Brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal is a quick and easy breakfast recipe that comes together in less than 10 minutes and is way better than storebought! It's gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and easy to customize.
If you're looking for more healthy breakfast ideas for busy mornings, check out my overnight chia seed pudding, 3-ingredient banana oat pancakes, or lemon blueberry baked oatmeal.
When it comes to oatmeal, one of the best flavor pairings is sweet brown sugar and earthy, warm cinnamon. Forget those instant oatmeal store-bought packets because homemade oatmeal couldn't be easier. Plus there are no artificial flavors, just a few really simple ingredients.
Which Type Of Oats to Use
There are four main types of oats. All oats start out as oat groats but provide different textures.
- Old Fashioned Rolled Oats - the whole grains are steamed and flattened, then flaked. These provide the most texture.
- Quick Cooking Oats - (also just called quick oats) are fully cooked, dried, and cut, then rolled thinner than old fashioned oats. Because they're pre-cooked, they cook the fastest.
- Instant Oats - the most processed of the four types. These are pre-cooked, dried, and chopped into smaller pieces. Store-bought options usually have other ingredients added such as sugars, salts, and additives. Their texture is very gummy and mushy.
- Steel Cut Oats (also called Irish oats or Scottish oats) are not rolled at all. They're coarsely chopped into several small pieces that resemble rice grains. They have a chewier texture that retains its shape even after cooking, but they take around 30 minutes to cook.
- Rolled oats - for this recipe, I like to use old fashioned rolled oats. They still yield a creamy texture but cook in a very short amount of time, unlike hearty steel-cut oats.
- Any type of milk - either plant-based milk such as oat milk (what I used), unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, or whole milk if you consume dairy.
- Water - this combined with the milk yields the best flavor and texture for cooking the oats.
- Brown sugar & ground cinnamon - add sweetness and warmth.
- Pinch of salt - to balance out the flavors.
How to Make Brown Sugar Cinnamon Oatmeal
Step 1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, water, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
Step 2. Add in the rolled oats and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally for 7-8 minutes.
Step 3. Remove from the heat. Serve with additional milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and any additional toppings if desired.
Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations
Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.
How can you make this brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal using what you already have? Here are some ideas...
- Gluten-free? - Even though oats are naturally gluten-free, their cross-contamination rate is high, so make sure to buy oats that are labeled certified gluten-free. Bob's Red Mill, One Degree, and Anthony's are great brands.
- No brown sugar? - you can also use coconut sugar or maple syrup.
- Switch up the grain - use another gluten-free grain such as quinoa or millet.
- Add-ins - chia seeds, flax seeds, chopped nuts, dried or fresh fruit, chocolate chips or cacao nibs, almond butter, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, or butter for a cinnamon roll variation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cinnamon is a spice with health benefits. It contains antioxidants and also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help lower blood sugar levels.
Oatmeal is best eaten the day you make it, but you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove until warmed through. You'll likely need to add more milk to rehydrate it.
More Breakfast Recipes Using Oats
- Maple Tahini Nut-Free Granola
- Oat Flour Waffles
- Lemon Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
- Spiced Pear Oatmeal
- Oat Flour Crepes
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Oatmeal
- 1 cup milk of choice plus more for serving
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon plus more for serving
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats use certified GF if necessary
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, water, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Add in the rolled oats and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally for 7-8 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. Serve with additional milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and any additional toppings if desired.
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