Fun & Easy Crafts For the Apocalypse
Friday Good Things

In Which I Lose My Shit Over Oatmeal

I came downstairs this morning to this, a mini Instant Oatmeal Apocalypse. 


I've made the (old, tired) joke about my children being hollow before, but that's apparently not accurate. They are mostly oatmeal, 'tis the glue connecting their bones, and more oatmeal must be procured or they shall surely die.

That is, of course, not something I can just DO anymore, and honestly, THEY ATE ALL THAT FRICKING OATMEAL IN WHAT? LIKE A WEEK? That's 32 individual packets! Guys. I cannot afford that kind of baller oatmeal lifestyle right now. I actually think one of you might have a problem. 

(Noah. It's Noah. He eats this stuff at breakfast, as an afternoon snack, and sometimes in the middle of the night, judging by the number of random glopped-up bowls I've found in his room.)

So I'm actually asking for help here, O Internet. I have rolled oats. I have multiple kinds of sugar, I have flaxseed, I have sea salt. That's it. That's the entire ingredient list for this crack. That seems stupidly dupe-able. 

But oh, do not even MENTION overnight oats, or anything close to it. My children DO NOT like overnight oats, and I will not be fooled or tempted again, PINTEREST, YOU BITCH. They like THIS instant oatmeal and ONLY this instant oatmeal. Ezra and Ike will grudgingly accept some of the other flavors in the variety pack, but only after a fight to the death over the precious, coveted Flax Plus. I can occasionally convince them to make it with milk, but honestly they really just want the magic of Dried Mystery Pouch Contents + 2/3 cup water + 75 seconds in the microwave. 

So can I make that? I've looked at recipes (so many, many recipes) but again, I've been burned on this one before.

I don't need anything that looks pretty for photographs or in a goddamn acai bowl. I don't want something that's trying too hard to be healthy and thus totally lies about how much sugar I actually need to add to make this sludge palatable to my children. I know this shit is like, a candy bar with a modest dose of fiber. Just tell me 1) how much of each ingredient to add to my blender, 2) how long to blend it, and 3) how I can portion it out for self-service nuking so I don't have to Do Anymore Things Right Now. 

(I've got a six-pack in my Amazon cart anyway, just in case. My nerves are shot and I am already Claire From the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen 20 Minutes Into Gourmet Makes level stressed, CLEARLY.)



Myriam Francoeur

Just don't buy it for a while? They might resort to "normal" oatmeal in case of severe withdrawal?


Run some oats thru the food processor. Make a mixture of like 75% oats, 25% oat powder. Little salt. We also use powdered creamer but oh well. Prepare just like instant oats. Microwave, boiling water whatever. Add sweetener, milk, fruit whatever you like


That’s serious stress right there!


No promises here, but I'm going to eyeball this. It's what I would do in your shoes. Plus, this way, you can try making like 1 packet worth and use it as a test. Tell Noah it's oatmeal-a-palooza. :)

50g in a packet
10g of cane sugar in said packet

You have 40g remaining for oatmeal and flax. So maybe try 35g oat and 5g flax? I've never had this oatmeal. Maybe 5g flax is too much. You will have to judge here based on what you've seen in packets. Also going to need some salt but that is an easy add at the end.

Try a bowl, try it on your kids. Hoping that it makes 1/3 or a 1/2 cup total all blended up ( I would use pulse so that you don't end up with total mush, and maybe give the flax seed a head start) and you can just increase the ingredients as you find them x how many bowls you want and put in a container with a measuring cup.

Maybe this is no help, but this is how I would start.


You are not going to recreate the texture of instant oatmeal using the slow cooked stuff. Make it if you like to eat it, but the kids probably won't eat it. I say go ahead and feed them the instant stuff as much as they'd like. It's fortified, nutritious, filling, and not candy or chips (which is my kids' main food group lately).


This sounds like a mystery for Chef Ezra to solve. Lol. Montessori homeschooling FTW!


Is the flaxseed in the packets whole or ground? If ground, be sure and do that before adding.

Rebecca Devlin

Here's what I use. The powdered milk makes it kind of like the prepackaged stuff...


just remember to "package" it in tiny little single containers too


Here's what works at our house. I *think* it would work with rolled oats, but we use quick oats because HEATHENS.

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 to 2/3 c of milk, depending how sloppy you like your oatmeal
1/2 tsp maple syrup (I don't actually measure it)
raisins, dried cranberries, apples, cinnamon, nuts, chocolate chips, whatever

Warm the milk in the microwave. Mix oatmeal and brown sugar. Stir in warm milk. Mix in maple syrup. Add desired toppings.


My 3 boys are oatmeal fanatics too! Agreed with the above 75% oats to 25% oat powder and maybe add the flax into this mixture. When I make one bowl for my kids I add about 3/4 cup of the oat mixture, a scant 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup to 1 cup of liquid (milk or water or a mixture of both for quarantine times...). Nuke it. *(I add 2 shakes of ground cinnamon.) Stir. Enjoy, children! I normally eye all the portions and adjust to each kid because some like less liquidy vs. "I need more oatmeal juice, Mom". I hope this helps. I've been silently reading your blog for years now and have never posted. I'm a big fan! Good luck.


I would make up one of the mixes from the other comments and then lie to my children about how Amazon isn't shipping it/is out of it for a few weeks til they hopefully get used to the home made version. But maybe take that with a grain of salt because this quarantine is killing me, and at this point I might lie to my children for fun.


Auntie G

This is not what you asked, but luckily I see that other commentators...commenters? QUARANTINE IS BAD FOR MY BRAIN have actually answered the question, but I am at least a week ahead of you in SIP with three hungry children and this is the week I HIT THE NICENESS WALL so I'm charging forward with assvice. Take it or leave it (sincerely).

Whether or not you find a recipe they will eat or you outsource that fun to them, BOY HOWDY, I would tell my own kids, "This is as much as I will buy, and when it's gone, I'm not buying any more (or any more until x date), so if you want it, you make your own here." That's homeschooling STEAM, home ec, math, finance, ALL IN ONE. And then you are free to lose your shit over something of your own choosing. :)

Good luck!


I'm pretty sure my kids wouldn't eat whatever I made no matter how close I got to the packaged shit. They will however, eat all sorts of concoctions they have made and call it delicious. Would having them experiment with some ingredients you give them and work on coming up with a recipe work? It's definitely homeschooling.


Ooh, yes, lying about availability is a good idea!

We sometimes make oatmeal in a rice cooker, that at least makes a shit ton of it at once, and you can keep it on warm for an entire day once it’s done.


This could be a good learning opportunity for Noah: he can prepare his own with a box of instant oats, just the way he likes it. you can give him a measurement guideline to help the process out, and do it together initially, but he's pretty big. If you keep purchasing it, he will continue to expect/demand that you do so. Make sure you have ingredients at home and he wont starve. :) those are my two cents


Get the Chefboy to make this Jamie classic
It is the dog's bollocks. The only problem is it is too nice.


I get it. It is the best oatmeal.


you know your limit on what you can mentally handle. this reads as “i’m at my limit on what i can mentally handle.” do not over do it. yes, it’s just oatmeal; so turn to your kids and say so. they get what they get and they don’t get upset. whether that be what you make, what they make, or them turning their nose up at it

Sheri Gagnon

So, brown sugar gets separated into molasses and white sugar. If you want the flavour but not the sugar, add molasses (plus SOME brown sugar)to your oatmeal - it’s delicious.

Then you can tell them this joke:

3 little moles are tunnelling their way up into the pantry. The FIRST little mole sniffs and says “I smell honey!” The SECOND little mole sniffs and says “I smell maple syrup!” And the third little mole says “I smell mole-asses!”


I think powdered milk is key but I think it would still require experimentation. Would they be up to tweaking their own recipes and then doing a blind taste test to see whose is best? Would any parent be able to cope with the resulting kitchen disaster if it meant an hour or two your children are wholesomely occupied while you try to work? It’s okay to ration if you want to, as others have said, but trying to recreate instant oatmeal is also a nice diversion while the world is on fire. Please keep us posted on your plan of action.
I can’t keep up with my kids’ demands for fresh fruit. Here, have a frosted pop tart instead.


Powdered milk. It's the secret.

I'll send my recipe tomorrow.

I keep it in a giant bag. Add dried raspberries or cranberries or blueberries. Whatever. Be sure to grind the flax for absorption.

1/2 cup plus hot water. Perfect.

Amy M

I see you have some recipes to try, which is great! I’ll be looking them up myself. My kids are addicted to the maple brown sugar flavor. Yay for double sugar! So I’ll sneak in 1/2c or so of quick oats (and more liquid), then split it between my boys. They’ve never said a word. So if they just can’t get over that particulars flavor, or eat a couple packets at a time, it’s a way to at least stretch it.


Oh, man. I haven't bought that Flax Plus oatmeal in years, it's THE. BEST. Noah has good taste, I'll give him that. Now I'm craving oatmeal.

Lindsay Kearns

FUCK IT, Mama. Stock up on Amazon; Save your Sanity; Call it a day. Just my two cents (or more accurately, my current style of parenting).


I think you should have Oatmeal Thunderdome Cookoff where your kids compete to make the best substitute recipe using bulk-sized quick oats. Give them each the same container for their "best" recipe, mix them up for a blind taste test, and there you go.

Also please blog this for us.


I love the suggestions of have your kids do it. SCIENCE! COMPETITION!

GBBO, instant oatmeal edition.

Heather Fiordalice

I’m in the “let them make their own” camp (with the guidelines of where to start).
My kids are firmly in the frozen Eggo Wafgle and Eggo Cinnamon French Toast camp. And my homemade waffles just don’t suffice (and I’m out of flour, and so is the world, apparently, unless you stocked up before March?). I’ve played the game, dutifully running out to the store weekly to stock up. But this sh$t’s gotta end. No corona virus is worth a frozen waffle.
Please blog about this further. Also, among the other many stressors, I’m tired of reading articles of “what to bake/roast/slow cook during a pandemic” and only confirming that, “, don’t have any of these foods/ingredients.” 😐


my kids are SUPER PICKY about their oatmeal too. not other things, just the oatmeal. I hope you find the magic solution.

when we are out of packets i tell my kids to use the old fashioned oats we have, add milk instead of water, in the microwave as usual (making sure they use a giant mug or something, this can get messy) and then...

jelly. we have so much jelly and jam. or i make a fruit puree (yes, add sugar to it) for them to dump in, which works better. you could use thawed frozen fruit for this. but that involves me thinking ahead so it's not always available.

it's not the same. but it's a kind of different that is acceptable to my kids. and given the choice between that or toast... well, either way there is something edible for breakfast. and lunch. and dinner.

good luck

Ann Pellegrino

I've been making this one for years, and it is super close to Quaker Instant:
3 cups quick oats
3 cups quick oats ground in food processor
1 cup brown sugar
3 tsp salt (fine ground if possible)
3 tsp cinnamon

Mix all together. This is enough to fill 1.5 canning jars. To serve, scoop 1/3 cup mix and add hot water.
Good luck!


Whichever method you use, I might suggest that part of the appeal is the individual servings already portioned. I discovered early on that my hubby finds "scoop oatmeal out of a bin, add sugar/salt/dried fruit/nuts" WAY too complicated to eat regularly. But I pre-portion out a dozen of the little snap ziplocks with 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 T sugar, pinch of salt, a couple spoonfulls of fruit/nuts/whatever. Stick them in a box in the cupboard, and he is more than willing to eat oatmeal all of a sudden. Mine is trained to stick the empty ziplock back in a tin next to the oatmeal box so I can reuse them a time or two for the same thing (all they had was dry ingredients!), but that's just me pinching pennies.

Also have to agree with your boys on overnight oats. Much like crockpot oats, they strike me as better textured for spackling walls than eating.


I agree with the idea of telling them this is it and then making them experiment with the ratios to find an acceptable alternative. They're definitely old enough to get that things are not normal right now and we kinda have to suck it up. My boys are autistic with sensory issues and my daughter has her own sensory issues, primarily around food, so I do understand that this can be a difficult area but I'd force the issue since not eating oatmeal packets isn't a health issue. In our house the last my kids have been eating quick steel cut oats instead of the normal and preferred regular steel cut oats (it was a delivery substitute). Despite texture being her biggest sensory issue my daughter complained exactly once; after we explained that that's what we have because that's what was delivered since stores are running out of things due to the lockdown she ate without complaint for the rest of the week.

Alice Waugh

I you're using old-fashioned oats, maybe toast them in the oven for a bit first? Or make granola and then grind it up? I use this recipe but less oil than they ask for; you can obviously use regular oil if they don't like the taste of olive oil:


It's WAY easier than most of these suggestions. This is how I make myself and my kids oatmeal with old fashioned rolled oats (not even quick cooking!). Put some in a bowl. Put a little salt, your flax or whatever, sweetener, I use PB or frozen fruit, whatever. Dress it up. Cover with water... just a little more than covers the top. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir. Add extra liquid if needed. If it's too liquidy, let it sit for a minute. That's it. Really.


I regularly make oatmeal for myself this way: 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats in my 4 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup. (I've tried cooking it in a cereal bowl, but it bubbles over sometimes. Never happens in the Pyrex.) Add a dash of salt, a handful of raisins, and pour in 2/3 cup water. Microwave for 2 minutes. Add cinnamon, brown sugar/maple syrup, and anything else you like. If they don't like raisins, they could add dried cherries or cranberries instead, or stir in applesauce after cooking.
Now, will it taste like their fave instant stuff? I don't know. But this could be a good time for you to put it on them to problem solve. These are not normal times, and we all are going to have to compromise on food. Just had this conversation with my kids (who are technically grown at 18 and 21, but still get hung up on having their favorites available all of the time.)
Hang in there. This shit is hard.


I just emailed you my reverse-engineered recipes. I was recreating the horribly expensive little cups of instant oatmeal. Good luck. I know family harmony hinges on very very little at the moment. You've got this!


Hey, Amy!
Yay! Please send me your address, WE have A LOT of insta oatmeals to share!!!
My kids to your kids, we feel ya peeps! haha...willing to share the love...LOL

:) Hoppy EASTER!


I read all the recipes and comments

I wondered if you should have an agreement before you buy more packets. I think they should add more instant oatmeal to each packet, to make the portion larger and more filling. That would give them the authentic taste, but make each packet “go” a lot further. And it would be simple.


I got nothing, sorry. My oldest only eats the old fashioned and she doesn't cook them long enough so it always looks like cardboard and now I'm mad to have that visual again, thanks.

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