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Our go-to creamy oatmeal is truly the best oatmeal recipe out there. It’s just as quick, easy, and good for ya as other methods, but it’s in a whole other realm of deliciousness. Here’s how to make it.

the best oatmeal recipe with chocolate chips and chopped pistachios in a pretty bowl
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Why we love this recipe

I get the sense that most people have no idea how good oatmeal can be. From instant and over-sugared to dry (or soupy!) and under-seasoned, humans have found multitudes of ways to ruin it.

That changes now, with the recipe my family has been making for decades. It’s:

  • Just the right amount creamy
  • Well-behaved
  • Rich with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla. and brown sugar or maple syrup
  • Eminently toppable, but also perfectly happy to stand alone

All that, and it’s ready in about 10 minutes.

I first published this recipe here way back in 2009. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this easy recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Use old-fashioned rolled oats, which are heartier than quick oats and make a more nuanced oatmeal that also has a lower glycemic index.
  • Brown sugar and maple syrup work equally well. Use whichever you have on hand.
  • Using half whole milk and half water yields just the right amount of creaminess.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a great pot of creamy oatmeal in about 10 minutes. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Place the oats, milk, water, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a medium pot. Make sure you choose a pot that gives the oatmeal a bit of room to bubble up.
  2. Stir it all together and set over medium heat.
  3. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer until creamy.
  4. Let rest for a few minutes — it will thicken up a lot as it cools. Serve alone or with toppings.

Expert tips and FAQs

What are old-fashioned oats?

Old-fashioned oats (sometimes just called rolled oats) are steamed, rolled oat groats. They’re a whole grain containing all the healthful parts of the oat groat. The processing helps keep them shelf-stable for long periods and also helps them cook quite quickly. Quick oats are rolled, too, but they’re flatter and smaller. I prefer the heft of old-fashioned oats in this recipe, and they’ll keep you full for longer as well.

Can I make oatmeal in advance?

It depends on your preferences, but I often make a big batch of oatmeal and reheat in in the microwave on subsequent days. Stir in a big additional splash of milk or water before (or after) reheating.

Leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week. You can also freeze it in single portions for up to a year.

More favorite recipes with oats

the best oatmeal recipe with chocolate chips and chopped pistachios in a pretty bowl

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creamy oatmeal with chocolate chips and chopped pistachios in a pretty bowl
4.63 from 37 votes

Creamy Oatmeal (Truly the Best Oatmeal Recipe)

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Our go-to creamy oatmeal is truly the best oatmeal recipe out there. It's just as quick, easy, and good for ya as other methods, but it's in a whole other realm of deliciousness. Here's how to make it.
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 12 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups (475 ml) whole milk or non-dairy milk of choice
  • 2 cups (475 ml) water
  • 2 cups (160 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼ cup (55 grams) brown sugar or maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

To serve (optional)

  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Chocolate chips
  • Nuts

Instructions 

  • Place milk, water, oats, brown sugar or maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oatmeal is creamy and a little thinner than you like it (5 to 10 minutes, depending on your oats.
  • Cool for a few minutes and serve topped with fresh or dried fruit, chocolate chips, and/or nuts, if you like.

Notes

  1. Old-fashioned oats (sometimes just called rolled oats) are steamed, rolled oat groats. They’re a whole grain containing all the healthful parts of the oat groat. The processing helps keep them shelf-stable for long periods and also helps them cook quite quickly. Quick oats are rolled, too, but they’re flatter and smaller. I prefer the heft of old-fashioned oats in this recipe, and they’ll keep you full for longer as well.
  2. Choose certified gluten-free oats if a gluten-free recipe is important to you.
  3. You can make a big batch of oatmeal and reheat in in the microwave on subsequent days. Stir in a big additional splash of milk or water before (or after) reheating.
  4. Leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week. You can also freeze it in single portions for up to a year.
I first published this recipe here in 2009. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 206kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 5.8g, Fat: 1.4g, Fiber: 4.2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast and Brunch
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.63 from 37 votes (37 ratings without comment)

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10 Comments

  1. Thank you for this recipe! I have Bob’s Red Mill old-fashioned rolled oats and was following the recipe on the bag and was disappointed with how they were turning out. I tried this recipe where the main difference is the addition of milk and putting the oats in before bringing the liquid to a boil and made all the difference! I was striving for “thick hotel style oatmeal” and I’m so happy I found this recipe.

  2. It’s 5:30 am, I couldn’t sleep. I found this recipe and I made it. I’m eating it now. It’s phenomenal. My sincerest tHaNkS!

  3. This was a wonderful recipe! I added dried cherries and chocolate chips and it was wonderful. Since I had some heavy cream lying around, I used half cream-half milk. I will definitely use this recipe whenever I have an oatmeal craving!!

  4. Hi Anne, I think you could use whatever old-fashioned rolled oats you have. I buy from the bulk bins at Whole Foods usually. xx

  5. Agree with Daphne! Holliday asked for oatmeal the other day, and I totally flopped, using only milk, golden raisins and brown sugar. Trying this one tomorrow! Question to you – do you think the brand of oats matters? I have the store brand right now at home.

  6. I was just thinking about giving oatmeal another try this morning – and you have clinched it – oatmeal with chocolate chips – I think even the kindgergarten crowd might be pleased with that!

  7. Agreed! I LOVE oatmeal, and this mimics my slant as well; but when I have the time, it’s McCain’s steel cut oats for me….