WEST Kitchen week 5 – Oatmeal 3 ways

Written by
Diana Dutcher
on October 14, 2020

Have you ever experienced a meal that just changed how you think about food? For my husband, it was oatmeal. He could eat it everyday and never get sick of it so today’s lesson is a shout out to him.

The key is to get a good quality oat and cook it slow. We don’t use quick oats in our house; just good whole oats if possible, steel cut oats next, then slow cooking rolled oats.

Oats are gluten-free when grown in separate areas from wheat but watch out for some oats that don’t say gluten-free if you have a sensitivity because they can be cross-contaminated either from being grown in close enough proximity to wheat or processed in a facility that also processes or packages wheat.

overnight oats with blueberries and kiwi

We made an oatmeal bar for this lesson because it’s a great way to teach a “basic” dish while allowing creativity and customization.

This is a fun way to serve breakfast or brunch to a large group of people too. Family parties are a breeze with an oatmeal bar!

topping buffet for an oatmeal bar


  • Oats (slow cook / old fashioned is preferred, and I prefer organic & gluten-free labeling)
  • Cooking liquid – today we used water only but I give recipe modifications for water + milk
  • Toppings of your choice – think nuts (sliced almonds, coconut), nut butters, fresh fruit, dried fruit (chopped to bite size pieces), natural sweetener (honey, maple syrup)

I had the students cook 3 small batches of oatmeal so they could experience different cooking liquids and different cooking methods. If you prefer cold oatmeal, you can always do overnight oats where you add everything to a mason jar and set it in the refrigerator overnight. No cooking required, or you can cook a big batch of oatmeal and keep the rest in the refrigerator to take scoops out as needed; either enjoy cold or warm before eating. Cooked oatmeal freezes well too; that may sound strange but it’s great for a quick meal.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Place trivet and 1 cup of water in the instant pot
  2. Mix 2 cups of old fashioned oats with 2 cups of milk (any milk you like will work) and 1 cup of water in a LARGE heat-safe bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Set the bowl on top of the trivet. We use a LARGE bowl because oatmeal expands and boils up during cooking and we don’t want to make a mess in the InstantPot.
  3. Cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes, allowing at least 5 minutes of natural pressure release before doing a quick release (otherwise your oatmeal will spray out of the pressure valve and that’s no good)

Stovetop method with water only

  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil on the stove
  2. Add 1.5 cups of oats while stirring, add in a pinch of salt
  3. Reduce heat to simmer and stir while cooking for 4-8 minutes (see instructions on your package of oats, noting that whole oats and steel cut oats take longer to cook than rolled oats)

Stovetop method with water and milk

  1. Bring 1.5 cups of water and 1.5 cups milk to a boil on the stove
  2. Add 1.5 cups of oats while stirring, add in a pinch of salt
  3. Reduce heat to simmer and stir while cooking for 4-8 minutes (see instructions on your package of oats, noting that whole oats and steel cut oats take longer to cook than rolled oats)
slow cooked oats with strawberries

Add your favorite toppings and enjoy! Check out this blog for some fantastic flavor ideas:

  • Vanilla Maple: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoons peanut butter,  and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup.
  • Almond Joy: use coconut milk as your dairy or top cooked oatmeal with a bit of coconut milk before serving and top with mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut and toasted almonds
  • Pumpkin Pie: mix in 2-3 tablespoons pumpkin puree, 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.
  • Raisin Nut: top oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon and 1-2 tablespoons each of raisins and chopped walnuts.
  • Apple Pie: top oatmeal with chopped fresh apple, cinnamon, and honey or maple syrup.
  • Honey Nut: stir in 1 tablespoon honey and top with toasted nuts of any variety.
  • Pina Colada: top oatmeal with pineapple chunks, toasted coconut and sliced bananas. Serve with a splash of coconut milk.
  • Savory Sausage and Cheese: add in 1/4 cup cooked crumbled sausage and 1/4 cup shredded cheese.
  • Savory Bacon and Egg: top oatmeal with crumbled bacon and a fried egg
  • Berries and Cream: stir in 1/4 cup fresh berries. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup yogurt
  • PB&J: top oatmeal with a heaping spoonful of peanut butter and stir in fresh or frozen berries

My personal favorite is the InstantPot method with almond extract, almond butter, slivered almonds, and dried cherries 🙂

Do you have a favorite flavor combination? Let’s hear it!

InstantPot oatmeal with blueberries

It’s been my pleasure to cook with you this week. I am looking forward to next week.

Next Week

You will need your chef’s knife and a cutting board. We will continue working on julienne cutting vegetables and I’ll show you how to make a basic veggie-filled California Roll.

To connect with me via email, fill out this form with your question or comment. Scroll down a bit more to leave a comment on this blog post.

Written By
Diana Dutcher

I am an educator and entrepreneur who is passionate about non-toxic living. I get to be with my five kiddos (8, 6-year old twins, and 4-year old twins) in the mornings and teach in the afternoons or evenings. It’s a beautiful abundant life 💖

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *