Classic Stovetop Oatmeal

how to make oatmeal

Sometimes the most basic recipes are the hardest to find. This morning I wanted to make oatmeal (my son requested it; he’s always loved oatmeal) but it had been a while since I’d made it and I was drawing a blank on the proper proportions.

Now you KNOW I don’t mess around with those nasty packets, right? I buy the standard rolled oats in bulk for use in granola and other baking needs, as well as to have on hand for a bowl of oatmeal when the mood strikes. But that means there are no instructions on the box so I found myself online searching for oatmeal recipes. Everything was so fancy. I just wanted the basics.

Finally out of desperation I typed in “classic stovetop oatmeal” and finally found what I needed. It’s a simple 2-1 ratio, which is what I thought, but I wasn’t 100% sure, and I didn’t want to mess it up.

So being the blogger that I am, I decided to write a post about it!

How to Make Oatmeal

All you do is put a cup of rolled oats and 2 cups of whole milk into a saucepan. (WHY does anyone mess around with water? I’m sure I don’t know. You can use almond milk or coconut milk if you’re not a dairy person, but for the love of all that’s tasty and delicious, do not use water to make oatmeal. Or skim milk, for that matter. UGH!)

You can double this recipe or triple it or cut in half; as long as the ration is 2-to-1, it’s all good! I also like to add a pinch of salt for flavor.

Then you heat it over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s barely boiling. From here on out, you’ll want to stir almost constantly. If it gets to boiling hard, reduce the heat a couple of notches. The idea is to keep it just barely boiling.

Stir until it thickens to your desired consistency (it should only take 5-10 minutes) and then remove it from the heat.

At this point, I like to stir in a drop of vanilla extract for added flavor. Spoon it into a bowl and top with whatever your heart desires! We keep it simple — brown sugar and maybe some seasonal fruit and we’re good to go.

I also often add some milk to cool it down and make it runnier. I don’t like thick, glompy oatmeal. But the texture is up to you. Adjust the milk to your own tastes.

Classic Stovetop Oatmeal
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 2 cups whole milk or almond milk
  • ¼ tsp sea salt (optional)
  • ½ tsp vanilla (optional)
  • desired toppings: brown sugar, maple syrup, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, etc.
  1. Place a cup of rolled oats and 2 cups of whole milk into a saucepan. You can double this recipe or triple it or cut in half; as long as the ration is 2-to-1, it's all good!
  2. Add the salt and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, and stir constantly until oatmeal reaches desired consistency (probably 5 minutes or so.)
  4. Off the heat, stir in a drop of vanilla extract for added flavor.
  5. Pour oatmeal into a bowl and top with brown sugar or maple syrup. Feel free to add fruit, nuts, whatever your heart desires!
  6. Serve immediately with extra milk on the side for drizzling.



  1. Lee Ann says

    I eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast, and I never use water. Must be milk! I make it in the microwave and always add fruit and cinnamon as well as milled flax. I’ve recently started to add chia seeds that I bought. I found a steel cut oats recipe with blueberries that I tried. Not too bad, if you like steel cut oats.

  2. says

    I make it very similarly everyday! Love oatmeal! I add freshly ground nutmeg and cinnamon with a dash of coconut oil before eating….it is so comforting. I will have to try adding vanilla too!

  3. Meredith says

    Thank you! I’ve gotten used to eye-balling it but printing this out. Suggestion – try adding a pat of real butter right as you dish it up. Yum!

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