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Oatmeal, or porridge, is one of those foods that divide opinion.
There are people that love it. They eat it regularly, even daily, or have it as a special treat from time to time. They know how good it is for you. And how tasty it is, especially when cooked properly.
And there are others, who have clearly lost their minds, who don’t like it, or even the idea of it. They think it’s a gooey sticky tasteless mess that’s a pain in the oats to cook. Well, for those of you, crazy people, hopefully, this will change your minds and then you will understand what all the fuss is about.
You may have realized by now which category I fall into. Yes, I love oatmeal. I am in the daily dose category. It’s breakfast every day for me, and I never get bored of it.
It’s All In The Cooking
I think one of the big reasons some people aren’t fans of oatmeal is because of how it’s cooked. They’ve maybe had it badly cooked, so it isn’t great. Or tried an instant sachet. Or they’ve seen or tried cooking it in a pan that needs careful watching and stirring, so they can’t be bothered, even if the results are great.
Salvation Could Be Here In The Form Of A Rice Cooker
Has that sentence ever been said before?
Oatmeal is a food that treads a fine line between convenience and good results.
There’s the really quick to prepare, instant oatmeal in a sachet or a cup where all you need to do is just add hot water. They can be nice/acceptable, or not, depending on what you get. They can have ‘flavors’ added for you. They’re even already divided into single portions for you. They really are more for convenience and time-saving.
Then there’s quick oatmeal that needs a bit of a cook, either in the microwave or in a pan. We’re heading more towards taste now with a bit less convenience. They’re good but you do need to pay attention and stir in a pan to avoid that sticky, dry, gloop that puts people off. Even in the microwave, you need to keep an eye on it and maybe give a quick stir. But it’s getting tastier now.
Whole oatmeal is better and tastier but needs a bit more time and attention to get the best results and make sure it’s cooked enough, but not overdone. We are more at the taste end than the convenience end now. Delicious.
Steel-cut oatmeal is the queen of oatmeal. It is literally the entire oat so it has all the taste and texture, adding a nuttiness to the taste and an almost bubble bursting texture when you eat it. Steel-cut oatmeal is really delicious. Almost a completely different food from instant oatmeal in a cup.
But you need to take the time needed to cook it. Either in a slow cooker or in a pan on very low, and slow. Not so much convenience. But it knocks the taste out of the park.
It seems that it’s a trade-off between taste or convenience.
If only there was a way to get great results AND that was easy to cook.
Enter stage right, a rice cooker. A rice cooker not only produces great oatmeal but is super easy to cook.
That’s why we’re here. You want to know how to make oatmeal in a rice cooker.
And Here’s How
It’s sooo easy. The main thing is getting the ratio of liquid to oatmeal correct.
You’ll need around twice as much liquid as oats. But you’ll need to adjust a little for the type of oats and of course your own taste or preference.
Talking of liquids. Personally, I’m an ‘only water in my oatmeal’ kind of guy. But you can obviously use milk or a mix of milk and water. Not just dairy, non-dairy milk like almond or soya work too. The overall ratio is the same – around 2 to 1.
The cooking time will also depend on which oats you are using; more details to follow. Although if you’re going to use a rice cooker, personally I wouldn’t bother with the quick oatmeal (Instant is definitely off the menu now). I’d go with just whole rolled oats or steel-cut oats.
One of the beauties of rice cookers is that most of them will automatically stop cooking and move to a keep warm setting once all the liquid has been absorbed. Clever things they are. So you don’t have to worry about the time too much.
That’s the biggest advantage of using a rice cooker to make oatmeal, so it is a good idea to check if the one you have or are getting has the auto stop cooking feature.
It’s best to put it on before you need it and have the perfect oatmeal keeping warm until you’re ready to eat it. Pop it on, pop out, or work out and eat whenever you want.
Some rice cookers also have a ‘Porridge’ setting. Although it’s actually to make rice porridge it still works well for oatmeal porridge. It will cook at a lower temperature so will need a little longer. But better results.
So if you have a rice cooker with the auto keep warm AND a porridge setting it’s perfect for oatmeal.
If You Didn’t Know – Rice porridge, also known as congee, is rice cooked using a lot of water (8 to 1!), at a lower temperature to produce a more broken down and creamy consistency. It can be flavored to be sweet or savory. Often served for breakfast.
So, Let’s Get Down To It.
Put the oats and liquid into the rice cooker using the ratios below for each type of oats. An average serving per person is around ½ cup of uncooked oats. Maybe, like me, you’ll increase that over time.
There are a multitude of things you can also add at this point or after cooking. The favorites are apple, cinnamon, blueberries, honey, sugar, maple syrup. Whatever you fancy. One of my favorites is milled flax seeds stirred in after cooking.
If you like, go traditional and add salt. A lot of people think it’s weird, but you should try it. Trust me.
Don’t forget the lid.
Here’s the guides for each type of oatmeal.
Bear in mind times are a guide as hopefully your rice cooker will stop cooking when done and ping you. It will take a little longer on the porridge setting if you have it. Maybe 5 minutes more before it pings.
- ‘Quick oats’ are oats that are steamed then rolled into flat flakes and then chopped up for quicker cooking.
- 1 cup of oatmeal to 1 ¾ cups of liquid.
- 10-15 minutes.
- Whole or ‘old fashioned’ oats are oats that are also steamed and rolled into flakes, though not as flat as quick oats, and NOT chopped up. Similar taste but rougher texture.
- 1 cup of oatmeal to 1 ¾ cups of liquid.
- 20-25 minutes.
- Steel-cut oats are the whole oat grain NOT steamed or rolled into flakes so keep their grain shape but are cleanly sliced into 2 or 3 pieces. They have a completely different, fuller, nutty texture and taste.
- 1 cup of oatmeal to 2 ½ cups of liquid.
- 25 minutes or more.
That’s it. Now you know how to make oatmeal in a rice cooker.
As you can see, it’s really easy and does produce great oatmeal, especially once you add in your favorite extras.
I hope oatmeal lovers have found a new method to try.
And that the oatmeal skeptics can be brought over to the not completely insane side.
An Added Bonus
As if tasty and super easy wasn’t enough, oatmeal is also good for you.
- Oats are a good source of fiber, soluble and insoluble. It helps keep a healthy digestive system which is good for overall health and beta-glucans lower cholesterol which is good for your heart.
- Avenanthramide – Found uniquely in oatmeal, is believed may also play an important role in protecting the heart.
- Little or no fat or cholesterol.
- Gluten-free – Oats are naturally gluten-free. Regular oats may contain traces of gluten picked up from machinery that also processes wheat, so if it’s crucial for you buy the gluten-free ones which are produced using dedicated machinery. Otherwise regular should be fine.
- GI – Whole oats have a GI (Glycemic Index) of around 55. Just about considered low. And better than bread and regular cereal for breakfast. This means good for diabetics as there is no quick rise in blood sugar. And good for everyone as a slow energy release.
- Protein – around 5g per serving.
- Contains zinc, iron, calcium, thiamin, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and phosphorus.
In short, it’s safe to say oatmeal is good for you. Just be aware that whatever you add to the oatmeal needs to be taken into account too. From the milk and fruit to the maple syrup and sugar.