Savory oatmeal is a unique twist on the traditional breakfast staple that brings a burst of flavor and versatility to your morning routine. This delightful dish takes the wholesome goodness of oats and transforms it into a savory delight that is both satisfying and nutritious.
Table of Contents
- What is Savory Oatmeal?
- Why You’ll Love This Savory Oatmeal Recipe
- Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Savory Oatmeal At Home
- More Toppings Ideas for Savory Oatmeal
- Traditional vs Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats
- Can I Use Instant Oatmeal for Savory Oats?
- How to Make Savory Oatmeal (Step by Step)
- Joyce's Tips for the Best Savory Oats
- How to Store and Reheat Leftover Savory Oatmeal
- Savory Oatmeal Variations
- Serving Suggestions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Recipes to Use Up Leftover Miso
- More Breakfast Recipes You May Like
- Did You Make This Savory Oatmeal Recipe?
- Recipe Card
This recipe features delicious savory ingredients such as cheddar cheese, miso, caramelized onions, soft boiled egg, and other garnishes for a delicious breakfast that you’re going to fall in love with!
Whether you’re looking to start your day off with a nourishing meal or wanting a comforting and hearty option for lunch or dinner, this recipe is guaranteed to become your new favorite!
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious savory oatmeal recipe today!
What is Savory Oatmeal?
To most people (myself included), oatmeal is sweet and something that is eaten during breakfast. It's also creamy, sweet, and comforting and usually comes in the form of instant oatmeal.
Savory oatmeal, on the other hand, is savory and can be eaten anytime (like lunch and dinner) and usually is cooked with savory ingredients like cheese and a fried or boiled egg.
One of the main highlights of savory oatmeal is its versatility. It allows for a wider range of flavor combinations and can be customized to suit individual tastes.
It also offers a savory and satisfying alternative to traditional sweet oatmeal, making it a great option for people who prefer savory breakfasts or those looking to switch up their usual oatmeal routine.
If you ever had Chinese congee, then you'll know that it is a very similar dish, that is also topped with savory toppings! The main difference is that congee is made with rice and savory oatmeal is made with oats.
For this cheesy savory oatmeal recipe, I used miso to give the savory oatmeal its savory and umami base, and I used caramelized onions to give the oatmeal a touch more flavor because I find that onions give amazing flavors to everything, especially when they have been pan-fried.
If you're looking for a recipe that's incredibly cheesy but with noodles instead, you definitely should also check out my easy cheese ramen recipe that only takes 10 minutes to make!
Why You’ll Love This Savory Oatmeal Recipe
Versatile: This recipe can be easily customized with a variety of toppings and seasonings, making it suitable for different taste preferences and dietary restrictions. I like to use the same toppings that I use for congee toppings to switch up the flavors.
Easy: With just a few simple ingredients and minimal cooking time, this recipe is quick and hassle-free to prepare, perfect for busy individuals or those new to cooking.
Delicious: The combination of savory flavors from ingredients like cheddar cheese, miso, soft boiled egg, and caramelized onions adds a burst of taste to the oatmeal, making it a delicious and satisfying meal.
Healthy: Oatmeal is a nutritious whole grain that provides fiber, protein, and essential nutrients. This recipe incorporates nutrient-rich vegetables, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats, promoting overall wellness.
Crowd-pleaser: Whether serving for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this savory oatmeal recipe is sure to please a crowd. Its unique and comforting flavors make it a standout dish that will impress friends and family alike.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Savory Oatmeal At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious savory oatmeal recipe at home.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Steel Cut Oats: We will need steel cut oats which will provide a chewy texture and nutty flavor to the dish when cooked. For this recipe, I used quick-cooking steel-cut oats because it cooks faster. You can use traditional steel-cut oats but you will need to increase the cooking time and amount of water. Alternatively, you can also use instant oatmeal as well, but make sure it is unflavored.
- Milk: We will also need milk or unsweetened almond milk. It will help to add creaminess and richness to the dish as it simmers. If you use almond milk, make sure it is not sweetened or flavored.
- Water: Next, we will need to add some water. It will help to cook the oats and make sure they have the right consistency when it boils.
- Cheddar Cheese: We will need cheddar cheese. Grated, aged, old, medium, or smoked works great for this recipe. It will melt and create a creamy base for the dish as it heats. I personally find aged cheddar and parmesan add the most flavor to it and love to use it in this recipe
- Miso: Miso adds a lot of wonderful salty flavors to this savory oatmeal but it also adds umami! I like to use white miso because it is the mildest of all the miso, so it won't overpower the rest of the flavors. If you can't find miso, you can substitute it with soy sauce as well for the same effect.
For the Caramelized Onions:
- Onion: We will need an onion which will add a delicious onion flavor for the dish. We’ll caramelize it with other ingredients for the perfect savory oatmeal topping. You can use any type of onions to caramelize, I like to use whatever I have on hand.
- Butter: We will need some butter as well. It will add richness to the onions as they caramelize and the milk solids in the butter will help it brown more quickly.
- Oil: Next, we will need some oil, which will drop the smoking temperature of the butter. This will prevent the butter from burning too quickly while we are browning the onions.
- Maple syrup: We will also be using maple syrup (or honey mixed with water). This will add a natural sweetness and help speed up the process of making perfectly caramelize onions.
For the Garnishes & Toppings:
- Egg: We will need a soft boiled egg. It will add a creamy and protein-rich element to the dish and make it taste even better! Alternatively, you can also use a sunny side up fried egg as well.
- Toasted sesame seeds: We will also need toasted sesame seeds. They will provide a nutty and crunchy texture to the dish when sprinkled on top.
- Furikake (Optional): I like to sprinkle furikake to my savory oatmeal to give it some extra flavor, but this is optional. If you cannot find this in the store you can make it at home with my furikake recipe as well.
- Green onions or chives: We will also need green onions or chives. They will add a fresh and an mild onion flavor to the dish when garnished on top.
More Toppings Ideas for Savory Oatmeal
Besides adding cheese and an egg, there are many other ways to also flavor your oatmeal! Here are a few ideas I like to do to get you started.
- Sriracha Hot Sauce: To give my savory oats a spicy and garlicky kick, I like to drizzle a bit of sriracha on it.
- Mushrooms: I like to pan-fry shiitake (rehydrated from dried shiitake) or button mushrooms in a bit of salt and butter and mix this in for a bit of umami and flavor.
- Chicken: If you have any type of leftover rotisserie chicken, you can add shredded or cut pieces of chicken and add them right in!
- Miso Butter: A very easy condiment I like to make is miso butter. When melted over savory oatmeal, it's buttery, salty, and loaded with umami.
- Garlic: While I am pan-frying some onions, I sometimes will also add in a clove of finely minced garlic for an additional flavor boost.
- Avocado: You can add diced avocado for a healthier and buttery texture.
- If you're looking for even more topping ideas, you can use my congee topping ideas, which I love adding to both congee and savory oats.
Traditional vs Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats
The main difference between the 2 styles of steel-cut oats is the way it is cut.
Quick-cooking steel-cut oats are cut into finer and thinner pieces and cook faster than the traditional steel-cut oats which are cut into chunkier pieces.
If you use traditional steel-cut oats, you will need to cook them longer and add slightly more water. I haven't tried this myself but I also was told that soaking them helps cook them more quickly as well. If you are using quick-cooking steel-cut oats, cook it like you would traditional oatmeal - for me, it is about 10 minutes of cooking.
Can I Use Instant Oatmeal for Savory Oats?
You definitely can use instant oatmeal for savory oats. It cuts the cooking time even more, and you don't even need to dirty any pot to cook it so it's an easier clean-up!
Just make sure you are using plain (unflavored) instant oatmeal if you plan on using it.
How to Make Savory Oatmeal (Step by Step)
Step 1: Caramelize the Onions
Caramelized onions are a labor of love and take a very long time to make because it is a low and slow process so I cheat whenever I make it, and use butter and a touch of maple syrup to it to speed up the caramelization process.
If you can't find maple syrup, you can use honey as well, but use a bit less and mix ¼ teaspoon of water with it.
Once you have finished making the onions, set it aside for the end.
Step 2: Toast the Oats and Make the Oatmeal
I love adding flavors through layering and I truly believe that toasting ingredients add another depth of flavor to recipes by bringing out a toasty flavor to them.
While I am waiting for the water/milk to boil in the pot, I use that time to toast the steel-cut oats in a dry frying pan on low heat.
Remember to constantly shake the pan to keep it moving, so it doesn't burn.
Once the oats have been toasted, make the oatmeal by combining the oats, milk, water into a pot and cook it until the oats are soft.
Step 3: Add the Miso, Cheese and Onions
Add the grated cheese, caramelized onions and miso into the oatmeal and mix well until everything is melted and well combined.
Step 4: Add an Egg to Your Savory Oats
Last but not least, add an egg to it. You can add a fried sunny-side-up egg, or soft-boiled egg, any way you do it, the egg puts it over the top and makes it a truly cozy meal.
Your delicious Savory Oatmeal is ready to serve!
Joyce's Tips for the Best Savory Oats
- Toasting the oats is optional, but adds a delicious nuttiness to the oatmeal.
- I used quick cooking steel cut oats because it cooks faster, but if you're okay with a longer cooking time, you can use traditional steel cut oats instead. It will have a more chewy texture. You will also need to add more milk (or water) to the recipe because it steel cut oats are thicker and more dense.
- I like using white miso for savory oats so that it doesn't overpower all the other flavors, but if you want a stronger miso flavor you can use red miso or yellow miso as well. Alternatively, I like to also use homemade miso butter in place of miso for a more buttery flavor.
- The strong the cheese flavor, the more flavorful your oatmeal will be. I like to use aged cheddar for the best flavor. I will occasionally mix in smoked cheddar for a bit of smokiness and I will add extra parmesan on top for a salty kick.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Savory Oatmeal
One thing I love about this savory oats recipe is that you can make a large batch and store it in the fridge to have any time you want.
To store leftover oatmeal, first let it cool down completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Place the container in the refrigerator and it can be kept for up to 3-4 days.
I like to heat it up in the microwave because it is the easiest method. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of hot water to it after it has been re-heated to give it back it's creaminess again.
You can also freeze this savory oatmeal as well for up to 3 months. If you are re-heating it from the freezer, transfer the container from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Then follow the reheating instructions mentioned above.
If you do make a large batch of this and enjoy it with a soft-boiled egg, you can also boil a bunch of eggs ahead of time as well! Just remember not to peel them until you are ready to eat it.
Savory Oatmeal Variations
- Top your savory oatmeal bowl with veggies like sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and a poached egg for a hearty and nutritious breakfast. The earthy flavors of the mushrooms and the freshness of the spinach compliments the creamy oats perfectly.
- For a Mediterranean twist, serve your savory oatmeal with roasted cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. The sweetness of the tomatoes and the saltiness of the feta add a burst of flavor to the oats.
- Add some Mexican flair to your oatmeal by topping it with black beans, salsa, avocado, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs like cilantro. The combination of the creamy avocado, tangy salsa, and hearty beans creates a satisfying and delicious meal.
- Create an another Asian-inspired dish by serving your savory oatmeal with soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, and a fried egg. The umami flavors of the soy sauce and sesame oil elevate the oats, while the fried egg adds a rich and creamy texture.
- For a delicious and comforting option, top your savory oatmeal with crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. The smoky bacon and melted cheese add a savory touch to the oats, while the sour cream provides a creamy and tangy contrast.
I like to serve savory oats for my weekend brunch with a side of homemade crispy hash browns. Most of the time, I will cheat and air fry the store-bought tater tots instead and have it on the side, but if I have time I will make it from scratch with a mix of potatoes and onions because they both have the wonderful onion flavor, and the contrast of cozy and creamy with a crispy side is phenomenal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use instant oats for this recipe. However, the texture may be slightly different than if you were to use rolled oats. Instant oats cook faster and have a softer texture. Make sure the instant oats are not flavored or sweetened.
Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time and reheat it. Simply store the cooked oatmeal in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to eat, add a splash of milk or water and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.
Absolutely! Feel free to customize the toppings for this savory oatmeal recipe to suit your taste preferences. Some suggested toppings include shredded cheese, sliced avocado, sautéed mushrooms, diced tomatoes, or a fried egg. I have some other ideas listed above too!
Recipes to Use Up Leftover Miso
- 15-Minute Chili Garlic Oil (Classic Spicy Asian Oil With Miso)
- Miso Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank Recipe
- Miso Butter
- Easy Miso Pumpkin Soup
- Miso Eggplant (Nasu Dengaku) with Black Garlic
- Delicious Homemade Udon Soup (Quick & Easy Noodle Soup)
- Honey Miso Garlic Roasted Potatoes
- Pan Fried Lamb Chops with Miso Butter
More Breakfast Recipes You May Like
- Easy Creamy Chicken Congee Recipe
- Breakfast Sandwich (with a hash brown)
- Crispy Hash Browns
- Lemon Pancakes with Candied Maple Bacon
- Cheese Ramen
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Savory Oatmeal with Miso, Cheese, and Egg
Joyce's Recipe Notes
- Toasting the oats is optional, but adds a nuttiness to the oatmeal.
- For this recipe, I used quick cooking steel cut oats because it cooks faster. You can use traditional steel cut oats but you will need to increase the cooking time and amount of water.
- I like using a white miso for this so that it doesn't overpower all the other flavors in the oatmeal (onions and cheese).
- I like to use bold flavor cheeses for this recipe. Aged or medium cheddar work great, as well as smoked cheddar!
- I like to use milk mixed with water/broth for this recipe but you can also use almond milk as well. Just make sure it is not sweetened or flavored.
- If you are making a big batch and storing it in the fridge, it can be easily re-heated in a microwave! If it's too thick after it has been microwaved, add in 2 tablespoons of hot water to make it creamy again.
- If you can't find furikake, we have a homemade recipe for it here: Homemade Furikake!
- Grate the cheese, and set aside
- Peel the onion. Cut the onion in half and thinly slice it
- Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 ½ teaspoons oil into a frying pan and set the stove to medium heat
- Once the butter has melted, add in the sliced onions and cook until they are soft (approximately 10 minutes)
- Once the onions are soft, adjust the stove to medium-low heat
- Add in the maple syrup and a pinch of salt and cook the onions until they are brown (approximately 5 minutes)
- Once they are brown and caramelized set it aside
Soft Boiled Egg (Optional)
- Place the eggs in a small pot and cover it with cold water.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
- Set the pot on the stove over medium heat and put the lid on. (Don't leave the stove area until the water starts to boil)
- Once the water starts to vigorously boil, set a timer for 4 minutes.
- Once 4 minutes is up, remove the lid and run cold tap water over the eggs for 2-3 minutes to stop the cooking.
- Once the eggs have cooled, they are ready to be peeled and cut in half to place on top of the oatmeal!
- (Note: If you are making a batch of these eggs ahead of time, store them in the fridge and don't peel them until you are ready to eat them)
Cooking the Oatmeal
- In a pot, add in 1 cup milk and 2 cups water and set the stove to high heat
- (Optional, but highly recommended) While you are waiting for the water/milk to come to a boil, toast the steel cut oats on medium low heat on a dry frying pan. Make sure you are constantly stirring or shaking the pan so that it doesn't burn. Toast it until it is golden brown (approximately 3-4 minutes)
- Once the water/milk starts to boil, adjust the stove to medium-low heat
- Add in 1 cup steel cut oats and stir.
- Cook it for approximately 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed into the oats (approximately 10 minutes). Stir it occasionally so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the oats are cooked and creamy looking, adjust the stove to low heat and stir in 1 ½ tablespoons miso. Mix well until the miso has melted into the oatmeal.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the grated cheese and mix well until the cheese has melted and the oatmeal looks creamy. If it is too think, you can add a few tablespoons of hot water and tweak it to the consistency you like.
- Stir in the caramelized onions and it's done!
- Spoon some in a bowl, top it with a soft boiled egg and some additional garnishes and eat!
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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