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How to Cook Oatmeal

These are my suggestions for cooking oatmeal, developed over the years to make a reliably consistent and delicious serving of oatmeal.

First: Use regular rolled oatmeal – Avoid quick or 1 Minute varieties

Use regular rolled oats – avoid 1 minute or ready-to-eat varieties as these are par-cooked and make a mealy, starchy cereal. I use Quaker Brand, Bob's Double Thick, and even generic brands.

I recall that, years ago, regular oatmeal containers said "cooks in 20 minutes", but now they all say 5 minutes on the original/regular oatmeal. (If you have, or have a photo of, an older container, I would like to see it.) My method on how to cook rolled oatmeal takes longer than 5 minutes – when cooking oatmeal, I turn the heat very low after adding the oats. I assume that nothing has changed over the years for the product, except market research (but I may be wrong).

Second: Use an oatmeal to water ratio of 1 to 2

Examples are:

When you're real tired in the morning, this is another way to approach it:

Third: Cook with very low heat.

I bring water just to the start of the boil, add the oatmeal, snatch the pot and swirl momentarily – putting all the cooking oatmeal grains underwater. Then, I turn down the heat as low as possible – although this increases the cooking time by a few minutes, it makes wonderful oatmeal. This and the next suggestion keep the oatmeal from sticking and burning.

Fourth: Minimize mixing the cooking oatmeal!

Rolled oats are tender and they will break up easily. (If you like mushy oatmeal, skip this advice.)

Keep the spoon out of the pot, as much as possible! I might briefly shake/snatch the pot after a couple of minutes, and when the free water reduces I might briefly check the pot bottom with the spoon, and mix the pot slightly, to keep the oatmeal from sticking to the bottom.

An Afterthought: Minimize salt!

Oatmeal doesn't need much salt, if any. A small pinch of salt per serving, at the most.


Click here: for more information about oats and oatmeal

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