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Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Since we’ve been eating lots of oatmeal as part of the P90X diet, my husband wisely suggested I make up some Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets to make our morning oatmeal prep quicker. I scoured the web for recipes and finally decided — you guessed it! — to create my own.

Here’s what I ended up making:

The result was definitely a success — every one of us liked it. And I love that it’s so simple to make and so good for you. Just dump in a bowl, add boiling water and you’re good to go!

This would make for a great (and frugal!) gift. You could put the instant oatmeal in a jar or pretty gift bag and include a gift tag with directions and some dried fruit, nuts and raw sugar (or even chocolate chips for the chocolate-lover!).

Kathrynne and I had so much fun making this together. And I was amazed at what a great project it was for her. She’s only five, but she was able to do most of the assembly work herself.

Now, lest you get the picture that we have this smoothly-oiled household without ever so much as a mishap, would you like to know what Silas (15-months) decided to do while Kathrynne was busy making up the oatmeal packets?

Oh yes, he figured out how to get himself up high enough to pull one off the countertop. And then, when I wasn’t looking, he stole out of the kitchen, opened the bag and spread it all over the living room floor.

The good news, though, is that we now know these oatmeal packets can be easily vacuumed up from carpet! 🙂

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  • What a great idea! I might try this, sounds easy and healthy!

  • holi says:

    Gotta love a smart baby! Silas reminds me of my third…. 🙂 I miss having a baby in the house.

  • Andrea Q says:

    Have you tried them yet to know if the blend is a success?

  • Pamela says:

    I love your site! You always have such incredible ideas & recipes. It’s been great to see how you’ve incorporated P90X into your routine! Can’t wait to read more as you Bring It!

  • Lisa says:

    I loved working in the kitchen with my mom. My son loved working in the kitchen. I even had neighborhood kids asking to work with us. It is a lot of fun and a great bonding experience. Ten years after making cut out cookies at Christmas with my son and a neighbor, she still remembered and mentioned how much it meant to her. Flour everywhere, wonderful memories.

  • Michell says:

    This is a great idea! I have one question, thoug. What size of canister? Are you talking the big canister? I assume you are, but it’s good to know for sure! Thanks!

  • Kristin says:

    I was told that the more textures toddlers can get into, the better. So, I bought a little swimming pool, pulled out the oatmeal, and let my kids get into it. They loved the measuring, pouring, etc. It kept them busy for literally hours. Clean up was a little beyond the pool, but it was well worth it. (Especially since I kept them in the kitchen while doing a bunch of meal prep!) Since then, we have tried other things, but have reused the oatmeal idea the most. [P.S. Do not use flour… What a mess!]

    • Elizabeth says:

      @Kristin, Pinto beans and rice are two good options as well. We have one of those Rubbermaid shoebox sized containers with pinto beans in it and other small items (scoops, measuring spoons, cups, funnels made out of cut off 12 oz. soda bottle tops, matchbox cars and large plastic jacks for hiding and teaching permanence) and both of my girls love it! I just spread out a big beach towel and let them at it! The towel makes cleanup a lot easier too. Just fold it up and funnel the beans back into the container. Very popular when we have playdates as well, and it was so inexpensive to make!

  • Reesa says:

    I am going to try to get my big kids to try different versions of oatmeal this week. I am tired of feeding them cereal or bagels but need something they can fix themselves while I am tending to the toddler. I have not decided what to add in yet. They’ve only had the store bought mixes (which they don’t like) so first, I need to convince them to give the homemade version a try!

  • Crystal,
    do you mix yours with water or milk? Just curious!

  • Mona says:

    I love this idea and will totally make some of these up as the colder months come up since my hubby loves oatmeal and I hate paying the price for instant. One question though, he really only likes the Maple and Brown Sugar flavor… would you suggest just adding that after the water is mixed in or do you have any ideas on getting it to that flavor by adding something to the mix beforehand?? Thanks!

    • @Mona,

      that’s really the only flavor I like too. I’m picky and I’m afraid I won’t like the really “plain” but healthier version.

    • Jenn says:

      My son & I love oatmeal for breakfast. I just buy a canister of quick oats and add milk. I make 1/2 cup (for both of us) of oatmeal and microwave for 2 minutes. I add about 1.5 Tbs of brown sugar to ours after it’s cooked. I’ve also added cinnamon and maple syrup as well. My brother likes to mix fresh blueberries in.

  • Sarah says:

    I have heard that once you grind flax seeds it needs to be kept in the refrigerator. Something about it going rancid much faster after it’s ground up. Anyone else heard this?

    • Kellie says:

      @Sarah, Sarah, I have too, and wondered if the baggies are being stored in the fridge or freezer.

    • Erin says:

      I wonder this too? I buy Red Bob’s ground flax seed and it comes in a white (non see through) bag to keep the flax seed fresh. It also recommends that it is refrigerated once opened.
      Maybe an option would be to add the flax seed to your bowl when you are ready to make the oatmeal? I do this, since I use the store bought packets (although I would like to try making my own now! thanks Crystal for the recipe!)

    • Risha says:

      @Sarah, Yes, ground flax seed should be refrigerated to slow down the oxidation of the nutrients (which is what causes it to go rancid). Even refrigerated, ground flax seed should be consumed within a 1-2 month period of time.

  • Daisy says:

    Allspice and raisins are a good combination, too.

  • Sheila Johnson says:

    I can’t believe Silas is 15 months already. It seems like he was just born. Time goes by too fast.

  • Diane says:

    Instead of using tons of baggies, have you tried using a canister and shaking it before you scoop out a serving? Seems like shaking for 5 seconds before you put it in the bowl is less work (to me, at least) than trying to fill a bunch of tiny baggies… and knowing me… spilling a lot of it also 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      I thought about doing that, but with lots of little hands here, baggies will likely prevent less spilling in the long run — and everything is already portioned out, too.

      • Bethany says:

        @Crystal, Do you save and re-use the baggies? I will use a baggie several times before I throw it out if it’s used for dry things like snacks and oatmeal and the like.

        • Bethany says:

          @Bethany, Oh, also, I add raw honey and coconut oil (the kind that you did a post about a while back) to my kids’ oatmeal in addition to the flax meal and cinnamon. Sometimes unsweetened cocoa powder is really really good, too! Makes for a very healthy breakfast. Raw honey is only a couple of bucks more than regular processed honey, but the health benefits are out of this world!

        • Crystal says:

          Yes, we save the baggies and reuse.

  • Brighid says:

    Why the two different kinds of oatmeal? We normally have the instant packets or just the giant Costco box of needs-to-be-cooked oatmeal. I guess I’ve just never looked at my box of plain oatmeal to discover if it’s plain or quick oats.

  • Nicole says:

    I have done this adding a little powdered milk for a creamier texture. For the maple brown sugar question you could baggie up some brown sugar to go with it … But I usually just add it in in the morning I am cooking it. If I am taking to work I just toss my dry toppings into the baggie and go!

    • Tammy L says:

      @Nicole, I second the dry milk powder! Okay, so “they” say dry milk powder isn’t really healthy, but it’s nice to have a little extra creaminess and flavor in my opinion. 🙂 (Though I actually prefer freshly cooked oatmeal to the packets…) 🙂

      • Nicole says:

        @Tammy L,
        🙂 I use powdered milk for a lot of recipes it is economical and if you use the non-instant I think it is more nutritious! You could also add vanilla whey powder!

  • Pam says:

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • Denise says:

    do you keep the packets in the freezer or fridge?

  • Just a note on price–if you buy your oats in bulk, you can save even more. We buy 25 pound bags of old-fashioned oats for $7.60, I keep them in a large food-grade bucket. When we make ours, we add salt, water, and a little powdered milk. My 8-year-old can cook it on the stove all by herself, and then add butter and brown sugar to it, and dish it up for everyone.

  • Jen says:

    Thanks for the great idea! My kids eat quite a bit of homemade (made ahead & frozen) pancakes and waffles, and healthier varieties of cold cereal, but this will add a terrific new option for breakfast. I’ll have fun experimenting with your recipe 🙂

  • pamela says:

    I am going to print this for mom. my dad eats instant oatmeal packets and its so unhealthy

  • Denise says:

    My son loves the Apple and Cinnamon kind. Do you think putting in the Gerber Mini Fruit- Apples (very small diced freeze-dried apples) would work well? I think Target also makes their own brand of these as well.

    • Crystal says:

      I definitely think that would work! I’m considering trying some with dried fruit in it next time.

    • sarah says:

      @Denise, Look around for other freeze dried fruit, some stores have it in the organic aisle and it’s cheaper than the gerber packages. I found a company i order from called brother’s all natural and get there packets for my kids when there is a good sale(i wait for a buy one get one free sale) Trader Joes also sells some freeze dried too. But the freeze dried does go good in oatmeal.

  • Annie says:

    Great idea! I’m always looking for new ways that will make life much easier in the long run. A few minutes today can save hours later! Thanks for sharing!

  • Nancy says:

    Great idea! I’m curious why it needs to be ground in the blender or food processor. I have just made oatmeal with Quick Oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a touch of maple syrup, put it in the microwave for about a minute and a half. I love the idea about the dried fruit – I have made a big pot of oatmeal on the stove, with apples cut up, then froze it in ice cube trays, when I was using it for baby breakfast! About 2 ice cube trays was a good breakfast portion – great grab-and-go healthy breakfast!

    • Lissa says:

      Yes, that is my question too, Crystal. Why do you want the two cups to be powder-like?

      • Crystal says:

        This helps the consistency and allows it to be “instant.” If you just put in rolled oats or quick oats and add boiling water, it won’t seem cooked as well.

    • Crystal says:

      I didn’t want to have to mess with microwaving it, so — from what I read — if you added in some ground oats, you could skip the microwaving. And it worked!

  • Dawn says:

    Thank you – my kids love oatmeal so we will be doing this! At our house though,you GOTTA add brown sugar 🙂

  • Tammy says:

    Your Silas sounds soooo much like my Levi!!!!! But aren’t they a joy.

  • Julie says:

    Sounds like you did a great job! Way to go!

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m curious, when I cook oatmeal on the stove, I use twice as much liquid as oats (according to the directions). But in your directions, you actually use less liquid than oats. Why the difference?

    • Crystal says:

      Because it’s instant and you’re not boiling it. However, if you wanted to boil it, you could definitely do so and probably use less water. Quite a bit of water boils off as steam when you boil something, though.

  • Ann B says:

    We’ve made a variation of these and they turned out great. Some we put dried berries in for variety. Others brown sugar. The ground flax is such a healthy addition, I will try that in mine next time.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments, so forgive me if I’m repeating anything anyone else mentioned. I make homemade instant oatmeal, but keep it in a big bin with instructions written on the lid. I find even my littles are able to measure with a measuring cup the correct amount. (And my high schoolers can adjust the amount to keep them fed accordingly.)

    Also, I only buy whole oats in bulk. Instant (or quick) oats are merely whole oats that are chopped smaller so that they cook faster. I grind some of the oats into powder, some into smaller bits, and leave some whole when I make it.

    I love this breakfast… quick, easy, and good for you.

  • This is an awesome idea and I’m defiantely trying it. I’m going back on WW and will need something filling and easy in the mornings. This paired with my smoothies and breakfast cookies will add a little variety.

    I was wondering if you think you could add dried fruit to the mixture in the baggies and just mix it in with the water? I didn’t know if you had already tried it or not and decided fresh fruit worked better. I imagine the hot water would reconstitute the dried fruit to a degree but I don’t know how that would taste as far as texture and consistency goes.

    I was just wondering, I might give it a try on my own and report back if you haven’t already!

  • Jaclyn says:

    I have read that once you grind flax seed you need to use it right away to get the health benefits. Anyone know if that’s true. I’ve been grinding mine daily and if I could do it all at once that would be easier.

  • Kristin says:

    If you want to save yourself the expense and hassle of the baggies, I don’t know why you couldn’t just mix all this up in a big canister, toss in a measuring cup or scoop the right size, and scoop some into your bowl every morning. Sounds easier and cheaper than using up a baggie for each of 5 people every day…

    • Crystal says:

      We’re reusing the baggies, so it’s not really an extra expense. And since my children like to make their own, it makes it easier (and less messy!) for them to just dump theirs in their bowl. We might try the canister later on, but the baggies are working well for us right now. Plus, my daughter had a blast putting them together! 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much… I made these this afternoon. We’re about to gut and remodel our kitchen, and I’ve been cooking/baking like a crazy woman, making things that can be reheated in the microwave. I figured we’d just go without oatmeal, since we don’t like the store-bought packets of instant. This post came along just in time!

  • Heather says:

    I was wondering where the oatmeal fits into the p90x menu plan? I didn’t see oatmeal on your 1st month meal plan. Are you making your eggs for breakfast and also having oatmeal?

    • Crystal says:

      We’re on Phase 2 now — and usually have oatmeal every morning for breakfast. I haven’t posted the Phase 2 plan yet, because I’m still tweaking it! 🙂

  • Marlene says:

    If you leave the oatmeal sit for 2-3 minutes in already heated water there is no need to grind the oats before packaging. Dried fruit and nuts are an important addition to mine. I do use (and re-use) plastic baggies for better distribution of the spices, dried fruit and nuts than a large canister as some have suggested.

  • Jess says:

    What a wonderful idea – helps by saving time in the morning when preparing breakfast AND by portioning out the correct amount! I love it and will definitely be putting my favorite oatmeal concoction in baggies this week!

    Thanks so much for sharing such a great tip!

  • fiona says:

    I think I’m confused…The instructions say to mix and blend together the rolled oats,quick oats and cinnamon into a powder-like consistancy then set up an assembly line with 1/8 cup flax seed, 1/8 cup ground oats and ¾ cup oat mixture – what is the 1/8 cup ground oats? I’m assuming the “oat mixture” is the rolled oats/quick oats and cinnamon. I’d love to try this recipe, but I’m afraid of messing it up! Thanks

  • Courtney says:

    I am definitely going to try this for my husband. He eats two packets of the bought JUNK every morning for breakfast. It costs way too much to be that bad for you. I do have a question though. I am allergic to oats and wondered if anyone knew whether some other grain would work, like millet for example. If that (or something else) would work, would there be any changes to the procedure for making it? Thanks!!

  • Great idea and so healthy – especially with the flax seed. I love serving oatmeal in the morning.

  • dawn says:

    Ok.. so I only have seen the quick oats in the store this morning (kroger) where can i find the rolled oats and what is a name brand?

  • Jenny says:

    Do you happen to know the calories, fat, and fiber per serving?!! Just wondering so I don’t have to try to figure it out if it’s already been done! Thanks!! I’m going to make these tonight!

  • Jean says:

    What size are these canisters? (I buy my oats in 25-pound bags…)

  • Stacy says:

    I was wondering about using the microwave as a cooking method. I plan to make these as my girls eat instant oatmeal every morning but I usually just microwave them. Can I do that with these?

  • Ginny says:

    I am definitely going to try this ’cause I got some really bad news about my cholesterol today. Good thing I like oatmeal!

  • Jessica says:

    Well, I have to say I love this idea and I just found this post yesterday and made lots of Homemade Instant Oatmeal last night. I did make a few adjustments by adding my brown sugar and chopping some Cranberry,almond, raisens and sunflower seed trail mix–this way I don’t have to add anything except a pat of butter after it’s cooked. Laziiii-ness…Thanks again for the great recipe because my husband doesn’t really like to cook the rolled oats from the canister and this will be easy to pop in the microwave. Oh, I do cook mine in microwave and takes 2 minutes. But also, I only put 1/2 cup of the instant mix from the bag in the bowl with 1 cup water. I believe it worked better that way because of my added ingredients so microwave users will just make adjustments if using the whole 1 cup of mix.
    Thanks again Crystal for your footwork for these recipes, always saving time for the rest of us mommies.

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