7 Uses For Oatmeal That Will Have You Buying Oats In Bulk

Unusual Uses For Oatmeal

There are a lot of great uses for oatmeal, which is great, since I almost always have a big container of rolled oats in the pantry. I’ve loved oatmeal since I was a little girl — my dad used to make it for us for breakfast and always put a big spoonful of strawberry jam on top.

Besides oatmeal being delicious, it’s quite nutritious too! Not only are oats an excellent source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, thiamine, and iron, but they also contain beta-glucan, which may help regulate blood sugar, reduce bad cholesterol, and even boost the immune system.

And if all of those reasons weren’t enough to convince you, it’s also worth noting that oats are great for your skin and are surprisingly useful around the house! Here are 7 of the best uses for oatmeal, several of which are great options for using up old oats or expired oats you may have forgotten were tucked away in your pantry.

7 Practical Uses For Oatmeal And Oats

Unusual Uses For Oatmeal - bags of homemade instant oatmeal

1. Make Your Own Oatmeal Packets

Making your own oatmeal packets is easy and more affordable than buying them, plus you can replicate the same creamy texture as the store-bought variety (while enjoying a more delicious homemade taste!) The secret to getting the texture just right is simple — just blend a portion of the oats in your blender.

Unusual Uses For Oatmeal - cooking hamburger with oats in it

2. Stretch Ground Beef

Oats are a great way to get more mileage out of your grocery budget. Just grind or blend about 1/4 cup of rolled oats into small pieces, then add it to a pound of ground beef when you start cooking. It’ll make it more filling and give it a nutritional boost, and no one will be any the wiser.

Unusual Uses For Oatmeal - ground oats in a blender

3. Use In Place Of Flour

Finely ground oats (or oat flour) make a great gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. Just put some rolled (or quick) oats in your blender or food processor and grind them into a fine powder.

You can add oat flour to runny soups or dips to thicken them up, or use it in place of the breadcrumbs in your meatloaf, or even bake with it.

Related: 9 Reasons Why Flour Is Even More Useful Than You Thought

Unusual Uses For Oatmeal - using a mesh bag of oats on skin

4. Clean And Exfoliate Skin

I have super sensitive skin, so I’m always on the lookout for soothing skin treatments, especially in the winter. You can enjoy the same benefits as the colloidal oatmeal in many skin and bath products by using rolled oats to make these soothing oatmeal shower bags. Just fill an organza bag with about a 1/3 cup of oats, 1 Tablespoon of grated bar soap, and a few drops of lavender essential oil. You can use the bag itself to exfoliate your skin, and the oats and soap inside will leave your skin clean and soft.

Unusual Uses For Oatmeal - measuring oats into a ziplock bag

5. Pamper Yourself

No list of oatmeal uses would be complete without mentioning an oatmeal bath! An oatmeal bath can be an efficient way to soothe large areas of itchy or irritated skin (like sunburns or chicken pox), or a nice way to unwind at the end of a long day.

To limit the mess, put 2 cups of uncooked quick oats in an organza or muslin bag, then toss the bag of oats in the tub while you’re running a lukewarm bath. Soak in the oat water for 10-20 minutes for moisturized, soothed, and rejuvenated skin.

Unusual Uses For Oatmeal - shaking oats onto spilled oil on a kitchen counter

6. Clean Up Spilled Oil

Oats can make it a lot easier to clean spilled oil off of your floors and counters. Just sprinkle uncooked oats over the oil and let them sit until all of the oil has been absorbed. Sweep up the mess, then wipe the area with a damp cloth — much easier than trying to wipe up oil itself.

Unusual Uses For Oatmeal - an open bowl of oats on a refrigerator shelf to absorb odors

7. Eliminate Odors

Oatmeal can absorb more than just water and oil — it will absorb odors too. Put an open container of oatmeal in your fridge to help neutralize food smells naturally. Some people even line ashtrays with oatmeal to neutralize the smell of smoke. Any type of oats will work for odor-absorbing purposes — even old oats.

Bonus Tip: Know The Shelf-Life Of Oatmeal

Do oats go bad? Eventually, yes. Like dried rice or pasta, uncooked oats (including rolled oats, quick oats, and steel cut oats) will last around 12 months if stored in an unopened package or an airtight container. After that point, however, they’ll still probably be okay to use for tips #4-7 in this list!

What other uses for oatmeal would you add to this list?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Beauty Tips

  • I’ve been using a lotion with oatmeal for my sensitive skin. I just use Aveeno -a store brand of it. It helps with that itchiness I get on certain areas of my body. I’ve always had to be careful with things like lotion, soap, laundry detergents.

  • I like this post, – I eat oatmeal almost daily, – I love it and more importantly my four-year-old loves it. I have always used slow-rolled oats, not quick oats. Can all of the things mentioned in this post be used with slow rolled oats rather than quick oats?

  • Speaking to my single son a few weeks ago, he said something about meatloaf. I told him that whenever I didn’t have breadcrumbs handy, I always used oatmeal. He really liked the idea, never knowing how many times he had eaten it that way! I haven’t used it to thicken soups but instant potatoes can also get the job done. I have gotten some type of rash on my chest – not itchy but no clue as to what it is. Going to give the oatmeal a try tonight!

  • Just an FYI- not all Oat flour are gluten free. You must read the label to ensure that there is no wheat flour or any other flour mixed in with the oats

  • Hi Jillee,
    My dad used to make porridge (as we know it in the UK) but for my daughter as he was at work in a morning when I was young; my daughter always said that ‘grandpa’s porridge was better than anyone elses!’
    I also use a ankle high stocking in the bath with oatmeal, it soothes eczema brilliantly.
    Cakes and biscuits (cookies) made with oatmeal such as parkin and oatie, fruit cookies. As flour can substitute part of the bread flour in sub rolls with a sprinkle of coarse grind oatmeal on the top.
    You can also thicken soups and stews with a spoon or two of oatmeal.

  • Concerning your suggestion to boil frozen foods in a ‘Ziplock’ bag: Personally, I would be concerned about exposure to BPA and other carcinogenics that could be released during the boiling process.

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