Making homemade instant oatmeal packets

Cinnamon Raisin Instant Oatmeal

We were given a box of pre-packaged instant oatmeal from the store as a gift after Moshe was born, and the kids loved it.

I did too, actually! No pans to wash afterwards and yummy (though really too sweet), along with the whole instant factor... :)

So, I set out to make our own homemade version of instant oatmeal!

Strawberries and Cream Instant Oatmeal

Here is my basic recipe for instant oatmeal:

2 cups quick-cooking oats, pulsed slightly in food processor
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sweetener (dry -- like sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, sucanat, etc.)
1/2 cup powdered (dry nonfat) milk

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container or bag.

To prepare oatmeal: Mix 2/3 cup of dry mixture with 1 cup boiling water in a bowl, stirring to remove lumps. Let stand 1-2 minutes and serve.

Blueberry Instant Oatmeal

I didn't have quick-cooking oats on hand at the time, so I put rolled oats in the food processor and pulsed it until the oats looked a little finer than quick oats normally would be.

But to me, the instant oatmeal made with coarsely-ground oats tastes rather raw.

So the next time, I pulsed the oats until they were very fine. Then I had the issue of lumps forming when the boiling water was poured over the finely chopped oats. Once the lumps were stirred out, however, the oatmeal did taste good!

Here are some flavors we made. Add the ingredients to the basic recipe above!

Cinnamon Raisin Instant Oatmeal

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal

Basic recipe (above, using brown sugar) plus:
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal

Basic recipe (above) plus:
1/4 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries

Blueberry Oatmeal

Basic recipe (above) plus:
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dried blueberries

Blueberry Instant Oatmeal

This was a fun project, and we ate instant oatmeal for breakfast for over a week, experimenting and playing with flavors!

However, this won't be a staple breakfast at our house. Here's why:

Water in the tea kettle (for instant oatmeal) takes just as long to heat as water in a pan (for regular oatmeal). So, no real time savings for me.

In fact, considering the amount of time I spent pulsing oats in the food processor to make them cook in a minute's time, I was actually on the losing end of things time-wise.

We like our regular stovetop oatmeal better. And, it's easy to throw frozen fruit like blueberries or strawberries into a fresh pan of oatmeal, which is a whole lot cheaper than the dried fruit versions.

One nice thing about the instant oatmeal is that there is no pan to wash afterwards, and no leftover oatmeal to deal with.

Strawberries and Cream Instant Oatmeal

If you normally buy instant oatmeal but care about eating quality, healthy breakfasts, making homemade instant oatmeal is an easy way to put in only the ingredients you want. There's also a lot less waste in packaging, especially if you buy your oats in bulk! :)

Have you ever made your own instant oatmeal? I'd love to hear your tips, or favorite flavor combinations! :)

Visit Jessica's blog for more Frugal Friday tips and ideas! :)

This recipe was featured in 10 Fabulous Foods We Make At Home (Not Buy!) :)


If one had an electric tea kettle or microwave, the water boiling could happen a lot faster. I seem to remember stirring the water and instant oatmeal together and then sticking it in the microwave for a minute or two.

I actually tested this in a 'disagreement' with my DH once - equal parts of water in both the electric kettle and stovetop kettle and started at the same time - there were only seconds in the difference of time it took each to boil.

I LOVE oatmeal, instant or regular. It's nice to see a healthy recipe for instant! Thanks!

I've never actually made instant oatmeal, but my kids have eaten it before...even with the sweetness factor they prefer the stovetop version better! I add a little butter and brown sugar, and they are good to go...Yay for non-picky kids! (at least for breakfast!)

He LOVES oatmeal and will sit and eat up to 8 packs!!! We only have it around when I get it for less than .50 a box but really eating 8 packs is crazy no matter the cost!!lol We don't eat it often but it would be great to have some home-made packets, in larger sizes, for him to make. The days I don't feel like making breakfast he makes his own. For us this would be worth the time since he could just pour water in a bowl and I wouldn't have to worry about a thing!lol I am thankful you took the time to experiment and post pics because I knew I could make my own packs but never have found a site that spelled it out good enough for me! Thanks

I agree -- the store bought packets have very little in them (is it like 3 tablespoons or something?!) and when we had those, everyone (including the 2-year-old) used at least 2 packets to make one bowl.

You could measure this homemade mix into baggies if you wanted it pre-measured for kids!

I can also see this being an easy camping food. (If we ever went camping! haha) :)

This would be a great idea for camping! Or I guess any type of trip where you wouldn't have a stove. I'm a fan of regular oatmeal as well but making instant would be fun every once in a while!

Have you ever done soaked oatmeal? It is one of my favorites.


ps-I obviously need more coffee, the math problem gave me pause...

Hi Tiffany! :)

I have tried soaked oatmeal, but we didn't care for the texture at all. Do you think I messed up when making it, or does soaked oatmeal always have a pastier texture? I've been afraid to re-try! :)

Tammy, I am always impressed by your creativity and practicality! I never considered making my own instant oatmeal. Thanks for all the great ideas.

I have started making my own instant oatmeal, after seeing a post on a different blog. My hubby and I both love to take it to work for lunch. Since it is shelf stable, it can stay in a drawer until needed. But I love your ideas for strawberries and blueberries...didn't even think about those!!

I have a receipt I thought everyone would enjoy and its easy to. For 1 pkt ....
1/4 cup of quick oats
1 tsp milk powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Mix in 6 T hot water...... I like to add raisens in mine or any dried fruit is good.

I've found it works great to cook oatmeal in a crockpot. I put in oatmeal and cold water, then cook it for 45 minutes to an hour on low. If I am cooking steel cut oats, I put them in for 1 hour 45 minutes, I think, and bring the water to a boil first. Same with brown rice. Sorry for the longwinded post.

If you used a timer with the crockpot, you could have oatmeal waiting for you when you woke up!

I have never tried making my own instant oatmeal packets but back before going gluten free I would buy them, when on sale, for use traveling. We would pour the packet into a styrofoam cup and then get some hot water from the hotel or where ever and voila, breakfast or snack that is half-way good for you. It would save allot of money vs. eating out for breakfast. This even works great on airplanes (actually I did this before 9-11 so is this an Ok carry-on now??) because the stewardess would give out hot water for tea. Making ones own would be even better with less cost and healthier!!

My kids often eat oatmeal raw with milk and sugar or brown sugar on top. They got this from my BIL (a type 1 diabetic) who says that eating it this way it's easier to regulate his blood sugars. If you can get them doing this it saves allot of work for Mom. :)

Betsy M

Betsy, thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

I love the airplane tip -- especially since they don't usually serve any food besides a tiny packet of nuts, and during a long day of traveling, a warm food is a luxury!! :) I have flown several times since 9/11 and yes, I think that since the oatmeal mixture is a dry food, it is allowed as a carry-on! :)

So great! I was just thinking about making my own instant oatmeal yesterday - and well, now I have a recipe. Thanks! I have made many of your recipes. Your pizza's are awesome!

We usually do not purchase instant oatmeal, unless the organic or more natural versions are on sale. We will, however, buy enough for 1-3 breakfasts while camping. It's quick and easy and cuts out on at least one dish to wash (the pan), which, in my opinion, is a worthwhile endeavor when one has to tote water after every meal for cleanup.


We love to mix applesauce with our instant oatmeal. I also got in the habit of keeping pureed frozen cubes of fruits in our freezer when I was making baby food for my youngest. They are also great for adding to oatmeal for a little extra something (like the banana-blueberry mix). However I haven't made up little packets before - that might work really well with my middle girl as she is the oatmeal queen and loves to be self-sufficient (as much as one can be at age 6!).

I have gotten out of the habit of making my own but I am going to start doing it again before our second child arrives in June. :) I find it a lot easier to have these on hand with an almost 3 yr. old.

I used to buy up to 4 boxes a month, but now I found out you can make oatmeal in a rice cooker. It only takes 10 minutes.

This is actually useful for me. I used instant oatmeal for breakfast for my little boy when we were traveling last fall. Most motel rooms have a coffee pot, so I could boil water, and having add-water-and-stir type food really saved us some money.

i have taken to buying the packets even though I do not like them, my son has to go somewhere in the morning every week 4 days a week and it is easy for him to have breakfast with instant oatmeal. I will have to try making some homemade ones for him. We just use the maple ones.

I made soaked oatmeal recently and it tasted the same. I used some yogurt to soak it in along with milk and water. Left it in the refrigerator overnight. Then I just put it on to cook like usual. It cooked alot faster. I had to watch it and stir. Definately the way to go.


I'd love to know how you make oatmeal in a rice cooker! :) great idea!

I make my own similar to your recipe, but I don't grind all the oatmeal. I do this:
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
2 Tbsp ground oats
1/8 tsp salt

Then I add whatever flavours I want, like you mentioned above, sweetened with either white sugar or brown sugar depending on the flavour. I'm mainly making it for a week at a cabin (family gathering) and then for a camping/road trip we're taking in September, so I want those in individual bags. Otherwise I'll just make it in a bigger batch and scoop out an amount like you do. :)

Even if you don't use this recipe, I'm so impressed that you reverse engineered instant oatmeal. Sounds like a great thing to have on hand! I love your creativity. :)

I have a big can of malted milk powder that I bought for a recipe and have tons leftover. do you think I could substitute it for the dry milk?

I am not sure, as it has been so long since I have tasted malted milk powder. You could just do 1 serving and see if you like it that way! :)


I make my oatmeal (porridge we call it here) in the microwave. Twice water to porridge oats (quick oats?), throw it in the microwave. If I am making a big batch of it, it probably is not a lot faster in the microwave, but it makes less mess, and you don't worry so much about it burning or sticking. I throw in some sultanas, or chopped nuts, or the kids love it when I put brown sugar and cinnamon into it. My husband likes to put a bit of vanilla extract and sugar in his when he is cooking it.



To make these homemade packets in the microwave, it takes about 1 1/2 minutes per single serving. I made these packets for my father after his stroke and he can safely make his breakfast in the morning. I have also made these for Christmas gifts, college students love these and I have made them for my daughter and her platoon overseas. Big hits all the way around!!!


I like the idea of homemade instant oats packets! Easy for kids to handle for breakfast before school. To solve the problem of waiting for the kettle to boil we boil a full kettle of water early in the morning for me and my husbands coffee (5 in the morning), I then pour the water in a flask. It stays warm for the kids breakfast and you don't have to boil the kettle saving on electricity as well!

You don't think that the time waster is washing out more dishes not pulsing the oats? I'd say that if you make a lot of oatmeal, all at once, you've saved yourself a ton of time by using instant instead, especially since you don't have pots to wash.

On the other hand, I agree about the cost for most people. Fresh/frozen fruit is always much cheaper than dried, but not for me.

I bought a great food dehydrator at Amazon for $40 and it has saved me a ton of money, so far. At the time, I had little freezer space. I've always liked buying fruits when in season due to the lowered cost, but needed an alternative to the freezer. I can put dried fruit in anything like oatmeal, yogurt, when I make my own trail mix and just as a snack all by itself. My house was also damaged by Katrina, so... you can see the benefits.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

I'll have to try making this, as my 6 year old can easily eat 4 packets at a time!

For fast hot water, we use the "Hot Shot". You put a cup of water in, push the button, and it is hot in less than 2 minutes! My husband uses it to get hot water for his french press coffee, and it is VERY quick for oatmeal too! Well worth the cost!

I may have to look into the food dehydrator too...

I love oatmeal no matter how its made. Homemade oatmeal recipe is wonderful. Instead of dried fruit tho I use my homemade jellies and jams. And when I have peanut butter cravings I will use peanut butter with either the homemade jelly or butter It is really awesome like eating a oatmeal peanut cookie out of the bowl

you could always heat the water for the instant oatmeal in the microwave, and save time over heating it on the stove.

I make my own quite often - either using dried cranberries & almonds or small chunks of apples & cinnamon; raisins & cinnamon would work too - never thought of pre-making packets though! No little ones here anymore - I just found that having oatmeal for breakfast every morning helped me to lose weight since I stay full longer!

I've done this with the rolled oats (I like the tooth is gives to the oatmeal) q tsp flax seed, 1/r2 teaspoon of sweetener, and 1/2 tablespoon of flavored muffin mix (my favorite is the triple berry). A lot healthier and absolutely delicious.

I was looking at the photos you posted of the instant oatmeal, and it looks to be very I seeing things, or is it really runny?

I do this in the microwave. Content of package, 3/4 C water. Microwave 1 min. Stir, cook additional 30 sec. stir. and eat!

I heat the water and then mix it in small increments into the oatmeal because I like mine pretty thick. it takes just a minute to zap it in the microwave and i make enough hot water so everyone can just use the amount they want in theirs (some people like theirs soupier) and it couldn't be faster. I love that I don't have to clean sticky oatmeal off the pan. Besides that you can't make it on the stove thick enough to suit my tastes. I probably add only 1/4 cup water per half cup oats.

also love topping mine with fruit so i heat frozen fruit in the microwave with the water. it's kind of like topping your oatmeal with pie filling.

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