There's just something about a comforting breakfast on cold, busy mornings and a bowl of this brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal recipe is arguably my personal favorite. Reminiscent of the favorite flavors in those instant oatmeal packets, this easy recipe is made with simple ingredients and is the perfect way to start the day.
Without a doubt, if I had to choose one meal to have for breakfast forever, it would be oats.
But even with all of those options, sometimes, there is just something about a warm bowl of oatmeal.
Especially when it reminds you of a cinnamon roll, like this recipe does.
Perfect for mornings when you forgot to meal prep breakfast or just want something warm and homey, this oatmeal can be made on the stovetop or even the microwave (if you're really in a rush!).
So let's cozy up and make a warm bowl of brown sugar cinnamon porridge!
- Old Fashioned Rolled Oats- I like to use large flake old fashioned oats as they have great texture without a long cook time. However, this recipe can be adapted for any type of oats- see the section below. If you need the recipe to be gluten free, ensure that you use certified gluten-free oats.
- Water (plus Milk: optional)- For creamier oatmeal, you can use half regular milk (or plant-based) and half water. Be careful, though, as milk is more prone to boiling over.
- Brown Sugar- For best richness of flavor, I like to use dark brown sugar. If the brown sugar flavor isn't important, feel free to substitute with another sweetener.
- Cinnamon- Provides warmth and flavor. Adjust to taste and feel free to add other spices like nutmeg or cardamom, too.
- Salt- Just a little salt helps to bring all of the flavors together. No matter what kind of oatmeal I make, I always add a pinch of salt. If needed, it can be omitted.
1. Boil Water. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Add Oats. To the boiling water, add the oats, cinnamon and sugar and give it a good stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.
3. Simmer. Simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the oats are soft and it has nearly reached your desired thickness. Keep a close eye on it as homemade oatmeal can easily boil over.
Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid and allow to rest for 2 minutes. This gives a chance for the liquid to be a bit more absorbed.
4. Serve. Adjust the sweetness by adding additional brown sugar to your bowl of oatmeal, if needed.
Prefer to make them in the microwave?
Combine all of the ingredients into a medium microwave-safe bowl (make sure there is lots of room as the oats will expand a bit and will make a mess if they boil over.
Heat on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for an additional 45 seconds.
Stir, let stand for 1 minute, stir again and enjoy.
Adapting to Different Types of Oats
This cinnamon brown sugar oatmeal recipe is versatile and can be easily adapted to various types of oats to suit or preference (or to just use whatever you have on hand!). Here's how to make it with steel cut oats or quick oats:
- Replace the ½ cup of large flake oats with ¼ cup of steel-cut oats and cook for 20-25 minutes.
- Substitute the ½ cup of large flake oats with ½ cup of quick cooking oats and reduce water to ¾ cup. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Leftovers and Storage
To Store: Allow any leftover oatmeal to cool slightly and transfer it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To Freeze: Portion the cooled oatmeal into individual servings in airtight containers if desired and freeze for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: Thaw frozen oatmeal in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat on the stovetop over medium low, stirring often or in the microwave with a bit of extra water until heated through. Sprinkle with additional brown sugar and cinnamon to taste before serving.
Make it Your Own
- Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal: In place of brown sugar, use maple syrup. Or you can do a combo of maple syrup and brown sugar for extra flavor.
- Extra Creamy Oatmeal: For a creamier texture, cook the oats in half milk and half water.
- Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal: Enjoy the flavors of apple pie for breakfast add diced apples to the pot as you cook the oatmeal. The apples will soften and infuse your oatmeal with a delicious flavor (just like they do in this slow cooker apple oatmeal recipe).
- Use Natural Sweeteners: If you prefer, you can use coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup in place of the brown sugar. They are all a great way to add a hint of sweetness if you don't care about have the brown sugar flavor.
Load up your bowl of oats with all of your favorite toppings and garnishes. Here are some ideas!
- Milk of choice (I prefer cashew, coconut milk or whole milk so that it's extra creamy)
- Fresh fruit such as berries
- Nut butter (like almond butter, peanut butter or macadamia butter)
- Greek yogurt
- Chopped nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans)
- Sliced bananas
- Ground flaxseeds or chia seeds
- Shredded coconut
- Sautéed apples or Applesauce
- Chocolate chips
And if you're looking for some ideas of what to have with your homemade brown sugar oatmeal, turn it into the perfect breakfast with a side of:
- Scrambled eggs
- Egg bites or frittata
- Fresh fruit salad
- Coffee, tea, or blueberry avocado smoothie
Tips for the Best Bowl of Oatmeal
- Choose the Right Pot: Use a larger pot than you think you'll need as oatmeal has a tendency to bubble and boil-over.
- Keep a Close Eye: And on that note, to further prevent boil-overs, be sure to reduce the heat, watch your pot and stir frequently.
- Be Cautious with Milk: If you're using milk instead of water, be extra vigilant. Milk can easily boil over, so watch it extra closely.
- Prevent Lumps: When adding the oats, stir right after adding and occasionally while it cooks.
- Adjust the Consistency: If you prefer thinner oatmeal, increase liquid to 1 and ¼ cup per ½ cup oats (this is my preferred consistency!). If you prefer your oatmeal thicker, you can reduce liquid to ⅞ cup of water.
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And if you liked this recipe...
...you might also like:
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Oatmeal
- 1 cup water or ½ cup milk + ½ cup of water
- ½ cup large flake rolled oats
- 1 and ½ teaspoon brown sugar plus additional to taste
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water (and milk) to a boil.
- Once boiling, stir in the oats, cinnamon, sugar and salt and reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Let the oatmeal simmer for about 5 minutes or until it has nearly reached your desired consistency, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid and allow to rest for 2 minutes. This gives a chance for the liquid to be a bit more absorbed.
- Transfer into a bowl, top as desired and serve.
- Combine all of the ingredients into a medium microwave-safe bowl (make sure there is lots of room as the oats as the oats will expand a bit and will make a mess if they boil over.
- Heat on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for an additional 45 seconds.
- Stir, let stand for 1 minute, stir again and enjoy.