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Perfect Stovetop Oatmeal Recipe

This Perfect Stovetop Oatmeal Recipe is simple and satisfying. Learn how to turn out perfect oats every time with these handy tips and tricks.

Perfect Stovetop Oatmeal Recipe

Making oatmeal from scratch is almost as simple as opening an envelope of the instant stuff. It’s not much more time consuming, but it is SO much more satisfying! This recipe for Apple Cinnamon Stovetop Oatmeal is one of the most popular here on Sugar Dish Me.

And since people love THAT, I thought it would be fun to share the “good bones” of how to make stovetop oatmeal like a pro. So here’s how to achieve perfect stovetop oatmeal.[side note: Google keeps correcting the word “stovetop” and I am just ignoring the red squiggle spelling error line because IT IS A WORD]

Favorite Oatmeal Add-Ins

We all know that I typically prefer my oats in cookie form (like with these White Chocolate Blueberry Oat Cookies). But a good bowl of oatmeal goes a long way in the morning and I love playing around with add-ins and toppings. Some favorites:

  • Dried cranberries or raisins
  • Sliced apples or peaches
  • Chocolate chips + bananas
  • A spoonful of peanut butter + honey
  • Maple syrup + brown sugar
  • Almonds, pistachios, or walnuts
Perfect Stovetop Oatmeal Ingredients

Tips on How to Make Stovetop Oatmeal

Once you have made some decisions about what’s going IN your oatmeal, you can focus on technique. I have a few tips:

  • Old Fashioned Oats will give more texture; Quick oats will be creamier and will cook a little faster.
  • If you buy the old fashioned oats and decide you prefer quick cooking oats, a pulse in the blender or food processor gives you quick oats in less than a minute!
  • If your oats threaten to bubble up and over the sides of the pan when you add them to the hot water, you need to reduce the heat.
  • Your oats need a dash of salt to be perfect.
Perfect Stovetop Oatmeal Recipe

Let’s talk about this salt things really quick. Once upon a time an old boyfriend tried to get cute and make me oatmeal. Annnnnd he added salt.

But he salted my oatmeal like you would salt your pasta water. So instead of enhancing the flavors of anything else we might have added, I just had to scrape my bowl of oatmeal into the trash #hotmess

This is on your list of oatmeal things to NOT do.

On the list of oatmeal things TO DO, however, is to cook it in WATER, not milk (the milk comes later). You want simmering water, not boiling water. Boiling water will turn your oats into sticky glue. You want to bring the water just to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer before adding your oats. Stirring occasionally, just to prevent sticking is how you get that perfect oatmeal texture. 

Should I Make Oatmeal with Water or Milk? 

Okay so I know I JUST said you need to make oats on the stove with water, but that’s because I learned how to make oatmeal in the US. 

There are some super contentious comments at the end of this post – y’all are passionate about oatmeal – that are also slightly hilarious, and most of the fuss is about whether you should cook oats in milk or water. So let’s lay out the reasons for water, which is what this recipe calls for. 

  • Milk scalds. It is very tricky to simmer milk to the correct temperature for cooking oats and not have it burn, Burnt milk is gross. 
  • You can have really creamy oats by cooking in water! If creamy is the goal, you don’t need to cook the oats in water. You can just follow this recipe. 
  • Water is lower in calories. I prefer to save my calories for cookies.
  • I don’t love milk that much. I developed this recipe and while I do love all things dairy, I don’t love cow’s milk. So I guess this is a little bit because I say so. 
Perfect Stovetop Oatmeal

Love Oatmeal? You should also try…

Banana Oat Pancakes – the oatmeal is in the pancakes! They are also loaded with bananas and chopped pecans, are super fluffy, and they will not disappoint. 

Oatmeal Berry Crumb Bars – one of my oldest recipes and still a favorite! A layer of cooked berries are sandwiched between a brown sugar crust and a crumbly oatmeal topping. You’ll love them. 

Perfect Stovetop Oatmeal
Yield: 1 serving

Perfect Stovetop Oatmeal Recipe

Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes

Learn how to make oatmeal on the stove with this super easy recipe!


  • 1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 cup Water
  • dash of Salt
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • Toppings and Add-Ins


  1. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer.
  2. Gently stir in the oats. If the water starts to bubble over, reduce the heat even further.
  3. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the dash of salt, and scrape the oatmeal into a bowl.
  5. Float the milk across the top and add your favorite add-ins and toppings. 

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 199mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 4gSugar: 0gProtein: 7g



Tuesday 11th of July 2023

I made these and they still turned out slimey… I don’t know how to make oats without then turning out slimey


Monday 28th of November 2022

If I want to double the recipe, do I change the ratio of oats to water?


Heather Tullos

Saturday 3rd of December 2022

Should remain the same, Susan!


Wednesday 16th of November 2022

Thank you for the cooking instructions! I now have perfect oatmeal. This morning I added in apple slices with a teaspoon of maple syrup and pumpkin pie spices. It’s nearly Thanksgiving and I was craving a taste of the holiday season.

Norma Santiago

Friday 30th of April 2021

I added a teaspoon of goat ghee butter and sprinkled my salt (Indian sulfur salt, that tastes like eggs). Felt full and satisfied. Thanks for the rinsing tip, less starch is better. My family always rinsed the rice... now I know why!


Thursday 22nd of April 2021

So so good! I threw away the container when I transferred the oats and couldn’t remember how to make them! I added blueberries, brown sugar with almond milk! So satisfying!

Heather Tullos

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

YUMMMM - blueberries!

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