How to Cook Oatmeal (the RIGHT way) + Video How-to

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist January 23, 2012

instant oatmeal packets

Do you cook oatmeal in the microwave, quickly poured out of convenient, ready to use packets?  Do you think this is a healthy start to the day?

Reality Check: Ripping open a package of instant oatmeal, pouring it in a mug with some water and nuking it in the microwave for a couple minutes is NOT a nourishing breakfast!

Don’t get me wrong here – oatmeal can and should be a healthy breakfast!

How you cook oatmeal, however, is the critical step that most people completely miss and which determines how much nourishment and benefit you will actually derive from the experience.

Preparation also determines how long the oatmeal will fill you up.  What good is a bowl of oatmeal if you are hungry again and ready for a donut fix by 10am?

Preparing your oatmeal the traditional way as practiced for centuries by ancestral societies will take a little planning on your part, but you will be greatly rewarded with a much more nourishing, digestible breakfast that will stay with you all the way to lunchtime!

Traditional peoples knew through observation that grains were very hard to digest and caused health problems over time for those who consumed them without careful preparation.

Throwing out those boxed breakfast cereals that are at least twice as expensive per serving and toxic to boot and replacing with a simple, nutritious bowl of porridge will also help your food budget considerably with no loss in pleasure or enjoyment particularly on chilly winter mornings!

TIP:  I’ve had people email me to complain that when you cook oatmeal by first soaking for at least 7 hours or overnight, it results in a sour tasting porridge.  I’ve found that soaking in water plus lemon juice produces a delightful and slightly lemony porridge that is not sour at all and absolutely pops with flavor!

If this still doesn’t work for you and you need help adjusting to the taste of soaked oatmeal, click here for an article that gives you an easy tip to make this transition with no fuss from your family.

In this brief video, I show you exactly how I cook oatmeal.  It requires the initial step of soaking the night before. Then, it cooks up quickly the next morning!   Be sure to refrigerate any leftovers for a fast warm-up on the stove on subsequent mornings.

Video: Cook Oatmeal the RIGHT Way

Cook Oatmeal the Old Fashioned Way

Ingredients

2 cups rolled organic oats (where to find)

2 cups filtered water

4 TBL lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or yogurt

1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

Mix the oats, water, and lemon juice in a pot.  Cover and leave on the counter (NOT in the refrigerator) for at least 7 hours or overnight.  If you have trouble digesting grains, feel free to soak for as much as 24 hours.

When soaking is complete, bring 2 additional cups of filtered water to boil with the salt and add the soaked oats mixture.  Cook oatmeal thoroughly for 5 minutes.

Traditional oatmeal is best served with liberal amounts of butter and/or cream for optimal assimilation of minerals. A natural sweetener, nuts, raisins or other fruit may be added as desired.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

 

Comments (185)

  1. I’m pregnant with my fourth, and I have had very low milk supply with all my other children. So I’ve been eating a big bowl of soaked oatmeal everyday before this baby comes in November. Do you think it might help my supply if I start eating it early? If anything I know it will benefit the baby’s health and mine.

    Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      I don’t know. I only know traditional cultures used soaked porridge to stimulate milk supply while breastfeeding was already initiated. If you have low supply problems, I would have your thyroid checked before the baby is born. I would also avoid gluten as this causes low supply in some women.

      Reply
  2. Tori Stewart via Facebook July 26, 2014 at 12:02 am

    I have heard that it’s best to dump soaking water, as it contains all the phytic acid? Thoughts?

    Reply
  3. If Phytic acid keeps minerals locked in nuts and seeds until they are in the process of sprouting, then if I buy sprouted oatmeal do I still need to soak it?

    Reply
  4. Kristin Mückerheide-Jones via Facebook July 25, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    This is so helpful! Just to be sure, are you saying that the next morning you don’t dump out the soaking water and rinse it? Wow I’ve been doing that all along!

    Reply
  5. Hi Sara,

    I suffer from leaky gut and candida. I have been told to rule out all grains. Is it safe for me to eat them if they are soaked over night?

    Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 28, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Probably not for the time being.. check into the GAPS Diet which will temporarily remove grains from your diet until your gut is healed and sealed.

      Reply
  6. What about using a slow cooker? I want my oatmeal to be ready when I wake up. Does the soaking with the acidic medium still achieve the same goal when it is in a slow cooker all night instead of just sitting on the counter? In other words, would the low heat prohibit the neutralizing process? I would think not, but just wanted to make sure. Thanks, I would appreciate a response.

    Reply
  7. HERE IS THE ANSWER:
    In a comparison of the ability of grains to break down phytic acid by soaking, even with an acid in the soak water, oats and corn were stand-outs: you can soak all you want and still end up with the same amount of phytic acid. You are wasting your time and your ingredients by trying to soak your oats with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or yogurt.

    The phytic acid in wheat and rye was reduces entirely in one hour or soaking, and barley in 2 hours. Oats and corn when soaked for 12 hours still retain 75% of their original phytic acid content. Research has shown that millet and brown rice can be difficult too in removing phytic acid.

    The key to making the most of your oatmeal is “complementary soaking” which is to add a high-phytase grain to a low phytase grain. The reason that the phytic acid declined so much in the wheat, rye, and barley in experiments is that they have higher levels of the enzyme phytase that work to break down the phytic acid.

    Phytase level in rye is extremely high. Wheat and buckwheat are very high also. Corn, rice, soybeans and chickpea all have low levels. Oats have very low levels as well based on the difficulty researchers had in reducing the phytic acid.

    So the solution for soaking oats is to keep whole rye kernels on hand (or hulled raw buckwheat in a gluten-free kitchen (Not kasha or roasted buckwheat but raw hulled buckwheat – some Wholefoods and Health Food stores carry it) and a coffee grinder. Grind 1 or 2 tablespoon of rye kernels or buckwheat in the coffee grinder and add the ground rye or buckwheat to your soak water for the oats.

    Reply
    • That makes sense with the phytase enzyme, same as to why some say raw milk is easily digested due to lactase to help with digestion of lactose. I have heard now several times that it is best to mix different grains before consuming. I would be interested to hear Sarah’s thoughts on this.

      Reply
    • Hi Stacey, I would be grateful to know your resources for what you wrote. I am a member of a WPF chapter in NY and will be doing a presentation on grains soon. I have heard variations on what you are saying, but have been having trouble finding resources to share that others can access beyond posts and comments here and there.

      Reply
  8. Ok, so. I’m actually concerned because my oatmeal didn’t taste or smell like vinegar at all! This obviously is alright by me! (I soaked it 8 hours), but I used white vinegar, as I’m out of apple cider vinegar. Is white ok to use?

    Reply
  9. Hi
    Is it better to eat oatmeal with the water they have been soaked in or should I pour this water out? What about some minerals included in oatmeal? Could You tell me if I wouldn’t pour those minerals with the water?
    Greg

    Reply
    • the only reason to pour the water out would be if the oatmeal cooked in the soaking water would be too sour for you – my thinking – there is no other need to pour it out; i soak mine in an enameled pot over night and then cook them right in that pot the next morning. for added minerals use some black strap molasses :)

      Reply
        • Hey, it’s me again :)
          I often add some instant buckwheat flakes to deliver the phytase (I know that oats haven’t got enough phytase to reduce the phytic acid). But do this instant flakes contain some phytase or should I use a natural buckwheat?
          Greg

          Reply
  10. Hi Sarah,
    I’m wondering about how soaking oats – even using an acid additive like whey or lemon juice, will remove phytic acid? Since activating an enzyme called phytase is needed to deactivate the phytic acid and oats have almost no phytase, what good is this doing? If phytase is absent or limited, soaking does little to reduce phytic acid concentrations. Can you tell me what your sources are for soaking the way you describe? I want to learn more about this.
    Thank you, Stacey

    Reply
  11. Sarah – what are the positives or negatives to wanting to eat this raw vs cooked?
    And, Thank you. I love your videos and blog.

    Reply
  12. 1) I have whey protein but what is LIQUID WHEY? How do I make it or buy it.

    2) After they soaked too long, was it necessary to put in back in the FRIDGE first.

    Reply
    • Steve, looks like no one answered your question in a few weeks… why do i feel compelled???? any way

      liquid whey you get from draining yogurt from raw milk you leave out and let set (ie it gets thick and separates into the famous curds and whey) then drain the liquid which is whey and eat the curds as cream cheese

      powdered whey is processed what ever… depending on the kind and cannot be used the same way

      what is soaked too long? :)
      hope that helps

      Reply
  13. I found that 4 tbsp of lemon juice made it to lemony so I will try one less next time. This would be great for camping! :)

    Reply
  14. I would sincerely appreciate your thoughts as to whether preparing oats in this manner is appropriate for someone seeking to reverse tooth decay (unfortunately cavities much worse than your son’s cavity- I know you said he didn’t go off grains). I have been preparing oatmeal this way, but after reading Ramiel Nagel’s book, I am confused. He says to sprout oats for 2 days, dry them, and remove the bran through flaking… then sour for 24 hours. Could you give some clarity on the sprouting/drying/flaking process? If you have time, I would be grateful. I am thankful for everything I have learned from you!

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist July 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      I don’t do what Rami suggests and we don’t have tooth decay problems in our home. If you do or eat a lot of oatmeal (every single morning for months on end for example), then I would follow his protocol. Under normal circumstances, simple overnight soak is sufficient.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your response! I guess I am confused because I don’t really understand his protocol or how to do it. He doesn’t explain the process. I suppose the answer is to avoid oats for now and try soaked oats again after teeth have healed. Thanks again!

        Reply
  15. What about using the crock pot? Could I do that instead of soaking them overnight? Just trying to simplify it a bit more for myself but I will try it by just soaking. I have NEVER heard this before and I love when I find new healthy information to “chew” on! Thanks

    Reply
    • Rebecca, you can soak it overnight in your crock-pot. I like the way Sarah does it because it breaks down the grains. I did do it another way a few years ago and my kids wouldn’t eat it. Tried it twice too. :(

      Reply
  16. hi Sarah,
    Love the soaking of the oats recipe and have been doing it for years.

    Was wondering if I could use homemade kefir as the acid component to the hot oats cereal as I make it regularly and want to use kefir for breakfast ideas?
    Thanks for website, I love your work.

    Reply
  17. Everyone In my house loves oatmeal. We are new to the WAPF way of eating but are taking steps towards living this way. I have been making steel cut oats in the crockpot using the water bath method overnight. I love waking up to a hearty breakfast with almost no effort or mess. If I were to add an acid when I mixed it do you think it would work? Would it still help with the breakdown of anti-nutrients and improve digestibility?

    Reply
    • Hi Laura,
      I think it would help, but ideally, you would still want to pre-soak the oats to allow for the enzyme process that makes all the nutrients available. Also adding a little buckwheat or cracked wheat or wheat flour would ensure that the necessary enzyme is present. There is some debate about how necessary it is to add acid and that temperature is a more important factor than ph, but it makes sense to my mind that it speeds the process by sending a message that decomposition is starting so hurry up!
      I cook whole wheat overnight in a crockpot and, like you, I love the simplicity of waking up with hot breakfast right there. When I learned about pre-soaking grains it was a pretty easy transition to just wash out the crockpot after breakfast and start SOAKING breakfast for the next day right then when breakfast is fresh on my mind. I’ve done the same with millet and whole oat groats; I’m sure it would work with steel cut oats as well.

      Not all crockpots are the same, so for starters you want to be sure to use PLENTY of water for cooking overnight: 1 part dry grain to 4 parts water and cook it on LOW (on some crockpots the “warm” setting is warm enough). To pre-soak grains for overnight cooking, cover your grain with warm water and add acid as Sarah recommends, if desired. Soak that all day, then just before bed, add the remaining water needed for cooking and turn it on LOW(salt then too, or in the morning) and put the lid on. After cooking one batch with LOTS of water, you can make a pretty good guess on the ratio you would need.
      With my medium crockpot, I put 3 1/2 C dry whole wheat (or 3 C cracked) into the crockpot and fill to the top with warm water (about 6 Cups) and a little raw apple cider vinegar. Soak all day, cook all night, clean out the crockpot and start all over.
      Our favorite breakfast is to blend this wheat in the blender with a banana or two, a handful of soaked almonds and/or fresh milk or cream and a little sweetening to taste. We call it breakfast pudding and everyone LOVES it. The wheat we didn’t use for breakfast goes into a soup or a salad later in the day.

      Reply
  18. So, I tried properly prepared oatmeal this morning. I used the lemon & cooked it in the morning with a cup of milk instead of water. Loved it! I actually liked it even more after it sat a little while after cooking. It had more of a fresh lemony taste as opposed to right after cooking where it did have the SLIGHTLY sour flavor. Nothing intolerable! I love love love the texture! I’m eating this as I’m pregnant and breastfeeding my 6 month old and had a little bit of a drop in my milk supply. Thank you for your blog/videos/etc. I so very much appreciate your educating me and my family on great nutrition!

    Reply
  19. I am going to try this tonight, I find that just soaking them in protein overnight and eating them at the moment isn’t filling me up at all and neither is just adding water to the oats and cooking them in the microwave. Hopefully this will resolve my issue as im always hungry even after eating a cup!

    Reply
  20. Two things… One, I found that mixing in some baking soda before cooking (mix w/ water to dissolve then mix into the oats) totally takes out the sour taste. yay! 2nd, in Nigel’s tooth book, he mentions that oats have very little phytase on their own – so they don’t break down the phytic acid by themselves very well. It is best to add something with a high phytase content to get the process moving (wheat flour, rye flour or.. I think buckwheat for gluten free)

    Reply
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  22. From my understandng of soaking grains, after soaking grains overnight with an acidic medium, you throw out the soaking liquid the next day and rinse. Then you cook it.

    Reply
    • Gudrun B gave an explanation (a few comments up) that summarizes perfectly what I have studied. You CAN rinse your soaked grains for flavor (assuming they haven’t soaked up all your liquid), but you don’t need to for nutrition, because the anti-nutrient complex has been changed into accessible nutrients.
      This is true for all grains, whether whole, rolled, cracked or flour (though if they have been heated as in the case of most rolled grains, it seems that enzymes would be dead, making the addition of wheat/spelt/buckwheat flour to ensure the presence of phytase more important).

      I love what I am learning from so many great questions and comments! Especially those that make this all seem so simple and logical. LIFESAVERS for busy Mommies! :)

      A few more thoughts for latecomers in this conversation (like me):

      soaking in warm water gives the process a head start, especially in a cooler house. Starting with cold water requires hours before reaching room temperature, where the enzyme process works best.

      In my experience, buying grains in bulk bins is a good idea, especially at a store where inventory moves through quickly. Most of these stores receive shipments weekly or more often, and foods can be looked over (and smelled) to ensure quality. For things I use regularly, I prefer to buy 50 pounds or more so I know I’ll have it on hand, but nutritionally speaking (and with variety grains I use less often), I love that bulk bins make it possible to pay less without purchasing more than I can use quickly.

      Reply
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  24. One more tip to add: if you are using an aluminum pan you do NOT want to be soaking your oats with an acid in it overnight, as the acid will absorb some of the aluminum.
    Thank you for sharing this information and for making it so simple.

    Reply
    • I always soak mine and then dry them in the dehydrator before using them in other recipes such as cookies or snack bars so they maintain their crunch. You could do the same in your oven by putting it on the lowest setting and if necessary, cracking the door open to keep it from getting too hot.

      Reply
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  26. I thought that if you boiled your food, then it kills the enzymes. So why wouldnt you just eat the oatmeal raw, after it has soaked?

    Reply
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  28. I’m confused why you don’t rinse the oats after soaking them. Don’t the phytates break down into the water? Wouldn’t you just be consuming the phytates if you didn’t rinse the oats? Or maybe that’s not how it works … Thanks.

    Reply
  29. sorry if i missed this in all the previous comments. but, what about steel cut oats? are those better/worse and should i soak them the same way? thanks for all you do.

    Reply
  30. My hubby often makes himself a batch of oatmeal on the spur of the moment. He makes a pot (unsoaked), and the leftovers just sit there because I don’t want to serve them to the kids. It always crosses my mind, can I ferment/soak them AFTER cooking? Why not just add a bit of whey and let the cooked oatmeal sit on the counter for the day? Would this work to break down the phytic acids and antinutrients??

    Reply
  31. Pingback: 101 Uses for Soured Raw Milk : Real Food Farming

  32. I recently started making soaked oatmeal for my family and we love it! The first try was a little too lemony for everyone. I’ve started to discard any excess water (which isn’t much) and it takes away most of the sour, lemon flavor. Does that get rid of any of the beneficial nutrients that we need? I hope not, my family devours this stuff!

    Reply
  33. Thanks, Sarah! My children love to eat oatmeal. My son watched this video with me last week and I explained to him that we were going to begin eating our oatmeal this way from now on.. We called it “porridge”, (They LOVE the story of Goldilocks!). I began by simply soaking it without the acid. They didn’t notice a difference. But I did! I couldn’t believe it when it came to lunch time and I realized that they had not asked me once for any more food…and they each only ate 1 bowl of the porridgel!!
    (Usually this is our day: We eat our first breakfast at 7:30; my son (4 1/2) asks for two bowls of oatmeal and my daughter (3) asks for 1 1/2 bowls. Then around 9:30 they want some fruit, or egg, or toast; I call this “2nd Breakfast”. And then about an hour before lunch they are hungry and begging for a snack.)

    Last night I soaked the oats with 2 TBSP lemon juice. When it was almost done cooking this morning, I tossed in some fresh raspberries. After I filled their bowls, I gave them each a nice pat of organic butter (I haven’t been able to find a farm to purchase raw milk or butter from here in Cape Coral, FL) on top and drizzled some honey.
    They LOVED it and were only able to eat half of what they would have eaten if I had NOT soaked the oats. This morning, while enjoying his soaked oats, my son said to me, “Mom, I’m so thankful Miss Sarah taught you how to make this porridge!” It is almost time for them to be begging for their post-2nd breakfast, pre-lunch snack, and I haven’t heard one request for food! So, Miss Sarah…thank you for giving me a nutritious way to feed my children that will satisfy!!

    Reply
  34. my only suggestion would be to soak in clear glass ;-) if you are adding lemon juice or ACV in a stainless steel or aluminum pot for that long, would IMO increase leaching of aluminum, nickel, chromium (stainless is nickel and chromium).

    Reply
  35. A friend linked to one of your posts on cavities on FB and I’ve been exploring your blog ever since I followed the link. I will try this tonight (and in the morning)! It looks super easy.

    Reply
  36. I’m still not convinced about soaking grains. All the “tradition” on it seems to lead back to exactly one source. I made homemade granola every week, and I don’t soak my oats. My granola is VERY filling, it lasts me 6-7 hours until my lunch break every single time. I don’t necessarily agree that everyone needs to spend the time and energy with this extra step if you can handle your grains naturally.

    Reply
    • Christina what are you talking about spending time and energy? instead of adding liquid to cook oatmeal in the morning you add it the night before – where is there extra? now when you are talking granola it might be a bit different, but for cooking porridge there is no extra in the process, on the contrary, i set it up at night and just have to turn the burner on in the morning (when i am not thinking fully any way) :)

      Reply
      • I know that this particular recipe is not a lot of extra work – but I’m assuming that most people who feel the need to soak their oatmeal are also going to soak/sprout everything else. And yes, all those times do add up when you work full time, have a family, a house to clean up, etc. I spend many hours in the kitchen each week as is, preparing everything from scratch myself. And I do love it, don’t get me wrong, but one can only do so much.

        Reply
    • Excuse me but the entire nation of Scotland cooked their poridge oats this way. Is that your one source? The saying was the English fed their soaked oats to their horses and bred strong race horses, but the Scots fed their children soaked oats and bred strong men and women!

      Reply
  37. With all due respect, your video contradicts your recipe, or vice-versa. 2 or 4 T. lemon juice? An additional 1 or 2 cups of water added the next day?

    I’ve begun sprouting grains/seeds/nuts and am enjoying that. I’ve also wanted to find a good method for soaking oats, as I eat them for breakfast 7 xs a week.

    Thank you for any response,
    Julie

    Reply
    • Julie, the recipe in the video is simply halved. As long as you keep the same ratios you are good to go. You can double it this way as well.

      Reply
  38. hi crystal, I guess your question was intended for Sarah, but well, I will just share my thoughts… ;)
    If I am not using my soaked grains, I change the water or if I coarsely ground them, I stir the mixture…. then after 24+ hrs I would always trust my nose :) normally, if it smells pleasantly sour I would still use it.
    **********************
    I have another question for Sarah or anybody who knows an answer :)
    Is it safe to soak FRESHLY GROUND OATS overnight? Oats contain a high fat content and would they not go RANCID? (oat flakes in the supermarket are heat treated so they shouldn’t go rancid) To my understanding the Scottish people always soaked whole oats and mushed them down while cooking them, so they would not have issue to worry about…. or does the vinegar prevent the rancid process?

    Reply
    • This is my question as well… I would never soak oats overnight with yogurt, buttermilk or any other dairy product on the counter…. I would refridgerate it vinegar or not.

      Reply
  39. Hello,
    I am just wondering if it is still safe to consume grains that you have soaked for more than 24 hours? I usually start soaking the grains the night before I plan to use them, but occasionally a situation will arise where I don’t have the time to cook them and so they sit for another additional night, so they are soaking for more like 36 hours. Are they still safe to eat? I apologize if this question has already been asked, but I have searched the internet and am having a very hard time finding an answer, any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  40. Wonderful Information on your Blog Thank you for doing this!!

    Just for some variety. I do like soaked oats, but I really like them if I used the Scottish Oats. I get the Bob Red Mill Brand. I personally find that they are a bit sweeter than regular rolled oats, even organic.

    Thank you again Sarah and everyone else who gave great ideas!!!! You all are a blessing to a great movement to eating healthy and teaching our children to do the same.

    Reply
  41. I love your recipes!! :) Thanks so much for sharing them, Sarah!
    One tiny suggestion: Could you please always add how many servings your ingredients make? As I am currently living on my own I guess 2 cups of oats would be too much for one person. :)

    Reply
  42. We have been enjoying our steel cut oats (4c water to 1c oats) cooked overnight on “warm” in a 1 1/2Q mini-crock pot. What is your opinion of cooking this way? Will the lemon juice aid when cooked in this manner?

    Reply
  43. Sarah, I actually soak about a weeks worth of oatmeal, and rice for that matter, then store it in the refrigerator for later use. Do you see a problem with this?

    Reply
  44. oh my heavens…just tried it….this is delicious! I really enjoy the lemony taste and find I don’t even need a sweetener with my oatmeal this way. Yum! I’ll be making this over and over :o)

    Reply
  45. I tried unsuccessfully to find your article about granola, so I will use this one to ask my question. I think you mentioned in that post that even if you soak oats and dehydrate them, they still need to be cooked sufficiently and that NO granola is healthy. I found some sproutable oats, sprouted them, and dehydrated them, and roll them for breakfast oatmeal. Now I’m wondering how much cooking constitutes enough? Will baking them in cookies (or granola) where there isn’t much or any liquid be enough cooking? Do they need to be cooked in a liquid? Thank you!

    Reply
  46. I would appreciate a reply to : Should Soaked Oats be rinsed? It seems that getting rid of the anti nutrients is the idea and consuming them by recooking the oats in the same water is not good???
    I also add Spelt flour to help the process.
    Love the site!
    Steve K

    Reply
    • Interesting article, thanks for sharing.

      So coming back to oatmeal, it seems the main reason to soak is for the change in texture (or to shorten the cooking time). I grew up eating cold oatmeal and prefer the chewy feel of dry oats. I have soaked oats in filtered water overnight when I’ve run out of raw milk or homemade almond milk, but I was unsure whether there was any benefit to the soaking.

      Reply
  47. I tried soaking oatmeal using yogurt but eating oatmeal prepared this way gave me the worst gas pains I’ve ever had in my life. Twice. Am I doing something wrong? I put the oatmeal in water on the counter with a spoonful of yogurt overnight and cooked it in the morning.

    Reply
  48. Love oatmeal… Can’t get enough. I love steel cut oats but don’t always have the time in the morning so will bring them to a boil for 1 minute at night and remove them from the heat and cover, then in the morning just heat up and it’s ready to go in just a couple of minutes. Quicker than instant Quaker Oats, and much healthier… Thanks for sharing :)
    Kellie@ Nutritional Therapy Coach\’s last post: Many Chronic Issues Are Related to Food

    Reply
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  50. Tried this for breakfast… my girls and I think it’s quite sour. I’m also not so thrilled with the texture. Could I cook it with less water, so it’s a thicker consistency? Also, could I use half the lemon juice, or would it not be enough to properly soak the oats?

    Reply
  51. Pingback: No Granola is Good Granola « To Your Health

  52. I am using Santa Cruz organic Pure Lemon Juice (pasteurized) to soak my oats. Will this be the same (good) result as fresh squeezed lemon juice? Thanks!

    Reply
  53. I am really trying to enjoy soaked oatmeal and tried this version using the lemon juice. I am guessing it is an acquired taste. It is very lemony sour and salty to me. I am having a hard time with the flavor. I may try it again, but rinsing the oats after soaking and then cooking them. I know I won’t be able to get my hubby to enjoy these so now I have a pot of oats I may have to feed to my chickens……I keep trying soaked oatmeal to get used to it but so far not too good to me.

    Reply
  54. I wonder if it would be even better to soak some rolled rye flakes along with the oatmeal? According to Rami Nagel in the article “Living With Phytic Acid” on the WAPF website, soaking oats does not reduce phytic acid at all, which is the main reason we soak grains, right? However, he suggests that because rye is rich in phytase, which oatmeal is not, the rye can facilitate the soaking process of other low-phytase grains it is mixed with.

    Reply
  55. Like you, Sarah, we are long since done with boxed cereal and don’t believe that little packets of anything for the microwave barely qualify as ‘food.’ (Look around: most of what is available in the supermarket barely qualifies as food.)

    And like you, we also prep oatmeal at night for a quick, nutritious breakfast in the morning. It only takes a moment and it’s well worth the moment spent. But I only buy organic rolled oats to grind and use in baking. We use organic steel cut oats for breakfast porridge.

    I put a cup of the oats into a heavy pot with a tsp of salt, a heaping TB of cinnamon and four cups of water. I bring the water to a boil, stir, turn off the heat and cover. In the morning we stir the oatmeal and serve. Sometimes we add hot milk, sometimes not. Sometimes we add dried fruit, chopped fresh fruit, chopped nuts, whatever. Sometimes not.

    Love your website and will return often. Thanks for the good work!

    Reply
  56. I made the soaked oatmeal with lemon juice last night and cooked it up. My boys found it too sour. We added butter and a sweetener. Now I have a pot of oatmeal that no one wants to eat. I was wondering if anyone has a recipe I can make this into. I like the baked oatmeal recipe above, but I already cooked ours with the water. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Nancy, try adding 1 tbsp less of the lemon juice. I make sure I put fruit in too. I know, I have the same thing and that’s why I add the fruit. Maybe try the yogurt next time around or mix lemon juice and the yogurt. It’s worth a try.

      Reply
  57. I remember reading that Rami Nagiel advised against buying store-bought oats such as Bob’s Red Mill because they are subjected to high temperatures during processing resulting in a dead food that is hard to remove phytates from and is similar to pasteurized milk. Do you think that organic rolled oats bought in bulk at health foods stores such as say, Whole Foods are subject to the same treatment? I’m hoping this is only a process certain brans follow.

    Reply
  58. Trying not to panic! We received orders for California. I hope to find other sources of milk that will be less than $15 a gallon! I expected to pay more but not that much more. There is no way that we can swing that. I want to feed my family well but ouch!! I see a lot of soaked beans, soaked rice, and lots of cheese in the future!

    Reply
    • Are you out of California? I didn’t know it was legal to order raw milk and ship it out of Cal. We are lucky here to having buying clubs, Organic Pastures drops off at locations, usually homes, and can be picked up and it’s dollars cheaper. If your family likes yogurt, buy a good quality pasteurized, non homogenized whole milk like from TJ’s, or here in Cal we have Straus’, which is grassfed, not sure about TJ’s and culture that into keifer or whey, then drink less of the raw milk with meals or snacks. Jenny from The Nourished Kitchen told me as long as you get some raw milk and raw cheeses, you get those benefits and then your homemade yogurt not from raw milk gives you the great probiotics and grassfed benefits. Just don’t drink the pasteurized uncultured! And don’t ever buy or drink ultrapasteurized!

      Reply
      • I am sorry for being unclear. My husband is in the Coast Guard and we are moving to Humboldt County this summer. Thank you for the information. I am eyes and ears wide open for any tips or information for good food sources for where we are going. Thank you very much for the suggestions.

        Reply
  59. I soak my oats overnight, usually with whey added or yoghurt. I do find that it’s a bit sour, but that’s overtaken by the cream and maple syrup I add! Yum!

    I am interested, though, in what others have said about the low level of phytase in oats, and that soaking may not be enough to neutralise it. I haven’t heard that before, but it makes me wonder if I should be adding something else.

    I honestly don’t seem to get digestive problems from grains (at least not obvious ones, like stomach upset) but I am concerned about the damage from the anti-nutrients anyway, as I believe that issues can crop up years down the track if you’re not careful now!

    Incidentally I was reading a new magazine yesterday with the butter vs margarine debate… there was a nutritionist who recommended margarine (BLECH) and stated that butter has much higher levels of dangerous trans fats than do margarines! Sounds ridiculous to me… and I wish the so-called experts would stop propagating the nonsense that “margarine made with Canola or safflower” is healthier than butter!! It’s no wonder so many well meaning people are led astray…

    Reply
  60. I’m in Australia and we have oats most mornings. In winter it’s cooked, however in summer which we have a lot more of, we have cold oats. I soak them overnight and then in the morning we just have yoghurt (homemade), fresh fruit salad and a mix of crushed Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, linseed and chia. I have to admit I don’t soak the nuts and seeds first and I should be, but we just crush them and sprinkle them on top. It is a delicious breakfast and sticks pretty well so we don’t get hungry too soon!

    Reply
  61. I have been soaking oats following the recipe in Nourishing Traditions. She says to soak in warm water. You didn’t mention warm. Does that make a difference?

    Reply
  62. Just a tip, if you own a rice cooker you can prep everything in it the night before and set it for the time you want it ready the next morning. We do this regularly in the winter and it’s nice to wake up to a hot breakfast.

    Reply
  63. Sarah,

    Would you please comment on Kate’s post above? Is it necessary to add wheat or buckwheat to help reduce the phytic acid? Is yogurt ineffective because calcium impedes the process?

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      No it is not necessary to add wheat or buckwheat. A simple soak as I show in the video is sufficient. Yogurt is fine if it is used with water … yogurt by itself doesn’t work as well.

      It is important not to complicate this stuff too much. A simple soak with an acidic medium is what our grandparents did and it was fine. People have gotten away from this with instant oatmeal and such. Trying to achieve perfection in reducing anti-nutrients in the soaking process is not necessary. Phytic acid is not the only anti-nutrient .. there are many other benefits to soaking besides reduces phytate content.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Video: How to Cook Oatmeal (the RIGHT way)

      Reply
      • Thanks for this concise response Sarah. After reading Cure Tooth Decay I felt a bit overwhelmed as so much of his info on grains seemed contrary to what Dr. Price found. Also it seems every ‘real food’ blog has a million and one things to say on grains and none of it is the same. I appreciate this blog so very much!!

        Reply
  64. Loving your blog and information! I am pregnant and cant believe that I have thought my diet was best for the baby, especially since we eat almost all organic.

    I am wondering one thing. It has been a week or so of switching to raw milk, raw butter and more eggs, etc. Is it normal to feel kind of, well, crappy? Its really hard to wake up, and I feel really groggy and foggy. I feel better sitting or lying down, because standing makes my head feel pressured. Is this detoxing from all the processed foods? Do I need more sleep to help my body through the change? Should I be switching over while I am pregnant?

    Any help is appreciated!

    Reply
    • How far along are you? If you are in your first trimester, it’s very natural to feel icky, regardless of diet (in fact, my mother always swears that the sicker she was the first three months, the larger and healthier the baby was born).

      If not, you may be detoxing. When we switched over to raw milk, we felt all the better, but we had already eliminated processed foods from our diet a while before.

      Also, your body may not be adapted to all of the fat, especiallt if you have previously been eating a low-fat diet.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the info. I am in my second tri, and never got morning sickness in the first, so I know its not that. I will go slower. Feeling better already too.

        Reply
  65. I’m so excited to let you know that we received our new oat roller yesterday and To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. will now be offering our sprouted oats rolled and ready for making oatmeal, granola, or cookies. No need to soak prior to cooking!

    Reply
    • Peggy, I was just about to ask my question regarding sprouted oats when I read your post! I came into possession of some whole grain raw sproutable oats by Legacy Valley. I have sprouted and dehydrated them and they are ready to use, but I noticed that the grains are very small, and I’m not sure how they will roll out. Legacy Valley suggests cooking them whole, just like rice (they are about that size) for about 45 minutes. Do you have any advice about this, and/or are you familiar with these particular oats? Thanks for your (or Sarah’s or anyone else’s) feedback here.

      Reply
      • Well, I just rolled a serving of the sprouted oats, and cooked them up and they are so delicious! After rolling I only needed to cook about 10 minutes or so, maybe less (I didn’t time it, I was busy doing other things). They rolled out very crumbly, looking much like your store-bought instant oats, but if I use the next larger opening on my flaker, the grains just slip through whole. I don’t mind though; these oats have lots of good chewy texture.

        Reply
    • Peggy – I’ve used your sprouted grains in the past and they were (are) a suburb products and you’re awesome to talk to, too!

      Reply
  66. My understanding is that most oats have been heat-treated, so soaking by itself may not do much good to degrade the phytic acid. I really don’t make oats much anymore, but I used to grind a small amount of buckwheat in a coffee grinder and add to my oats before soaking, to ensure that adequate phytase was present. Then I followed the same soaking method as Sarah. My oats always turned out great, especially with lots of butter and cream and a little honey!

    Reply
  67. We love our oats, but I can hardly get the kids to eat them if they are soaked. I grew up with old fashioned oats cooked only for three minutes and foam skimmed while cooking. So we like our oats to have a lot of tooth to them still. I found I could almost get away with soaking if I used the thick cut rolled oats that Bob’s sells. Does skimming foam give us any benefits? (It has to remove some impurities.) I can’t stand gummy, soft oats but I do like baked oatmeal. I’m the only one though, *sigh* I’ve toyed with the idea of soaking the thick oats and then dehydrating and using like quick oats to see if I can keep them firm. Do you think that would work? Otherwise, I just cook our thick oats for 5 minutes, skimming, and serve with coconut oil and raw milk.
    hobby baker\’s last post: Soy Free Mongolian Beef at last

    Reply
  68. When you soak your oats with an acidic medium, does it matter what type of pot you soak it in? I can’t remember why but I always soak mine in glass and then transfer to the stainless steel pot in the morning. I have tried whey, kefir and yogurt and buttermilk, our favorite is lemon. The oats come out smooth and fluffy…WAY better than any oatmeal I have had.

    Reply
    • I would never use stainless steel to soak anything with an acidic medium. I’d soak in glass and cook in glass (I also bake everything in glass.)

      Reply
  69. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama January 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    My research, and experiments, have shown that oats don’t release much phytic acid because they are low in phytase. They need the presence of some other grain (like wheat) that is high in phytase in order to actually break down the phytic acid. Also, dairy foods shouldn’t be used for soaking because high calcium levels inhibit the process. I got this information from Amanda Rose’s White Paper.

    I can tell if I don’t soak oats properly, my kids react as if I’d done nothing. If I add a small amount of wheat flour and use lemon juice, they do just fine. Although I don’t like oatmeal…lol. I use the soaked oats to make granola for us.

    Reply
    • I read that, too, Kate. You’re supposed to use freshly ground buckwheat to soak with the oatmeal (I never had freshly ground but used a couple of tbsps of buckwheat flour with my oatmeal when soaking). Can’t recall if you can use anything else (I couldn’t use wheat as I’m gluten-intolerant).

      Reply
      • Coarsely ground barley or barley flour can be added along with buckwheat flour to the oatmeal. Adding a few tbsp of ground flaxseed can enhance the nutrition value of this recipe.

        Reply
    • Kate: do you know the ratio needed of wheat per cup of flour? And the ratio of lemon juice per cup of oats? There is so much information out there that keeps contradicting itself Thanks so much!

      Reply
  70. This is exactly how I’ve been making my oatmeal for years… glad to know I’m doing it “right”!
    For so long, though, I would eat my oatmeal for breakfast (with plenty of butter, crispy nuts, etc) and it would not keep me full for long – after a couple of hours I would be ravenously hungry – hungrier than I would have been if I had skipped breakfast entirely! But my new favorite breakfast that sticks with me till well into the afternoon: soaked oatmeal, 1 heaping tbsp peanut butter, half a sliced banana and just a tiny drizzle (1/2 tsp or so) honey. Yummy, cheap and very filling!

    Reply
  71. Hello,
    I cannot remember where I have read about the soaking of the oats. I have started to do that with the raw yogurt and water…but it also said to rinse the oats. So, I have been rinsing the oats and then use the raw milk to cook( but not on high heat). It does make for a nice creamy oatmeal. Is it wrong to rinse? Am I rinsing away any nutrients??
    Thank you for your help.

    Reply
  72. I am just starting to soak grains. Oat meal was my first. I was wondering if you have had any exsperience with grinding grains with the kitchen aide mixer. I had and the grain is course and I don’t know what it is suppose to look like.

    Reply
  73. I usually buy the steel cut oats from Trader Joes which require more water ( 1c of oats and 4c of water), should I increase the amount of lemon juice (or whey, etc..)?

    Reply
  74. Do you roll your own oats? I read somewhere that it’s best to buy whole oats and roll them at home to have them as fresh as possible. I don’t have an oat roller and no money right now for one. Am I losing out much on the nutrition by buying already rolled oats?

    Reply
  75. I am eating a lot of oatmeal now. Sarah, you are right! Before I could never eat it becausse my blood sugar would sink like a rock. I tried soaked and did’nt like the sour taste of vinegar. I then tried the yogurt. It is fantastic with no blood sugar problems. Is it true that yogurt does’nt work as well as vinegar for soakin? I hope not.

    Reply
  76. Hi Sarah, I prepared my oatmeal last night with lemon juice and it was nice to have breakfast ready this morning. I was wondering if it is a problem to use steel cut oats instead of rolled oats?

    Reply
  77. My 2 year old & I have porridge for breakfast most days. We do not like it made with water though, we prefer milk. Is it ok to substitute the cup of water for milk? Thanks

    Reply
    • What I did, was soaking them in water and whey, but then adding a cup of milk to cook. I also added some raw heavy cream and homemade raisins pure before serving and oatmeal didn’t taste sour at all. It was the best oatmeal ever! The cream makes it some much better!

      Reply
    • I’d love to know what you all think about oats and tooth decay. My 2yodd has some severe decay, 2 teeth worn to the gums. Thanks to changing her diet the other teeth are beautiful. In Ramie Nagel’s book he basically warns to stay away from oats if you have decay. I’ve taken so much out of our diet and we do miss oats. I’d love some input…thanks!

      Reply
        • Even if one’s child doesn’t have tooth decay, I can’t imagine it’s good to have oats every day. If it’s not good when you do have cavities, why would it be good when you don’t have cavities except maybe very infrequently.

          Reply
          • I’m assuming that why many people’s teeth decay from the result of consuming oatmeal has a LOT to do with how they sweeten it. Refined sugar is the absolute WORST thing to consume for our health, and will literally cause our bodies to rot from the inside out. Organic sugar in moderation is okay, but I strive to sweeten everything I eat that requires a sweet flavor with the sweet herb stevia. My teeth have never been so healthy looking as a result.

            I must also warn to beware of refined grains as well such as white flour. Strive for a healthier whole grains/flours, preferably gluten free varieties such as oats/oat flour, brown rice/brown rice flour, tapioca/tapioca flour etc… your teeth will thank you, and will look absolutely beautiful.

            =)

          • Sorry for the second post, but to make something clear when using flour… make the flour yourselves. Soak the grain that is desired, then dry them, and then grind them up to a dust. This way they’ll be far more digestible than any of the non-soaked flours one can purchase at local health-food stores.

      • I know this is WAY late to the game, but in case someone else comes here looking for answers… as a child, I ground my teeth to the gums and also had many cavities. Believe it or not, grinding and clenching teeth is not just an adult issue – by age 12, I had the wear of a 40 year old on my teeth! So while cavities may create problems on teeth surfaces, if the teeth are ground down, talk to your dentist about the possibility of making a dental night guard for your child, which these days can be very unobtrusive, and can be made and formed to not disrupt the tooth formation. I have seen smaller child-sized bite guards even in CVS for about $20.

        Good luck!

        Reply
  78. Perfect timing! I soaked oatmeal last weekend for the first time and did think it tasted too sour. I used ACVingar to soak it with though so next time, I will try the water/lemon juice.

    Thanks again for all the wonderful info you put out on this blog!
    Allison\’s last post: Mom Snydrome: Example 1

    Reply
  79. I have been mulling over the question of how to best prepare oatmeal all winter. So happy you answered it! By the way you look beautiful in this video. Healthy and vibrant!

    Reply
  80. Sarah, I’m baking our next batch of oatmeal with sourdough starter mixed in the night before. Sourdough is supposed to be the number one souring method, right? I’ll let you know how it turns out. We don’t eat a lot of oats, but I’m working on a sourdough granola, too for when we do have them.

    Reply
  81. I had my 8 year old do tonight! It saves time, teaches him how to do it, and he remembers what we are having for breakfast eliminating one question for the : )! Why have I never thought of using the pan that I am going to cook it in instead of a separate bowl? I love to find ways to save on dishes.

    Reply
  82. Thanks for the reminder, I will do this now for breakfast tomorrow! I remember your blog from November 2010 regarding grains and cavities, and that using a medium with calcium such as yogurt or kefir does not work as well as an acidic medium as lemon juice, vinegar or liquid whey. I have tried lemon juice in the past and my son finds the taste to be too sour. If I were to use kefir, would that have the sour taste even though it may not work as well, and how much would I use, 2 tablespoons per 1 cup of oats? Thank you :-)

    Reply
  83. I soak 3 cups oats overnight and then make a baked oatmeal with eggs ( also raisins, nuts, cinammon, vanilla. Coconut oil, etc) we eat it almost every morning with fresh fruit and yogurt( heated up in pan with butter) it’s the best breakfast ever!

    Reply
    • That baked oatmeal sounds really good. How many eggs and how long do you bake it for? Guess I’m really asking for your recipe! I have a ton of oatmeal and would like to use it. After getting negative info for oatmeal in general, I am relieved to find that I can soak it and use it. Thanks!

      Reply
      • Soak 3 c oats with water to cover & 6 tablespoons lemon juice overnight( lg bowl)
        Add the following:
        5 eggs (beaten til smooth)
        1/4t salt
        Cinammon
        Nutmeg
        Sucanant or maple syrup to your liking
        Vanilla
        Raisins
        Walnuts
        Dries fruit- optional
        1/4 cup melted coconut or butter
        App 1 cup milk
        Stir well and bake in buttered casserole dish on 350 until set
        You can cut off a square each morn and heat up with butter- serve with fresh fruit/yogurt

        Reply
        • Thank you Teresa for posting this recipe. I have made it twice now. My family and I absolutely love it! It’s great to have in the frig to grab as a quick breakfast on the go. This and Sarah’s cold cereal recipe have become a great addition to our breakfast choices.

          Reply
        • Yes, thank you so much for sharing your recipe!! I’ve got 1 child who loves oatmeal, and 1 who hates it but loves bread and cakes, so maybe this can please them both. I love the addition of eggs and coconut oil for nutrition density! I’m trying it now.

          Reply
    • Teresa, if this is from Jenny’s Nourished Kitchen, it is indeed one of the best ways I’ve ever had oatmeal and my family thinks so too. My hubby and son just cut it the next day cold and eat it like a muffin. It packs well too and we took it on our last road trip and had it with yogurt for breakfast. I’m having a houseful of guests soon and I’ll bake a huge pan for everyone. They all love it and what a great way to begin the day! Tip: besides soaking the oats overnight, I prep what else I can, so it’s easy to mix since it takes about an hour to bake.

      Reply

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