This blog is updated in 2021
These DIY instant oatmeal packets are very simple to make. Prepare a bunch in advance to keep on hand for those busy mornings when you lack time to make breakfast. You can blend this refrigerator oatmeal with water and enjoy a nutritious hot breakfast in a jiffy. They’re also nice to take along to work or on trips. It’s easy to make these gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
Refrigerator oatmeal with quick oats, too! If you’re a fan of the oh-so-popular refrigerator oatmeal with steel-cut oats explained in my post, Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal, you can also use these prepared packets to fastly mix a batch of fridge oats the night before. Simply mix a packet with yogurt and water, refrigerate overnight, and creamy cold oats are ready the next morning. Many are already enjoying the convenience of making refrigerator oatmeal vegan a few days ahead for fast grab-and-go breakfasts. These prepared packets take that advantage to a whole new level. You can make up a bunch of the packets weeks or months ahead to make it even more effortless to quickly pack together a few batches of fridge oats whenever you like.
Why make your own packets? Because they are so much healthier and tastier! I decided to test with creating my own instant oat packets when I was helping King-Man prepare for a backpacking journey. He’s always taken the store-bought instant oat packets for a simple breakfast on the trail. When I read the ingredient list on the packaging with all it’s mystery ingredients, high sodium, and artificial flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives, I decided to find out how to make a healthier version at home.
Turns out that it’s simple to make your own pioneer woman refrigerator oatmeal packets. They can be plain, unflavored oatmeal, or you can add an unlimited variety of fruits, nuts, and other fun flavors. I’ll share 12 of my preferred combos. Every ingredient is dry and has a shelf life of at least a few months, so these packets can be made well in advance.
How my packets are healthier and better (just my humble opinion). My basic plain instant oat mix has:
- whole grain rolled oats (store-bought packets; this is the only thing mine has in common with theirs)
- chia seeds — these small seeds have large health benefits yet a neutral taste so they disappear into the mix.
- oat bran — to fasten the mix with more heart-healthy fiber (read about the special health benefits of oat bran here)
- sweetener customized to your personal preference — I reduce the amount of sweetener considerably in mine and like to use a touch of a natural sweetener over the artificial stuff
- non-fat powdered milk — adds protein & calcium together with creaminess to the texture and taste. In case you’re wondering if it’s better to apply fresh whole milk….well, yes. But these are DRY instant oatmeal packets, so fresh milk isn’t an option. The health concerns about oxidized cholesterol in powdered milk aren’t an issue if you use the non-fat kind. source. If you like, you don’t have to use powdered milk.
Below, is a more detailed photo tutorial that shows these pioneer woman refrigerator oatmeal varieties made in plastic bags for taking them on-the-go.
Here’s how to make
Healthy Instant Oatmeal Packet in 12 Flavors
Choose from 3 kinds of rolled oats. They are all unexpectedly similar in nutrients. The quick and instant oats are digested more quickly, so they don’t do quite as good a job as the old fashioned oats at keeping you feeling full and stabilizing blood sugars. Nevertheless, my healthy ingredient additions to the mix more than compensate, making use of fast and instant oats very healthy. Fast and instant oats are normally preferred in these oatmeal packets because they are ready to eat simply by adding boiling water to them. Old fashioned oats, besides, need to be cooked in the microwave or on the stovetop; so the option is yours as to just how “instant” you want your oatmeal packets to be.
Choose your preferred dry sweetener. Below are some options that I think taste particularly good in oatmeal: coconut sugar, sucanat (dried sugar cane juice), pure maple sugar (dried maple syrup), or brown sugar. I won’t get into the nutritional advantages of one over the other, as that’s a debate that could go on for pages. My bottom-line guidance is to use an appropriate amount of whatever sweetener you like or omit the sweetener altogether. How much is enough is a matter of personal preference. King-Man (aka Mr. Sweet Tooth) likes a full tablespoon of brown sugar–that is so sweet that it makes me want to taste about as sweet as the store-bought packets. I like around 1 teaspoon of sweetener in my oatmeal. Maple sugar is my bias.
Here are the basic ingredients for overnight refrigerator oatmeal with chia seeds: rolled oats, chia seeds, oat bran, powdered milk, and salt. I also add a bit of cinnamon to mine for its flavor and health benefits.
Nutritional data for the basic oatmeal packets (without fruit or nuts). I included 1-1/2 teaspoons of brown sugar for the sweetener in these calculations. For one plain oatmeal packet: 160 calories, 2.8g fat, 53mg sodium, 28.6g carbs, 3.9g fiber, 7.6g sugars, 6.5g protein. Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4.
Add fruit, if you like. To the basic oatmeal mix, you can include any kind of fruit that you like. There are 2 categories of dried fruit that I’ve used in my oatmeal packets:
- Freeze-dried fruit — I’ve just recently discovered this healthy option to fresh fruit. It is nothing but fruit–no additives at all. It can be eaten as-is for a crunchy, healthy snack. It’s amazing in these oatmeal packets because it rehydrates instantly when blending with water. I prefer this over regular dried fruit, although it is more expensive. I’ve found it at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and on Amazon. The volume capacity the same as the fresh fruit equivalent. In other words, fruit stays the same size when it is freeze-dried.
- Dried or dehydrated fruit — This is the more widely preferred option. It also works well in these oatmeal packets. However, read the packaging labels; often dried fruits have unpleasant additives. When dried, this shrivels and is denser than fresh fruit, so use less of it than fresh or freeze-dried fruit.
Add nuts, if you like. Any favorite nut can be added to these oatmeal packets for a flavor and nutrition boost, although they’re elective.
More dry, flavorful ingredients. Here are some of the extra flavors I added to my oatmeal packets: dehydrated coconut, PB2 (powdered peanut butter), dried orange peel, hardened ginger, ground vanilla bean powder, unsweetened cocoa, fast espresso powder.
How to assemble instant oatmeal packets
1. Label the top of the bags you’ll be using. You can store your oatmeal packets upright in a basket or container and easily flip through them to find the flavor you want. It’s much easier to label the bags while they are unpacked and flat. Ziploc snack size bags work well and are widely available at grocery stores. If you prefer not to use plastic, you can use an airtight container (like jars). Paper bags are not suggested, because they are porous and will result in a drastically reduced shelf life of the ingredients.
View on Amazon: Ziploc snack bags, Sharpie markers
2. Add the basic oatmeal mixture ingredients to each bag. Once the oats are added, the base of the bags flattens enough for them to stand upright. So, you can line your bags up and use an assembly line method for filing them with each ingredient.
3. Add fruit, nuts, and other flavors. If you’ve pre-labeled the bags, this step goes much more quickly. Seal the bags tightly to keep any moisture out; this extends their storage period.
As I use my oatmeal packets, I save my labeled bags to reuse and refill.
Substitutions? Go for it! Every ingredient is optional, except for the oats. You can omit, reduce, or make alternatives for any of the other ingredients. For example,
- substitute ground flax or hemp seed for the chia seeds
- substitute wheat bran or wheat germ for the oat bran
- substitute protein powder for the powdered milk
- gluten-free option — use gluten-free rolled oats and oat bran
- dairy-free or vegan option — omit the powdered milk
All the content in this blog is the property of aninspiring. Kindly refrain from plagiarising the content of this blog.
How to make hot oatmeal (2 methods)
1. Hot Water Method. (works with quick or instant oats, but not with old fashioned oats). Pour an oatmeal packet into a heat-tolerant mug or bowl, pour in 2/3 c. boiling water, stir, and let stand until thickened. Instant oats are ready in 2-3 minutes. Quick oats are ready in 4-5 minutes.
2. Microwave Method. (works with old fashioned, quick, or instant oats) Pour oatmeal packet into a microwave-safe bowl/mug that is big enough for oatmeal to double in a capacity as it cooks. Add 3/4 cup cold water. Microwave on high, 3 min. for old fashioned oats, 2 min. For quick oats, 1 min. for instant oats. (microwave power and times may vary).
How to make no-cook, refrigerator oatmeal
Works with old fashioned, quick, or instant oats. Add an oatmeal packet to a pint or half-pint jar (or another covered container). I use half-pint jars for mine. Pour in 1/2 cup cold water, add 1/4 cup yogurt, cover, and shake vigorously until well mixed. Freeze at least 4 hours, overnight, or up to 3 days. They thicken into a creamy mixture that is intended to be eaten cold; however, you can heat them if you prefer.
View on Amazon: half-pint mason jars, white plastic lids for jars (durable and easy to get on and off)
12 Instant Oatmeal Packet Flavor Varieties
These are some of my favorites, but you can use the exact formula to combine your own favorite ingredients. Be creative! Refer to the printable recipe at the end of this post for perfect ingredient amounts.
1. Plain — just the basic recipe with no added flavors
2. Apple Cinnamon Maple — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added chopped dried apples, more cinnamon, and used maple sugar as the sweetener.
3. Blueberry — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added freeze-dried blueberries.
View on Amazon: freeze-dried blueberries
4. Cherry Almond — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added dried cherries and sliced almonds.
5. Apricot Ginger — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added chopped dried apricots and minced crystallized ginger.
6. Cranberry Orange Pecan — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and dried orange peel.
7. Pineapple Coconut (my favorite!) — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added freeze-dried pineapple, and dehydrated unsweetened coconut.
8. Raspberry Vanilla Bean — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added freeze-dried raspberries and ground vanilla bean powder.
9. Peach (or Mango) Macadamia Nut — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added chopped dried white peaches and chopped macadamia nuts.
10. Cocoa Banana — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added chopped freeze-dried bananas and unsweetened cocoa. (NOTE: Dried banana chips are not recommended. I tried them, and they tasted terrible when they were rehydrated. The freeze-dried bananas worked great and are delicious!)
View on Amazon: freeze-dried bananas, unsweetened cocoa
11. Peanut Butter Banana — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added chopped freeze-dried bananas (see my note about bananas in #10 above) and PB2 powdered peanut butter. In case you aren’t familiar with PB2, it is peanut butter with most of the fat removed, but the protein and nutrition left intact. It’s a dry powder that is perfect for adding flavor to these dry oatmeal mixes.
12. Mocha — To the basic oatmeal mix, I added instant espresso powder and unsweetened cocoa.
View on Amazon: espresso powder, unsweetened cocoa
So many uses! I love having a supply of these packets made up for making myself either hot or refrigerator oatmeal. They have lots of convenient extra uses. You could set out a selection of these for:
- A busy family in the morning. Everyone can choose and make their own oatmeal.
- A workplace meeting or break room. All you need is hot water (often an option with office coffee/tea makers) or a microwave.
- A dorm room. Send a list of oatmeal packets to a college student for a quick, healthy breakfast before going to class.
- A brunch buffet table. All you need is a pot of hot water and guests can mix their own oatmeal.
- A trip. Most hotel rooms have coffee makers that heat water.
- Camping and backpacking. King-Man loves these homemade oatmeal packets after his recent backpacking trip. He had these for breakfast every morning. Blueberry was his favorite.
This is FAST FOOD that is good for you. I’m loving it. I hope you do, too.
All the content in this blog is the property of aninspiring. Kindly refrain from plagiarising the content of this blog.