Freezer Oatmeal Cups – Make Ahead Breakfast Recipe

4.58 from 7 votes
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Frozen Oatmeal Cups are an easy make-ahead breakfast recipe that is a total time-saver for busy mornings. Perfect for meal prep, the kids can customize them with their favorite fruit and nut toppings! Delicious, healthy, and gluten-free, these are homemade freezer meals for breakfast that the whole family will love. 

gluten free make ahead frozen oatmeal cups recipe image with title

Note: Originally published Aug 28, 2014. 

We all know how hectic mornings can be. Especially school mornings when every adult and kid in the house is running in different directions getting showered and dressed, gathering homework and lunches, and trying to get off to school and work in time.

But it is those exact mornings when you want to make sure the kids get out the door with a wholesome breakfast in their bellies. They have a busy day ahead and need that fuel! Heck, parents do too.

Oatmeal is one of the best healthy breakfast foods. Oats have a ton of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and a high amount of iron. But perhaps most importantly, oatmeal is packed with fiber. Not only is this good for your cholesterol and blood sugar, but it also keeps you full and satisfied.

Plus oatmeal is a blank slate perfect for adding other ingredients that not only make them taste more delicious but also add even more good-for-you ingredients.

What can you put on oatmeal?

  • Fresh fruit (or frozen and thawed) – bananas, chopped apples or pears, berries like strawberries or blueberries, peaches, pineapple, etc.
  • Dried fruit – raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dates or figs, dried cherries, etc.
  • Nuts – peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, etc.
  • Nut butter – peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc., or sunflower seed butter for a nut-free alternative
  • Seeds – pumpkin, chia, hemp, flax, etc.
  • Other toppings – coconut, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, etc.

Overnight oats are an option for a meal prep breakfast recipe, and I love something like Pineapple Banana Overnight Oats. But everyone enjoys cold oatmeal, so they want it hot. 

Here’s the kicker. I don’t know about you, but I have experienced way too many oatmeal explosions in my day. Whether I make old-fashioned oats or quick oats, cook them on the stove or in the microwave, add a little liquid at a time or cook them in a giant bowl or pot, look away for a second and it’s like molten lava spewing everywhere.

So here’s the question for how to deal with that on a crazy busy morning…

Can you freeze cooked oatmeal?

Yes, the solution is Frozen Oatmeal Cups!

Make your favorite oatmeal in a large batch at a time when you can actually pay attention to preventing boil over. Add your favorite toppings and freeze it all in muffin cups. After they are frozen pop them out and into a plastic freezer storage bag until you need them.

Just take a few pucks out of the freezer the night before or in the morning, heat them up, and you have a cozy bowl of oatmeal without any oatmeal explosions.

Freezer Oatmeal Cups with cherries and almonds reheated in a bowl

DIY Frozen Oatmeal Cups

These make-ahead oatmeal cups are a fun and fabulous way to bring a little creativity to breakfast. Even better, the (not-so) hard work is done ahead of time, not when you’re trying to get everyone up, dressed, fed, and out the door.

And as an added bonus, if it’s the end of summer and you have an abundance of fresh fruit, this is a great way to preserve it for a taste of summer in the winter months. You see, these frozen oatmeal cups can be kept frozen for at least 6 months!

When crazy days are right around the corner, you’ll be glad you can just pull some make-ahead breakfast oatmeal cups from the freezer. They make the perfect tummy-warming breakfast for the kiddos.

 

What do you need for make-ahead oatmeal cups?

  • Quick-cooking oats – use certified gluten free, if necessary. If you prefer to use old-fashioned or steel cut oats, they will work just be sure to cook according to the package instructions instead of following the recipe here.
  • Brown sugar – you can use coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, or a low carb sweetener like Swerve Brown Sugar Substitute.
  • Water
  • Milkuse your favorite dairy or nondairy milk. Everything from skim to whole will work, as will almond milk, cashew milk, etc.
  • Salt
  • Toppings – fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.

How to meal prep homemade freezer breakfast oatmeal:

Cook the oatmeal. Combine the oats, brown sugar, water, milk, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook several minutes to the desired consistency.

Prepared oatmeal to make frozen oatmeal cups

Choose your toppings. Set out bowls of chopped fresh fruit, frozen fruit, nuts, 

Fruit and nut toppings for Freezer Oatmeal Cups

Customize the oatmeal cups. Divide the oatmeal between the muffin tins and sprinkle on the toppings in whatever combination you like.

BRIANNE’S PRO TIP: I didn’t have any when I first photographed this recipe, but now I would use silicone muffin pans to make them easier to remove.

oatmeal in muffin tins with toppings
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Freeze. Slide the muffin pans into the freezer. Once the oatmeal cups are frozen, pop them out of the tins and wrap them up in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container or freezer storage bag. Store the oatmeal cups in the freezer.

Freezer oatmeal cups make ahead breakfast stacked on a sheet pan ready to reheat

How to reheat freezer oatmeal:

  1. If you are able to plan in advance, pull out one or two frozen oatmeal cups per person the night before and keep in the refrigerator.
  2. Warm them up in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (longer if still frozen).
  3. Splash on some milk if you like. 

Grab some Waldorf Fruit Salad or a Blueberry Smoothie and breakfast is served, even on the busiest of mornings!

How long does frozen oatmeal last?

Stored in an airtight container or freezer storage bags, oatmeal can be frozen for up two 6 months. This is primarily for the quality to ensure you have the most delicious bowl of oatmeal. It will still be safe to eat beyond that time.

Pouring milk on a bowl of reheated freezer oatmeal cups with blueberries

Brianne’s Freezer Oatmeal Recipe Tips:

  • Frozen oatmeal cups can be made gluten free by using certified gluten free oats and gluten free toppings.
  • If you prefer to use old-fashioned rolled oats or steel cut oats, just follow the package instructions, substituting half of the water with your choice of milk.
  • Feel free to adjust the level of sugar or use another sweetener such as honey or maple syrup.
  • Want summer to last a bit longer? Choose fresh summer fruits so that you can enjoy blueberries, cherries, and peaches well into the fall.
  • When I first made these, I used regular muffin tins and had to pop them out with a butter knife. Now things like silicone muffin pans and silicone cupcake liners are much more common and make removing the freezer oatmeal cups much easier.
Reheated Meal Prep Breakfast Frozen Oatmeal Cups with nuts and cherries

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More ways to serve oatmeal

More make-ahead breakfast ideas

Make Ahead Breakfast Freezer Oatmeal Cups Recipe

These delicious, gluten-free frozen oatmeal cups are a meal prep breakfast that everyone in the family loves! An easy, kid-friendly recipe you can store in the freezer until you need a quick hot meal on a busy morning. The kids love that they get to customize their make-ahead breakfast with their favorite toppings. Mom loves having an easy, healthy, and quick freezer meal to serve.

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Frozen Oatmeal Cups
4.6 from 7 votes

Make Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups

These delicious, gluten-free make ahead breakfast oatmeal cups are homemade freezer meals that everyone in the family loves! An easy, kid-friendly recipe!
Prep: 10 mins
Freezing Time 3 hrs
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 24 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats (certified gluten free, if needed)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar or coconut or demerara sugar, to taste
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups milk of choice (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Assorted chopped fruit nuts, chocolate chips, or other toppings

Instructions

  • Combine the oats, sugar, water, milk, and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes, or to desired consistency. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Spray two 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray or line with silicone muffin liners (or use a silicone muffin pan) and set out toppings in bowls.
  • Divide the cooked oatmeal between the muffin cups, and top each with desired toppings.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for several hours, or until frozen.
  • Once frozen, pop out of the muffin tins, loosening with a butter knife or small spatula, if necessary and wrap in sandwich bags or plastic wrap.
  • Remove desired number of cups (one to three per serving) from the freezer the night before or day you plan to serve them.
  • Warm in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (longer if still frozen), and stir in a little more milk, if desired.

Notes

You can use old-fashioned rolled oats or steel cut oats, but follow the instructions on the package for cooking, substituting half of the water with milk.
Nutrition facts do not include toppings. It will vary on your choice and quantity of toppings.
Nutrition Facts
Make Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 58 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 17mg1%
Potassium 83mg2%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 58IU1%
Calcium 44mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Enjoy! 

185 Comments
  1. On the go mom

    4 stars
    Great recipe! We are enjoying oatmeal again, even better when it’s homemade 🙂 I added a stick of cinnamon while it’s cooking. It adds a nice flavor. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Mandy

    5 stars
    I’m feasting on the second batch of these. After the first batch, I found out it’s easier if you make the add in ingredients the filling rather than the topping. I spoon in half my oatmeal, then my frozen blueberries and nuts, then the rest of the oatmeal. Tamp things down with the back of a spoon and you’ll be able to get from freezer to table with fewer lost ingredients. I reduce the calorie count by cooking with almond milk and zero calorie brown sugar substitute and using zero calorie pancake syrup as my extra sweetener. P.S. Don’t know how I lived so long without silicon cupcake liners!!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I love the way you altered the recipe, Mandy, and I’m so happy to hear that you’re able to make it fit your nutritional preferences, too. Thank you so much for your comment and for rating the recipe. Oh, and yes… silicone cupcake liners are life-changing! 🙂

  3. Jackie

    5 stars
    I just made these for the second time. Love these! I’m taking a slightly different approach this time and only freezing the basic oatmeal cups. I have frozen blueberries, walnuts, and bananas (flash freeze then into a baggie) next to the cups in the freezer. I go directly from freezer to microwave with a handful of berries or nuts and extra milk. 2 minutes is perfect in my microwave. I like about half oatmeal and half berries/milk in my bowl and I can’t fit that many berries on the muffin cups. So this is perfect for my family. Some mornings I add fig jam after it comes out of the microwave. Love this fast, nutritious breakfast! Thank you!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Jackie, your topping options sound ridiculously delicious!! I’m so glad you are enjoying the oatmeal cups. Thanks for your nice comment and for rating the recipe.

  4. MyRuca2014

    I love this recipe! It’s so easy and customize-able so I never get tired of having it! It’s great to have on the go and it’s the perfect amount of sweetness. Love it!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      You can certainly use frozen fruit in the oatmeal cups, Barbara. Be aware that your oatmeal may be a tiny bit watery from the fruit defrosting.

  5. This is a great way for me to speed up getting ready for work in the morning and I’m trying to follow the Eat to Live foods allowed. So I can have my steel cut oats and make them ahead. I’ll be mixing up the muffin tin sections like in the photos so it doesn’t get boring. Mixed fruit in one, Chocolate chips w/ coconut for when I’m feeling like a cheat. Banana and walnuts too as well as cinnamon w/ apples and peaches. Thanks for the great idea.

  6. Angie

    What trick do you have for popping then out once they’re frozen? I ended up losing mlst of the topping, especially my cacoa nibs, because let it thaw a little bit and turned over, and still had to pound on them… ????

    1. Press them down as soon as you can while the oatmeal is still “moist”. Some of the toppings on the ones my son made did fall off a little, but I just threw those in a plastic baggie with the frozen oatmeal so that when I poured it in a bowl to thaw and heat, it was all there.

    2. Oh and for popping them out, make sure you’ve coated the tins with cooking spray or anther oil and if you need to, slide a thin knife around the edges. You could also probably line the tins with plastic wrap or even cupcake liners. I ben the silicone ones would work great.

  7. Angie

    Thanks. This is a great idea :), but I had a pretty hard time popping them out of the muffin tins. Most of my topping fell. Do you have a trick/advice on how to pop them out?
    Thanks again

  8. Hi! I was wondering, is there a way that I could sweeten this with maple syrup or apple sauce, instead of brown sugar? I really like the taste of maple oatmeal.

  9. Sara Wilson

    Are these quick oats or rolled oats? I cant seem to find the chex oats anywhere 🙁 also is it 3 cups of milk AND 3 cups of water? I just want to be sure
    Thanks 🙂

  10. Sue Hull

    I’d put strawberries,raisins,chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs would be good too. Thank you for the great tips and giveaway 🙂

  11. Sally T.

    I would make dried cherries with almonds.
    Blueberries with bananas and walnuts.
    Just a note~Saw the chex oatmeal on t.v.
    but no luck finding in stores yet. 🙁

  12. Teresa C.

    I think I would first try some dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries and walnuts. I can think of a ton of ideas though. You could have a new one every day just to mix it up. Thanks for the chance to win!

  13. Sara D

    What a great idea!! Not just for kids, but busy adults and folks looking for portion controlled breakfasts! AWESOME! I’m totally doing this!!

  14. What a terrific make ahead breakfast idea! Between making lunches, breakfasts and gathering school supplies, mornings with kids can be crazy! Love this shortcut!

  15. Jill

    Oh my, what a great idea! We would totally take advantage of summer fruits – blueberries, raspberries, peaches… The possibilities are numerous!

  16. I think you just saved my life!!! Tiffany rarely eats something else for breakfast. Oatmeal. Oatmeal. Oatmeal. If I could make her oatmeal 3 times a day she would be a happy girl.
    I can make a big batch and freeze in single servings. This is brilliant!!!

      1. Torah

        I went looking for them online and couldn’t find it. Then I saw an article with a statement from Chex that they halted production of the gluten free oatmeal due to not meet performance expectations. I’m bummed! ☹️ Stock up while it’s still on your grocery store shelves!

        1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

          Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that, Torah. Bob’s Red Mill makes gluten free oatmeal cups… perhaps you can find those in your local store, or order them online from the company’s website.

  17. Looks so delicious, you have the cutest helper, I would love blueberries on mine! Twitter is being yucky and won’t let me follow anymore, can you believe they limit me?? LOL Nettie

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