How to CookGrains

Savory Oatmeal You Can Have Any Time of Day, Any Which Way

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Sometimes sweet's gotta take a backseat, so we partnered with The Quaker Oats Company to show you how to make savory oatmeal any way you like it—without a recipe.

What's as happy topped with peanut butter and jam as it is with a fried egg, scallions, and soy sauce? As good for breakfast as it is for lunch, and even dinner? Can feed one as easy as it could 20 people?

Savory Oatmeal with Ham, Poached Eggs, and Hollandaise Sauce
Savory Oatmeal with Ham, Poached Eggs, and Hollandaise Sauce

Oatmeal! Oatmeal's the answer. And while, yes, it makes for a wonderful breakfast topped with raisins, brown sugar, and cream, oatmeal's just as good savory as it is sweet. It's kind of like the grain bowl's easier-to-make sibling.

We recently showed you why oatmeal makes the best crowd-friendly breakfast, but put a fried egg on it, a smattering of grated Parmesan, and some chopped parsley and you have a bowl that shouldn't be relegated to the morning. The best part, however, is how easy and customizable savory oatmeal is. Really, it's a two-step process—just cook and build.

Here's how to make savory oatmeal without a recipe:

These oats are made for cooking.
These oats are made for cooking. Photo by James Ransom

1. Cook the oats.

If you've made oatmeal before, you know how to do this. Make it as you usually do, but omit the sugar and season with salt and pepper instead. As far as the number of servings go, keep the liquid-to-oat ratio 2:1 and you can scale the amount easily.

For more on how to cook oatmeal, here's a detailed explanation. As far as the liquids go, you can use 1/2 water and 1/2 milk, 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken or vegetable broth, or all broth. You might want to try toasting the oats in a bit of butter or oil prior to adding the liquid and/or stirring in a tablespoon or so of butter after the oats are done cooking.

Bacon Jam
Bacon Jam

2. Pick your toppings.

Here's a topping trick: Use whatever you like. Savory oatmeal is the perfect vehicle for using up those leftovers and dregs hiding in your fridge and pantry, too. Here are some suggestions, organized by mealtime:


Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs

Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs by Genius Recipes

Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi's Basic Hummus

Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi's Basic Hummus by Genius Recipes

Make Any Pesto in 5

Make Any Pesto in 5 by Phyllis Grant

Making Crème Fraîche at Home

Making Crème Fraîche at Home by A Cozy Kitchen



  • Chopped apples, gruyere, toasted and chopped walnuts, honey
  • Parmesan, flakey sea salt, olive oil, pepper flakes
  • Soy sauce eggs, scallions, furikake
  • Odd flavor sauce, leftover roast chicken, scallions
  • Roasted vegetables, hummus, toasted and chopped almonds, feta, chopped parsley
  • Pesto, sliced avocado, cheddar, sprouts


Balsamic-Roasted Shallots

Balsamic-Roasted Shallots by Kenzi Wilbur

Olive Oil-Braised Broccoli Rabe

Olive Oil-Braised Broccoli Rabe by Sarah Jampel

XO Sauce

XO Sauce by Leslie Stephens

New-School French Onion Dip

New-School French Onion Dip by Sarah Coates


  • Feta Pistachio Dip, toasted and chopped pistachios, olive oil
  • Fried egg and hot sauce
  • Sliced avocado and hummus


Photo by James Ransom

3. Eat.

Okay, so this step isn't technically a "step." Grab a bowl and a spoon and getting to eating—savory oatmeal's not meant to be kept waiting!

We know oatmeal is personal—so comment below to tell us what's in your favorite savory bowl.

Oatmeal's just as good savory as it is sweet, so we partnered with The Quaker Oats Company to help them find their newest flavor of oatmeal. Submit your ideas to their contest here for a chance to win $250,000. Ends 3/12/16.

Tags: Oatmeal, Breakfast, (Not) Recipes