There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of creamy Oatmeal for Breakfast. Oatmeal is a healthy, filling, and simple dish that’s loaded with nutrients essential to begin your day. It’s also easy to customize depending on your dietary needs and whether you like sweet or savory foods. And with a bit of milk to make it even richer? Say no more. In this post I share the details to cook different kinds of oatmeal with milk – Instant oats, Rolled oats and Steel Cut oats.
If you are a beginner and not sure how to introduce oatmeal into your diet or unsure about the kind of oats to use, this post will help you decide. This oatmeal recipe is easy to scale up or down depending on how many people you are trying to feed.
Health Benefits of Oats
Oats are full of healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re most famous, however, for being a great source of filling fiber. While fiber is known for regulating your digestive tract, there’s a kind of soluble fiber in oats called beta-glucan that can also help reduce both overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Kinds of Oats
There are usually three to four kinds of oats you will be able to find at your local supermarket, and each category affects oatmeal texture and cook times.
Steel cut oats, sometimes called Irish oats, are made when oat kernels are chopped into small pieces by steel blades. They take the longest to cook and have a chewy texture.
Rolled oats or old-fashioned oats are oat kernels that are steamed, then rolled and flattened. They cook faster than steel cut oats while still retaining a nice texture.
The fastest oats to cook are quick-cooking oats and instant oats. Both are steamed and rolled even thinner than rolled oats, with instant oats being rolled the thinnest and also cut into smaller pieces.
Ways to Cook Oatmeal with Milk
Let’s learn how to make oatmeal with milk. Probably the most common way to cook oatmeal is in a pot on the stovetop.
But you can also use instant pot for all the kinds of oats. Its hand free and no babysitting but remember it takes time for the Instant pot to come to pressure and drop as well. I can’t stress enough how comfortable this way of cooking is if you are able to spend a little more time but that’s totally inactive & you don’t need to monitor the oatmeal at all. I have the instructions in the Recipe card below.
Cooking oatmeal in a microwave is the easiest & fastest. Microwave cooks foods at a much faster pace. Though I no longer use microwave for our foods I can say it is the ultimate and easiest way to cook instant oats.
How to Make Oatmeal on Stovetop
To cook the Rolled Oats, bring ½ cup water to a boil and stir in ½ cup rolled oats. Let cook on a medium high heat for 2 mins and then pour 1 cup milk.
Bring to a rolling boil on a medium high heat.
Turn down the heat and simmer until thick and creamy. Turn off the heat while it is still runny as the oatmeal thickens upon cooling.
If using sugar, stir in while the oatmeal is still hot. You may add chopped dates, pistachios or date syrup, nut butter or any other toppings of your choice. I have a separate toppings section below, you may refer that.
To cook instant oats or quick cook oats in a pot, you won’t need water. Add half cup oats to a pot and pour 1 cup milk. Bring to a rolling boil and simmer until thick yet runny. Turn off.
To cook steel cut oats in a pot, it is always better to rinse them well under running water at least thrice and soak them overnight. This helps to cook them faster else you need to cook them too long.
The next morning, drain the water and rinse the steel cut oats again.
Pour ½ cup water and bring it to a rolling boil. Simmer and cook until tender and soft. If the oatmeal has absorbed the water and not tender yet, you may pour more hot water.
When the steel cut oats are tender, pour 1 cup milk and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer until thick yet of pouring consistency.
Oatmeal in Instant Pot
If the above sounds too time-consuming or complicated, making oatmeal in an electric pressure cooker like an Instant Pot might be more your speed. Just add the oats and the milk (and sometimes water), then close and cook according to the instructions in the recipe card below.
For the fastest way to make oatmeal, use a microwave. Add the oats and milk to a microwave-safe bowl, then microwave on high according to instructions. You may need to stir on occasion.
Toppings for Oatmeal
- Getting creative with oatmeal toppings is half the fun.
- Obviously sugar and maple syrup are classic sweeteners, but honey, brown sugar, jam, stevia, or monk fruit would also work.
- For natural sweetness, try fresh or dried fruit like pears, berries, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin, raisins, or dried cherries.
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, chia seeds, or coconut flakes add protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
- Need more flavor? Try matcha powder or spices such as turmeric, cardamom, or pumpkin spice!
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup oatmeal (instant, rolled or steel cut)
- ½ cup water for rolled, 1½ to 2 cups for steel cut
- 1 cup milk for rolled, 1 to 1½ cups for steel cut oats
- 6 to 8 dates or 1 banana or sugar or maple syrup
- 10 nuts (cashews & almonds or 1 tablespoon nut butter)
Oatmeal with Milk in a Pot
- Pour water to a pot, bring it to a boil and add oats (rolled oats or rinsed overnight soaked steel cut oats). If using instant oats, you won't need water. So start off with milk directly.
- Stir well. When the oats begin to boil rapidly, reduce the heat, simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed and the oats has softened.
- Pour milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer until it reaches a consistency you prefer. Oatmeal will thicken upon cooling, so turn off when it is slightly runny yet thick. If you want to sweeten with sugar you may add it now.
- Cool down slightly and transfer to serving bowl. Add sliced nuts and dates or peanut butter & bananas.
Oatmeal with Milk in Instant Pot
- With Instant Oats: Pour 1 cup milk and ½ heaping cup instant oats to a bowl. Place the bowl one the trivet, with 1 cup water in the steel insert. Do not cover the bowl. Secure the IP with the lid, with vent in sealing mode. Pressure cook for 0 mins. Let the pressure release naturally. Stir and add your favorite toppings.
- With Rolled Oats: Pour the milk and oats to the inner pot of the Instant pot. Mix and secure the lid of the IP. Press the pressure cook button and set the timer to 1 minute high pressure for rolled oats.
- With Steel Cut oats: Pour water, milk and add rinsed steel cut oats. Mix well and secure the Instant pot. Position the vent to sealing. Press porridge button and set the timer for 10 mins.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 mins. Stir the oatmeal and remove to serving bowls. Top with fruits, nuts, dates, maple syrup or chocolate.
- Nutritional values are for the basic oatmeal (rolled oats) with milk, no added sweetener or fruits.
- Instant oats don’t require water. You can simply cook them in milk. Rolled oats and steel cut oats require water so they soften and give a creamy texture.
- Note the timings mentioned on the recipe card are for rolled oats. Instant oats takes lesser time and steel cut oats take longer.
- Steel cut oats can be rinsed and soaked overnight for easier digestion. This also reduces the cook time.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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