Thermos Oatmeal

thermos oatmeal

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“Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?”

“People are idiots, Leslie.”

–Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson, Parks & Rec

I love breakfast. I love the food (pancakes? coffee? eggs?) and I also cannot function without a solid meal to start the day. That’s why shortcuts like this recipe are very important! I need to be able to have my breakfast, even if it means I have to take it with me.

thermos oatmeal

I’ve written about Thermos oatmeal before, but I’d like to make an update to that recipe. I’ve found that (much like overnight oats, my warm-weather breakfast to go) the texture of oatmeal cooked in a Thermos improves with the addition of chia seeds. If you don’t like them or have them on hand, they’re not essential. However, I find they absorb much more of the liquid than oats alone, leaving you with a wider margin of error to obtain a thick but still creamy bowl of oats. My results are more consistent when I use them, so I recommend it. You may want to use less liquid if you choose to leave them out.

For this recipe you’ll need a lidded container that holds about 10 oz. I use this one. If you don’t have an insulated food jar on hand, you could use a travel coffee mug with the vent closed–just pour your cooked breakfast into a bowl to make eating easier.

thermos oatmeal
Here’s what mine looks like after 30 minutes. There’s a little extra liquid still, but it distributes when I mix everything together.

Thermos Oatmeal

Yield: 1 bowl

Calories per serving: 120

Fat per serving: 3 g

Carbs per serving: 21 g

Protein per serving: 5 g

Thermos Oatmeal


  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup water, milk or a combination of both
  • Toppings or mix-ins such as dried or fresh fruit, nuts or seeds, peanut butter


  1. Place the oats, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt in a food jar-style Thermos or similar container that holds about 12 oz. Give it a gentle shake to mix everything together. If you have ingredients that you want to “cook,” add them now too. If I’m using them, I usually add my peanut butter (it melts into the oatmeal) or raisins (they plump up) at this stage.
  2. Heat the water and/or milk to boiling. If I’m using all water, I’ll do this in my kettle on the stove. If it’s all milk or a mix, I microwave the liquid in a glass measuring cup for 1:30 to 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the liquid into the Thermos and close tightly. It’s ok if you have some liquid leftover–don’t overfill!
  4. Let sit at least 30 minutes, while you drive to work, fix your hair, pack a lunch…whatever you have to do!
  5. Open the Thermos when you’re ready to eat and stir the oatmeal. Add nuts, fruit or any other toppings and enjoy!

*Nutrition facts calculated for oatmeal made with water, before toppings

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