Hot Cereal 5 Ways (Fast, Easy, Healthy!)

Easy and healthy hot cereal ideasJust preaching the gospel of hot cereal today, guys. Gotta do my part to spread the word because I SERIOUSLY LOVE HOT CEREAL. Why? So glad you asked.

1. It’s super fast to make. Like 12-15 minutes tops. And a big part of that time you’re just waiting for things to cook, so you can make coffee, tea, or catch up on your IG feed to see if any new pig photos have been posted. Oh, you don’t obsess over pigs on IG…yeah…me neither.

2. There’s probably about one million different things you can add to hot cereal. This prevents burn out and makes life feel more adventurous. Maybe I have low standards for adventures? Hmm.

3. This stuff is healthy. You can make your own (see my recipe here) or buy a nutritious store-bought variety. Whatever you do pick something with all whole grains and you’ll know that your taking care of yourself while still making a delicious meal.

4. It’s hot. My fingers are perpetually cold this time of year, maybe some of you suffer the same fate? Holding a hot cup or bowl of anything is my favorite solution. And a hot bowl of cereal ranks high on this list.

5. You can eat this any time of day. I most often make hot cereal for breakfast, but I have also been known to eat it for lunch or even dinner. Sure, technically you can eat anything any time. But this actually makes sense as opposed to a eight a.m. potato chips or something.

Have I made you a convert yet? Maybe five delicious ideas will win you over? Couldn’t hurt, I bet. Here’s a few variations that I’ve been enjoying lately.

Hot cereal with fruit and nutsFirst up is what I would probably call The Basic if I were putting this on a hot cereal menu.

Whoa. New business idea. Hot cereal restaurant. All hot cereal, open 24/7. Maybe I’m the only person in the target demographic…I digress.

If you have purchased your cereal, check the container for cooking directions, but typically it’s something like cook with a 3:1 ratio of water. I usually cook 1/3 cup hot cereal mix with 1 cup of water for one serving. If I’m really hungry, I sometimes increase this to 1/2 cup mix with 1 1/2 cups water. You get the idea. You heat water until almost boiling, add the mix. Then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Check it after 6-8 minutes and give it a good stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan too much.

Then I top my bowl with fresh fruit (like strawberries and banana), dried fruit (like goji berries or raisins), and plenty of nuts. I pour a little maple syrup over everything to sweeten it just a little, and that’s it! Super simple but easy to change up depending on what you have on hand.

Miso and nori hot cerealMore often than not I tend to prefer a savory breakfast. I also tend to go savory if I’m making hot cereal for lunch or dinner. This one is super yummy!

First, I cook the mix in vegetable stock (or chicken stock if that’s what you have) instead of water. This is optional but adds even more flavor.

Once cooked I add 1-2 teaspoons miso paste, 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil, one over medium fried egg, nori flakes, chopped green onion and toasted sesame seeds. You can top this with soy sauce or a little sriracha if want even more flavor. Yum!

Spicy black bean hot cerealHere’s another savory option I love with a southwestern flair.

Again I cook the mix in stock instead of water, but it’s optional depending on if you have stock in your refrigerator. I feel like I do more often than not, but I cook a lot so I’m sure not everyone does.

While the cereal cooks, I sauté 1/2 red pepper and a tablespoon or so of chopped red onion in a little olive oil. I also warm some black beans either in the microwave or in the same pan with the veggies. Once the cereal is cooked, I top it with the hot veggies, black beans, a fried egg and a few crushed corn tortilla chips just for the crunch. I often add hot sauce or salsa to this one. Fresh avocado would be amazing too.

Apple sauce and honey hot cerealBack to sweeter versions, I love this variation that involves applesauce and honey.

I sometimes cook my mix in almond milk instead of water. This makes the mix a bit more creamy, not quite as indulgent tasting as rice pudding, but still REALLY good. Once cooked I stir in a big spoonful or two of unsweetened applesauce (store bought, although you certainly could make your own), a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a little bit of honey (or maple syrup if you want to keep it vegan). You can top this with fresh cut apples or nuts. Tastes like autumn and apple pies. Mmmmm.

Chocolate hot cerealThe last variation I’m sharing today is almost like a healthy dessert, although I still eat this for breakfast sometimes.

Cook the mix in almond milk along with 1 1/2 teaspoons good quality cocoa powder. Once cooked sprinkle in a little salt and stir in some maple syrup to sweeten. Top with a little chopped dark chocolate and fresh fruit. This one is also really good with peanut butter stirred in. 🙂

Make some of these this week. You won’t be disappointed. Happy breakfast! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

  • Added to the DIY cook book idea I just got from you! Can´t stop exploring your website 🙂

  • Have you heard of Cereal Killer Café in London? They’ve gotten a bit criticized for selling overpriced cereal to hipsters, but I bet they’d love your hot cereal restaurant concept haha 😉

  • Oh this is strange to a Swedish person – don’t you serve it with milk? You just eat the porridge on its own? 😀
    You’re probably confusing a lot of Europeans here. If it’s porridge, we have lots of milk / oat milk or whatever around it.

  • These all look so delicious! I’m going to have to add these into the breakfast rotation!


  • I’ve been bingeing on Greek yoghurt and fruit for breakfast for a while now, this would be a nice way to spice things up for December 🙂

  • I saw this post while being hungry and cold! Then I remembered I have some organic gluten free cereals somewhere in the kitchen.
    So I just made Hot cereal with maple syrup, Apple & nuts.
    Thanks for my (super late!) breakfast!

  • Hi! it looks great! in spanish we call cereal to the kelloggs cereals, froot loops, frosted flakes, etc, since they’re made with the actual cereal grain-seed.
    So i’m not so sure what are you using in the recipe, what is it? a grain?

  • Homemade apple sauce and honey on warm oatmeal is my perfect weekend breakfast.

  • I think you may have converted me! The savory variations are what did it 🙂 I think I’ll try to make your mix this week 🙂 thanks Emma! I’m excited to add some new things to my breakfast menu 🙂

  • These are great ideas…we usually make hot cereal weekly with dried cherries and maple syrup (or “Buddy the elf syrup” as my three year old refers to it) but these are some great ideas to change it up. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I eat oatmeal every morning, so thanks for the inspiration 🙂 I really like to have it with oat-milk and apple and brown suger and cinnamon, it’s almost like a mini apple pie

  • The one with sriracha sauce looks really great. Why didn’t I think of that?

  • I’ve been eating a lot of packaged oatmeal lately, but these look so much better! And I would definitely go to a hot cereal restaurant.

  • In Copenhagen we actually have a restaurant that only serves hot cereal 🙂

    It’s called GROED, which is Danish for hot cereal:

  • I always get bored with breakfast during the winter so, this list has given me some fresh ideas. Thanks for sharing

  • I’m a HUGE fan of hot cereal for breakfast- these recipes sound amazing 🙂 Thanks for sharing! I love adding a tablespoon amount of greek yogurt for some protein and creaminess 🙂

  • Wow! Thank you! You have opened an entire new world of breakfast (and possibly lunch and dinner) ideas.

  • Wow! Thank you! You have opened an entire new world of breakfast (and possibly lunch and dinner) ideas.

  • Thank you! You have opened an entire new world of breakfast (and quite possibly lunch and dinner!) ideas.

  • Thank you! You have opened an entire new world of breakfast (and quite possibly lunch and dinner!) ideas.

  • Soooooo, am I the only one who doesn’t know what hot cereal is? Is it like Quaker Oats?

  • I’ve never even thought about eating cereal the savory way, but it surely sounds amazing. I think I will try that!

  • I put 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese for creaminess and protein in mine. And today I added some leftover cranberry sauce. Divine!

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