What does oatmeal taste like? It’s rich, with nutty earth notes. The hearty grain provides a nice base flavor that you can add onto, with sweet or savory additions. Read on to learn more about oatmeal, how to make it, and how to enhance its natural flavor.
What is oatmeal, anyway?
Oats were first harvested for livestock feed by the Greeks and Romans around 1000 B.C., according to research. It’s no surprise that oats have been a staple form of nutrition in Scotland for centuries, but they’ve only recently gained popularity as a daily breakfast food.
Oatmeal is made from hulled oat grains ground into a powder. The powder can finer or coarser, depending on the type of oatmeal. The different types of oatmeals have varying textures, flavors, and cooking times. Examples include:
- Steel-cut oats. These have a heavier, chewier texture and take longer to cook.
- Instant oats: Instant oatmeals have a fine texture and cook — you guessed it — instantly. The flavor is less intense vs. steel-cut oats, but instant oats are often packaged with added ingredients, like brown sugar.
To prepare oatmeal, you cook ground oats in liquid until the mixture thickens to a porridge-like consistency. You can then add whatever toppings and additions you like. Popular choices include fresh or dried berries, nuts, cinnamon, and banana.
You can do the cooking on a stovetop, in a slow cooker, or even in the oven — see Stacey’s Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal as a fun example.
What does oatmeal taste like?
It’s the question that keeps you up at night, right? What does oatmeal taste like? Well, oatmeal has a mild, nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture. It is hearty and filling, which makes it a popular breakfast dish.
You can easily modify the taste of oatmeal, too. For example, if you make oatmeal with milk and brown sugar, the flavor will be slightly sweet and creamy. You could prepare oatmeal with cinnamon, honey, and fresh fruit, for a brighter, more complex taste. Here are a few more ways to enhance oatmeal’s natural flavor:
- Try mixing fresh and dried berries into your oatmeal.
- A handful of nuts or toasted coconut adds firmer textures.
- Brown sugar or maple syrup add sweetness.
- Peanut butter will make your oatmeal sweeter and creamier.
- Toast the oats before you cook them for a richer flavor.
What’s oatmeal’s nutritional profile?
Oatmeal is an incredibly nutritious breakfast food. It is high in fiber and protein, both of which are important for maintaining healthy digestion, keeping hunger at bay, and providing energy throughout the day.
Oatmeal is also low in calories and fat. At the same time, it’s packed with vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, calcium, B-vitamins and vitamin E. These nutrients help support the immune system and promote healthy cell growth.
Oatmeal also contains antioxidants which can help protect against disease.
6 common oatmeal prep mistakes
It’s easy to make a blah bowl of oatmeal. If you’ve made oatmeal and you don’t like it, try one of these adjustments to your prep routine.
1. Cooking with water instead of milk
You’ve probably heard that oatmeal is a filling breakfast that will stay in your stomach like a brick until lunchtime. True, but only if your oatmeal contains protein, which you won’t get from drinking water. Cook your oats in unsweetened soymilk or regular dairy milk. Would you prefer almond or coconut milk instead? That’s fine because both will add heft and creaminess to the dish. However, because they’re still low in protein, you’ll need to supplement with something else, such as nuts, seeds, or nut butter.
2. Cooking in a pan that’s too small
If you’re only making oatmeal for yourself, you may not need to use the large soup pot. However, oatmeal has a viscous texture that makes it ideal for forming large bubbles. And using a small cooking vessel almost guarantees that your porridge will overflow. And you’ll make a massive mess on your stovetop. Similarly, you can microwave your oats in a smallish bowl, and spills can be avoided by using more giant, bottomless bowls.
3. Adding oats at the incorrect time
Please disregard this if you use a microwave. When cooking on the stovetop, however, the order in which you add your oats to the pot affects the texture of your oatmeal. If you want your liquid to be creamier, add the oats after it has reached a simmer. Add the oats to the cold liquid before turning up the heat if you want them to keep their shape.
4. Forgetting the salt
A pinch of salt is required to make savory or sweet oatmeal. Always. If you do it at the start of the cooking process, your porridge will be nutty, toasty, and delicious rather than bland and glue-like. (If you wait until the end, your oatmeal will taste strangely salty.) Please refrain from doing so.
5. Forgetting to stir
Stirring helps break up all those bubbles before they grow too large, reducing the risk of an explosion. If you’re using the microwave, keep an eye on your oats and stir them every 45 seconds. If you’re making porridge on the stovetop, stir it frequently, and giant bubbles will be stopped in their tracks by you. On the other hand, all that stirring will help your oats release more starch, giving your oatmeal a creamier texture.
6. Not cooking oats long enough
Rolled oats cook quickly into a creamy porridge. They aren’t, however, instant. To become soft, creamy, and delicious, they need time to soak up their cooking liquid. So give them about 5 minutes to do their thing before diving in. You will be rewarded for your patience.
Oatmeal is versatile and easy to make. Try adding banana slices, nuts, and coconut to your oats. You can also try a cup of brewed matcha green tea or Earl Grey tea. The flavors and textures vary depending on the type of tea you use. You can also add raisins or toasted coconut, or even a small amount of chocolate chips.
Types of oatmeal and their uses
There are four main types of oatmeal: instant oats, old-fashioned oats, steel-cut oats, and colloidal oats.
Instant (Quick Oats)
- One box of Happy Belly Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries & Cream
- 100% Whole Grain Oats
- No High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Contains: Milk
- An Amazon brand
These are frequently sold in packets or at fast-food restaurants. Because these are frequently flavored, they will almost certainly contain added sugar and a lot of it. Choose unsweetened oats and add your own toppings, or go for old-fashioned or steel-cut oats, which are higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- One tub of Happy Belly Old Fashioned Oats
- 100% Whole Grain Oats
- No Artificial Flavors
- An Amazon brand
These canisters, bags, and bulk aisle items are all available. They’re also known as “rolled oats.” Purchase whatever packaging you prefer. If you’re gluten-free, especially for medical reasons (such as celiac disease), look for gluten-free packaging to avoid cross-contamination.
Irish or steel-cut
- Contains 6 – 11.6oz Boxes
- Our quick cooking oatmeal is a heart healthy, cholesterol free food
- Better Oats is made with whole grain steel cut oats
- Our instant oatmeal is made with flax seed – a good source of ALA Omega 3
- A Kosher Pareve cereal
These have a chewier, more substantial texture. Beyond the breakfast bowl, these can be used to substitute traditional rice dishes like risotto and pilaf.
Colloidal oatmeal can be used as a soothing bath treatment for itchy and inflamed skin. Look for a product with 100% colloidal oatmeal and finely ground oats that dissolve in bathwater. If you have sensitive skin, go for one that doesn’t have any added fragrance.
How to store oatmeal
Store your uncooked or raw oats in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They should last for a long time that way.
Last update on 2023-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API