Mastering the Art of Thickening Oatmeal: Essential Techniques Revealed

How to Thicken Oatmeal: A Comprehensive Guide

Oatmeal is a popular and nutritious breakfast option enjoyed by many people. However, sometimes oatmeal can turn out thin and watery, which can be quite disappointing. If you find yourself in this predicament, don’t worry-there are several effective ways to thicken oatmeal and achieve a satisfying texture. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore different oatmeal thickening methods and provide you with practical tips to ensure your oatmeal comes out thick and creamy every time.

1. Using the right oats

The type of oats you use plays a crucial role in determining the consistency of your oatmeal. Steel-cut or old-fashioned oats are recommended for a thicker texture than quick oats. Steel-cut oats are small pieces of whole oats, while old-fashioned oats are rolled oats that have been steamed and flaked. Quick oats, on the other hand, are old-fashioned oats that have been cut into smaller pieces and steamed for longer, resulting in a softer and possibly mushier texture. For perfectly cooked oatmeal, it is best to opt for steel-cut or old-fashioned oats. However, if you are pressed for time, quick oats can still be used, although they may not produce the same fluffy, light consistency.

2. Let the oatmeal simmer

If your oatmeal is too watery even with the right type of oats, simmering it uncovered for a few minutes will help evaporate the excess liquid and thicken the consistency. Stir the oatmeal thoroughly to prevent it from burning on the bottom. When the oatmeal is cooked, turn off the heat and continue stirring. The residual heat will continue to reduce the liquid content, resulting in a perfectly thickened oatmeal consistency.

3. Add a thickening agent: Protein Powder

Protein powder can be an excellent thickening agent for oatmeal while providing an extra protein boost. It absorbs excess liquid, making it ideal for effectively thickening oatmeal. Add one tablespoon of protein powder to your oatmeal and stir until evenly mixed. Whey protein powder is particularly effective at thickening oatmeal and is available in a variety of flavors, including chocolate and vanilla, which can enhance the taste of your oatmeal.

4. Incorporate Coconut Flour

Coconut flour, a grain-free and nut-free alternative, is a highly absorbent ingredient that works well as a thickener for sauces, soups and oatmeal. It is high in fiber and healthy fats. Adding a tablespoon of coconut flour to your oatmeal and mixing thoroughly will quickly thicken the consistency. If you don’t have coconut flour, you can substitute starchy flour alternatives such as all-purpose flour, tapioca powder, corn flour, xanthan gum, or arrowroot powder. Remember to add these alternatives gradually to avoid making your oatmeal too thick.

5. Use flax meal

Flax meal, made from ground flaxseed, is another effective thickening agent for watery oatmeal. In addition to improving texture, flaxseed provides fiber and omega-3 fatty acids for added health benefits. Stir in one tablespoon of flaxseed per serving to thicken the water and create a creamy consistency in your oatmeal.

6. Try adding egg whites

Egg whites are a versatile ingredient that can thicken oatmeal while providing an extra protein boost. Whisk two egg whites per serving and stir into your cooked oatmeal while it is still hot (but removed from direct heat). The egg whites will blend well with the oatmeal, creating a thickened texture without turning into scrambled eggs. To add flavor, you can stir in a teaspoon of vanilla extract or honey.

7. Enhance with nut butter

Adding a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter to liquid oatmeal can significantly thicken the consistency while adding a heartier texture and delicious flavors. Nut butters, such as almond or peanut butter, are also a good source of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Simply stir a spoonful or two of nut butter into your hot oatmeal and enjoy the creamy, rich flavor. If the nut butter is too sticky to stir easily, you can add a few drops of hot water or warm milk to loosen it before mixing.

8. Mash a banana

Mashing a banana and stirring it into your oatmeal is a healthy and natural way to thicken the consistency. The mashed banana adds sweetness and creaminess without adding fat or sugar. Bananas are also rich in potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure. For a more flavorful bowl of oatmeal, consider adding a sprinkle of cinnamon along with the banana puree.

9. Add yogurt or silken tofu

Yogurt and silken tofu can be excellent additions to thicken oatmeal while adding a creamy texture and tangy flavor. These dairy or plant-based options can be stirred into your cooked oatmeal to achieve the desired thickness. Start by adding a spoonful of yogurt or a few cubes of silken tofu and stir well. Adjust the amount to your preference, keeping in mind that more yogurt or tofu makes for a thicker consistency.

10. Use Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are known for their ability to absorb liquid and create a gel-like texture. By adding a tablespoon or two of chia seeds to your oatmeal and letting them sit for a few minutes, you can achieve a thicker consistency. As the chia seeds absorb liquid, they expand and contribute to the overall thickness of the oatmeal. Chia seeds are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants.

11. Opt for rolled oats

Rolled oats, also known as oatmeal, are larger and thicker than instant oats. Using oat flakes instead of instant oats can result in a thicker and heartier oatmeal texture. The larger flakes take longer to cook and provide a chewier consistency. To make oatmeal with rolled oats, follow the cooking instructions on the package and adjust the liquid-to-oat ratio to achieve the desired thickness.

12. Experiment with cornstarch

Cornstarch is a common thickening agent used in many recipes, including oatmeal. To use cornstarch to thicken your oatmeal, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a small amount of water to make a slurry. Stir the slurry into your hot oatmeal and continue cooking for a few minutes. The cornstarch will thicken the oatmeal as it heats up. Keep in mind that cornstarch can change the taste and texture of oatmeal, so start with a small amount and adjust to your preference.

13. Cook with milk

Using milk instead of water to cook your oatmeal can result in a creamier and thicker consistency. Whether you choose regular milk, almond milk, soy milk, or another milk alternative, the added fat and protein will contribute to the overall thickness of the oatmeal. Follow the cooking instructions on your oatmeal package and replace the water with an equal amount of milk. Adjust the amount of milk based on your desired thickness.

14. Consider overnight oats

If you prefer a thick and creamy oatmeal without cooking, overnight oats can be a great option. By combining equal parts oats and liquid (such as milk or yogurt) in a jar or container and refrigerating overnight, the oats absorb the liquid and become soft and thick in the morning. You can customize your overnight oats with a variety of toppings and flavorings, such as fruits, nuts, seeds, and sweeteners.

Bottom line

Thickening oatmeal is a simple and achievable task with several effective methods at your disposal. By using the right type of oats, allowing the oatmeal to simmer, and incorporating various thickening agents such as protein powder, coconut flour, flaxseed meal, and egg whites, you can easily transform thin and watery oatmeal into a thick and satisfying breakfast dish. In addition, ingredients like nut butter, banana puree, yogurt, silken tofu, chia seeds, oatmeal, cornstarch, and milk can further enhance the texture and flavor of your oatmeal. Experiment with these techniques to find the perfect combination for your taste buds. Enjoy your delicious, thickened oatmeal to start your day on a nutritious and satisfying note.


Why is my oatmeal thin and watery?

Thin and watery oatmeal can be the result of using the wrong type of oats or not cooking them properly. Quick oats tend to have a softer texture, while steel-cut or old-fashioned oats have a thicker consistency.

Can I use quick oats to thicken my oatmeal?

Quick oats can be used to make oatmeal, but they may not produce the same thick and hearty texture as steel-cut or old-fashioned oats. When using quick oats, try adding thickeners such as protein powder or flaxseed to achieve a thicker consistency.

What are some natural thickeners I can add to my oatmeal?

There are several natural thickeners you can add to your oatmeal, such as protein powder, coconut flour, flaxseed, chia seeds, and mashed bananas. These ingredients not only thicken the oatmeal, but also add flavor and nutritional benefits.

How much protein powder should I add to my oatmeal to thicken it?

Start by adding one tablespoon of protein powder to your oatmeal and adjust the amount to your desired thickness. Whey protein powder works well for thickening oatmeal and is available in several flavors.

Can I use cornstarch to thicken my oatmeal?

Yes, cornstarch can be used to thicken oatmeal. Mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a small amount of water to make a paste, then stir into your hot oatmeal and cook for a few more minutes to thicken the consistency.

Can I make thicker oatmeal?

Yes, you can achieve a thicker consistency with overnight oats by using less liquid or adding ingredients like chia seeds or mashed bananas. Experiment with the ratio of oats to liquid and different thickeners to get the thickness you like.