Breakfast in a jar – homemade instant oatmeal

oatmeal jar 3

On weekdays, breakfast is generally a hurried meal.  For years, my main breakfast of choice has been oatmeal – quick to prepare, healthy and satisfying.  After gradually removing refined, boxed cereals from the house, I finally got my husband to switch to oatmeal, but for a long time it was packaged instant oatmeal.

Nowadays instead of packaged instant oatmeal, I keep a jar of homemade oatmeal mix on hand.  It’s healthier than packaged oatmeal as there is no added sugar, and I use organic quick oats mixed with dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon.  If you can’t find quick oats, you can buy rolled oats and in a food processor give them a couple of quick pulses, just to cut down the size of the oats so they’ll cook quicker (see below for a look at the quick oats).


I eat my oatmeal unsweetened and often with fresh fruit (sliced bananas add a nice sweetness and texture), while my husband likes to sweeten his oatmeal with maple syrup.  When buying dried fruit, I like to get ones with no added sugar and organic wherever possible.

You can add anything else you prefer to the oatmeal jar.  Sometimes I also add ground flax seeds, or I will add chia seeds to the oatmeal after it has absorbed the boiled water (as chia seeds can have a glutinous texture when they absorb water which I don’t prefer).  I even add a few spoonfuls of my tea to the oatmeal sometimes as I like the flavour.

For breakfast, I usually spoon out about 4 heaping teaspoons from the jar and then add boiling water to cover the oatmeal.  After a few minutes, the oatmeal will have absorbed the water and is ready to eat.  When the jar starts running low, I just fill it up again with a new mix right on top of the remaining mix and shake it up.

oatmeal jar mixed

Oatmeal Jar


  • Organic quick oats
  • Dried fruit (cut into small pieces if required) – dried apples, cranberries, raspberries, etc.
  • Chopped nuts – walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Ground flax seeds or chia seeds (optional)
  • water

Fill up just under 2/3 of the container up with rolled oats.  Add a layer of dried fruit to fill up almost half of the remaining space, and then fill up the other half with chopped nuts and ground flax/chia seeds (if desired).  Add the cinnamon, then screw the lid on the jar and then shake to combine.  Ensure you leave a little space in the jar to allow the contents to mix easily.

To eat, spoon 4 heaping teaspoons of oatmeal mix into a bowl.  Add boiling water to cover oatmeal with a shallow layer of water on top (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep).  Let the bowl sit for 2-3 minutes while the oatmeal gently cooks and absorbs the water.  Add sliced fresh fruit and/or sweeten the oatmeal as desired.  Mix and enjoy.

4 thoughts on “Breakfast in a jar – homemade instant oatmeal

  1. I’m trying a 12 grain oatmeal mix from Bulk Barn. Only trouble is it contains steel cut oats and requires a longer cooking time. Where do you get the rolled oats?

    • I updated the post to show the President’s Choice Organic Quick Oats I use. I usually buy them from nofrills or Superstore. If you can’t find it you can use rolled oats and depending on the size, give them a couple of quick pulses in a food processor to cut them smaller so they cook faster.

      For the mix with the steel cut oats, if you want an easy way to cook them you can use a rice cooker and if it has a timer, set it so it’s done in the morning. Similarly you can use a slow cooker and set it on low before you go to bed so it’s ready in the morning.

  2. Living in a condo means space is at a premium for having extra kitchen items like a slow cooker and food processor. The rice cooker I use does not have a timer so perhaps next time I’ll have to go with the quick oats.

    • To help with quick breakfasts during the weekdays, then I would suggest cooking a large batch of the mix with steel cut oats on one day, and then during the week reheat one portion (with more boiling water, or reheat) and add fresh fruit as needed.

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