cheesy oatmeal: super awesome

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I have debated about posting this recipe for the past three weeks. I got the savory oatmeal idea from Mark Bitman’s book Food Matters. And though oatmeal with cheese and pepper flakes is fantastic (and I have ate it 19 out of the last 21 days), it sounds a bit… weird. Nevertheless it is definitely worth trying and hey, maybe I’m not the only person who will find this meal fantastic.

Cheesy Oatmeal

  • Oatmeal
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Red pepper flakes

Cook 1/2 cup old fashioned oats with 1/2 cup water for 1:30. Stir in cheese and cook for an extra 30 seconds. Add a dash (or dump) pepper flakes on top and serve.

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  1. Kaitlyn

    Your cheesy oatmeal looks really good! I still can’t get myself to eat savory oatmeal…you would think I’d be a bit more adventurous…

  2. Jess

    @ Eva: I am not sure, but I would guess plain instant oatmeal would be totally fine. Let me know what you think of it!

    @ Kaitlyn: Try it!! I can’t get myself back to berries and walnuts anymore. I try, but always end up reaching for the cheese. 🙂 I think the protein in the cheese fills me up a bit more too.

  3. Jess, this is scary! I’m a picky eater… it would be CRAZY for me to try something like this, but I will! Over Easter I learned a new treat, strawberry dipped in sour cream, then dipped in brown sugar. I hate sour cream, but Mmmm… it was so good!

  4. Jess

    @ Brooke: Great! Let me know how you like it. And to be even more honest, I have a favorite Mexican restaurant’s salsa (I buy a to-go container of it for $5) and add that to the mix as well. It is a thin, smokey salsa, not the chunky garden variety. It is heaven. I would eat it for two meals a day if I would get more nutritional variety out of it.

  5. blair

    Ok, my! That sounds and looks amazing! I am so glad that you decided to share. I like almost anything when cheese is on it! 🙂

  6. Oh, yummy. A dear friend brought a savory bread, spicy with pistachio’s and we had it with an aperitif. Nothing like something a little spicy to get your day or party started!
    I love oatmeal, and cheese too!

  7. CB

    Yipes! You took one of my favorites (oats) and mixed it with one of my greatest dreads (cheese)! I don’t even know what to think, I’m so confused, I’m going to lie down.

  8. Jess

    @ Blair: Good! I will have another fellow fan. I agree. I melt for anything with cheese. Which explains the four nacho meals I consumed this weekend…

    @ PVE: That sounds wonderful! It is good to know that someone else has been enjoying this awesome dish too.

    @ CB: LOL. Not surprising. Do you still hate cake with frosting?

  9. I don’t know why the thought of savory oatmeal is so disturbing! I eat all other kinds of grains with cheese in them. I think I’ll try to get over myself and just try it!

  10. Natalie

    Look at you go with your 10 comments! Well, I’m gonna make it 11 🙂 I still think this looks weird, but I can attest to the fact that you don’t start reaching for the munchies at work until noon now instead of 10 in the morning!

  11. Jess

    @ Rachel: I know, I was totally the same way. But now, I cannot get myself to put berries and soy milk back in the oats. I might be stuck the other way.

    @ Natalie: It does look weird. But you are right, my belly is now satisfied for a few extra hours.

  12. Alison

    I’m a sucker for oatmeal…and I stumbled on this post last night…and now I’m sitting in front of the computer eating it for breakfast. I like it!

  13. Jess

    @ Alison: Nice!! I’m glad you like it too. I had it this morning as well. Now I add cilantro and sour cream. Slowly I am converting it to a breakfast nacho. Who knows, in a few months I might even include black beans (yes, now all the normal people who don’t like cheesy oatmeal can freak out).

  14. Michael

    OMG I was scared to try but it’s awesome! Some butter, sharp cheddar, and chipotle pepper flakes. Freaking DELISH!!!

    Thanks for inspiring me to try it lol

  15. Elyse

    This looks amazing and the reviews are very promising but I have no red pepper flakes! What are some other good spicy alternatives?

  16. this morning i cooked up some organic steel cut oats without knowing what i would add to it. when the oats were cooked, i thought about my options (friday=empty pantry) and started wondering about cheddar. i sat down at the computer, googled, and found this great recipe! i never would have thought of the red pepper flakes. the steel cut oats are closer to grits in consistency which is what prompted me to think “cheese” in the first place… i’m so happy you wrote up this M.B. recipe, and glad to find your site. REALLY good, i’m craving more now. the poppy-burst textural element of the steel cut oats is an added bonus, and i added a bit of salt and a dash of milk with the tiny amount of extra sharp cheddar i had. thanks!

  17. cameron

    I just tried it and its GOOOOOOODDDDDDDDDDDDD. but to add some additional flavor i added parmazion (spelling?) and it just make it that much better thanks!

  18. meme

    I made it this morning, before coming here. I was just searching to see if anybody else liked cheesy oatmeal too 🙂 I added a fried egg on top and some baked potato rings (kinda like arby’s fries, but baked) for crunchy/spiciness =p Delish!

  19. maria

    whoa. this looks intense!

    I’m a serial-dieter, I wonder how fattening this is! I dont know if I care that much though… Thanks for sharing!

  20. s

    wooo! i have some cheese that needs to be used up. and am excited for breakfast tomorrow.

  21. Don

    Wow I love it. I added some butter and salt and it was yummy!!! I didn’t have cheddar cheese so I used american and it still tasted good 😀

  22. Jen

    I know this is an old post/thread but I have to comment.

    I don’t like sweet food in the morning so I have mostly stayed away from oatmeal. But when my husband and I were first dating, 15 years ago, he’d cook up some ground turkey with Worcestershire sauce and red pepper. Theyn he’d toss in some dry oatmeal to soak up the leftover liquid. The idea grossed me out but it tasted pretty good. The main thing were the oats were still on the dry side, not gluey.

    Fast forward, I was thinking I’d try to do something with some steel cut oats. Of course, steel cut oats take 30-40 minutes to cook so this was for dinner.

    1 c steel cut oats
    3 c water
    1 c minced or chopped onion
    2 T minced garlic
    salt, rosemary and parsley to taste
    tumeric, paprika, and curry powder – 1 t each
    1 lb lean ground turkey
    Worcestershire to taste

    Boil the water.
    Add oats, onion, garlic, salt, rosemary, and parsley.

    In skillet, grill turkey with Worcestershire until done, using a wooden spatula to break up the turkey into small pieces.

    Once the oats are near done, about 30 minutes, add the turkey.
    Add tumeric, paprika, and curry until it tastes the way you like. Add salt, if necessary, desired.

    Remove from heat while still a bit liquid left. It will continue to cook from internal heat.


    This was delicious. Even my 10 year old loved it.

    Next I’m going to try overnight oats with steel cut oats. Soak the oats in water, onion, garlic, salt, and other spices overnight. Then in the morning scramble some egg, grill some turkey sausage, and then put that along with some shredded cheddar into the oats.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Jen!! This is so awesome – I love the idea of bringing savory oats to dinnertime!

  23. I just tried this. Went out to the store just to get the ingredients. Used instant oatmeal too. It was DELICIOUS! Definitely recommend to others.

    Red pepper flakes really are a necessity. They give a sharpness to what would otherwise be a dull flavor on its own (cheese and plain oats).

    Thank you for deciding to post this. I found it googling for “savory oatmeal” when I got the midnight munchies. The sweet stuff is tasty, but often I want something that tastes more like real food, you know?

  24. just made cheesy oatmeal on my own. half cup of oats and a piece of american cheese. it was delicious. as i was eating it, i googled “cheesy oatmeal” and stumbled upon this. i’ve been eating it plain lately and this was a good change. trying to drop down to 15% so i’ve been trying to eat clean. im going to have to try the red pepper flakes next time. thanks for the recipe/article.

  25. Katie

    So good. I wish I added more cheese but trying to portion control! Thanks for a great idea.

    1. That’s awesome to hear, Katie! As a fellow cheese lover, I hear you. One thing that might (kinda) help is trying a sharper/stronger shredded cheese to bring more flavor per serving. : )

  26. Terry

    The only problem I had with this recipe was that 1/2 cup of oatmeal just wasn’t enough! In all of these years, it never occurred to me to put cheddar on my oats. What a nice change from the sweet version that most of us are accustomed to eating. I did have to add a pinch of salt and a few bacon crumbles to make it ‘manly’ for my husband. This is certainly a keeper!!!

  27. Alohomora

    I have been doing steel cut oats with shredded asiago – and loads of black pepper. I toast the oats in a bit of butter for a minute, then add boiling water which cuts the cooking time.

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