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stovetop oatmeal that doesn't spill over?

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I love oatmeal, but unfortunately, mine always turns into a mess. I use bulk organic rolled oats. Somehow, the water always boils over on me. What am I doing wrong? TIA!

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  1. Try resting a wooden spoon or a chopstick on top of your pan. Supposedly this works. Or maybe just lower your flame a bit? Adam

    1. Watch your heat, especially at the start, and stir until it starts to thicken.

      It also helps to use a deep sauce pan. Oh, and don't cover.

      1. The best solution I have is......buy a programmable rice cooker. Mine has a porridge cycle. I can put everything in the night before and have it ready in the morning. Lately we have been putting a couple of Tbs of pumpkin puree in, along with walnuts, salt, brown sugar. Yum. Even if I don't clean the pan until I get home from work it cleans up easy.....and no mess on the stove.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Jane917

          If you're planning to use the rice cooker for oatmeal, consider a model with at least a 5 cup capacity. Mine is only a 3.5 cup (2 person household) and oatmeal consistently sputters out the vent in the top, making an unholy mess of the rice cooker and the counter. My brother has the larger model, and doesn't have the same problem unless he makes a really big batch. I think this has something to do with the particular gluten strain in oatmeal--it's tenaciously sticky stuff, great for your insides, not too great to cleanup splattered all over the kitchen, however.

          I make the steel cut the night before by bringing the oats and water to a boil, clapping a lid on, and removing it from the heat. It cooks overnight of the residual heat, and all I have to do is warm it up. Great, convenient make ahead breakfast that sticks with you for hours with a little added protein.

          1. re: amyzan

            My rice cooker is also a 3.5 cup. It is a Sanyo. I don't have the sputtering problem at all.

            1. re: Jane917

              Wow, please tell me exactly what you do? I'd love to make that work. Mine is a 3.5 c. Sanyo, too.

              1. re: Jane917

                I tried making steel-cut oats in my little rice cooker for the first time recently; came out great, except that 1/3rd of it was all OVER my kitchen counter. What a mess! I used the measurements in the rice cooker manual for steel cut oats too. :( Is it possible that rolled oats work better?

                1. re: The Turtle Bay Dove

                  I have used both steel cut and rolled oats. Never had any spillover. Maybe the secret is that I only use 1/2 cup oats for the two of us. I have never made a bigger amount. I use the porridge cycle and walk away.

                  1. re: Jane917

                    Okay, this is bizarre. You must have gotten the magical rice cooker, Jane, because I've cooked 1/2 c. steel cut oats in 2 c. water in mine (same model as yours, sounds like) more than once. Each time, as TBD describes, about a third of the oatmeal is all over the machine and the counter when it's done. It's a real mess.

          2. With all due respect, I'm trying to understand this....you bring it all to a boil, then TURN HEAT DOWN to very low...I put a lid on my organic oats mixed with toasted walnuts, cinnamon and raisins...and let them cook on very low for 10 or 15 minutes, remove from heat--that's the end...they should not boil over! Begging your pardon, but buying a progammable rice cooker just for oatmeal seems a little extreme.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Val

              ditto val. With some stoves, its hard to adjust to a really low temp - you can use a flame tamer, and crack the lid to avoid boilovers. Actually, a double boiler is best for oatmeal - since it can cook low and slow and there is not such a stirring to avoid sticking/burning problem. I prefer to use extra water/milk and start the oatmeal in the evening. If it sits overnight the grain expands all the way and gets extremely creamy.

              I also like adding a piece of cinnamon stick, an allspice berry and a couple cloves, for a tropical porridge effect.

              1. re: jen kalb

                I'm with Val and Jen. One weekday mornings, when we're hurrying to get out the door, I just put bring the water to a boil, add oats, bring those to a boil, then drop the heat really low and cook uncovered as I get ready. By the time I'm back downstairs, the oatmeal is ready (not the creamiest...I save that for weekends). But dropping the heat after adding the oats and leaving it uncovered should do the trick, I'd think. Unless I'm missing something?

            2. Just use a bigger pan than you think you'd need.