Hearty, warm, and delicious flaxseed oatmeal that can be topped any way you like! This satisfying, wholesome, and quick breakfast idea is 100% homemade, there's no need for instant oatmeal in the packets.
It’s vegan / dairy-free (if you use plant-based milk, of course!), and gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats. All the details on how to make and customize it exactly how you like are below, so keep reading!
When you want a quick, warm, and filling breakfast, I have many breakfast ideas I would suggest you try, but today, how about making this quick and easy flaxseed oatmeal?
When you realize how quick it is to make, you'll ditch the instant packets and make your oatmeal from scratch going forward. Plus, making it yourself is so much cheaper, so it's a win-win all around!
If you're familiar with my site, you know that I have plenty of recipes with flax in them. I use them, along with water, to make flax eggs as an egg replacement in my baking recipes, but they're also great in other recipes like this flaxseed porridge.
Adding flaxseed to oatmeal is a great way to make your breakfast more nutritious and to add a subtle nutty flavour to your oats.
(And if you're looking for other oatmeal recipes, try out my blueberry oatmeal that you can make three different ways!)
Ingredients You'll Need
Seven simple ingredients are all you need and you probably have all of them in your kitchen right now!
I've included some helpful notes below about each ingredient so you know what can and can't be substituted.
Ingredient and Substitution Notes
Milk – You can use any type of milk you have on hand. I always use dairy-free milk (almond milk or oat milk). Whatever type of milk you choose, make sure it’s unflavoured and unsweetened so you have control over the flavour and sweetness level.
Water – I use half water and half milk to make this oatmeal but you can use all water (or all milk) if you prefer.
Salt – This helps to bring out the nutty flavour of the oats. More about this can be found below.
Rolled Oats – Old-fashioned rolled oats are needed for this recipe, no substitutions. Use gluten-free rolled oats if you need the recipe to be gluten-free.
You CANNOT use quick-cooking / instant oats in this particular recipe (your oatmeal will turn out too mushy) or steel-cut oats (the oats will not cook through).
Those two types of oats can, of course, be used to make oatmeal, however, modifications will need to be made to this recipe since it was developed using rolled oats.
Ground Cinnamon - This is used for flavour, and it's a classic spice to pair with oatmeal because it tastes so good and makes the oatmeal extra delicious. If you don't have any cinnamon, feel free to replace it with another spice such as ground nutmeg. Some spices are stronger than others, so adjust the amount accordingly.
Ground Flaxseeds - If you want to benefit from all the goodness contained in flaxseeds, you cannot use whole flaxseed in oatmeal because they are not "bioavailable," they must be ground up first. Either golden flaxseeds (what I am using in the pictures) or brown flaxseeds can be used, there is no difference between the two other than the colour. You can buy pre-ground flaxseeds or if you only have whole flaxseeds, you can learn how to make ground flaxseed in the "Flaxseed Preparation" section below.
Maple Syrup – I always use maple syrup to sweeten oatmeal but feel free to use what you prefer (brown sugar and coconut sugar are a couple of options). I give a range in the recipe but depending on how sweet you like your oatmeal, use a little more, or a little less. If you will be using a sweet add-in (like in-season berries, or raisins) you can cut back on the sweetener slightly (or even omit it) since they will add natural sweetness.
As mentioned above, when cooking with flaxseeds, you cannot absorb everything they have to offer if you use whole flaxseeds. I prefer to buy whole flax seeds and grind them as they are needed, but you can also buy pre-ground flaxseeds.
I have a small, inexpensive coffee bean grinder that I strictly use as my flax seed grinder. A NutriBullet or high-speed blender can also be used.
If you don’t have a grinder, that’s OK, you can buy pre-ground flax seeds. If you do buy them pre-ground, note that they have a shorter shelf life than the whole seeds because the oils are released when they’re ground, so keep your ground flax seeds in the refrigerator or freezer so they last as long as possible and so they're fresh and ready for you any time you need to make recipes with flaxseed meal in them.
How to Make It
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions at the end of this post.)
1. Start by adding the milk, water, and salt to the pot.
2. Once it starts boiling, immediately turn the heat down to low, add the oats, cinnamon, and stir.
3. Simmer the oatmeal for five minutes and then remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the ground flaxseeds and let it rest.
4. Pour the oatmeal into a bowl, add the maple syrup, any other toppings you like and enjoy!
Common Oatmeal Preparation Mistakes
Even though oatmeal with flaxseed is a simple breakfast recipe with minimal steps, some common mistakes may be made, such as:
- Cooking the oatmeal on heat that is way too high. This will cause the oatmeal to cook too quickly, burn, and stick to the bottom of the pot. For the perfect bowl of oatmeal, allow the oats to hydrate and cook over low heat for the amount of time specified in the recipe.
- Waiting to add spices and add-ins AFTER it has finished simmering – For the very best flavour, add any spices the recipe calls for while it is simmering. Also add any hard add-ins such as apples, nuts, etc. to the oatmeal while it is simmering so they can soften up and incorporate with the oatmeal.
- NOTE: If you are using berries and you want to stir them into the oatmeal to warm them up instead of using them as a topping, add them after the oatmeal has simmered so they don’t burst and change the colour of your oats. They can be added while simmering if you don’t mind the oats changing colour. Also, note that your oatmeal change colour no matter what if you add frozen berries.
- Skipping the salt – Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt to the liquid before you add the oats to the pot. Doing this will enhance the flavour so it isn’t bland and bring out the nuttiness of your oats. And no, it won’t make your oatmeal salty!
Optional Toppings / Add-Ins
In addition to drizzling a little extra milk on top of the oatmeal to help cool it down and for a little added creaminess, you can also top with a bunch of different things depending on what you like. Here are a few ideas:
- make it blueberry flaxseed oatmeal making it with blueberries! You can also add raspberries, strawberries, blackberries (fresh or frozen can be used, if using frozen, stir them in just before the cooking time is complete so they have enough time to thaw. Note that if you use frozen berries, your oatmeal will take on the colour of the berries as they thaw and release their juices.
- make it banana flaxseed oatmeal by topping it with banana slices
- dried cranberry pieces
- nuts, such as slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, or pecans
- shredded coconut
- coconut yogurt
- seed or nut butter such as sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, or almond butter
- strawberry sauce, blueberry compote, cherry sauce, or raspberry sauce
- make oatmeal with flax AND chia by sprinkling in some chia seeds
- pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
- pomegranate seeds
- cubed apples (add these in while is simmering for soft apples. If you want to have a contrast in texture, add them after the simmer)
- a sprinkle of hemp hearts
- vanilla extract or any other extract you like
This flax oatmeal is a fast recipe, you can have it ready in just 10 minutes, but if you need to make it ahead, you can.
To do that, follow steps 1- 4 in the recipe below, cool it, and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to have it. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
When making ahead, don’t add the flaxseeds, sweetener, or any other add-ins, they will be added when reheated.
The oatmeal will thicken when refrigerated, so when reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave, add more milk or water until it thins out enough for you.
After that, add the flaxseeds and sweetener, pour the oatmeal into your bowl, then add any other toppings you'd like (see above for plenty of options).
Tips for Success
- Don’t substitute the rolled oats for a different type of oats. This recipe was developed using only rolled oats, using a different type of oatmeal will require modifications to the rest of the recipe.
- Simmer the oats on low heat for the time specified. If you use higher heat, the oats will cook too quickly and not have the correct consistency. It can also burn and stick to the pot. You will run into the same issues if you cook them for too long or too little time.
- Don’t omit the salt! It does make a difference in the final flavour and it’s just a pinch so no need to worry about any saltiness taking over the flavour of your oats.
- Wondering how much flaxseed meal to add to oatmeal? The measurement listed in the recipe is the perfect amount. Flaxseeds are a thickener (which is why it works well as an egg replacement), too much will make your oatmeal too thick and could also make it a little slimy.
- Read through the recipe before getting started and read through this post from top to bottom for lots of tips to make it perfectly, every single time.
- Follow the recipe as it’s written for the very best results.
Half milk and half water is what I prefer, but you can use all water or all milk, it’s up to you. Whether you use all water, all milk or half water and half milk, the ratio should always be 1 part rolled oats to 2 parts liquid.
Oats are naturally gluten-free, but during processing and even while growing in the fields, they can become cross-contaminated with gluten. To make sure the oats you are buying are gluten-free, look for certification on the package.
It sure is! It adds a slightly nutty flavour to your oats, it helps to thicken up your oats, and it also helps to make your breakfast even more wholesome, hearty, and filling.
It all depends on how much oatmeal you are making but if you are making a single serving, two tablespoons is the perfect amount. Adding too much can make your oats slimy and too thick, so stick with two tablespoons or less and adjust if you'd like.
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And If You Like This Recipe...
You may like these vegan baked oatmeal recipes:
- Vegan Banana Baked Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
- Vegan Strawberry Baked Oatmeal
- Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
- ½ cup (120ml) milk of choice, see note below
- ½ cup (120ml) water
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
- ½ cup (50g) rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 2-4 teaspoons pure maple syrup (or another sweetener of choice)
- extra milk for pouring on top (optional)
- berries, nuts, seeds, or dried fruit for garnish (optional)
- Add milk, water, cinnamon, and salt to a small pot. Stir everything together.
- Place an uncovered pot over medium-high heat until it starts to boil, roughly 3 minutes.
- Once the mixture starts to boil, immediately turn the heat down to low, add the oats to the pot, and stir.
- Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes have passed, remove the pot from the heat.
- Stir in the ground flaxseeds. Let it rest for 2 minutes. After the resting time has passed, pour the oatmeal into a bowl, and add the maple syrup. Extra milk can be added to help cool it and make it creamier. Garnish with toppings of your choice.
- Please read all of the information and FAQ info above, as well as the notes below before making this recipe.
- This recipe makes enough for 1 serving. If you need more, the recipe can be doubled or tripled as needed.
- Any type of milk can be used to make this recipe, I use unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk or oat milk. I recommend using one that is unsweetened and unflavoured so you can control the sweetness and flavour of the oatmeal.
- Maple syrup is my recommended sweetener, but use any sweetener you like. Adjust the amount to suit your taste.
- The oatmeal will thicken up slightly as it cools off. You can add a little more milk for a looser, creamier texture. Milk can also be used to help cool it down quicker.
- To make ahead, follow steps 1- 4 in the recipe above, cool it, and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When making ahead, don't add the flaxseeds, sweetener, or any other add-ins, they will be added when reheated. When you are ready to serve, reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave and add more milk or water until it thins out enough for you. After that, pour the oatmeal into your bowl, add the flaxseeds, sweetener, and any other toppings, if using.
- Nutrition info is for 1 serving (367g) of the recipe prepared as written using unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk, 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, and with no extra garnishes or extra added milk. The data below is only to be used as a rough guide. Click to learn how nutrition info is determined on this website.