If you cook oatmeal on the stove regularly, I’m sure you’re familiar with the standard instructions: Boil water or milk, add oats, and cook and stir until they reach the consistency you like. Then immediately throw your pot in the sink and fill it with water to loosen the crusty bits that are liable to latch on permanently. The method works, but it’s labor-intensive and things get caked to the pan.
Here’s a better method that I learned from the instructions on a bag of oats from Nora Mill. The process requires very minimal involvement, and yields a creamy bowl of oatmeal that still has a pleasant chewy texture to it. And best of all, cleanup is a breeze. Leaving the oats to sit covered for a few minutes before serving steams off any cooked on bits and ensures that you get every last bit from the pan.
Easiest Stovetop Oatmeal
- 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 2/3 cup water
- pinch of salt, optional
- 1-2 tbsp milk, optional
- sugar, honey or maple syrup, optional
- Toast oats, if desired: Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add oats. Cook a few minutes until it smells toasty.
- Stir in the water and salt, if using. (If you didn’t toast the oats, add them with the water and salt.) Bring to a boil uncovered over medium heat. This should take 5-8 minutes for a single serving. You can stir every once in while but you really don’t have to.
- Once boiling, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Leave to sit for 3-5 minutes, until the oats have absorbed the liquid and are soft and tender. The texture will be fairly thick at this point. Serve the oatmeal now if you like it this way.
- For creamier oatmeal, stir in the milk and sweetener, if using. This step is very similar to adding the butter and cheese at the end of a risotto recipe (in fact, you can add some butter here if you want)–the mixture will loosen up a bit, and take on a thick, creamy texture. Top with fruit, nuts, additional milk or whatever you like and serve.
Here’s one delicious way to apply this method:
- 1/3 cup oats
- dash of cinnamon
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 ripe banana, sliced, divided
- 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp almond milk
- 1 tbsp peanuts, chopped
- Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the oats and cinnamon. Toast until fragrant.
- Pour in the water and about 2/3 of the sliced banana. Cook, stirring once or twice to mash the bananas into the oats, until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Drop the peanut butter into the pot but don’t stir. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let sit 3-5 minutes.
- Add the milk and stir quickly to work in the peanut butter, which should now be softened and near melted.
- Dish into a bowl and top with remaining banana slices and chopped peanuts. Drizzle with honey, melted peanut butter or a splash of milk if desired and serve.