Not-Mushy Oatmeal (aka Chewy Granola)

By Ann Fulton

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This tasty, toasty twist on the usual bowl of stovetop oatmeal may be served hot or cold with your favorite milk. Or layer it with yogurt and fresh fruit for a satisfying breakfast parfait.




Did you ever think a bowl of stovetop oatmeal could look like this?  I mean, you can actually see the texture in each little oat!  This new-and-improved version of a breakfast standby is still cooked on the stove, but each bite is bursting with toasted, chewy goodness.

So what’s the secret?  When cooking grains like quinoa, I’ve mentioned that I like to “starve the grain.”  Essentially, many grains benefit from less liquid than typically called for in package or recipe directions. This applies to quinoa, millet, rice, and–for a whole new breakfast experience–oats.

Like pasta, these grains won’t stop absorbing liquid at the perfectly appointed time. And anyone who has made soup with these ingredients knows that, if there are leftovers, there’s often far less broth remaining after sitting in the fridge overnight.

When I first applied this trick to oats, I was immediately taken by the toothsome texture.  This is not oatmeal as you know it. This new way of cooking also lends itself well to a quick toast at the beginning, bringing out a satisfying nutty flavor in the oats.

This tasty, toasty twist on the usual oatmeal may be served hot or cold with your favorite milk or layered in a fruit and yogurt parfait.

As they quickly cook, the individual grains plump up but don’t bind together–sort of like a soft granola. The oatmeal may be prepared in advance and is versatile, too. Enjoy as a hot or cold cereal (with or without toppings) or use it instead of granola in a parfait. The chewy oats are also delicious in savory breakfast bowls. Simply omit the honey and add your favorite roasted veggies, black beans, an over-easy egg, etc.

This tasty, toasty twist on the usual bowl of stovetop oatmeal may be served hot or cold with your favorite milk. Or layer it with yogurt and fresh fruit for a satisfying breakfast parfait.There are so many ways to enjoy–feel free to keep it simple or load on the toppings.  My children love this with a sprinkle of coarse sugar and cinnamon.

Not-Mushy Oatmeal (aka Chewy Granola)
This tasty twist on the usual bowl of stovetop oatmeal may be served hot or cold with your favorite milk or layered with yogurt and fresh fruit for a satisfying breakfast parfait.

Yield: 2 servings
  • Hot water (you’ll need about 1/2 cup, but boil a little extra)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
  • 1 cup thick-cut rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill–use certified gluten-free oats if necessary)
  • A pinch (1/16 teaspoon) sea or kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Optional toppings: slivered toasted almonds or nuts of choice, toasted coconut, raisins or other dried fruit, milk, fresh berries or seasonal fruit, other sweetener of choice, etc.
  1. Bring water to a boil in a tea pot or small pot.
  2. In a medium-size skillet with a lid (a 9-inch diameter is ideal), melt the butter or coconut oil over medium heat, and then stir in the oats. Sauté the oats for 2 minutes or until the oats are lightly toasted and you can smell a nutty aroma. Stir the oats as they toast.
  3. Pour a 1/2 cup of hot water over the oats and stir. (You want just enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet and moisten the oats. If your skillet is larger, you may need an extra couple tablespoons of water.) Add the salt, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the oats have absorbed the water.
  4. Uncover the oats and stir over the low heat, allowing any excess moisture to evaporate and the oats to dry out a bit. Remove the pan from the heat, drizzle with the honey, and toss to evenly distribute.
  5. Transfer the oats to two bowls, add toppings of choice, and enjoy.
  • The oats may be prepared in advance, cooled, covered and refrigerated. Gently reheat in the microwave or use as a cold cereal or in a breakfast parfait.
  • If you wish to double the recipe, use a bigger pan and adjust the water to just cover the bottom of the skillet and moisten all of the oats. The idea is to wet the oats without having too much excess liquid.
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  1. Sarah Bitting

    This is exactly what I was looking for.. No more forcing down slimy mushy oatmeal at my desk every morning. ugh
    I never thought to toast them!

  2. Lynne

    Looking for a granola that will be safe (not go mushy) in the center of a parfait. Would like to be able to keep it in the fridge for 3-5 days. Could this be the one? Please let me know. Thank you.

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Lynne, As much as I love this oatmeal, I think it would get softer than regular granola because, while it’s not mushy, it’s not as dry and crunchy as granola either. I have made parfaits with the following linked granola and my family loves them, even after they’ve been refrigerated overnight. The granola does soften, but it maintains a nice level of chewiness. Because oats of any kind will absorb moisture from the fruit and yogurt in the parfaits, it will be hard to find any granola that won’t soften somewhat. I hope this helps! By the way, the granola recipe makes a big batch and will keep for a long time, but it can easily be cut in half.

  3. David Diskin

    Great recipe. Have always hated oatmeal but tried this this am with some berries and nuts and bit of almond milk. Very good!

  4. Jenny

    I have been searching for a way to replicate the amazing oatmeal I had in Barcelona – and this was it! Thank you so much!

    1. Ann Post author

      I’m so happy to read your comment, Jenny. Hopefully breakfast will now bring back wonderful memories of Barcelona!

  5. Sheryl

    Thank you for this – I hate mushy oatmeal and need to add oatmeal to my diet to hopefully help with my cholesterol. I add this to my yogurt or just sprinkle over fruit – it adds a nice texture. I don’t even add honey and it’s great. Thanks again.

    1. Ann Post author

      Great news, Sheryl. I’m thrilled you like this and hope the oats help to reduce your cholesterol. Coincidently, I am trying the same thing!

  6. Chloe

    Today I wanted oats but wasn’t in the mood for oatmeal or granola and it is winter here so I wanted something warm. I figured there must be an in between so did a quick Google and found your recipe. It was perfect! The in between I was searching for. I halved the oil (high fat is a nono for my ibs) and it was fine. I had mine as a parfait with plain thick yoghurt and raspberries and scattered with chopped almonds and sunflower seeds. I also changed the honey to maply syrup for a subtle maple flavour. So easy and delicious, I will definitely make this a lot and try new flavour combos. Interested in the savory suggestions too.

    1. Ann Post author

      Chloe, I’m so happy you found this on your search and that it was such a success. Thank you for your lovely feedback – your parfait sounds wonderful. I like the idea of a savory combo, and my mind goes right to sweet potatoes if you enjoy those. Other orange vegetables would likely be nice, and an egg could be added for protein. Enjoy!

  7. Monica

    I can’t wait to try this tomorrow! I don’t like the texture of oatmeal, but really want to eat it for it’s benefits! Thank you!

    1. Ann Post author

      I like oatmeal of all kinds, Kimberly, but people who don’t like “mushy” stovetop oatmeal have really enjoyed this. I hope you do, too!