Taste Test: The Best Oatmeal (+ recipes to try)

We taste-tested dozens of oatmeals from the grocery store to stir up our favorites.

BEST STOVE-TOP: McCann's Original Steel-Cut Irish Oatmeal
This 30-minute oatmeal blew away the competitors-traditional and instant. Unlike rolled oats, which are steamed, pressed and toasted, steel-cut oats are sliced in half, resulting in a "nutty, complex" flavor. "You barely need salt or butter," one judge said. Read more »

BEST PLAIN INSTANT: Nature's Path Original Organic Instant Hot Oatmeal
Zap this instant mix for a great bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal in 75 seconds; each packet contains organic rolled oats and a pinch of sea salt. Testers were most impressed by the "thick, creamy" consistency: "Wow, this came from a microwave?" Read more »

BEST CINNAMON: Quaker Instant Oatmeal Apples & Cinnamon
This runaway favorite stood out for its "amazingly plump" chunks of apple and "just the right amount of cinnamon." One impressed taster said, "It smells like someone's baking an apple pie." Read more »

BEST FRUIT: McCann's Instant Irish Oatmeal Fruit & Cream
Fruity oatmeal can taste artificial, but this one contains "surprisingly real-tasting" dehydrated fruit, with strawberry and blueberry flavors being the judges' favorites. "It tastes like a homemade blueberry muffin!" Read more »

BEST MAPLE: Mom's Best Naturals Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal
This brand easily beat cloying competitors, winning over judges with "subtle maple flavor" and "balanced sweetness." You'll feel good buying it, too: The family-owned Minnesota company uses 100 percent recycled cardboard for its packaging. Read more »


Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies »

Prep 20 min (plus standing) | Bake 30 min

Oatmeal Pancakes with Peach Compote »

Prep 15 min | Cook 30 min

Oatmeal-Apple Scones »

Prep 30 min | Bake 20 min

Oatmeal-Cranberry Cookie Sandwiches »

Prep 20 min | Bake 15 min

Oatmeal-Raisin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting »

Prep 15 min | Bake 20 min

By Dina Cheney | Main Photography by Levi Brown

Get your breakfast on!