Make-ahead breakfasts in our house typically require a bit of work. But today’s recipe, if you can even call it that, is super fast and easy. These homemade oatmeal packets are also very frugal. They’re way cheaper to make than store-bought and you can customize your own flavors to suit each family member’s tastes on a budget!
You’ll need three basic ingredients, that you likely already have in the pantry, to make the base of each oatmeal pack. Oats, brown sugar, and salt. If you’d like to jazz them up by adding in a few fun mix ins (I have some suggestions for you below), you can. But it’s definitely not necessary. When making this batch, I left several plain and it tastes just fine on its own!
All you need are three main ingredients plus any add-ins you want to include. It’s your breakfast, so go as wild as you wish!
Quick oats: They are super inexpensive and are the most important ingredient. You can make several packets for pennies! (cost: $0.12)
Brown sugar: Sweeten the deal with some tasty brown sugar. It’s the perfect sweetener option for these oatmeal packets. Plus, it’s very inexpensive per serving as well. (cost: $0.03)
Salt: A little bit of salt actually makes the oats even sweeter. (I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true) It’s a great way to enhance sweetness in many recipes. (cost: negligible)
The cost for the base is about $0.15, and I’m rounding up the cost of the oats because I didn’t keep the receipt to see exactly how much I paid. So the oats likely cost less. Of course, the cost will increase depending on the mix-ins you add into your oatmeal packs. But because the base recipe is so inexpensive, you can get creative with the add-ins and they’ll still be pretty frugal!
I started with a container of oats that was about ¼ of the way used, so I was able to make 20 homemade oatmeal packets.
But if you’re starting with a full 42 oz. container, you’ll be able to make about 30.
How to Make Homemade Oatmeal Packets
1. Layer in your oats, brown sugar and salt into a snack size zip baggie.
2. Add in any additional mix-ins to create the flavor of your choice.
When heating up, prepare according to the directions of the oats you’ve purchased. We like to prepare ours with almond milk occasionally. But preparing with water makes it easier to take to work, since you don’t have to travel with a liquid as well.
That’s it, really. Very, very simple. And if you work assembly line style you can be done in about 10 minutes. Not bad for a month of breakfasts!
Be sure to play around with mix-ins to keep boredom and “I’m so sick of eating this for the 15th morning in a row!” at bay. Here are a few of our favorite mix-ins that we’ve personally tried. Please feel free to leave your flavor combo suggestions in the comments below!
Flavors we’ve tried:
- Cinnamon and raisins (my favorite)
- Chocolate chip and coconut flakes (strange combo, but good!)
- Chopped walnuts, cinnamon and maple syrup* (my husband’s favorite)
- Chocolate chip
* I haven’t figured out a way to store the maple syrup with the oatmeal itself. So we add in the cinnamon and walnuts with the oatmeal, then pack the maple syrup in the world’s tiniest container so my husband can heat it up at work. So while tasty, this flavor isn’t made too often because it tastes off without the maple.
We’ve kept these in the cupboards for at least a month and the flavor is still great, so they store very well! If you’re storing semi long term and adding mix-ins, I’d go according to your most perishable ingredient as a guideline for how long it can be stored.
Hope you enjoy, and please let me know if you decide to make these homemade oatmeal packets yourself!
Need more make ahead meal ideas? Once a Month Meals has lots of ready-to-go freezer menu plans (Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Paleo, Instant Pot and more) and lets you customize your own menu plan.