The “Secret” To Making Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

diy oatmeal packetsEver since the weather has turned a bit colder I am LOVING my morning oatmeal again!  I am a major fan of oatmeal for breakfast. It’s warm, it’s satisfying, it’s filling, and it’s DELICIOUS! :-)  My personal favorite is the Maple Brown Sugar variety…and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Seems to be the most popular one with most people.

I used to buy the individual oatmeal packets that are are usually sold in boxes of 6 or 8 until I realized I could make the same thing just by using my regular (GF) rolled oats and adding brown sugar and a little maple syrup. I also add a little half and half and a handful of roasted almonds.  HEAVEN!

This certainly isn’t a difficult thing to make in the morning…but then I got to thinking about how handy it would be to have it all just mixed together beforehand in little…..packets! :-)  Wow! Someone should market those!  Oh wait….

So I did a little online research and after looking at a dozen or so different recipes, I decided to make up my own “custom” packets.

Have you ever noticed how the packets that you buy in the store cook up differently than the bowl of oatmeal you make at home?  I’ve often wondered why they seem to turn out thicker and creamier than mine. Today I am here to share the “secret” with you!

 diy oatmeal packets

Blended oatmeal. Yep. That, my friends, is the “secret ingredient” in commercial oatmeal packets that sets them apart. A portion of the rolled oats are processed in a blender until they are a powder, then added back to the whole oats. Makes so much sense now that I know! lol.  But I don’t think I would ever have figured that one out on my own.

Now that I knew how I could replicate the oatmeal packet texture, I was ready to get started!  But I still had one more vexing problem with this whole homemade oatmeal packets idea.  Every recipe I found involved making up each little individual serving separately. That just seemed like more work than it was worth!

But then I came across this recipe from Coffee Break With Liz and Kate and knew I was onto something good! Instead of adding several ingredients individually to each little baggie, this recipe mixed all the ingredients together FIRST, then apportioned them into the “packets”.  MUCH smarter. 

I did make a few changes, however, the main one being the addition of non-dairy coffee creamer. Many recipes I read used powdered milk, but I ALSO read that it has a tendency to develop mold in the bag over time. Some recipes called for non-dairy creamer instead. Better safe than sorry. :-)

diy oatmeal packets

So here is my version of Homemade Instant Oatmeal “Packets”:


  • 10 cups of quick oats (about 3/4 of a large tub of oats)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2  cups brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like your oatmeal)
  • 1 cup non-dairy creamer
  • snack-sized plastic baggies


  • Put 7 cups of the oats into a large bowl.
  • Blend the remaining 3 cups of oats in a blender until powdery, then add to the 7 cups of oats.
  • Add salt, brown sugar, and creamer to the oats. Stir until well mixed.
  • Measure 1/2 cup of the oatmeal mixture into each snack-sized plastic baggie and seal.
  • Makes approximately 24 servings.
diy oatmeal packets


To prepare: empty 1 “packet” of oatmeal into a bowl or mug and add 3/4 cup of water. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. (Microwaves vary, so add more time if necessary.)


These have been so handy to grab and cook up in the morning….or afternoon….or evening…or as a midnight snack. :-)

I still add a little half-and-half, a handful of roasted almonds, and a drizzle of maple syrup to mine.  Just LOVE those flavors together! But having these little packets already made up and ready to go has been a treat, in more ways than one!


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  1. Tiffany says

    My daughter and I absolutely love the apples and cinnamon kind and probably go through a box every 2 days or so. I’ve tried cutting up apple’s myself in oatmeal but they don’t taste right, they seem to be a little to crunchy and she will pick them out (which defeats the purpose of apple oatmeal). Is there a trick to getting the the same affect but with the apple version? Otherwise this may be a very expensive winter :-)

    • Beth W. says

      What about trying Apple Chips. You buy them in the produce department with Salad making items. You could crunch them up. I would imagine they would rehydrate some after adding hot water if they sit a short time. I may give it a try.

      • Scott A says

        I have now made this a couple different times and have come up with a couple changes. I am using Slenda brown sugar alternative and powdered milk. Makes it just a bit more diet friendly I think :-)

        Thing I discovered today (I am such a clueless man in the kitchen) is if you put the brown sugar and milk in the food processor with your 3 cups of oats it mixes much better in the big container (no brown sugar clumps). Also dehydrated apple and/or banana chips are outstanding in this. Also for an packet equivelant of Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar you can find powdered maple syrup.

        Ever since I was introduced to this I haven’t even considered the packet stuff on the store shelves.

    • ejpoeta says

      dried apples. many apples and cinnamon recipes call for dried apples. have yet to get some to try it. i make maple brown sugar. trying to find a cinnamon roll recipe right now in fact. lol.

    • Victoria M. says

      Try cutting up dried apples ( the soft and pliable ones ) into bits and using those. I buy the dried apple rings in bulk at Winco and use those, but you do the same with a dehydrator.

  2. Abbey says

    I like to add a tablespoon or two of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, plus about 1 teaspoon of ground ginger to my “base” mix–it’s not enough to flavor the oatmeal by much, but for people who just can NOT eat plain oatmeal (me!! LOL), it is JUST ENOUGH to make me *want* to eat it. I also like to add dried fruit to my bowl–we keep 7 or 8 different dried fruits around just for oatmeal! We dehydrated most of them ourselves–it’s so nice to know what’s in our bowl! We use dry milk in our mix, but I just dump the mix back into the oatmeal canister and throw in the 2/3 cup measuring scoop so DS can make his own without needing to remember measurements. Ours is never around long enough to worry about mold (I’ve not heard that before–weird…!?). Thanks for bringing this to more people’s attention!!!

  3. says

    I have made the apple cinnamon version, as this is the only flavor I like. I used dried apples. Instead of putting in small bags, I store in a large Tupperware container with a measuring scoop. While I have heard about the powdered oats before, I just use old fashioned oats, and cook in microwave 2-3 minutes. No problems. Works great and I feel so much better about eating it, because it is so much less expensive! Plus no waste for those other flavors that I don’t like.

  4. mdoe37 says

    Just whipped this up. This is a MUCH BETTER bowl of instant oatmeal than those puny little packets. One packet as a service was not very substantial at all. This is a good size serving and has good texture. It also didn’t boil over in the microwave — I suspect because of the oat “flour” thickening it. I eat alot of oatmeal, but hate cooking for one so I resorted to those pricey little packets. I did leave out the salt and instead put a pinch in the bowl.

    Can anyone do a cost per serving comparison on this? I had all the ingredients, but nothing in the original containers with price tags.

    • Jennifer says

      I bought some last week, on sale, store brand was 2 for $5. I have bought the name brand for $3.49. That’s the only way I find strawberry and cream, I would love to be able to make that one.

      I mix the packets in vanilla yogert. You get any flavor you want, it adds texture and some bulk, 1 cup of yogert mixed with a packet of oatmeal fills me up for lunch.

      • mdoe37 says

        Doing some digging in the internet. . .It looks like a Jillee oatmeal packet is about 15 cents versus a purchased packet of about 27 cents.

        But. . . .Jillee’s packet seems like more oatmeal per serving. I’ll guess 50% more to be conservative, although it seems like two packets of the store bought in reality. This would be make price 15 cents versus 40 cents per serving. Of course its only with brown sugar and no fruit (I don’t like fruit in my oatmeal.) I can’t imagine fruit would skew the the price that much–its not like there is a whole apple are a handful of strawberries in the packaged version. I like the idea of a bit of grated fresh apple, it would cook slightly when microwaved.

        • CTY says

          I suspect the price is even less. I buy my oats in bulk. Even if I broke even, I control the ingredients and am saving the planet by reducing garbage, and no dependence on manufacturers. I put my individual servings in 4 oz canning jars (plastic phobia these days) and keep bags out of the landfill too.

    • Steve says

      You wrote: One packet as a service was not very substantial at all.

      Yep they are small but remember with all that sugar they not low in calorieseither way. The commercial brands are about 201 calories so if you make a bigger size you cou,d be up to 400 or more. I’m just saying….. ;-)

    • Cynthia says

      Plain instant grits are sold in bulk family-sized packages. Pour into a jar and use a scoop. For cheese grits, one slice american cheese added, (or pre-grated cheddar) for bacon, add bacon bits, etc. My son and husband like a beaten up egg, salt and butter added to theirs.

  5. Anne says

    While grocery shopping yesterday, my daughter (22 years old) put her favorite instant oatmeal, Peaches and Cream, in the shopping cart. I then remembered years ago my mother in law giving me DIY recipes and instant oatmeal was one of them; so I knew it could be done. We put back the more expensive already made brand name Peaches and Cream box and *guessed* at what would be needed to make our own. I knew I had powdered milk at home so I added whole grain quick cooking oatmeal, vanilla non dairy creamer and dehydrated peaches to the cart. (I also grabbed a bag of dehydrated strawberries and will be making Strawberries and Cream in the very near future.) I placed 2/3 cup of mixture in individual zipper bags since she usually used two bags of name brand oatmeal. All she has to do is add 1 cup of boiling water. It doesn’t get any easier. Daughter-dearest LOVED the homemade version much better!

  6. Brandi says

    Love this! Just had a fight with my daughter this morning at the store because she wanted me to buy the flavored options which are massively more expensive. My question for anyone who has used the dried fruit….does it mold or change the “base” mixture if you add the dried fruit in the packets? I have been using the plain store bought packets and adding frozen fruit but I don’t have a lot of time in the mornings to prepare breakfast. I really would like a faster way. Thanks! Love all your great ideas that make my life easier!

    • Abbey says

      I have not had problems adding the fruit in the bags. Honestly, this oatmeal does NOT last long enough around here for me to worry about it! The few packets I had made up way back that got lost in the back of the cupboard were fine when found–no mold & they still tasted great!

  7. Deborah Jennings says

    I’ve done this for years, too. You can also add small dried fruit to the packets or right before you cook the packet. Sugar free ones are so expensive that I make my own of those too. These are for DH. And yep, I have used coffee creamer. I use that in my potato soup that I make too. It is just creamier than milk or powdered milk. Since it is getting much cooler here, I am thinking that I need to make some of these real soon. Nothing is as warming on a cold morning than a bowl of hot oatmeal. I am thinking of grinding up some of my almonds and putting them in the oatmeal. Thanks for the reminder of this.

  8. says

    Oh, wow! I just added ‘oatmeal packets’ to my grocery list!!! The kids LOVE it, especially now that it’s cold in the mornings:) Peaches/Cream and Strawberry/Cream are their favorites, and to get those I have to buy others that usually don’t get used. I definitely think I will be trying this! I make my apple/cinnamon homemade, cook the apples, make a caramel syrup from brown sugar and cinnamon and I don’t think my girls would touch it anymore out of a packet. LOL! But, neither would I…the fruit/cream…different story! I love making the good stuff on weekends, but for during the week…I’m going to whip up these! Thanks so much!

  9. Marilyn says

    Started doing this 30 yrs ago as a busy working mom. Have made apple and raisin, with cinnamon,, and may other dried fruit that I put t
    through a meat grinder first. A blender works as well. Small sizes rehydrate better. Making vanilla sugar with use of a vanilla bean gives wonderful flavor. I have used dehydrated butter and carob chips to give that wonderful oatmeal, chocolate chip concept. Was a real fav when my kids were growing up1

  10. Diana says

    Since I already put my instant milk in the refridge or freezer I think I would do the same with the oatmeal. Why not add it as you are making it? The junk in the creamer is not good for you. Read the label.

  11. Donna says

    I just made this oatmeal recipe, and its great. Thanks Jillee. I put mine in baggies this time, cause I bought some snack ones by mistake, next time I will just put it in a jar with a 1/2 cup measure.

  12. Juju says

    Oh, YUM! What a springboard, Jillee! I’m wondering what different flavored creamers will do as well as different kinds of nuts, different seeds, some dehydrated peanut butter powder, different sweeteners, etc., etc. The possibilities are endless. Can’t wait to try it!

  13. Aimi says

    It’s like you are reading my mind with these recent posts, Jillee!! I have been looking for a homemade version of oatmeal for a while now, so thanks!! I am still on the lookout for the recipe for the Cinnamon & Spice version as it tends to be the only oatmeal I can stand to eat!! Any ideas?? Thanks so much!!! :)

  14. Kate Y says

    This looks so delicious and I have been craving those instant oatmeal packets since I went gluten free in 2000. I was wondering, though, if there were any good substitutes for the Coffee Mate creamer. I like that you can get these dairy- and sugar-free, but there are additives in them that I just can’t consume. I vote for an all-natural homemade powder coffee creamer recipe!!! :)

        • Belinda says

          I use regular oatmeal (right now, I’m using Bob’s Red Mill Extra thick Old-fashioned) and multi-grain hot cereal…both had microwave instructions using the same ratio of cereal to water, so I used half each in my packets. I love the coarser texture of regular oatmeal and need that pinch of salt in my mix, too. I like dried cherries in mine. I also like to use local honey for sweetener, drizzling it on top after cooking. I cook the oatmeal for the length of time stated on the package for high temp or double the cooking time and cook at 40 to 50% power for a creamier texture (and to lessen the chance of boil-overs). I ALWAYS use a large bowl, because it WILL boil over. My grandkids love apple-cinnamon, fresh chopped apples have plenty of time to cook this way. We also like to add finely chopped dried apricots. Mmmm, I think I know what I’m having for supper!

  15. Tracey says

    Love this recipe! Who knew about blending some of the oats? Genius!
    I too just kept mine in an airtight container with a scoop. I did have to add heart shaped cake sprinkles since my kids are addicted to the Dino-Egg and Fish oatmeal packets that have pieces of candy you find as you eat. They loved the little hearts I added.
    I used vanilla coffee creamer. That seems to be the only ingredient that has lots of preservatives and unidentifiable ingredients. Maybe I’ll do the powdered milk next time. Thanks!

    • CTY says

      Try adding Teddy Grahams for the kids. Name it Teddy Bear Picnic add strawberries and name it Strawberry Shortcake & Teddy Bear Picnic. Sometimes all kids need are cute names to go with it. Blueberry Smurf oatmeal or Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal. Why not add those golden fish crackers for Finding Nemo– those crackers come in many flavors now. I’m sure there are Dora & Diego cookies somewhere. Superman fruit snacks–etc.

  16. Cynthia says

    Thanks so much for posting, Jillee! This sounds amazing and so easy! I can totally see having oatmeal at any time of day as well. I’m a fan of the stuff, but it’s usually more work than I’m willing to put in in the mornings. And, I’ve sworn off the pre-packaged stuff…all kinds of chemicals and whatnot in ‘em…yuck! And I LOVE your substituting the Coffee Mate. Hmm…I think I’ll try some with Hazelnut in it…one of my faves! And adding chocolate chips as a dessert? Yummy! Thanks a bunch…you got my wheels turning!

  17. Kristina says

    I made this last night with my little sister. We got 26 bags out of it. I’m currently eating my first bowl. It’s delicious! I’m going to keep some in my desk at work for those days I need a quick lunch.

  18. Tsandi Crew says

    I love that you posted this. I have been thinking about how to make instant oatmeal out of oatmeal…and adding nuts is a great idea… I like apples, myself. Freeze dried apples. They’re expensive, tho. So I put dehydrated apples in. Love this article with one exception……

    Are you aware that “non-dairy” creamer is made from corn? Think about that for a moment. :-) And also the fact that Quaker is on the GMO list? I use organic oatmeal. Leave out the creamer.

  19. Wendy says

    I’ve had great luck without having to add the powdered oats as I use skim milk for my liquid. It turns out very creamy every time. I actually place 1/2 cup of oats in a wide mouth mason jar (sorry, I don’t know the size, I think 16 oz), put 1 Tbsp. of brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 Tbsp. of unrefined coconut oil in each jar and cover it with the plastic lid that can be purchased for these jars. I make 5 of these at a crack and leave them in my pantry. When I want one, I add 1 cup of skim milk and cook for microwave for 2 mins (may boil over, so keep an eye on it). I have learned from the writing on the jar, how much 1 cup on milk is so I don’t need to use a measuring cup. One could probably make a mark with a sharpie.

  20. Katie says

    I just LOVE this idea, and I LOVE all the suggestions for different flavors! Does anyone have any suggestions for making a Banana Nut? It’s my husband’s favorite!

    We love oatmeal and have been enjoying make-ahead individual servings in 1/2 pint mason jars that keep in the fridge or freezer. Here’s a link for anyone interested, and PS… the Pumpkin when heated tastes like I’m having Pumpkin Pie for breakfast… mmm! :)

    • Belinda says

      I love the refrigerator oatmeal from the YUMMY LIFE! (Sorry, Jillee, I found that site before I found you…) Unfortunately, I don’t have the time, nor the money for all the ingredients, to make it frequently. The grandkids eat cooked oatmeal much more readily…plus, the dry mix keeps longer and doesn’t tie up valuable refrigerator space.

    • CTY says

      I did the same for my college boy– but I am an a little out there so here’s what I did next. I place a pre-measured bag in a 12 oz paper cup & stack a row to lay in a box. I add rows of different flavors until the box is filled and mail it off as a care package. Cannot tell you how many of his friends want these. Directions: empty the bag into the cup, add water, microwave, stir and let set a minute or two before eating. The bigger cup discourages microwave overflow, makes it easier to stir and gives the option of adding extra water so you can drink it on the way to class (like he does). I know more garbage for the landfills– but it is healthy for him and ends his vending machine breakfasts, which generate just about as much garbage.

  21. Comet says

    Can anyone tell me why “blending” the oats—i.e. making them smaller—would RAISE the glycemic effect of them? I don’t eat the pre-made packets ever but I do make my own on the stove oats often and don’t find a huge raise in glucose. (Diabetic alert here!)

    So very interested in HOW this is supossed to work? I can’t quite picture this as a “real” thing since you are only changing the texture not the ingredient itself. Maybe something I haven’t run into before.

    And for diabetics or others who want to watch sugar consumption–I use some Splenda (please don’t judge if you are NOT living my diabetic life!) and a sprinkle of demarara sugar for the brown sugar flavor (has much more flavor than brown sugar!) and the little crunch it gives. Just a teaspoon or so on top adds few calories or much glucose and seems to not affect my readings but adds so much to the taste. Oh and some real butter.

    • Cydne says

      Comet, perhaps the glycemic index raises because the oat flour is digested more quickly than whole oats? I wouldn’t worry about it either way as long as your readings don’t change too much. In my nutrition classes the teachers all cautioned that the glycemic index could be a useful tool but not to rely on it too much. The measurements for the glycemic index were created by measuring the effect of foods when eaten alone, but most often, foods are eaten in conjunction with other foods – so, for example, watermelon on its own has a high glycemic index, but when eaten with grilled chicken and vegetables it could have a very different effect.

    • Belinda says

      …just guessing, but could the fact that the blended part of the oats would make the oatmeal more easily digested, thus moving through the body faster, change the glycemic index?

  22. Cydne says

    I bought an extra set of measuring cups and store them in my canisters. It would be easy to just keep the 1/2 cup stored in a canister with the mix for those who don’t need baggies. (Or a 1/4 c. scoop with a label, 2 scoops oatmeal, 3 scoops water).
    Baggies are just for convenience for those of us who have children who can get their own breakfast ready, but won’t measure for themselves.

    Comet, perhaps the glycemic index raises because the oat flour is digested more quickly than whole oats? I wouldn’t worry about it either way as long as your readings don’t change too much. In my nutrition classes the teachers all cautioned that the glycemic index could be a useful tool but not to rely on it too much. The measurements for the glycemic index were created by measuring the effect of foods when eaten alone, but most often, foods are eaten in conjunction with other foods – so, for example, watermelon on its own has a high glycemic index, but when eaten with grilled chicken and vegetables it could have a very different effect.

  23. Monette says

    Thanks for posting this!! Just loved the idea..we love the quick oats .,,,and I’ve been buying the instant bags for yrs…I made this today…and added a few extras I thought I would like..from reading all the great comments on here… I Added 1 tbsp of Cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp this base recipe……I found 1 cup of Brown sugar to be enough…..My portions are 3/4 cup of mix with 1 cup boiling water…Absolutely Delicious!!…I calculated that the bought kind costs 46 cents per serving (2 bags) …This mix cost me 29 cents per serving( 3/4 cup) …and OMG I LOVED the taste,,, MUCH better!..I sincerely doubt I will ever by the instant packs again!

  24. says

    This sounds wonderful. In place of the quick cooking oatmeal, grind up 3 c. rolled oats into a powder & put it in a bowl. I would add Chia Seeds & nuts at the same time. Then put 7 c. rolled oats in the blender & chop it up a little.

    Here’s a recipe (I haven’t tried it yet) for Non-dairy Powdered Creamer –

    An article on what’s in non-dairy powdered creamers on the shelf –

    I’ll never use it again.

    I would do like others & keep it in a canister & measure out whatever size portion we want. I don’t like sweeteners on my cereal, so I would leave it out & my husband can add raw honey to his bowl. We would also add thawed blueberries or strawberries.

    Jillee, all of your recipes & tips have been a real lifesaver. I always forward your emails. Thank you.

  25. Jilleybean says

    What a great recipe! I just made a batch, and of course, had to try one for quality control! ;) It was delicious! I used raw sugar in mine, some salt and the ground oats. Those were the only ingredients I had on hand tonight (too late to go to the store, though I’m raring to try the other flavors, too, once the stores are open!), but even with only those ingredients, it tasted wonderful! Sweet, creamy, oaty and altogether satisfying! Thanks, Jillee!

  26. Emma says

    Sounds wonderful instead of making it individually each morning. I always add cinnamon and sometime some fresh nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves. Although I have never used dried milk or coffee creamer. (although when I was growing up, we used to put a tablespoon or so in a packet of dried milk to make it taste more palatable.
    But I don’t use coffee creamer because of the trans fats in it. are they any other substitute suggestions??

  27. patti says

    I found a recipe like this that you use 20 cups oatmeal,2 cups powdered milk,1 table spoon salt and 2 table spoons cinnamon
    you take and use your blender or food processoe to break down the oats and mix all ing together.

  28. denise says

    I am so happy for you that you found and shared this, but I have been doing this for years, making a big batch of oats, seasonings and bits of dried fruit and then dividing the mix into serving packets, although I use small plastic containers as plastic bags are so environmentally unfriendly. I did not know about blending some of the oats, but then I never had a problem with the thickness of the cooked oatmeal.


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