How To Reheat Oatmeal

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Oatmeal is undergoing a resurgence right now. This humble porridge is now taking center stage as a must-have, uber-cool, and trendy breakfast meal. The world has suddenly woken up to its delicious, healthy, and wholesomely versatile wonders. Be it steel-cut oats, the ready-to-do packs, and boxes, or overnight oats, everybody wants a piece of it. And what’s not to love? Oats are a simple, yet filling meal that is packed with nutrients, easy to make, readily available, and affordable and it being delicious is just the cream on top, no pun intended.

Most households have some variety of oats in their kitchens. It is the go-to meal that can be easily whipped up in as little as 5 minutes.

I make oatmeal almost every day and every so often, I have a bowl of leftover oatmeal in the fridge. While I sometimes just add more milk to eat and have it cold, on rainy days or during colder months I like to warm up my precooked oatmeal, add some fruits or nuts to it and enjoy it hot.

There are a couple of ways to reheat oatmeal, let’s explore them further to see which one will suit you best.

How To Reheat Oatmeal in the Microwave

This is one of the easiest ways to reheat oatmeal. You can have a delicious bowl of your favorite breakfast porridge with a few handy hints in a matter of minutes.

  1. Place your cold oatmeal in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Add a splash of water or milk to it.
  3. Stir and heat it in the microwave at 30-second intervals. Keep stirring it every 30 seconds so that it heats evenly.
  4. If you have frozen oatmeal, you can thaw it and then warm it in the microwave or you can microwave it directly as well. Heat frozen oatmeal for 1-2 minutes. Stop halfway through to check and stir.

The biggest advantage of reheating oatmeal in the microwave is that it is so quick and easy. It requires no extra work or complicated prep.

The big drawback with the microwave method though is that it is possible to burn the oatmeal and dry it out completely. The microwave also heats up oatmeal unevenly, which is why it requires stirring. If not heated properly or not enough liquid has been added to the oatmeal, it can dry out completely in the microwave.

How To Reheat Oatmeal on the Stovetop

I find this the best and most reliable way to reheat oatmeal. While nothing can beat the quickness of a microwave, the stovetop definitely has a few advantages to it, especially in terms of texture and even temperature.

  1. Pour the cold, precooked oatmeal into a pan or small cooking pot.
  2. Add a little bit of water or milk, just to soften the oats up a bit.
  3. Heat it on low to medium heat. Keep stirring so that the oatmeal doesn’t burn or get stuck to the pan.
  4. Add more water or milk if needed. Your oats will be nice and warm in about 5 minutes.
  5. If you are reheating frozen oatmeal, you can thaw it first by either letting it sit out for a while or in the fridge overnight. But you can also reheat it directly. Just add the oatmeal to the pan, add milk or water, cover, and cook over low heat. Add just enough water to loosen up the frozen oatmeal, don’t add too much as once the frozen oatmeal thaws in the heat, it will start releasing water. Too much water and your oatmeal is going to be more soupy than creamy.

The biggest advantage of reheating oatmeal over the stove is that you can control the heat. The oatmeal heats evenly and thoroughly in the pan. Also because of the continuous stirring, the oatmeal doesn’t dry out, it in fact is nice and creamy.

The only drawback with this method is that you have to keep a close eye on the stove so that the oatmeal doesn’t boil over or burn.

How To Reheat Oatmeal in the Oven

This is a great way to reheat oatmeal especially if you have a lot of leftover oatmeal or if you have a big batch of frozen oatmeal.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place your oatmeal in an oven-safe dish.
  3. Add a small splash of water or milk and stir.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Heat the oatmeal in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Take it out of the oven, remove the foil and enjoy. You can also add your favorite toppings to your oatmeal before or after heating.

Oatmeal warms up really well and evenly in the oven. It doesn’t get too mushy or dry out. The biggest disadvantage is that it is time-consuming and does take some extra time and effort. The oven method works best if you want to heat up a large batch of oatmeal, it doesn’t make sense for just a small bowl.

What is the best way to store oatmeal?

Oatmeal is one of those dishes that is delicious when consumed warm and fresh and just as tasty when eaten cold, right out of the fridge. The important thing is to store it properly so that you don’t lose the creamy taste or texture.

  • Refrigerate your oatmeal within two hours of making it.
  • Store oatmeal in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Ensure that cooked oatmeal is always covered so that it doesn’t spoil.
  • You cannot leave oatmeal outside overnight or for even extended periods of time.
  • If you want to freeze oatmeal, portion it out and then freeze it in freezer-friendly containers.

How long does cooked oatmeal last?

  • Cooked oatmeal will stay good outside for no more than 2 hours. After that, it is best to refrigerate it if you want to maintain quality.
  • Cooked oatmeal will stay good in the fridge for about 4-5 days if stored properly. Always make sure that it is stored in an airtight container at temperatures no higher than 40 degrees F.
  • If you are freezing oatmeal, it will stay good for about 3 months.
  • Once thawed, the oatmeal will keep in the fridge for about 1-2 days. Do not refreeze thawed oatmeal.
  1. Does the texture of oatmeal change when reheated?

Oatmeal definitely undergoes some textural change whether it is being cooled or warmed. Fresh oatmeal has a soft, creamy texture. Over time it starts drying up as the oats start absorbing the moisture from the milk or water it is cooked in. Similarly, when reheating oatmeal it tends to dry out. This is why you need to add milk or water to it. But adding too much will take it from creamy to mushy, which you want to avoid.


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