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Jan 11, 2008 08:49 AM

Hot Oatmeal for breakfast, can't get it right.

I order a nice cup of hot oatmeal at a food stand at an auto auction I go to and I just love it. Add in some brown sugar and some raisins and it's a great start to the day. At home I use quaker oats, follow the instructions, and end up with grainy, tasteless bowls of mush that I throw away. I suspect I'm using the wrong type of oatmeal for the texture I'm after but don't know what to buy. The oatmeal i like has a very nice texture, is stiff, without being able to feel each individual oat in my mouth. In fact it looks nothing like the oatmeal I make, rather it looks like little pieces of broken rice. What should I be buying to make hot oatmeal?

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  1. McCann's Quick Cooking Oatmeal- you put 1/3-1/2 cup of oatmeal in a bowl, and double the amount of water. Stir and p ut in microwave for 1-2 minutes. Nice testure and very easy.

    7 Replies
    1. re: emilief

      Ditto the above, plus, (unless you are on a salt restricted diet) add a pinch of salt after your oats are cooked. This brightens the flavor. McCann's is real Irish type Oatmeal rather than just rolled oats.

      Sometimes, with Quakers Oats, I mill the Oats in the food processor, toast the resulting oatmeal lightly in a saucepan with a little butter, add the water and let cook. (Be careful not to burn the oatmeal when toasting).

      This gives the oats the Oatmeal texture you are looking for and the toasting adds a lovely depth to it.

      I sometimes add walnuts, raisins, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cardamom to the mix for Raisins and Spice flavored oatmeal.

      I wish I wasn't on a carb restricted diet! I'd make a bowl of that right now! Yummy!

      1. re: MisterM

        Wow never thought of toasting the oatmeal (and I eat it frequently). Great suggestion!

        If I'm just making something quick, I'll start with "regular" Quaker oats, and then add some more in right near the end (and cook another minute or two) to give it a little more texture. I also add a little (real) maple syrup to mine. YUM!

        If I have more time, I'll use the McCann's steel cut oats (vs. the quick cooking) - great texture, but takes quite a bit longer. That is a rounder oat and not a rolled oat. That may be what you get at your food stand, but as I said, takes quite a bit longer to cook.

        Ah, just noticed someone posted about "irish oatmeal" or "steel cut" below. Ditto! If you cook it long enough, it should get to that texture you're looking for.

        1. re: Scirocco

          Trader Joe's carries steel cut oats and they're much cheaper than the McCann's. Also, you can crockpot them overnight and have it ready when you get up. (Alton Brown has a good recipe)

          1. re: sebetti

            I've used the crock pot method too overnight and really like that.

            1. re: sebetti

              Another way to cook steel cut outs it to get them started in a double boiler, turn off the heat and let it sit over night, and then reheat and cook it for about 15 minutes when you get up in the morning. I got this idea from Deborah Madison, who got it from Marion Cunningham's "Breakfast Book."

              1. re: sebetti

                I really like TJ's steel coat oats (organic, too!) -- mine seem to take only about 15 minutes to cook, but I like them a bit firm.

          2. re: emilief

            You should check out Alton Brown's recipe for Steel Cut Oatmeal. It should give you the tooth you're looking for in your oatmeal.

            My Blog:

          3. That look of broken rice suggests that they use steel cut oat, rather than rolled ones (flakes). But usually with cut oats, individual pieces can still be felt. But, maybe they cook the oats long enough (at least half hour), so the texture is smoother. There have been lots of threads about cut oats.

            And having the right amount of salt is important. But this is also a matter of taste. There's a Flanders and Swan song (The English are best), where they fault the Scotsman for eating 'salty porridge'.


            1 Reply
            1. re: paulj

              lol...have that song right here, paul...thanks for reminding me about it!

              I've got to try that toasting the oats....I always start mine cooking with cold water, and on the stove, bring it to a boil very's creamier that way.


            2. You are looking for steel cut oats, sometimes called Irish oatmeal, rather than rolled oats like Quaker. With rolled oats, I find the best way to make them is in the microwave so they don't overcook.

              I like rolled oats better and never got into the whole steel-cut thing. Also steel-cut are more of a pain to make though you can freeze it after making a big batch.

              Oatmeal combos I like
              - bananas, walnuts or pecans, cinnamon
              - pommegranite molasses stirred in
              - chopped apple, walnuts, cinnamon
              - chopped persimmons and pommegranite seeds
              - maple syrup and butter

              1. Definitely sounds like steel cut. Since I'm not a fan of that texture, but adore oatmeal in the mornings, I use Bob's Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled (not quick cooking). Avoid the gloppy mush by cooking slowly over a low flame til all water evaporates. But if you're loving the steel cut, definitely get some as suggested and give it a shot.

                1. Are you making it with milk or water? Milk, even skim, will add a creaminess not found in oatmeal made with just plain ol' water.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: maplesugar

                    Exactly. Rick complained about "tasteless bowls of mush". That's exactly what you get when you make oatmeal with water. Use old-fashioned oats and substitute milk for water.

                    When I make Irish oats, I generally use half water and half milk to make it less likely to burn on the bottom -- I also stir constantly towards the end of the cooking time. It's worth it though.

                    1. re: CathleenH

                      Ok I just bought bulk Steel Cut Oats from Whole foods and now I don't have the water/milk to oats ratio nor the cooking time. Please let me know how you make them.

                      1. re: Rick

                        I've been a McCann's oatmeal fan for a long time, but recently bought Coach's Oats at Costco after tasting them at a demo there. They're tasty, nice texture and microwavable on mornings when I'm running late. Good enough that I bought a couple more bags to give as part of holiday gifts for some oatmeal eating friends.

                        1. re: Rick

                          1:3 is a good starting point when cooking a cereal like this. If the mix seems too thick you can add water as it cooks. Allow a half hour, but taste as you go along. Stay around to stir it.


                          1. re: paulj

                            Paul, high, med, or low heat?

                            1. re: Rick

                              As with regular oats, with too high heat it will sputter, and it is more likely to stick and burn. So keep the heat low. For long low-attention cooking use a double boiler (metal bowl over boiling water), but it doesn't have to be that low. Just pay attention when you stir it.

                              Oh, and make sure you use a spurtle to stir it - or the handle end of a wood spoon.
                              Just kidding. I've never done that myself.