There’s nothing better on a cold morning than a bowl of hot oatmeal. The stuff is filling, a great pick-me-up first thing in the morning, and it’s open to an amazing variety of fixin’s and interpretations. There are people who practically worship the stuff. If you must know, it’s also incredibly good for you and about the most economical thing you can have for breakfast. If you’re like me, you’ve got a couple of little ones who demand feeding first thing in the morning, too, and oatmeal is a crowd pleaser.
Oatmeal comes in a variety of forms based mostly on how processed the oats are to speed cooking. Steel cut oats are simply oat groats whacked up into pieces and cook best like beans—simmering after a long soak. Old-fashioned oats are pre-cooked by steaming and running through a high-speed roller, and cook in about 10 minutes. Quick and instant oats are just old-fashioned oats whacked into ever smaller pieces for faster cooking. All of these can be ready for you when you wake up by using a ricecooker.
Ricecookers are the single best-selling small kitchen appliance on the planet because they are awesome, and aren’t just for making rice. Millions of people without kitchens use ricecookers to stir fry, slow cook, steam, and even bake bread. For our purposes, a cooker with a delay function is nice, because you can whip up the oatmeal at night before you go to bed, and wake up to a steaming hot bowl of goodness. A friend of mine bought ours for us for about $30. If yours doesn’t have a delay feature, you can hit the cook button first thing when you wake up after soaking the oats all night, although you’ll probably want to stick with the rolled oats if you want to eat soon after waking.
Combine the following in your ricecooker:
- 1 cup steel cut oats or 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 cups water, more or less depending on your taste.
That’s it! I also like to add a few spices and dried fruit in the pot. For rolled oats, I use the white rice function. For steel cut, use the brown rice function, and time it to be ready a bit before you wake up, so it has time to sit after cooking and soften up.
Where you go from there is up to you. The varieties are endless. You can cook oatmeal with bananas, apples, dried fruit, pumpkin, etc. and dress it up with butter, brown sugar, peanut butter, chocolate, maple syrup, milk, cream…really, whatever you like!
Recipe and video contributed by the Dongarra family.