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Meal Prep Oatmeal Cups are an easy make-ahead breakfast recipe that is a total time-saver for busy mornings. The kids can customize them with their favorite fruit and nut toppings, then they are frozen until you are ready to enjoy a hot breakfast! Delicious, healthy, and gluten-free, this is a morning freezer meal that the whole family will love.
Note: Originally published Aug 28, 2014.
Easy Meal Prep Oatmeal Cups You Can Customize
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.
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.
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.
As everyone is getting ready for work or school, you may not have time to cook oatmeal. Overnight oats are an option for a meal prep breakfast recipe, and I love something like Raspberry Mocha Latte Overnight Oats or Pineapple Banana Overnight Oats. But not everyone enjoys cold oatmeal, so they want it hot. And those instant packets don’t have as much fiber and are often loaded with extra sugar.
The solution is Frozen Oatmeal Cups!
Can you freeze cooked oatmeal?
Yes, you can freeze oatmeal!
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.
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.
- Milk – use your favorite dairy or nondairy milk. Everything from skim to whole will work, as will almond milk, cashew milk, etc.
- Toppings – You can really use anythign you love. Keep reading for ideas.
What can you put on oatmeal?
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.
- 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.
How to meal prep 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.
Customize the oatmeal cups. Divide the oatmeal between the muffin tins and sprinkle on the toppings in whatever combination you like.
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.
How to reheat freezer oatmeal
- 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.
- Warm them up in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (longer if still frozen).
- Splash on some milk if you like.
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.
Tips for Success
Make them gluten free: Frozen oatmeal cups can be made gluten free by using certified gluten free oats and gluten free toppings.
Add more fiber: Instead of quick-cooking oats, use old-fashioned rolled oats or steel cut oats. Just follow the package instructions, substituting half of the water with your choice of milk.
Adjust the sweetness: Feel free to adjust the level of sugar or use another sweetener such as honey or maple syrup.
Make summer last longer: Choose fresh summer fruits so that you can enjoy blueberries, cherries, and peaches well into the fall.
More make-ahead breakfast ideas
There are so many things you can make when you are doing you meal prep over the weekend so that you can have a wholesome and satisfying breakfast any day of the week.
- Mini Chocolate Banana Blender Pancakes can be stored in the freezer, so definitely make a double batch.
- Honey Nut No-Bake Granola Bars are perfect to make for grab-and-go breakfasts all week long.
- Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bars are another easy meal prep breakfast to last the week.
- Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are another freezer-friendly meal prep idea.
- Mini Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins are always a hit with the kids.
- Broccoli Ham and Cheese Egg Muffins give you a good dose of protein that you can store in the fridge or freezer.
- Four Ingredient Fruit Yogurt Parfait Hack make yogurt parfaits perfectly portable.
Make Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups
- 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
- 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.