20 Ways to Jazz Up Your Oatmeal


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oatmeal on the table
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Oatmeal is the ultimate budget-friendly breakfast, and it's packed with nutrients. But eating the same kind of oatmeal every day can get old. Whether you prefer to cook oats in the morning or chill them overnight, bake them or drink them, here are 20 ways to add flavor and flair.

Related: 25 Cheap, Quick Breakfast Ideas to Start the Day Right

oats isolated
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First, try a different oat. Steel-cut, instant, and rolled oats are processed differently, so they have different textures. In steel-cut oats, sometimes called Irish or Scottish oats, the kernel (called the groat) is cut instead of flattened and has the chewiest texture. They also take the longest to cook. Instant oats are pressed smaller and cook the fastest but also have a mushier texture. Rolled oats, also called old-fashioned oats, are a middle ground in consistency and cooking time. They look like discs because the groat has been steamed and rolled.

Quick-Cooking Oats
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Instead of buying store-bought packages in different flavors, make custom packets with your own favorite fixings. A few suggested flavor combinations include cranberry pistachio, apricot hazelnut, and apple ginger. Recipe: Oh My Veggies

Related: 10 Easy-to-Make Foods to Stop Buying at the Store

Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Sweet Potato
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This recipe conjures memories of fall. It calls for milk, salt, cooked sweet potato, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and chopped almonds. Recipe: Foodie Crush

Related: How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte: 10 Recipes to Try at Home

Strawberry Peanut Butter with Mashed Banana
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This mashup is a treat for banana lovers. It uses a smashed, overripe banana to add natural sweetness. The banana is puréed and added to the water as gluten-free oats cook. Cinnamon spices up this oatmeal. Recipe: Veggie Inspired Journey

Tropical Oatmeal
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Your bowl of oatmeal can taste like the tropics with this recipe that uses flaked coconut, chopped mango, cashews, and brown sugar. Recipe: Real Simple

Arugula and Avocado Oatmeal
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This dish brings veggies to the breakfast table. Along with steel-cut oats, the recipe calls for garlic, onions, mushrooms, olive oil, avocado, arugula, and a runny fried egg. Recipe: Fannetastic Food

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Spinach and Parmesan pair well with steel-cut oats. Those who would rather not start the day with leafy greens can add pumpkin purée and protein powder, or chai mix. Recipe: Men's Fitness

Nutella in white bowl
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Try a decadent way to start the day with Nutella oatmeal and sliced bananas. The recipe also calls for milk, brown sugar, and sea salt. To change it up, swap out the Nutella for peanut butter -- or combine them. Recipe: Simply Scratch

Oatmeal with Hazelnuts, Dark Chocolate and a Chocolate Corn Balls
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Those with a sweet tooth can add cacao nibs or cocoa powder to oatmeal. Graham crackers are another option for sweetness and crunch. Recipe: The Kitchn

Oatmeal with Bacon
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Crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, or a bit of both can give oatmeal a savory spin. Other options include scallions, tomatoes, or zucchini. Recipe: The Gracious Wife

Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds and Strawberries
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Instead of making hot oats in the morning, try cold overnight oats. The basic recipe involves equal parts rolled oats, milk, and yogurt with chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon. Simply combine the ingredients and store them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, top with something crunchy and a little bit of healthy fat, such as nuts. Recipe: Kath Eats Real Food

Vegan Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
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A gluten-free and vegan alternative, this recipe uses almond milk, chia seeds, peanut butter or almond butter, maple syrup, and gluten-free rolled oats. After the mixture sits overnight, top with fruit, flaxseed meal, or more chia seeds. Recipe: Minimalist Baker

Three Adaptable Overnight Oats
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This recipe for overnight oats (including chia seeds or flaxmeal, vanilla extract, salt, and either honey or maple syrup) can easily be adapted for different tastes. Swaps can make it vegan, sugar-free, or gluten-free, and there are chocolate peanut butter and carrot cake variations. Recipe: Wholefully

Slow-Cooker Apple Pie Oats
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After cooking overnight, slow-cooker oats are hot and ready first thing in the morning. This recipe turns apple pie into part of a nutritious breakfast. The recipe calls for steel-cut oats, almond milk, apples, coconut oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, and lemon juice. The mixture cooks for four to eight hours. Recipe: The Healthy Maven

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
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For those who like the idea of oatmeal but not the texture, baking could be the answer. This dish uses spices, toasted nuts, and fruit and makes a substantial six to eight servings. Recipe: Cookie + Kate

Baked Oatmeal with Applesauce
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Applesauce replaces most of the butter in this baked recipe. The recipe also includes dried cranberries and raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a few other ingredients, taking only 20 minutes to cook. Recipe: Two Peas & Their Pod

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
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Take oatmeal on the go in cookie form. These cookies are made with almonds, overripe bananas, dried cranberries, maple syrup, molasses, and spices. White chocolate chips are an optional addition. Recipe: Oh, Sweet Basil

Oatmeal Trail Mix Cupcakes
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Oatmeal trail mix breakfast cupcakes are a good grab-and-go option, and they are egg-free and dairy-free. Ingredients include banana or applesauce, salt, cinnamon, a sweetener, dried fruit, wheat germ or flax meal, water, vanilla, and oil (or a little more applesauce). Recipe: Chocolate Covered Katie

Berry Oat Breakfast Smoothie
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For a cold and fruity oatmeal option, especially for those who don't like the flavor or texture of a bowl of oatmeal, this recipe is a blend of milk, frozen berries, honey, yogurt, and ice. Recipe: Creme de la Crumb

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Smoothie
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This smoothie can be a sweet, filling breakfast or a hearty snack. It calls for combining oats with ice cubes, coconut milk, peanut butter or peanut butter powder, cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla extract. Recipe: What the Fork

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