What is the best way to make oats with milk when there is no microwave available?
I am not sure how I can warm it up without either burning the milk or making it taste bad.

  • 2
    Do you not have a stove, either? When you say "warm it up" are you talking about already cooked oats that are cold or starting from oats and water/milk and making them into oatmeal?
    – Catija
    Mar 7, 2016 at 19:45
  • @Catija:Right, start from oats and water/milk
    – Jim
    Mar 9, 2016 at 20:02

5 Answers 5


A stove would be the traditional method for making oats and it doesn't require a microwave. It takes longer than the microwave but it works just fine, if not better (but this will vary by personal preference).

Add milk to a small pot, bring it to simmer, add oats to the pot, cook for recommended amount of time depending on the type of oats you're using (see package for times) or until they reach your preferred level of doneness. Some recipes have you add the oats and liquid at the same time and bring to a simmer together... either option works.

Make certain to keep the temperature low enough to not burn and stir occasionally to move them around. Milk is mostly water (about 87% in whole milk, higher in lower fat milks), so as long as you're not using extremely high heat and leaving it unattended for long periods of time, you should be fine.

  • Is there a combination of water/milk so that I am sure the milk will not be burned?
    – Jim
    Mar 9, 2016 at 20:03
  • @Jim You would need a recipe for that... But, honestly, I see recipes that use milk only, it's simply a matter of not ignoring the pot for 20 minutes. Like I said, milk is already mostly water to start with. For more info, you can see this related question.
    – Catija
    Mar 9, 2016 at 20:50
  • @jim you are overly worried about burning the milk. Just heat it on medium and stir it more or less constantly: the latter both prevents it catching and gives the mixture a creamy texture. Mar 9, 2016 at 21:01
  • Yup, this is how I do it. Medium heat, lots of stirring, works like a charm. Just don't go off and leave it alone! Mar 10, 2016 at 14:09

Contrary to what most people believe, it is not necessary to cook oats.

There is a type of oatmeal called "overnight oats" in which the oats are stored with milk and other fruits and spices for at least 8 hours and up to 2-3 days in the fridge.

The oats will soften overnight and have a nice texture the next morning. The main difference would be the fact that the oatmeal is cold rather than hot. Check out this site for more details and some ideas.


Bake it. I cook milk-based oatmeal that way a lot (I might even do it for my next meal), and I even prefer it to the stovetop. It doesn't bubble nearly as much as on the stovetop, and it shouldn't burn the bottom of the pan at all. The oats seem to absorb the milk faster, this way. The flavor, aroma, and texture is somewhat different this way, but I prefer it, personally.

I use a glass or ceramic baking pan (like a casserole-style one). Rounded, rectangular or square. I usually add 1.5 to 2 cups of oats (2 is a lot for one person), and add however much milk I think will be good with it (about the same amount as I add on the stovetop, or even more if I just want to use up more of it). I haven't tested particularly more milk than filling it half-way (in an 8"x8" glass pan). I usually bake it on 450° F. for about 25 minutes, but I imagine less time is required, since all the liquid is gone by then (I know soupy oatmeal has its merits). I also add brown sugar to my oatmeal.

  • Could you please add a few more details? Any specific vessel, what temperature or oven setting... This answer sounds interesting, I would like to know more about the method.
    – Stephie
    Sep 9, 2020 at 5:26
  • 1
    Thanks! We don’t allow recipe requests, so in questions, but answers with basic ratios and methods are very welcome (if they answer the question, obviously).
    – Stephie
    Sep 9, 2020 at 12:21

I regularly eat steel-cut oats for breakfast, but I don't nuke them. Instead, I dry toast the oats in a saute pan and eat them either in cold milk or over Greek yogurt (sometimes with honey and frozen fruit + a teensy pinch of salt).


  • dry toast means no oil, butter etc right? How do you dry toast them?
    – Jim
    Mar 9, 2016 at 22:18
  • @Jim, you are correct, sir. There's nothing wrong with melting a little bit of butter in the pan before adding the oats (it adds a wonderful nuttiness to the oats), but I skip the calories and just cook to oats in a hot steel skillet until they brown. Mar 10, 2016 at 14:33
  • I am interested in that, but how? What temperature? Do you preheat the pan?
    – Jim
    Mar 11, 2016 at 19:42
  • I don't usually measure the actual temperature in the pan, but I do use my largest burner on the highest setting and add about 1/4 cup of dry oats. I shake the oats out into an even layer and let them sit for about 20 seconds, then give a toss and a shake. I repeat this process until the oats are slightly burned, but you may toast them for less time depending on your taste. Heat output varies from one range to the next, so you'll have to learn by trial and error. Fortunately, oats are fairly cheap :) Mar 11, 2016 at 19:48

A completely different approach I've used successfully in work and when camping needs only a source of boiling water:

  • Mix oats, milk powder and any dry flavours you like. This can be done in advance.
  • When you want to eat it, add boiling water, stir well, and cover. Insulate if you're out in the cold (or carry to your desk on top of a large steaming mug of coffee).
  • Wait about 5 minutes, stir, wait another minute or so, and it's ready to eat.

The quantity of water takes a little experimenting for your tastes and the exact oats you're using, but I use about 60g of oats to 30g of milk powder, with a little brown sugar, a pinch of salt, a pinch of cinnamon and some raisins. The dry mix nearly half-fills my lidded plastic bowl, then I add water almost to the top.

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