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If your mornings are hectic and breakfast is often an afterthought, then you may wonder how to save time. This may have led you to consider the question can you freeze oatmeal?
You can freeze oatmeal, it is super easy to do. You can either freeze it in muffin tins or in scooped out servings and then place it into freezer bags. It can last without any degradation in quality for 6 months, but should be safe to eat longer than that.
Oatmeal is a hearty and easy meal to make. It is also super versatile, you can add a variety of different fruits, nuts and spices to it making it taste different each time. That variety is great because you won’t get bored eating it often.
Can You Freeze Oatmeal?
We like to prep our food ahead of time and have our meals ready to; only needing to be reheated. This helps to keep our food budget under control and also ensures that we are eating healthy meals whenever possible.
So, of course it’s good to have breakfast freezer meals ready to go also. Oatmeal is a perfect candidate for our everyday breakfast routine when we are getting tired of our frozen eggs or hash brown casserole.
What’s really great about this particular method of cooking and freezing is it opens up a variety of ways to customize each meal without adding in a ton of time. Essentially, we cook just plain oatmeal to start as a base and then, when we thaw, we can customize with whatever topping we are in the mood for that day.
What you will need is your oatmeal of choice, an Instant Pot/Ninja Foodi/pressure cooker, and a muffin pan. We like to use steel cut oats for the boost in nutrition but you can use any type of oatmeal. For this discussion all times will be based on Steel cut oats, times may vary depending on your chosen type of oatmeal.
Make sure your Instant Pot is clean and ready to cook. Pull out your measuring cups and add 5 cups of water. Finally, add 2 cups of steel cut oats. You can also add in a bit of salt to taste if you so desire.
This will make around 6 one cup servings. Add more oats for larger batches. The water to oat ratio is a little more than double the water to oats. For example, in this recipe one cup of oats equals about two and a half cups of water.
You may need to play around with the ratio a bit as you make more batches so your oats are not too dry or too soggy.
Close your Instant Pot and seal the lid. Press the button for manual and set your timer for 4 minutes.
This is the time that works for our climate. Depending on your elevation your time may be a little more or less. Again, play around with this until you find the perfect routine that works for you.
You may be thinking 4 minutes is pretty short. Don’t worry. It will likely take 15-20 minutes to pressurize and another 10 or so for your Instant Pot to naturally release the pressure once the timer has gone off.
All in all, you are looking at around a 30 minute cook time.
When the 4 minute cook time is up, make sure not to open the Instant Pot right away. You will want to let it do a natural release which means it slowly lets the pressure go instead of you opening the valve.
It’s important to let the Instant Pot naturally release the pressure instead of flipping the valve yourself because this time allows the oats to soak up more water and become tender and delicious.
Before you get started, you have a few options if you will be adding any flavoring ingredients to your oatmeal. You can either add them now as one big batch, add them on top after step one below or add them when you thaw and reheat your oatmeal.
Adding various flavorings are a great way to easily customize your breakfast so you don’t get tired of the same old thing every day. Here are just a few ideas:
- Strawberries & Creme (Milk or Vanilla)
- Blueberries & Vanilla
- Cinnamon & Sugar
- Apples and Cinnamon
- Raspberries & Creme (Milk or Vanilla)
- Chia Seeds & Blueberries
- Brown Sugar
- Banana Slices & Walnuts
- Almonds & Strawberries
- Blackberries & Vanilla
- Chocolate Chips & Blueberries
Now that you have a pot of cooked oats you’ll want to take out your muffin pan. Once, again, you’ll want to grab your measuring cups and add one cup scoops in each muffin pod (I guess that’s what you would call them).
Stick the entire muffin pan in a large freezer bag. A 2 gallon reusable freezer bag should work well. You want to use a freezer bag so the oats do not accumulate too much water or frost. Now, stick everything in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.
Once frozen, remove your oatmeal from the freezer. Remove your oatmeal from the muffin pan and pop each puck into a large freezer bag. You can use the same one the pan was in or opt for smaller ones.
It is a good idea to label your freezer bag with what is in it flavor of oatmeal and today’s date. Oatmeal can stay frozen indefinitely, but after 6 months the quality can start to decrease.
When you are ready to thaw, simply place a serving in the fridge overnight or stick it straight into the microwave.
Reheating your oatmeal will only take a few minutes in the microwave. Exact times will vary based on portion size, your microwave and if you thawed it first. It typically takes less than 5 minutes.
You should start with 1 minute intervals, stirring in between. Once you know how long it takes for you microwave, next time you can heat for half the time, stir once and then heat the other half of the time.
Can you freeze raw oats? You can. It’s pretty easy too. Just put them in a freezer safe bag. You want freezer specific bags because it is crucial that the raw oats do not have ANY condensation in the bag.
Can I freeze any type of oatmeal? Absolutely! The above method works with freezing any kind of oatmeal. So you can freeze traditional oatmeal, steel cut oatmeal, instant oatmeal, etc.
How long can I freeze oatmeal? Typically, we would say don’t freeze any longer than six months. After that the quality starts to degrade. Anything longer then six months, we recommend observing FDA guidelines for food preservation.
How do you thaw frozen oatmeal? The best way to thaw it it to simply remove it from the freezer the day/night before you want to use it. Stick it in a bowl in the fridge and it should be good to go the next day.
How do you cook frozen oatmeal? You can either cook it still frozen, or you can thaw it overnight. To cook it, you can simply put it in the microwave for several minutes (stirring occasionally).
Can you refrigerate leftover oatmeal? Yes, you can refrigerate leftover oatmeal for a few days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container.