Can You Freeze Oatmeal?
If you’re like me, a bowl of oatmeal is a delicious and nutritious way of starting the day. While preparing oatmeal can take anywhere between 5 to 25 minutes, depending on what oats you use, there’s not always enough time in the morning. Many people, like me, prefer old fashioned oats instead of quick oats, and that means about 25 minutes of cooking time. What if you could make the oatmeal ahead of time and just reheat it in the morning? That would be a lifesaver, right? And it is.
Oatmeal is one of the dishes I prepare on a regular basis. It can easily last 5 days in the fridge and you can freeze the rest for later. Freezing doesn’t require any additional effort, besides transferring the oatmeal into containers and chucking them into the freezer. That means you can try it with your next batch of oatmeal and see how you like the results.
- Cook the oatmeal. Follow the recipe you normally do. I do mine in a slow cooker with some chopped apples, but the recipe doesn’t really matter that much. If you like adding fresh fruit to your oatmeal while cooking, don’t add it right away. Freezing the fruits will change their texture and the taste will suffer. Instead, add the fruit when reheating.
- Cooldown. Let the oatmeal cool down to room temperature. If the freezer container’s you’re going to use can handle warm food, feel free to transfer the oatmeal to the containers right away. Oatmeal will drop temperature faster in small containers than in a big pot.
- Portion oatmeal into containers. Since you cannot thaw half of a container, make sure each container has a meal-sized amount of oatmeal. The easiest way of dividing the oatmeal into portions is by multiplying your recipe by X and then dividing the cooked oatmeal into X containers. Leave a bit of head-space in each container in case the oatmeal expands when frozen. Add a label with name and date to each container if needed.
- Throw the containers into the freezer.
That’s it. The process is really simple and takes little additional time. Now let’s take a look at how to defrost and reheat the oatmeal.
Here are a few options when it comes to defrosting frozen oatmeal:
- Overnight in the fridge. The standard way of defrosting food works well for oatmeal too. Transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge in the evening. By the morning, the oatmeal has thawed completely. Put it on a plate so you don’t have to wipe the thawed water from the shelf.
- On the counter. If you forgot to put the oatmeal into the fridge in the evening, all is not lost. If you have an hour or so, depending on the amount of oatmeal and the shape of the container, you can leave the container at room temperature to defrost. To speed things up even more, you can submerge the container in cold or lukewarm water. Reheat the thawed oatmeal immediately after defrosting.
- Microwave. Defrosting in a microwave is always an option, although not the healthiest one. Use the defrosting setting and thaw in small time increments. Add a glass of water into the microwave so the oatmeal won’t dry out.
Reheating oatmeal on the stove takes a few minutes and there’s no point in rushing it. Trying to rush the process will only result in burned oatmeal.
- Start off on low heat and add a few teaspoons of water or milk. We start off on low heat so if the oatmeal is not completely defrosted, it has some time to finish the process. Some liquid in form of water or milk is needed so the oatmeal won’t burn. Add the oatmeal and use a fork to mash and mix it with the water or milk you added. Make sure it’s well mixed. Add more water or milk if needed to get desired consistency but make sure to add it in small increments, about 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time. If you add too much, you will end up with either runny oatmeal or a longer cooking time.
- Switch to medium heat and warm up the oatmeal to the desired temperature. Make sure to stir it as often as possible, so it doesn’t burn. No need to bring the oatmeal to a boil, just make sure it’s warm enough to eat.
- Enjoy your oatmeal.