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Oatmeal in a Rice Cooker

Photo © ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/nate##Nate Steiner##

Happy equinox everyone! Ok, the equinox was technically yesterday. However, it’s still a great segue into the ever-delicious topic of fall foods.

With temperatures dropping, may I suggest that you have oatmeal for breakfast? And not any of that pre-packaged crap loaded with sugar and fake flavors. I’m talking about hot, hearty — might we say manly? — oatmeal: Scottish oats.

The difference between rolled oats and Scottish oats comes down to consistency and cooking time. Rolled oats are thin and cook quickly. Very thinly rolled oats (“instant” oats) are so thin that you can cook them by soaking them in boiling water. Scottish oats are steel-cut into little bits rather than rolled flat. That’s usually called Irish oats — it become Scottish after it’s stone ground into a coarse meal. But, Irish or Scottish, the oats take a little bit longer to cook, and the consistency is chewier (and more delicious, if you ask me).

Now, if you had to slave over a hot stove to have delicious Scottish oats in the morning, I’m sure I would eaten it once or twice and then abandoned it for good.

This is where your rice cooker comes in. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need a $200 rice cooker with brown rice, white rice, sushi rice, porridge, steamed vegetable and pressure cooker settings. You can make perfectly delicious oatmeal (and white rice!) in a $16 rice cooker like this one:

All you need is an on/off button and some cooking spray. (Cheap nonstick rice cooker inserts don’t stay nonstick for long.)

For one person, simply spray the bowl with a little Pam, put in 1/4 a cup of Scottish oatmeal and 3/4 cup water, turn it on, and forget about it. Let it sit in the cooker for about 5 minutes after the light goes off to thicken up, then I like to mix in 1/4 cup soymilk, some honey and some craisins. Virtually no cleanup, and absolutely no fuss.

You could even plug your cheapo rice cooker into a wall timer (like the ones you plug your Christmas lights into) and load it the night before, leaving the oats to soak overnight and automatically start cooking in the morning. Voila! A stick-to-your-ribs breakfast chock full of whole grains that’s sure to get you through your morning without tummy grumblings.

4 thoughts on “Oatmeal in a Rice Cooker

  1. That sounds yummy! Yet another use for rice cookers! In addition to rice, I use ours to cook quinoa and other grains, usually for dinner. Nice to have a morning use… I’ll try it tomorrow!

    Our rice cooker is at least 20 years old and still going strong. It looks just like yours, but was made in Korea and bought at some Asian store by Bill’s grandmother who insisted that he couldn’t go to college without decent rice!

    1. Rice cookers are awesome! The rice cooker and my toaster oven are probably the two most useful appliances in my kitchen. Too funny about the college rice cooker story — I think mine is from college too. 😉

  2. OK. So I tried this morning to make oatmeal in our rice cooker. I used 1-1/2 cups milk and 3/4 cup oatmeal. And after about 20 minutes, the oatmeal magma began to bubble and ooze from the cooker, huge clouds of steam escaping with every sigh…. yes. This was possibly more oatmeal than our cooker could handle. Still, it tasted good. But next time, I might do an overnight cook in our slow-cooker…

    1. Aw man!! I’m sorry I caused you a mess, Natasha. 🙁 I’ve read that some people add raisins to keep it from boiling over. But I haven’t had much of a problem with just oatmeal and water, and I always do one-person servings.

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