Saturday, November 16, 2013

How to Make Creamier Oatmeal with Diced Fruit

If you've been following the blog from the beginning, you will have witnessed the progression of my apple recipes. If not, let me catch you up.

First, there was Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal--simple, easy, and reliable. The only problem? Look how separated it is. The rolled oats appear to segregate themselves from the apple chunks. The oats do not join together like pudding.

For comparison's sake, look at this Banana Bread Oatmeal picture--SO CREAMY!

And then there was Apple Pie Oatmeal. UGH! LOOK AT IT! How unappetizing.

I learned two lessons from the Apple Pie Oatmeal photos: 1) cut the apples into smaller pieces, and 2) douse the oatmeal in milk before photographing.

The result was a slew of milk-doused apple oatmeals.

Then, something wonderful happened: I met quick cook steel-cut oats. This drastically changed my porridges, and this is Secret #1.

1. Use quick cook steel-cut oats whenever you're working with diced fruit.

I could not believe this recipe when I made it. Look at how pudding-like it is! Instead of segregating into unhappy flakes, it creams together like banana necessary! I didn't even need to splash milk on afterwards. (Pictured above: Salted Maple, Apple, & Pecan Oatmeal)

Around the same time as this recipe, I also created Applesauce Oatmeal using homemade applesauce. This gave me another revelation.

2. When possible, precook apples before adding them to the oatmeal.

Despite the fact that I left my applesauce rather chunky, it stirred into this oatmeal seamlessly. Now I was really pleased with myself! However, I quickly discovered yet another way to achieve soft apples without having to make applesauce.

3. Use steel-cut oats to give the apples more time to cook.

The success of this method is demonstrated in my Apple Pie Steel-Cut Oatmeal. After all, if you add the apples right away, they cook with the oats for an entire twenty minutes! The results? Integrated, cohesive, happy creaminess (and soft apples!):

However, when making "regular," ready-in-five-minutes oatmeal, it's still possible to achieve soft apples and creamy porridge. My latest secret? A quick stewing.

4. For instant "softer" apples, stew the apples for a couple minutes before adding the oats.

You've seen the results of this method previously this week in my Apple & Veggie Sausage Oatmeal. Before I bring the milk/water to a boil, I dice the apple into a saucepan and add about 1/2 a cup of water. I bring it to a boil and let it "stew" for approximately two minutes. Then, I add a 1/2 cup of milk, return it to a boil, and add the oats. All of that gives the apples an extra 3-4 minutes in the simmering liquid, which takes away its crunch and lets it melt in your mouth.

The above tricks work with all stone fruits, berries, and anything that requires dicing. However, it's most relevant to apples since they are stubbornly firm.

Still, none of this success would have been possible without my quick-cook steel cut oats. If you haven't tried this variety yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!
**You can also find hundreds of other oatmeal recipes (as well as tons of other meatless recipes) on my Pinterest account!  You can also like The Oatmeal Artist on Facebook. Thanks!


  1. Great ideas! I like shredding the apple to help it all meld together. However, if I'm dicing the apple, I like to first saute it in orange/apple juice, honey, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Or stew the apple pieces in chai tea. Otherwise, I'll just add the diced apple to the almond milk before adding the oats. It definitely helps using only half an apple - otherwise I find it's more apple than oats!
    But I still haven't tried steel cut oats (I will... soon)

    x Claudia (long time reader, first time commenter)

  2. I've tried quick cook steel cut oats, but I actually got creamier results with regular rolled oats by using a 3:1 liquid:oats ratio. I didn't even need much milk, just a dash of it and the rest was water. I had to cook it for 20-30min, but it was absolutely worth it, plus rolled oats are way cheaper than steel cut where I am. Also you get a huge bowl of oatmeal for the same number of calories, which always feels good ;)

  3. If you live in a dry, cold climate most things will keep at room temperature quite well. OK - readers chime in - any attractive fruit bowls,

  4. When it comes to rolled oats, I find that covering the pot after adding the diced apple helps get a creamier result.


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