When preparing a bowl of stovetop oatmeal or one of my many baked oatmeal recipes, I use regular or steel cut oats. So when I was challenged a while back to create a new recipe using instant oats, I literally spent the better part of three days experimenting and getting creative. I wanted to see how quick, instant, and old-fashioned oats responded to similar ingredients. (There’s an inner scientist in me!) By the way, the nutrition content of all of these options is equal; the difference is how thinly the oats are cut.
The first instant oatmeal recipe deemed a winner here was Chewy Almond Chocolate Chip Granola Bars. My kids adore them. Since I have a fondness for baked oatmeals, I thought it would be fun to make an instant version that also appealed to those who prefer just one serving instead of a panful.
The use of a pre-measured packet along with one egg allows for a portion-controlled, high-protein breakfast that tastes great. I like that Bakery on Main oat packets contain ground flaxseed and chia seeds, which provide heart-healthy Omega-3’s and added fiber. In addition to plain oats, they offer flavors like Maple Multigrain Muffin, Carrot Cake, and Strawberry Shortcake. All are low in sugar and certified gluten-free.
With many of my recipes, I start basic and then add lots of options and variations. I like to try a recipe several ways before posting on this site. For this recipe, I first wanted to share the basic four-ingredient framework to demonstrate the utter ease of this wholesome breakfast. I will soon follow up with a few fancier versions but, in the meantime, feel free to sprinkle in some dried fruit or nuts and/or use a quarter cup of egg whites instead of the whole egg.
Additionally, this recipe provides a healthy breakfast alternative for a child who doesn’t care for the mushy factor of regular oatmeal. (I know from experience!) Sometimes, we eat this breakfast with syrup, like a pancake. Other times, I top it with warm milk, a handful of slivered almonds, and seasonal fruit. My older son likes these individual oatmeals as an after-school snack with a spread of peanut butter and sprinkling of raisins. (Almond butter and banana slices are delicious, too.) You can even dress them up by using the brown sugar “crunchy top” trick I employ in a few of my original baked oatmeal recipes. (Click here for an example.) I recommend starting with the first four ingredients to get a feel for this speedy meal. Then have a go at modifying to suit your taste.
- 1 packet (1/2 cup/50 grams) instant oatmeal (I used Maple Multigrain Muffin Instant Oatmeal by Bakery on Main)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup mashed, very ripe banana or pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup or honey (see notes)
- Optional add-ins: 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds,chopped nuts of choice, or raisins
- Optional toppings: Maple syrup or sweetener of choice; milk; peanut or almond butter and sliced banana and/or raisins; additional fruit and/or nuts of choice
- In a medium bowl, mash the banana (if using) with a fork or add the pumpkin. Whisk in the egg, the maple syrup or honey, and then stir in the oats until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a greased, microwave or oven-safe ramekin or bowl, and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or spatula. (I have used 8- and 16-ounce dishes as well as mini loaf pans; note cooking time variation below.)
- Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes for a 2-cup ramekin or mini loaf pan, or 18 minutes for a 1-cup ramekin. (If you happen to stir in fresh or frozen fruit, the added moisture will necessitate an extra minute or two of bake time. If you do this, I recommend no more than 1/4-1/3 cup of fruit. Too much moisture will create a mushy end result.)
- Conversely, microwave for approximately 1 minute and 30 to 45 seconds, or until the top of the oatmeal is slightly firm to the touch. (If microwaved too long, the oatmeal will become tough. Check on the early side until you know how long this takes in your microwave, extending the time if your microwave tends to cook more slowly.)
- Top as desired and enjoy a speedy, whole-grain, protein-rich breakfast!
- If you wish to drizzle syrup over these, you may omit the sweetener altogether prior to baking. Conversely, if you wish to eat the baked oatmeal plain, you may prefer to increase the amount of maple syrup or honey to 1 tablespoon. After making these once, you can easily adjust the sweetness to the amount that is perfect for you, or use other flavor varieties--or plain quick oats--as desired.