Poor instant oatmeal … it gets a bad rap. Most of us grew up eating it, yet today, we avoid it since it’s a more processed form of the amazing oat grain. Though despite being more processed than the optimal steel-cut and rolled varieties (or even the almighty whole oat groat), instant oats do have their place in certain circumstances. After all, when eaten without added sugars and preservatives in pre-made packs, plain quick instant oats are really amazing at creating fast, simple dishes.





For instance, take them with you during travel and just add to hot water anywhere or some warmed non-dairy milk and you’ve got breakfast without the need for any heat source or, toss them in a smoothie to thicken it up and add some soluble fiber and whole grain goodness to your daily blend. Instant oats can be added to any baking mix as well to up the fiber, or can even be used in place of part or all of the flour since it’s more finely ground than whole oats for more nutrition.

But instant oats aren’t just a boring source of fiber and a good travel food. They’re also the perfect ingredient to make a quick, healthy dessert. Most oats need a bit more prep time, which you know is just not going to happen with your sweet tooth hits and strikes you out of nowhere. But quick, instant oats can be mixed with just a couple ingredients and make a variety of healthy dessert in just a couple or a few minutes!

Try this out:


Instant MugCake (Microwave Muffin or Cupcake) with an Oven Option

Though the microwave is a controversial method for cooking food these days, in a pinch or in a flash, it will come in handy. If you’ve heard of mug cakes, then likely you’ve already experienced the brilliance of mixing a couple of ingredients together (usually eggs, protein powder, and a healthy flour like coconut) and heating for one minute to make a dessert. Well, we like to enjoy mug cakes too, but not by using those ingredients. Use instant oats instead and eliminate the eggs with some healthy flax seed to act as a binder with the oats.

To make:

In a coffee cup or ramekin, mix together a packet of instant oats (about 1/3 cup if you’re using loose quick oats), 1 tablespoon of either coconut, almond flour, or plant-based protein powder. Then add 1 tablespoon ground flax or chia seed, 1/3 cup water or non-dairy milk, stevia or another sweetener, 1/4 tsp. baking soda to help it rise, a little vanilla, and cinnamon if you enjoy it. Stir, pop in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 45 seconds with a fork and returning until cooked. It should puff up just a regular mugcake, though it needs 1 or 2 extra minutes since there is no egg.


Once it’s done, feel tree to add berries, nuts, seeds, or whatever other toppings you prefer. If you’re enjoying this as a cupcake instead of a muffin, try making a healthy icing with some non-dairy yogurt, sweetener of choice, and some shredded coconut or another nut butter to thicken.




You can also add almond butter, peanut butter, or whatever other ingredients you enjoy into the batter. So long as you stir every 45 minutes, it should come out perfectly. Remember that if you add cocoa powder it will rise even more due to the acidity of the cocoa. Keep this in mind so you choose a large enough mug or ramekin.

Not a microwave fan? 

This can still be made in the oven, just allow 8-10 minutes for baking and place in 2 muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees until done.

Other ideas for making healthy desserts with instant oats include:

  • Vegan Protein Dessert Pancakes
  • Raw No-Bake Cookies (Mix 1 pack instant oats with 2 tablespoons nut butter, 2 tablespoons melted non-dairy chocolate or chocolate chips, sweetener of choice, stir and mold into cookies, then allow them to set at room temp or chill in the fridge.)
  • Instant Homemade Cereal (Add some nuts and seeds, and pour your choice non-dairy milk over the top to enjoy.)
  • Healthy Cookie Dough Shakes (Mix oats with nut butter, cacao or cocoa powder, non-dairy milk, and sweetener of choice with ice and blend.)
  • Raw Dessert Energy Bites

Don’t forget that instant oats can always be used to make regular oatmeal too and easily turned into dessert with some fun ingredients. 

What’s your favorite thing to do with oats?

Lead Image Source: Kimberelli Burke/Flickr