September 17, 2013
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Do you ever find yourself wanting a quick yet healthier version of the boxed oatmeal from the store? This recipe has less sugar but is just as rich in flavor.
While my family loves recipes like baked oatmeal and overnights oats, instant oatmeal is one of those breakfast household staples I always keep on hand. Those little packets, usually 10 to a box, are very convenient for rushed mornings.
If you have kids (especially big ones) who love instant oatmeal, you know they can go through two or three packets in one sitting! By Thursday, I am nearly out of oatmeal, which leads me to making plain oatmeal from quick oats and adding a little milk and sugar on my own.
I love making my own because they are cost-effective, I can also reduce the sugar, and I can customize the packets with whatever I have on hand.
DIY Instant Oatmeal Packet Ingredients
The ingredients are simple: quick oats, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and powdered milk. If you follow this recipe, you’ll be able to make up to 20 to 24 packets of instant oatmeal. That’s over twice the amount that comes in a single box you’ll get at the store.
And in case you only have old-fashioned rolled oats at the moment, I have a ton of recipes to use those oats up! Everything from apple pie overnights oats to savory oats and muffins!
How to Make Instant Oatmeal Packets
Grab a pack of snack-size plastic bags, your ingredients, and let’s make these DIY Instant Oatmeal packets.
- To a large bowl, add 6 cups of quick oats.
- Place the remaining 4 cups of oats into a blender. Blend until almost powdery, then pour into the large bowl.
- To the oats, add the salt, brown sugar, powdered milk, and cinnamon, optional. Stir to combine.
- Measure ½ cup of the oatmeal mixture into each snack-size plastic bag and seal.
How easy is that?! If you need this recipe to be dairy-free omit the powdered milk and carry on. It adds a creamy flavor but isn’t necessary for a delicious bowl of hot oatmeal.
Instant Oatmeal Recipes
Making your own DIY Oatmeal Packets already takes breakfast up to another level, but here are a few more ways to improve instant oatmeal to make it even more delicious!
- Dried berries
- Dried, chopped apples
- Chopped walnuts
- Slivered almonds
- Shredded coconut
- Mini chocolate chips
Add your choice of mix-ins, about a tablespoon of each, directly to the mini plastic bag of oats. That way, you get a variety of flavors from one batch of instant oats, with no need to buy separate boxes for different flavors.
I usually add mini chocolate chips or dinosaur sprinkles to it, and the kids like it just the same! You’ll never need to go back to boxed instant oatmeal again once you realize how easy it is to make your own! Storage tip: when making these DIY Instant Oatmeal packets, I put most of them back inside my larger quick oats canister for storage, but any container will work.
Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets
For the Instant Oats Packets:
- 10 cups instant oats
- 1 cup powdered milk
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon optional
- 1 cup hot water
- To a large bowl, add 6 cups of oats.
- In a blender, place the remaining 4 cups and blend until powdery.
- Add the blended oats to the bowl along with the powdered milk, sugar, salt, and cinnamon, if using. Stir to combine and divide ½ cup of the oatmeal mixture between 20 to 24 snack-size plastic bags.
- Store in the pantry for up to 2 months.
- Pour a packet of oats into a bowl and 1 cup hot water. Stir to combine and microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir and enjoy.
Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Never going back to storebought instant oatmeal! these homemade packs are so easy and, I can make only the “good” flavors (according to my kids) so we aren’t stuck with the leftovers no one wants every time.
Made this Tonight. I cut the recipe in half as it is just for me. Came out perfect. I used some Splenda instead of brown sugar. Printing the recipe out and going in my binder of recipes.
MOMables - Laura
I’m glad you enjoyed your instant oatmeal packets, Marie!
How do you make the peanut butter oats?
I don’t have a specific recipe for that, but you could try adding a tablespoon of peanut butter along with hot water when preparing one of these instant packets.
I’ve never considered blending the oats and adding them. Why exactly do you do that. I make my own instant oatmeal packs, but I certainly want to give this a try. Thanks for sharing.
The blending step breaks down the large oat flecks into smaller pieces so they absorb they can cook much faster.
Probably with powdered peanut butter
Hi, can you tell me if this is stored in Mylar bags would it last longer?
Hi Christine, Mylar bags will certainly keep the oats fresh for a longer period of time compared to regular plastic zip bags.
How would it hold up by adding the brown sugar in the Mylar bags?
It would be fine with brown sugar.
MOMables - Laura
I have found them to hold up well. I usually make these and they don’t stay longer than 30 or 60 days in my pantry so no issues
What type of powdered milk do you use?
I use any kind, as long as it’s powdered milk.
This is our go-to breakfast meal on all our camp trips. I make up a single or double batch in advance and then measure out 1/2 C into our thermal mugs each morning and top with 1 C of boiling water. I generally use Old-fashioned oats because we like their hardiness. For this reason, we found putting the lids on our thermal mugs and letting them sit for a good 15 minutes was the key to softening them to the right consistency. I also found that that adding a bit more brown sugar (1/4 C) gave it the right sweetness for us. Thanks so much for this great idea.
Hi, this recipe looks so good but I have two questions. My first is what is the correct amounts for each ingredient if I was making only one packet at a time? I tried to get the ingredients ratio using the 1x, 2x, 3x calculator it doesn’t seem to come out right. I would like to try this in multiple flavors to see which I like best before doing a large batch. So I was going to do it in jars one packet at a time until I decide which combination I like . My second question was because I would like to use jars that will work for me to both store than eat the oatmeal in as well, could you please tell me about how much one portion expands after cooking, does it end up being one or two cups or more? so I can pick the right size jar to use, thank you for any help you can give me.
Hi Shyanna, if you were to make only one packet at a time, the ingredient amounts would be: 1/2 cup oats, about 1/2 tablespoon powdered milk, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. The ingredient ratio calculator is for the recipe as a whole, so it will double and triple. If you would like to prep these in containers that you can also eat from I recommend using 8 to 12-ounce lidded jars or containers, such as mason or canning jars.
Was hoping to try this recipe but wasn’t sure about the ingredients. It seems to have a glitch when I press the (x2 and x3). Is this correct?
10 cups instant oats
1 cup powdered milk
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon- optional
Hi Charlotte, thank you for letting me know this, I will look into it. The recipe you’ve listed above is correct.
Question, can I add boiling water to it and let it sit for awhile? I dont own a microwave. Thanx!
MOMables - Laura
can I leave out brown sugar and just use splenda for each single serving? please reply to my email I am a senior and get confused
Hi Dorothy, yes, you can omit the brown sugar and use a Splenda packet for each serving.
My husband and I make these packets for backpacking. I use old fashioned oats, which I actually like better because they’re not as gummy. I add dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc. to get Moore protein and energy packed in.
My kids & I love this recipe! Thank you!
What do you add to your protein oats, super oats, & peanut butter oats?
MOMables - Laura
Protein oats: I add 1/2 to 1 scoop of protein powder and additional liquid when I make them. Super oats: 1 teaspoon each: chia, hemp seeds, and flax meal. I hope this helps!
Do you have recipes for other flavoured oatmeals?
You can add about a tablespoon of your choice of add-ins like dried fruit, chopped nuts, or chocolate chips directly into the packets, that way you get a variety of flavors from one batch.
What are the measurements for the powdered milk, salt, brown sugar, etc when making a big batch of these instant oats. I have searched over & over and just don’t see anything beyond the 10 cups of oats needed & then the recipe for preparing 1 serving of instant oats. Thanks.
Hey Stephanie, I just edited the recipe. Let me know if this helped.
I have made this recipe three times now and it’s absolutely perfect! My 1:1 substitutions are: powdered coconut milk and coconut palm sugar. I actually bought oat flour this time and used 3 1/4 cups of oat four and it’s still amazing! For backpacking, I will actually add 1 tsp butter in the middle of the bag for each serving. So delicious! Thank you for this great recipe!!!
Why do you put half of the oats in the blender first? Just curious.
I’ve done this before but measured each thing into the bags…..thanks for the idea to mix it all and then scoop! Brilliant
MOMables - Laura
to make them into an “oat flour” of sorts so they cook faster. Enjoy!
Trying this out today!
I’ve made this recipe twice before. And this time when I came to make the recipe, the ingredients list was gone. How much milk powder, etc? The instructions are there but where did the ingredients go?
Help, I agree! I am looking for the measurements for this besides the 10 cups of oatmeal. We love it but I don’t remember the proportions from making it before.
Hi Margie, the recipe has been edited.
Yummy and great for backpacking. I don’t add any sugar, but put in dried dates instead. We make many variations with adding any kind of dried fruit we want – blueberries, bananas etc. Our whole family loves it.
I don’t often comment on recipes but I’ve been trying to find something easy and healthy for my kids to make themselves for breakfast so I gave these a try. My kids said they were awesome! I added a bag of freeze dried strawberries to half the mixture and they preferred it that way.
Great idea! I’m going to make the recipe and put in glass containers instead of baggies. My kids can add water, microwave it, and eat out of the jar-or take it on the go!
a total step up!! love it.
Love it. Any recipes gor banana instant oatmeal?
MOMables - Laura
Use dehydrated banana chips in each packet. That should do it!
I dehydrated ripe bananas and powdered them. I haven’t tried it yet but plan to add that with a few choc chips.
Love your idea for bananas. Curious how long you dehydrated them to make them crunchy enough? Also did you treat with lemon juice or citric acid to help with discoloration first?
As a family of 5, we can easily eat 10 quaker oats packets for breakfast so i just put it all in a container with a scoop and they fill up their bowls with what they want and add hot water. No messing with plastic baggies. We take this camping alot, it is perfect for backcountry camping. Give it a shake before scooping, in case ingredients have settled out.
Oats are perfect for camping!
They sell powdered maple syrup on Amazon. Pricey, $20.85 a pound, couldn’t find anywhere how much to convert to liquid form, so don’t know how much to add to recipe. Used, per info, mainly for hiking, camping and cooking BBQ.
Has anyone tried these with even less sugar? Like 1/2 C for the whole recipe? I put this recipe through myfitnesspal recipebox for the nutrition facts, and even at 1C of sugar, and 24 servings, each serving has more sugar than my quaker instant oats (apple cinnamon flavor). Although I’m stoked that I can identify all the ingredients, we try to limit our sugar at breakfast to less than 9g per serving (unless it’s whole fruit).
Hi, Jo! You can definitely reduce the sugar to whatever you’re comfortable with. It won’t be as sweet, but you can top it with fresh fruit once you’ve cooked it to make up for the reduced sugar. Hope you enjoy it!
Thank you for this. I did this, this morning before finding your site. The only exception I used Steel-rolled whole old fashioned oats. Just as tasty. I did no think of the powdered milk or brown sugar – should give that a try. I wonder if they make powdered maple syrup for the maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal – that and the raisins are my favorite.
Hmm I’ve never heard of powdered maple syrup, but that would definitely be convenient for these packets. Thanks, Jason!
Yes, they do make maple syrup powder. You can find it on amazon. It’s suppose to be better for you than sugar.
Thank you so much for the inspiration. I had so much fun putting together these oatmeal packets. I have grown so tired of the store bought ones. I can’t wait to start experimenting with different flavor combinations!
That’s great Jenn!
Has anyone tried any other flavor variations besides Apples & Cinnamon (love that one) and Strawberries and Cream (allergic to strawberries)? I would love to try more flavors, but I’m scared to ruin a whole batch by adding the wrong ingredients or messing something up.
Jackie, I get the freeze dried fruit from Target. It doesn’t have added sugar and it’s a dry ingredient like the oats. When I make the bags I just put a spoonful in each. Hope that helps.
I have a bunch of add ins for mine – raisins, walnuts, slivered almonds, dried cranberries or whatever will keep in my desk drawer at work. I make this and put it in a gallon zip lock bag. I also used old fashioned oats for the 10 cups and put the instant through the blender. And I add chia seeds and flax meal for extra fiber. There is also an artificial brown sugar out that tastes pretty darn good. But if you add fruit, you really don’t need to use sugar of any kind. I didn’t know about the powdered maple syrup – may have to try that. I know they make powdered peanut butter! A batch of this gives me breakfast for a month at work. Love this recipe and have shared it alot!
This us wonderful than you fir sharing. My almost 4 year old and will be putting these together today!
Now, how about a similar recipe for those Cream if Wheat packages?? ;). Those are his absolute favorite and with twin brothers in his heals I can see a lot of consuming of them! And it sure would save me some money !
Thank you for your great ideas, making the mom world that much easier for us!
will work on one! :)
Christine L Jonsdotter
Just grind some wheat berries and add anything you would add to the oats.
I have made these packets twice now. Today I added shredded coconut, pumpkin spice and dried cranberries to half the batch and raisins, cinnamon and maple sugar to the other half! My toddler and I both love oatmeal! With a new baby due in just a few weeks having these on hand will be a total lifesaver :)
Thanks for an amazing base recipe that I can change and add to every time I make it! I’d love to hear others ideas on flavour combinations :)
Do you add the powder maple sugar instead in place of the sugar? Same amount? I new to this.
Pumpkin spice! How much spice did you add to each packet?
Hi Meari, if you want to add pumpkin spice, I suggest 1/8 a teaspoon per packet, or 1 tablespoon for the whole batch.
Has anyone tried substituting the milk powder with whey protein powder instead?
Yes, you can do that :)
Can I use powdered soya milk, I have not seen powdered cow’s milk on the shelf in my island in many years.
Absolutely. You can also omit and use your preferred milk when cooking instead of water.
Exactly what I plan to do. – make it without powdered milk, but just add whole milk when I put it in a bowl to cook.
Thanks for the recipe. And is it really 10 cups of oatmeal and only 1/2 cup of brown sugar? Doesn’t sound like much sugar.
Hi Gail, adding whole milk at the end is also a great option. As far as brown sugar goes you can add or subtract to your liking. I prefer for my oats to have less sugar since I’ll often top them with fresh fruit, which adds flavor and sweetness.
Has anyone tried a substitution for powdered milk that gave the creamy constancy? Example; powdered coffee creamer. Powdered milk has a processed taste. Or does the other ingredients override that taste and replace it with creamy? Specifically looking to replicate the the strawberry and cream taste.
you can omit powdered milk and use milk to warm it up instead of water. use freeze dried strawberries.
I would use almond milk after cooking it.
YES! You absolutely can use powdered creamer! A recipe I had called specifically for that, but because of all the chemicals, I went half and half.
Actually, I just realized that some people would prefer the nondairy creamer, because of lactose. :)
I’m dairy free, so I added 1 teaspoon xanthan gum to my recipe to replace the milk powder, and it turned out great!
Hi, I was wondering if this needs to be microwaved or if it can just sit with the boiling water for a few minutes, like a Quaker packet would.
Hey, you can make it both ways! Just be sure to watch it in the microwave so that it doesn’t boil over.
Any ideas on how to add a maple flavour? My daughter loves the instant maple/brown sugar oatmeal.
when you heat them up add maple. they don’t sell crystalized maple -unfortunately.
I added 1/2 tsp (approx.) maple extract to the oats in the blender – it didn’t add enough moisture to cause a problem with storage, and it tasted great! :)
I found out you can make your own crystal maple syrup. It actually sounds like fun!!
you can get maple sugar at most health food stores :)
Maybe use Granulated Maple Sugar?
yes you can.
after cooking i throw in some maple syrup. It is YUMMY!
For those with milk problems, you can also add powdered nondairy creamer.
you are right! or omit and add non dairy milk when you warm it up. :)
I have no powdered milk on hand, but I would rather use whole milk since my toddler really like oatmeal. Can I omit the powdered stuff and just add the milk when making it?
Diana, you absolutely can!
I like the fruit and cream type oatmeal. Does all the fruit need to be freeze dried? And where do you get freeze dried fruit?
yes, you would use the freeze dried fruits. Many health grocery stores (like whole foods) and online websites (like Amazon) sell them.
Freeze-dried fruit can be found at Target, Trader Joes, and even possibly your local grocery chain. Look for it in the same place they sell dehydrated fruit, raisins, and prunes.
I’m sure with small children there would be no problem with using this up quickly. Was just wondering what the shelf life would be otherwise, thanks.
2-3 months? It will depends based on the expiration date of your ingredients.
Thank you!! I have Celiac’s and can no longer eat the pre made type. I can’t wait to try this. I’m have everything on hand except the powdered milk. I will pick that up tonight.
So awesome Dawn! Glad this is helpful for you.
I’m a celiac and have to eat gluten free. I have an extremely hard finding quick cook oats. How does one go about making quick cook oats out of regular gluten free rolled oats?
Place rolled oats into the food processor and pulse 4-5 times until they are coarsely chopped but not powdery. By cutting up the rolled oats, you make them faster to cook and very similar to store-bought quick oats. You only need a few pulses, otherwise the oats will turn to mush when they’re cooked (like those instant oats packets). Instead of keeping two different containers around, just buy rolled oats and turn them into quick oats whenever you need them.
Would like to try 1 serving how can I make one to try.
Can I use this recipe for vacuum sealing for long term use?
you sure can Roberta.
thank you for my grandkids love oatmeal. I made some up this morning and it took just a few minutes. Now to vacuum seal! I find the freeze dried fruit is a little pricey but I make all kinds of homemade jams and jellies and will add some to that after is is cooked and they will love the different kinds of flavors they can pick from. I omitted the cinnamon and will add that when I make it for one grandson likes cinnamon and apples. I’m telling all kinds of people about this. Thanks again. God bless! Roberta
can i omit the cinnamon i love quaker brown sugar oatmeal plain without maple and i cant find it anymore.i do not really like cinnamon either
of course you can! :)
Has anyone tried almond flour instead of dry milk? We have dairy allergies and I’m wondering if that would work…LOVE the idea of using the Keurig machine for the water too. Thanks!
Jenn, you can leave the dry milk out or use powdered goat milk if you can tolerate it. using almond flour will thicken it but does not serve the same purpose.
I’m going to try with powdered rice milk since we are also allergic to dairy. Fingers crossed it tastes good!
you can omit the powdered milk and then add the rice milk when you heat the oats instead of water. :)
FYI, we use our Keurig machine to add the water. It works great, and my 10 year old doesn’t have to boil water when he make it on his own. I use the smallest setting on my machine. Obviously, just leave out the K-cup
Brooke, I’ve done that too! It works out perfectly!
We have purchased the pre packaged oatmeal in the past and I love the idea of making my own, but I was curious if the dry milk has to be included with the recipe above if we usually just use water to make the pre packaged oatmeal? Is there any significance for the dry milk to be included? Thanks!
Kristi – you can omit the dry milk. However, it gives it a delicious creamy consistency.
Awesome! I can’t wait to make these without the dry milk since it’s adds extra calories that we are trying to omit from our diet at this time. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!
let me know how your family loves them!
You could also save yourself some time and plastic bags and just have the mix in a large container and use a measuring cup to put in the bowls. That way you can also alter portion size depending on the appetite.
Great idea Lynn!
We started doing that too!
I have rolled oats in my pantry. Are they the same? Can I use them?
Rhonda, rolled oats are not quick oats. those take longer to cook.
Hi! My kids love the apples & cinnamon instant oatmeal. Any suggestions? Thanks!
add 1/2 cup chopped dried apples to the mix, then distribute evenly among bags.
Can you give me an idea on the amount of boiling water? And the amount of time to let it sit?
Sharee, the amount of boiling water is really up to your preference on how you like your oatmeal. You could try starting with 1/2 cup of water and adding more if you want more. I usually add a little at a time until I reach the consistency I want. I let the oatmeal cool for a about 2 minutes before eating.
Can you omit the powdered milk and just make it with milk?
Just wanted to let you know that we made these this weekend. We omitted the milk and just made ours with milk and they were fabulous. I’m sure readers who use alternative milks will love that. You have just saved me a TON of money. My kids eat oatmeal 3-5 times a week. Now I can make their favorite, make it organic and make it in larger portions (3/4 cup) and not break the bank. They ate 4 “packets” before we could get them all bagged!
I’m so glad this helped your family Jessica!! Thank you for letting others know that it was a hit with your family and that It will save you money!
Have you found a recipe to make these the “creamy” versions they have in the store (strawberries and cream) for example, my son loves the oatmeal this way but my daughter only wants the strawberry and cream version which I don’t buy from the store anymore, I have yet to figure out how I would concoct this version at home, if you have any ideas, I would greatly appreciate it!
For the strawberries and cream, omit the cinnamon, add 1/4 cup more powder milk and add 1/2 cup crushed freeze dried strawberries.
What do you think of using dehydrated fruit instead of freeze dried? That’s we have and I’m thinking of making a batch plain and then splitting it up for many flavors. Getting ready for back to school. :)
You can absolutely do that!