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Instant Oatmeal Packs

September 26, 2007

I eat oatmeal almost every morning. Once I get to work my regular routine is to mix up a bowl of instant oatmeal, grab a cup of coffee and have breakfast while I read through my e-mails and plan my day. I prefer to eat breakfast once I get to work instead of at home and instant oatmeal packs are a great thing to keep in my desk.

I found a recipe online for making your own instant oatmeal packs so I decided to give it a go. I don’t remember where I found it though so I’m sorry I can’t credit the creator!

Instant Oatmeal Packets

3 cups quick-cooking oats
Salt
Snack size zip baggies

Directions: Put 1 cup oats in a food processor and pulse until powdery. You can also use a blender, just blend oats in two ½ cup batches. Put the following ingredients in each baggie: ¼ cup un-powdered oats, 2 tablespoons powdered oats and 1/8 tsp salt. Store in an airtight container.

To serve, empty packet into a bowl. Add ¾ cup boiling water. Stir and let stand for 2 minutes. For thicker oatmeal, use less water, for thinner oatmeal, use more water.

Add the following to make flavored oatmeal:

Brown sugar & cinnamon – add 1 tablespoon brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon to each packet

Fruit & cream – add 1 tablespoon non-dairy coffee creamer and 2 tablespoons dried fruit to each packet

Apple cinnamon – add 1 tablespoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons chopped dried apples to each packet

I decided to make brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal packs – my favorite. I began by getting out all the ingredients and I already had everything on hand. Since this is the first time I’ve made this recipe I decided to just make a half batch so I can make sure I like them before making a ton of them. I used my Magic Bullet to process ½ cup of oats into powder. Then I assembled the packs. Into each bag went ¼ cup un-powdered oats, 2 tablespoons powdered oats, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. I left out the salt. A half recipe made 4 packs of oatmeal.

This morning I used a homemade pack of instant oatmeal for breakfast. I brought a pack to work with me and dumped it into a bowl. I used the hot water spout on the coffee maker to fill up the bowl. I let it sit while I made my cup of coffee. I stirred it up, let it sit some more and then tried it once it thickened up. It tastes different from instant oatmeal. Not bad, just different. Could be a number of things, less sugar, no salt, less additives, less processing of the oats. Overall I liked it and it cooked up fast which is important.

The Economics: I don’t have an exact calculation of the cost because I had all the ingredients on hand. I think a big container of oats costs approximately $2-3. It contains approximately 15 cups. That makes the cost per cup $0.13 – $0.20. To be conservative we’ll use the high estimate so the cost of the oats used in this recipe is $0.30. The recipe made 4 servings, so the cost per serving is $0.08. I did not account for the cost of the additional ingredients as that will vary depending on which recipe you choose. There’s also the cost of the bag to consider. A snack size bag probably costs a few cents, but again I don’t know exactly because I already had these at home.

How does this compare to store bought? In my area you can catch generic brand instant oatmeal for $1.50 for 10 packs or $0.15 each on sale. Regular price generic is closer to $2.00 for a box of 10 packs. Name brand instant oatmeal is around $3.00 for a box of 10 packs. The result is homemade is cheaper.

So is it worth it? I had never made instant oatmeal packs before but these worked out pretty good! Assembling the packs took only 10 minutes from start to finish including cleaning up my mess. In the future I will make bigger batches at a time. I also regularly have all of these ingredients on hand so I don’t have to go buy any special ingredients just to make this recipe. A big container of oats is great to have on hand as oats are useful in many recipes like granola.

In the future I may try to find a way to make these in reusable containers so that I can eliminate the cost of the bag and eliminate the excess waste from throwing away a bag after only one use. An alternative option would be to mix up a big container of instant oatmeal and then just scoop out the amount you need each time you make a bowl.

If you eat instant oatmeal regularly like I do, I think these are worth making. If instant oatmeal is not for you then you should probably pass.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Trent Hamm permalink
    September 26, 2007 2:35 pm

    Nice blog. I like the entries I’ve read so far.Should you actually grind the oatmeal all the way to powder? Doesn’t that make the oatmeal very mushy?

  2. Amy permalink
    September 26, 2007 3:10 pm

    Hi Trent – thanks for the comment.You only process some of the oatmeal to powder. Then when assembling the bags you mix 1/4 cup of unprocessed oats with only 2 tablespoons of processed oats. Processing some of the oats seems to allow the oatmeal to cook faster (ie. instant) but mixing it with unprocessed oats keeps it from getting mushy. I tried it out this morning and it worked well for me – no mush.

  3. Debbie M permalink
    September 28, 2007 9:08 am

    I’ve made oatmeal by just mixing oats with sugar and spices, then adding boiling water. I like to add just enough boiling water to make the oatmeal and then pour a layer of milk on top to mix in and cool it off and make it thinner and add calcium. This even works with regular oats–they don’t have to be instant or quick-cooking.But I never liked the flavor as much as I like store-bought cinnamon and spice flavor. I got the sugar right, but not the spices–I kept adding more and more and it never helped.Finally I did a side-by-side taste test and realized that the missing ingredient was salt. Since then I tried adding my own salt once, but it wasn’t enough. I’m going to try the amount you’ve recommended. And you may also want to try adding salt if you find that you miss the store-bought flavor.Because there are 16 tablespoons in a cup and thus 4 in a quarter cup and 5.33 in a third of a cup, I’m going to try using just under 1/3 cup of oats, 1/8 tsp salt, 1 T brown sugar and 1/4 t cinnamon and see what happens. Just as soon as it cools off a bit more (I live in the deep south.)I eat my oatmeal at home, so I don’t need to make packets. But I’m wondering if the ingredients won’t stay mixed well and that’s why they tell you to add most of them separately to your packets? If you try mixing everything together first, you might want to make the smaller batch again, just in case!Oats are the only thing I buy special for oatmeal, but I also use them for stovetop chocolate-peanut butter oat cookies and for mixing into things like meatloaf and meatballs.Thanks for sharing. I just found this blog and I really like it.

  4. Debbie M permalink
    September 29, 2007 6:21 pm

    I decided I couldn’t wait. I tried a whole 1/3 cup oats, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tablespoon regular sugar (too lazy to get out the brown sugar), and a sprinkle of nutmeg, it was the most delicious oatmeal ever. I’m never buying packets again!Thanks!

  5. Amy permalink
    October 1, 2007 7:27 am

    That sounds really good. I am about finished with my first four packets so I need to make my next round soon. I am going to try your recipe!

  6. charlene permalink
    October 4, 2010 5:31 pm

    The Cinnamon/Spice flavor is getting impossible to find in my area and it is the favorite for my husband & I. I’m going to whip up a batch today and hope for the best! Thanks!

  7. charlene permalink
    October 5, 2010 9:08 am

    Total success! Very tasty and real close to the name brand. I never would have guessed some of these ingredients. Thanks a bunch!

    • Amy permalink*
      October 5, 2010 9:22 am

      Hi charlene! So glad this post and comments helped you out! I’ve just started eating oatmeal again now that the weather is cooler and I’m really enjoying it. :)

  8. Tina permalink
    October 16, 2012 11:23 pm

    Just whipped up a batch of ten, will try with the kids in the morning! They will probably get a kick out of making their own breakfast, too!

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