Are you wondering just how long does cooked oatmeal last, I have the answer for you! Oatmeal makes a wonderful breakfast, it is inexpensive and delicious. All of these are great reasons to make it a part of your everyday meal plan.
I have written a few other posts that will interest you as well. The first is how to reheat oatmeal and the next is how to freeze oatmeal. Both are informative posts you will get so much out of.
Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast and a great way to start the day, for more info on this, you can read this article from the Mayo Clinic. This article from Healthline lists the nutritional value of oats if you are interested in this.
Can you save cooked oatmeal for later?
Not only can you, but you should save it! I work hard to reduce food waste, and this is a great way to do it.
Whether you have leftover oatmeal from a large breakfast, or maybe you want to use it as meal prep. Saving oatmeal for another meal is a great time-saving option.
There are a few factors that will determine the length of time you can store your oats, let me list those.
First, what have you cooked in with your oats? I love berries and fresh fruit, but they will also lessen the amount of time you can store the oatmeal as they get mushy and release liquid over time.
The easiest way to combat this is to add the toppings later and just store plain cooked oatmeal.
How do I know if my cooked oatmeal is bad?
You are generally safe to store it for up to a week. Once you get beyond this, look for signs of spoilage that the oatmeal has gone bad.
One thing I always check for is bacterial growth in my oatmeal. This will happen faster if the oatmeal has been sweetened. So, check for the presence of mold and color changes in your oatmeal.
It can also have an "off odor" as well. So, give it a quick sniff test.
Trust your instincts too. If it seems bad, stay on the safe side and just toss it.
Can you make oatmeal for the week?
Yes, you sure can. Let me just add one note to this though. Instant oatmeal gets really mushy when it is stored and reheated. Take this into consideration when you are planning what oatmeal to cook.
Just be sure to store the oatmeal in an airtight container for maximum freshness.
How do you store leftover cooked oatmeal?
The first thing to know is the cooked oatmeal needs to be cooled to room temperature before you package it.
Once it is cooled, the best way to store oatmeal is in an airtight container, sealed container, or ziplock bag. If you are using it for meal prep, go ahead and package it into your meal prep containers and it will already be portioned into individual portions.
How do you cook oatmeal?
Oatmeal is VERY easy to cook. I will share my favorite method and add the oatmeal recipe at the bottom of the post for easy printing. This is a very simple stove top method.
- Start by bringing your water and milk (I like using almond milk) to a boil over medium heat.
- Add the oats and salt to the mixture.
- Reduce the heat and cook until most of the moisture is absorbed and the oats are tender.
- Serve and top as you like. My family prefers maple syrup and butter. Or even brown sugar and a little butter.
- You can also top it with berries, other fruits, chocolate chips or shaved chocolate, coconut, nuts, seeds, and spices as well.
- Be sure to note, if you are using quick-cooking oats, they will only take about 2 minutes to cook.
How do you store dry oats?
Dry oats are much easier to store than oatmeal as they have a very long shelf life.
The first option is to store it in the original packaging. I use this when I plan to eat oats within 4-6 months. Anything beyond that, keep reading.
The best way to ensure it is properly stored is with these steps- store oatmeal in an air-tight container in a dark place with very little humidity (nothing will ruin your oats quicker than excess moisture).
I tuck mine in the back of a pantry shelf for safekeeping, this dark area ensures longer shelf life of oatmeal. It is also best to avoid direct sunlight.
For instant oatmeal packets, I like to store them in a container where I have removed the oxygen. This could be in a bucket or a vacuum-sealed bag. Add an oxygen absorber and make sure you have a tight seal.
Can you use oats that have gone past their expiration date?
I wrote a post all about this for more reference on eating expired oatmeal. But, the short answer is, YES!
Of course, check for signs of spoilage, including mold and dark spots, and pests.
Can you eat cold leftover oatmeal?
Well, yes. Although I am not sure I recommend it. The flavor is still there, but that cold texture is a little hard to take.
In a busy pinch, you could certainly make it work though.
Can you freeze cooked oatmeal?
Freezing cooked oatmeal is a great meal prep idea. It is really simple to do and perfect for saving time on busy mornings. Make that large batch ahead of time and you will be ready to go.
I wrote a post all about how to freeze oatmeal, so be sure to check this out. It is so much easier than you might think!
Types of oats
There are several different kinds of oats products to choose from when you are considering what oatmeal to cook for your family.
Oat groats- These are the whole oat kernel. The hard, outer shell has been removed, but everything else is intact. I love using these for healthy whole-grain breakfast cereal. Oat groats will actually hold for a very long time in storage. Especially if you are sealing them in 5-gallon buckets.
Steel-cut oats- These are the oat groats cut into smaller pieces with steel blades. Because they are in smaller pieces, they will cook faster than the whole oat groat. I love this recipe for Pumpkin Steel-Cut Oats.
Rolled oats- These can be old-fashioned oats (or regular oats) or even instant oats (or quick oats). These are the oat groat that has been rolled and flattened. Instant oats are rolled oats that have been cut up to decrease cooking time. For a make-ahead oatmeal recipe, how about these overnight oats with protein.
More oatmeal recipes
Let me share some of my favorite oatmeal recipes from the blog. These are tried and true and so delicious!
Creamy Oatmeal Recipe
- 2 cups water
- 2 ¼ cups milk I used unsweetened almond milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups regular oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon optional
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Sweetener of choice
- Toppings of choice
- Bring the water and milk to a boil over medium heat.
- Add in the salt, oats, and cinnamon.
- Cook for about 5 minutes over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
- I like to let this sit for 2-3 minutes so the oats will finish absorbing the liquid.
- Spoon into your bowls and top as you like!
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