Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast, but most recipes can be loaded with refined sugars. If you are wondering how to sweeten oatmeal without sugar, let me share some suggestions with you.
You could safely say that oatmeal is my thing. Check out this recipe for chocolate baked oatmeal or chocolate chip baked oatmeal. Or how about gingerbread oatmeal? Maybe you are into blueberry oatmeal. I think I have an oatmeal recipe for just about any kind of oatmeal you like. I will list more options at the bottom of the post for you to check out.
Sweetening oatmeal without sugar
Most oatmeal is sweetened with brown sugar or white sugar, but there are so many other options out there, without the added sugar (refined sugar). I will not add artificial sweeteners to this recipe as I don't use them in my kitchen. If you are diabetic, you can always Splenda or whatever sweetener you like.
- Fresh fruit- this is often overlooked, but they provide a great natural sweetness to your boring old oatmeal. I love ripe bananas, fresh berries, mangoes, etc. Choose your favorite fruits, they provide natural sugar.
- Raw honey- if you are vegan, you will want to skip this option of course.
- Pure maple syrup- This is a personal favorite of mine and one I use in almost all my recipes. It is a milder sweetness that I love!
- Agave nectar
- Coconut sugar-
- Dried fruits- just be sure to read your labels because a lot of times these will have added sugar.
Other ways to add interest to your regular oatmeal recipe
Nut butters are a good addition to your favorite oats. Not only do they add great flavor, but also a protein. Natural peanut butter and almond butter are my 2 favorites.
Seed butters- I do not buy these often as they are really expensive in my area, but they are really good for anyone with nut allergies.
Protein powder is another way to get in extra protein. I used it in my overnight oats recipe. They also have vegan protein powder if you wanted to go that way.
Vanilla extract might seem like a simple thing, but it really adds to the flavor complexity.
Chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and other seeds and nuts.
Greek yogurt will also have protein, along with a creamy texture.
Chocolate chips and cocoa powder. I am a self-diagnosed chocoholic and I love adding it to my baked oats. Chocolate will certainly brighten up your oatmeal bowl!
The type of milk you use in your oats will affect the flavor and texture as well. You can use cow's milk, or even a plant-based option like soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc.
Different types of oats
Oat groats are the whole oat kernel. They are not used as often as the other types of oats, which is unfortunate. They do take longer to cook, but they are so good. Check out my Instant Pot oat groats recipe. I buy these at my local Winco and they are really cheap.
Steel cut oats- I recently found out that you can also buy these in quick-cooking as well.
Scottish oats- These are similar to steel-cut oats, but a smaller size, making them a creamier oatmeal.
Old-fashioned oats- These are also called regular oats. I use these often as they cook quickly and I love the texture.
Instant oats- these are also quick oats. They are probably my least favorite oats. I know, I know, they cook really fast. I just don't like the mushy texture. It is a personal thing, I know.
Stovetop cooking instructions for oatmeal
I use the stovetop more often than any other for cooking oatmeal. I watched my mom make it this way growing up and have almost always done it this way. At least for my regular oats.
Start by bringing your water and milk to a boil. This recipe is included in the box below.
Add the salt, then the oats.
Stir, and then let it cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed. I like creamy oatmeal, so I don't cook out all the liquid.
Serve the oatmeal and top as you like!
Microwave cooking instructions for oatmeal
Using the microwave is a much quicker method than the cooktop method.
Add your liquids and the oats to your bowl. Mix and place the bowl in the microwave.
Microwave on high for 1 ½-2 minutes.
When it is done, stir and check for doneness.
Top the oats as you like and serve.
Instant Pot oatmeal
Unless you are cooking oat groats or steel-cut oats, DO NOT use the Instant Pot for cooking regular oats. Regular oats and instant oats will cook much too quickly and will turn into a mushy mess! I have seen recipes where they do this and I cannot help but think the texture would be close to baby food.
Just don't do it. Here is a recipe for Instant Pot pumpkin steel-cut oats I bet you will love!
Tips for making the best oatmeal
Let me share some of my favorite tips for crafting the best bowl of oatmeal.
- First, be sure you bring your liquid to a low boil before adding in the oats. If the liquid is not hot, but cold, the oatmeal will get very mushy.
- Next, you don't need to mix your oatmeal the whole time. In fact, I usually mix it, to begin with, then let it cook for several minutes before touching it again.
- You will notice I use a little more liquid in my oats than other recipes call for. I do this on purpose as I like creamier oatmeal and not dry oatmeal.
- Adding butter at the end creates a really creamy oatmeal that everyone in my family loves.
- Don't be afraid to experiment with your oats. Sure, plain oatmeal is good, but there is a whole wide world of other ingredients you can add to the oatmeal to make it even better and to fit your mood.
- My favorite liquid to use in my oatmeal is a blend of water and milk. I use unsweetened almond milk for my milk, but you can use any milk you like. You can also use half and half for creamier oatmeal.
Other Oatmeal Recipes
- Pumpkin steel-cut oats
- Carrot cake oats
- Brown sugar oatmeal- in case you still like the refined sugar in your oatmeal.
- Can you freeze oatmeal?
- Crockpot cinnamon apple oatmeal
- Cinnamon spice oatmeal
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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