Oatmeal is a breakfast staple that is not only nutritious but also incredibly easy to make in a hurry. For the busiest of mornings, such as weekdays when you’re trying to get everyone in your household out the door, instant oatmeal has become a popular choice. But with so many brands and flavors at the supermarket, it can leave you wondering what to choose. So, we’ve found the best instant oatmeal experts most often recommend for a fast and healthy breakfast.
It’s widely known that eating whole grains is part of maintaining a balanced diet. But consuming these is especially important for people wanting to prevent diabetes. Swedish and Danish researchers found that any whole grain will do when it comes to protection against the disease. This means eating oatmeal for breakfast offers more benefits besides just being fast and delicious. It can also help you prevent Type 2 diabetes, which is often called adult-onset diabetes.
Surprisingly, in a survey about Black Friday, oatmeal came up in a pretty big way. For a new, flat-screen TV at half price, 20 percent of Americans would eat an oatmeal-only diet for two weeks straight. And another fun statistic: Americans love breakfast so much that 31 percent would give up dinner for it!
So, whether you’re eating oatmeal for breakfast or dinner (brinner?), the list below can help you find the perfect one to fill the craving. Instant oatmeal is convenient and healthy, plus you can prepare it in just a few minutes. There are a lot flavors and ingredients to suit individual tastes, such as apples and cinnamon, maple and brown sugar, and berries and cream. There are also many options that cater to dietary needs, such as low-sugar and zero-gluten varieties. To help you choose which box of packets or cups to pick up next, we’ve compiled the list below of the best instant oatmeal recommended by experts.
The List: Best Instant Oatmeal, According to Experts
1. Purely Elizabeth’s Blueberry Walnut Collagen Protein Oats
For a protein packed breakfast, Eat This, Not That! recommends this blueberry walnut oatmeal: “Supercharge your morning oats with a boost of collagen protein. Purely Elizabeth bumps up the protein count of this cup to 11 grams with grass-fed bovine collagen: a type of protein that has been linked to such benefits as increased muscle mass, improved skin complexion, stronger hair, and more.”
“Purely Elizabeth combines freeze-dried blueberries, walnuts, and cinnamon to make one of the best-flavored instant oatmeals out there. It’s with certified gluten-free oats and whole food ingredients like quinoa flakes and chia seeds. It’s sweetened only with coconut sugar and has only 5 grams of sugar. It also has added collagen protein, which brings this instant oatmeal up to 9 grams of protein per serving,” The Spruce Eats says.
Mashed raves about this oatmeal: “In this day and age, it’s not enough for a breakfast food to simply be convenient or great-tasting. Consumers these days are looking for superfood ingredients in order to get the best possible start to their day. Enter Purely Elizabeth, a company offering instant oatmeals that hit every note. Tasty flavors such as blueberry walnut come packed full of organic ingredients, superfood nuts and seeds, and protein-packed collagen. Not all brands of oats are gluten-free, but Purely Elizabeth oats are.”
2. Bob’s Red Mill Classic Instant Oatmeal
Bob’s Red Mill is the perfect oatmeal to eat plain or to add toppings. Livestrong.com writes, “If you want to doctor up your oatmeal to your own preferences, try starting with this classic option. This oatmeal is made with minimal ingredients — whole grain rolled oats, flaxseed and a touch of salt — to allow for people to add whichever toppings their heart desires. You can prep this oatmeal on the stovetop or in the microwave. With either option, it’ll be ready in under 5 minutes.”
“A popular recommendation among our surveyed dietitians and nutritionists is Bob’s Red Mill Instant Oatmeal. With a blend of gluten-free rolled oats and heart-healthy flaxseed, these packets contain real ingredients that you can feel good about eating. They take only a minute to make and contain little to no added sugars, making them a healthy breakfast choice for a busy schedule,” HuffPost reports.
Mashed says this is the best unflavored instant oatmeal. “For those that prefer a more pure experience, Bob’s Red Mill Organic Classic Oatmeal is a great way to go.”
3. McCann’s Maple & Brown Sugar Irish Oatmeal
Taste of Home recommends this steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast in an instant: “Steel-cut or Irish oats have a different texture than flat, flaky oatmeal. This different grind can make a big difference to particular oatmeal eaters. If you prefer the texture of steel-cut oatmeal, grab a box of McCann’s Irish Oatmeal. When it comes to the flavor, McCann’s delivers. The maple and brown sugar are very pronounced here, so there’s no need to doctor up your oatmeal with an additional splash of maple syrup or a sprinkle of sugar.”
If you’re looking for a maple and brown sugar flavor that’s just right, TODAY says this could be it: “Maple is a tricky flavor to nail. It usually tastes cloyingly sweet or totally fake. But McCann’s Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Irish Oatmeal had the most real maple flavor without being a sugar bomb. We also liked McCann’s heartier texture.”
Making it even easier to enjoy, “Now, McCann’s offers steel-cut oatmeal in a convenient to-go cup that can be made in the microwave in under two minutes. It’s a breakthrough in convenient breakfast technology,” writes Mashed.
4. Nature’s Path Organic Original Hot Oatmeal
Well+Good says this is a great choice for protein, fiber and taste: “Nature’s Path is organic and non-GMO — a big win in my book. The only ingredients listed are organic rolled oats and sea salt — simple, but still pulling in eight grams of protein and six grams of fiber per serving. (The average oatmeal has six grams of protein and five grams of fiber.) Nature’s Path was the clear winner when it came to taste and nutrition, but it’s by no means the only good oatmeal out there.”
TastingTable thinks you’ll be wowed: “The oatmeal is sold as instant oatmeal packets, superfood oatmeal cups, steel-cut, grain-free, and old-fashioned styles. It makes our list for a few reasons; it’s got a great consistency, easy preparation, and pleasant flavors. It’s hard to be wowed by oatmeal, but we can say that you might feel this way after trying Nature’s Path. Their product is full of straightforward flavors and the bonus is that it has tasted this way for years.”
Regardless of your preference, “The organic oats hold up well to hot water or milk, giving you hearty oatmeal with lots of texture,” adds The Spruce Eats.
5. Trader Joe’s Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal
The Daily Meal raves about Trader Joe’s oatmeal, writing, “There are some things you should never buy from Trader Joe’s. But this oatmeal is not one of them! It received resounding praise from our carb-loaded crew. The taste was enjoyably cinnamon-spiced and delicious.”
“While a lot of flavored instant oatmeals are packed with sugar, Trader Joe’s sells cups that have only 6 grams of sugar, much of which is naturally occurring,” Spoon University says.
According to TODAY, “We like Trader Joe’s Oatmeal Complete because it isn’t flavored with anything, but has more than just oats. Each serving contains vitamins B6, B12, A, D and E, flax and folic acid, soy protein (each packet has 7 grams of protein total) and 35 percent of your recommended daily calcium. Nothing plain-Jane about that!”
We hope this list floats your bOAT and that you find a new instant oatmeal you love!
You might also be interested in:
- Eat This, Not That!
- The Spruce Eats
- Taste of Home
- The Daily Meal
- Spoon University
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.