18 Oatmeal Recipes to Start Your Day Off Right

Customize With Your Favorite Fruits, Nuts, and Spices

Peanut butter and jelly overnight oats topped with crushed peanuts

The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Oatmeal is a hearty, healthy, and satisfying way to start the day, and a bowl of warm oats is the perfect base for adding a variety of fruits, nuts, and spices. Although instant oatmeal is convenient, a bowl of homemade oatmeal can be so much more. With these oatmeal recipes—ranging from stovetop to slow cooker to no-cook overnight oats—you can go way beyond the packets without sacrificing convenience.

  • 01 of 18

    Steel-Cut Oatmeal

    A bowl of healthy steel-cut oatmeal with a side of fresh blueberries

    Debbie Smirnoff / GettyImages

    Whole grain steel-cut oatmeal has a heartier texture than rolled oatmeal, which means it can stand up to a long cooking time—like overnight in the slow cooker. It's the healthiest type of oats with a chewier texture, but it takes longer to cook than rolled and quick oats. Make the breakfast hands-off by placing all of the ingredients in the crockpot the night before and wake up to a warm and healthy breakfast.

  • 02 of 18

    Chocolate-Covered Banana Overnight Oats

    Chocolate-covered banana overnight oats in a bowl

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    If you'd like to enjoy oatmeal, but the weather is too warm for a hot breakfast, try making overnight oats. They don't require any cooking and can be served cold. You can swap the milk for non-dairy milk and use dairy-free chocolate to make it vegan. This recipe combines cocoa powder and maple syrup for a perfectly sweet oatmeal. A topping of banana and chocolate chips makes it a real treat.

  • 03 of 18

    Carrot Cake Oatmeal

    Cake for breakfast oatmeal with shredded carrots and raisins

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Fans of carrot cake will love this oatmeal recipe, featuring similar ingredients and flavors. Shredded carrots are cooked along with oats, vanilla, cinnamon, and raisins, and the warm, creamy mixture is sweetened with brown sugar. If you're on a low-sugar diet, swap the sugar for the equivalent amount of no-calorie sweetener. Top off the bowl with some toasted walnuts for a satisfying crunch.

  • 04 of 18

    Instant Pot Oatmeal

    Instant Pot oatmeal with almonds, honey, and blueberries
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    An Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker not only shaves a ton of time when cooking steel-cut oats, but also eliminates the need to watch the pot to make sure the oatmeal isn't bubbling over. Simply add the oats, water, a cinnamon stick, and salt to the pressure cooker, and after five minutes of cooking, you will have a bowl of creamy Instant Pot oatmeal ready for your favorite toppings.

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  • 05 of 18

    Low-Fat Pumpkin Oatmeal

    Low-fat pumpkin oatmeal with raisins

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    It's okay to jump on the pumpkin spice bandwagon with this oatmeal recipe since it is a lot lower in fat and sugar than most other autumn-themed breakfast treats. It is also a great way to use up leftover pumpkin puree from the holiday pies. Whether you cook the pumpkin oatmeal in the microwave or on the stovetop, making this recipe is as simple as combining oats, fat-free milk, pumpkin, spices, and raisins and cooking until creamy.

  • 06 of 18

    Brown Sugar Banana Overnight Oats

    Brown sugar banana overnight oats in a canning jar
    The Spruce

    For an extremely quick breakfast that's great for a hot day, whip up brown sugar banana overnight oats. Take five minutes to prep the night before and stash the mixture in the fridge. Old-fashioned oats, also known as rolled oats, become nice and tender and flavorful without any need for cooking. A dollop of peanut butter or almond butter provides delicious protein and banana adds natural sweetness.

  • 07 of 18

    Savory Oatmeal

    Savory oatmeal topped with crispy bacon, shredded cheese, and scallions

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 

    If something sweet first thing in the morning isn't for you, try this easy-to-make, hearty bowl of savory oatmeal. Quick-cook oats are boiled on the stovetop for just a few minutes along with scallions and butter and then topped with some warm heavy cream. The bowl is capped off with crispy bacon, shredded cheese, scallion greens, and a fried egg—a meal that is sure to keep you full until lunchtime. Try veggie bacon or leave it out for a vegetarian version.

  • 08 of 18

    Crock Pot Oatmeal

    Crock pot oatmeal topped with fresh blueberries

    J. Shepherd / Getty Images

    Wake up to a warm bowl of oatmeal studded with dried cranberries and dates. This overnight crock pot recipe comes together quickly the night before and just needs an addition of half-and-half and honey in the morning. Feel free to toast the hearty steel-cut oats before adding to the crock pot for extra texture.

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  • 09 of 18

    Overnight Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

    Spooning out overnight pumpkin pie oatmeal from a glass jar

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    The ideal autumnal treat, this overnight pumpkin pie oatmeal is simple to make and a great use for leftover pumpkin puree. Simply mix the pie filling, milk, maple syrup, and old-fashioned oats together, spoon into individual jars for a fun presentation, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, quickly heat in the microwave or serve cold and enjoy with toppings of your choice.

  • 10 of 18

    Homemade Instant Oatmeal

    homemade instant oatmeal topped with blueberries

    The Spruce 

    Store-bought instant oatmeal is surely convenient, but it can also be loaded with sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives. By making your own instant oatmeal, you control the ingredients—and you'll have a delicious breakfast ready in no time. Both quick oats and rolled oats are used, and a portion of the quick oats is blended until smooth to create that familiar texture we find in the packets. This oatmeal is a great option for those that like their oats extra creamy.

  • 11 of 18

    PB&J Overnight Oats

    Peanut butter and jelly overnight oats topped with crushed peanuts

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    There's no need to cook these kid-friendly PB&J overnight oats. Peanut butter and maple syrup flavor the rolled oats, which sits in the fridge overnight until softened. A topping of sweet jelly and crushed peanuts turn this into a healthy version of the popular sandwich. The recipe makes a single serving, but double or triple it and stash some in the fridge for a quick breakfast.

  • 12 of 18

    Slow Cooker Oatmeal

    Slow cooker oatmeal topped with fresh blueberries and chopped roasted cashews
    QVC, Inc.

    If you are an early riser, you can have a breakfast of warm slow cooker oatmeal ready for the family by the time they wake up. Steel-cut oats, milk, butter, brown sugar, and warm spices all go into the slow cooker, resulting in a heart-healthy bowl in under five hours. Top with fresh blueberries and chopped roasted cashews, or your choice of fruit and nuts.

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  • 13 of 18

    Warm Gingerbread Oatmeal

    Warm gingerbread oatmeal in a white bowl

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Your family may be expecting cookies when the aroma of this breakfast wafts through the house, but once they taste this warm gingerbread oatmeal, they will not be disappointed. Use non-dairy milk to make this recipe vegan. All of the favorite gingerbread cookie flavors make their way into this stovetop oatmeal recipe, which takes just a few minutes to cook.

  • 14 of 18

    Crock Pot Apple Oatmeal With Dates and Walnuts

    Crock pot apple cinnamon oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts

    Getty Images / Arx0nt 

    This crock pot oatmeal recipe is chock-full of flavor and texture, but you can add even more by toasting the steel-cut oats in the oven beforehand. A mixture of milk, brown sugar, honey, butter, and cinnamon combines with oats, apple, dried fruit, and nuts, and cooks for five hours until tender.

  • 15 of 18

    Overnight Chia Seed Oatmeal

    Overnight chia seed oatmeal topped with toasted almonds and sliced banana

    The Spruce / Laurel Randolph

    This combination of old-fashioned oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, dried cherries, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla sits overnight in the fridge, allowing the flavors to meld with each other and the oatmeal to turn nice and creamy. Chia seeds add nutrition and help to naturally thicken the mixture. Finish off this healthy chia seed oatmeal with some toasted almonds and sliced banana.

  • 16 of 18

    Vegan Coconut Oatmeal

    Vegan coconut oatmeal topped with shredded coconut, almonds, and fresh berries

    Getty Images / Arx0nt

    In just a minute or two you will have a sweet bowl of vegan oatmeal that will please any coconut lover. Quick-cooking oats, almond milk, coconut milk, and water come to a boil and then shredded coconut, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon are mixed in. A sprinkling of shredded sweetened coconut on top is the perfect finish.

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  • 17 of 18

    Overnight Crock Pot Oatmeal With Apples and Honey

    Overnight crock pot oatmeal with chopped apples and honey

    1MoreCreative / Getty Images

    This crock pot oatmeal recipe may cook overnight, but it takes only five minutes to prepare. Add steel-cut oatmeal, water, milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the crock pot and set to low. About an hour before serving, add some peeled and diced apples, and when cooked, drizzle the oatmeal with honey. The combination of apples, cinnamon, and honey tastes just like fall but can be enjoyed any time the craving strikes. Pear can be substituted for the apple for a different twist.

  • 18 of 18

    Easy Carrot Cake Overnight Oats

    Carrot cake overnight oats with cinnamon and raisins

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Overnight oats are one the easiest, quickest breakfasts out there. This recipe for a carrot cake version is also a cinch to make vegan. Carrots, raisins, walnuts, and coconut add texture, flavor, and nutrition to the balanced breakfast. It's a filling dish that doesn't require a minute of cooking.