We Tried 76 Instant Oatmeal Cups—These Are the Best
We dug our spoons into dozens of cups of hot cereal. These six winners will help you get up and go.
There are a few things quite as satisfying as a warm bowl of oatmeal to start the day. It’s comforting, without being heavy and the options for toppings and ingredients to stir into oatmeal are endless. Oatmeal can even swing savory, making it a great option for those that don’t like a sweet breakfast. Even the texture of oatmeal can vary greatly depending on personal preference, more liquid (either milk or water) can make it soupy and mushy, less liquid can yield a denser oatmeal, there’s even baked oatmeal which is great for a crowd, a brunch, or to keep in the fridge and scoop out on busy weekday mornings.
But it’s not every day we get to relax with spoon in hand eating a bowl of nourishing oatmeal for breakfast, and with the rise of instant oatmeal cups we had to put them to the test. Oatmeal cups are super convenient: They stash well in the pantry for mornings on the go, in the car, or even at your desk, and they’re portable, too. The best part, is that there is no microwave needed, just hot water and a couple of minutes (makes a great plane meal). Gone are the days of oatmeal overflowing in the break room microwave as it cooks. No more cleaning up or cursing the stuck-on bits of oatmeal with these oatmeal breakfast cups. In fact, not just for breakfast, they also make a great snack. Plus, we kept an eye on the sugar quantities to prevent any sugar highs and crashes. Our picks surprised us with interesting flavor combinations, add-ons that kept us fuller longer, good-for-you ingredients, and simply, just really delicious oatmeal cups. All it takes, is peeling back the cover, adding hot water to the fill line, give it a stir and wait a few minutes for the oats to soak up the water, and that’s it—comforting oatmeal at the ready.
1 Best Maple: Modern Oats Vermont Maple
Maple sugar provides natural sweetness in this cup for big authentic flavor. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds add crunch, while warm spices like cardamom and cinnamon keep it cozy.
To buy: $28 for 12; amazon.com.
2 Best Mixed Fruit: Bob’s Red Mill Organic Cranberry Orange
Tired of berries and banana nut? This unexpected flavor combo is the perfect blend of tart and sweet. Tasters loved the satisfying crunch of almonds in the mix.
To buy: $30 for 12; amazon.com.
3 Best Apple: Earnest Eats Apple + Cinnamon + Flax Superfood
This not-too-sweet option is made with dried apple pieces, oats, and the protein-packed ancient grains quinoa and puffed amaranth.
To buy: $33 for 12; earnesteats.com.
4 Best Blueberry: Wild Friends Oats and Nut Butter
Dried blueberries and cinnamon get a boost from a squeeze packet of creamy peanut butter. Drizzled on, it doubles the protein to keep you satisfied until lunchtime.
To buy: $35 for 6; amazon.com.
5 Best Nutty: Modern Oats Nuts & Seeds
Hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds are mixed with an array of seeds, including sunflower, pumpkin, flax, and hemp: like your favorite trail mix in a cup.
To buy: $17 for 6; amazon.com.
6 Best Spiced: Three Bears Cinnamon Raisin
Classic cinnamon spice and plump raisins speckle this stick-to-your-ribs pick. It’s made with flax and chia seeds, plus it’s free of the eight most common allergens.
To buy: $3; amazon.com.
With reporting by Sari Kamp