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13 Insanely Clever Oatmeal Tricks You Need To Try

There's no point in eating a healthy breakfast if it doesn't taste incredible.

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1. Simmer chopped fruit in apple juice, then add your oats to make oatmeal that tastes like pie.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

Simmering the apples brings out the sweetness with very little added sugar. It's important to simmer the fruit before you add the oats, so that it has enough time to really soften.

See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

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2. Add chia seeds for thicker oats with a little more texture.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

Adding a tablespoon of chia seeds for every 1/2 cup of rolled oats, right at the start of cooking, will thicken your oatmeal.

3. Use frozen berries when fresh ones are out of season.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

Frozen fruit is great for smoothies, but it also works in oatmeal. You might have to cook the mixture for an additional minute or two, to make sure the berries are heated through and soft.

See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

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4. Toast your oatmeal in a little bit of butter before adding liquid.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

Toasting the oats adds a cozy, nutty flavor. It also makes for an oatmeal that's a little less mushy and more textured, since the toasted oats don't break down as much.

See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

5. Stir in canned pumpkin to add flavor and a little extra volume.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

Canned pumpkin adds volume and makes the oats almost pudding-like.

See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

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6. If you have overripe bananas, save them for oatmeal by peeling, slicing, and freezing them.

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7. Thinly slice a very ripe banana (fresh or frozen), then stir it into oatmeal for sweetness and a fluffy texture.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

The banana will literally ~melt~ into the oats as they cook, making them sweet and a little bit fluffier.

See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

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8. Cook oats in a mixture of coconut milk and water to add a subtle flavor.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

Cook 1/2 cup rolled oats with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, plus whatever add-ins you want. It'll oatmeal taste coconutty, and add just a little bit of fat, to keep you full until lunch.

9. Shredded carrots are an easy way to add vegetables to breakfast.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

The carrots just add a subtle texture and sweetness to this very breakfast-y spin on carrot cake.

See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

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10. Use leftover coffee to flavor your oatmeal.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

Coffee and chocolate are better together. Use leftover coffee to make these oats, or just brew a little extra.

See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

11. If you’re out of fresh fruit, stir in some jam instead.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

Yes, it ACTUALLY tastes like peanut butter and jelly. Because the jam is already so sweet, there's no need to add any extra sweetener.

See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

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12. Serve your oats in a near-empty peanut butter jar to get those ~PRECIOUS~ last bits.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

No peanut butter deserves to go to waste. Only do this in a glass jar, since pouring hot oatmeal into a plastic jar might cause a little bit of plastic to melt into your food (ew).

13. Make your oatmeal savory by stirring in finely chopped vegetables and topping with a runny egg.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

Using a little less liquid in savory oats makes them less like porridge and more like a savory grain. Don't knock this 'till you try it; the oatmeal makes the perfect vehicle for runny yolk.

See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

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Apple Pie Oatmeal

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 medium apple, cored and roughly chopped

½ cup apple juice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup rolled oats

1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

PREPARATION

Combine the apple, apple juice, vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt in a small pot over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the apples are soft and the juice has reduced by about half, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients — you can save some of the walnuts for garnish, if you want — and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are cooked and the mixture is thick. Serve immediately.

Strawberry-Chia Oatmeal

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Pinch of salt

1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen, cored and halved

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

PREPARATION

Combine oats, almond milk, salt, strawberries, chia seeds, and honey in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often, until the oats are cooked, the strawberries are very soft, and the mixture is thick. Serve immediately, garnished with pumpkin seeds.

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Brown Butter-Toasted Oatmeal with Apricots and Almonds

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 cup rolled oats

1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons chopped dried apricots

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons chopped almonds

PREPARATION

Melt the butter in a small pot over medium-low heat, swirling it around the pan constantly, until it starts to bubble, about 30 seconds. Continue to swirl until the milk solids (little speckles in the butter) turn light brown and it smells nutty and fragrant. Immediately add the oats to the brown butter and toast over low heat, stirring constantly, until the oats are light brown and smell toasted.

Add the remaining ingredients — you can save some of the almonds for garnish, if you want — and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are cooked and the mixture is thick. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal with Seeds and Raisins

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Pinch of salt

⅔ cup canned pumpkin

1 tablespoon maple syrup

½ teaspoon pumpkin spice (you can substitute ground cinnamon)

3 tablespoons golden raisins

2 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons almond butter

PREPARATION

Combine oats, almond milk, salt, pumpkin, maple syrup, pumpkin spice, and raisins in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are cooked and the mixture is thick. Serve immediately, topped with pumpkin seeds and almond butter.

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Whipped Banana Oatmeal with Ground Flax

Makes 2 servings

If you want, you can garnish your oats with fresh banana slices from a second small banana. Don't put any less banana in the oats while they cook, though, because that's what makes the oatmeal sweet and fluffy.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Pinch of salt

1 large, very ripe banana (fresh or frozen), peeled and thinly sliced

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

PREPARATION

Combine oats, almond milk, salt, banana, and cinnamon in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until the oats are cooked, the banana has completely broken down, and the mixture is thick and fluffy. Serve immediately, garnished with ground flax seeds.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup coconut milk

½ cup water

Pinch of salt

½ cup shredded carrot (from 1 large, peeled carrot)

½ teaspoon pumpkin spice (you can substitute ground cinnamon)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons chopped mixed nuts (we used pecans, almonds, and walnuts)

2 tablespoons raisins

1 tablespoon shredded coconut (optional)

PREPARATION

Combine all ingredients in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are cooked, the carrot is soft, and the mixture is thick. Serve immediately.

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Coffee-Chocolate Oatmeal

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rolled oats

¾ cup strong coffee

1 ¼ cups whole milk

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons chopped cashews, plus more for garnish, if you want

PREPARATION

Combine all ingredients in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are cooked and the mixture is thick. Serve immediately, topped with more cashews, if you want.

PB&J Oatmeal

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup whole milk

1 cup water

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons strawberry jam, plus more for garnish, if you want

2 tablespoons peanut butter

PREPARATION

Combine oats, milk, water, salt, and jam in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are cooked and the mixture is thick. Serve immediately, with a spoonful of peanut butter on top, plus a little more jam, if you want.

Savory Vegetable Oatmeal with a Fried Egg

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rolled oats

1 ½ cups whole milk

Pinch of salt

¼ cup finely chopped red pepper

2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 large eggs

Freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION

Combine oats, milk, salt, red pepper, and chives in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are cooked and the mixture is thick.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Crack the eggs into the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny, 3 to 4 minutes.

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Need easy dinner ideas?

These meals will make your weeknights way simpler. (And tastier!)

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