types of oats are still just oats and they all have the same nutrition profile. The difference is in their surface area and light processing, such as steaming them so they cook faster. I prefer old fashioned rolled oats for their cross between texture and quick cooking time. All of the different oats varieties have the same nutrition but the surface area and cooking time is what varies.

  • Steel cut oats: These are whole oat groats that have been cut only. They have a longer cook time closer to 20 minutes because they have the least surface area exposed to the liquid and heat and therefore take longer to break down. I’ve made steel cut oats in my rice cooker and instant pot for a hands-free approach! Check out this recipe for .
  • Old fashioned rolled oats: These oats have been cut and roller flat so that their surface area is greater and that makes them cook faster! 
  • Quick oats or instant oats: These oats have been cut, rolled, and steamed, which sort of pre-cooks them. Instant oats get a bad reputation because they are often seen in single-serve packets that come with lots of sugar, but they are not bad alone! Look for low or no sugar options. 

More Oatmeal Variations:

This creamy oatmeal recipe combines rolled oats, milk, and banana. The banana infuses the bowl with natural sweetness and makes the oats incredibly creamy! This recipe serves one but you can easily double or triple and reheat all week too! Just add a splash of milk when you do.

Ingredients

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Instructions

Step 1: Combine oats and liquid in a sauce pan

Start by combining rolled oats, water, and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow to heat up. 

Step 2: Slice banana thinly 

Slice a banana into VERY thin pieces, leaving just a few bigger chunks.

Step 3: When oatmeal is steaming, begin to stir

Once it begins to steam or bubble, stir vigorously at times to “whip” the banana into the oats. The oats will take about 5 minutes on medium heat from start to finish to fully absorb the liquid. They’re done when they reach your desired consistency!

Step 4: Stir in vanilla and any other mixins

Stir in vanilla (and often pumpkin or cottage cheese) and pour into your bowl.

Step 5: Add toppings

Add any toppings you like, such as almond or peanut butter dollops, nuts, granola, coconut, crumbled granola bars, or trail mix – with dark chocolate chips! Or check out all the combos listed below.

Whipped Banana Oatmeal

The whipped method produces a really creamy bowl of oatmeal. The bananas basically disappear, so there are no chunks. Since banana is an emulsifier of sorts, this method suspends the oats into a thick, creamy consistency and the whole bowl is sweeter because the banana's sweetness permeates throughout.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup milk of your choice
  • 2/3 cup water I like my oats a bit liquidy - cut back to 1/2 a cup if you don't
  • 1/2 banana very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract stirred in at end

Instructions

  • Start by combining rolled oats, water, and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. 

  • Slice a banana into VERY thin pieces, leaving just a few bigger chunks.

  • Walk away for a few minutes while the oatmeal heats.

  • Once it begins to steam or bubble, stir vigorously at times to “whip” the banana into the oats. The oats will take about 5 minutes on medium heat from start to finish to fully absorb the liquid. They’re done when they reach your desired consistency!

  • Stir in vanilla (and often pumpkin or cottage cheese) and pour into your bowl.

  • Add any toppings you like, such as almond or peanut butter dollops, nuts, granola, coconut, crumbled granola bars, or trail mix – with dark chocolate chips! Or check out all the combos listed below.

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