We Tried 76 Instant Oatmeal Cups—These Are the Best

We dug our spoons into dozens of cups of hot cereal. These five winners will help you get up and go.

These five instant oatmeal cups will help you get up and go.
Photo: courtesy of manufacturer

There are 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 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 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 preparing a bowl of nourishing oatmeal for breakfast can take some effort. So with the rise of instant oatmeal cups, we simply 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 can make a great travel meal. Gone are the days of oatmeal overflowing in the break room microwave as it cooks. With these oatmeal cups, there's no more cleaning up or cursing the stuck-on bits.

And oatmeal isn't just for breakfast, either, since these cups 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, and good-for-you ingredients. Just peel back the cover, add hot water to the fill line, give it a stir and wait a few minutes for the oats to soak up the water. That’s it—your comforting oatmeal is ready.

01 of 05

Best Maple: Modern Oats Vermont 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.

02 of 05

Best Mixed Fruit: Bob’s Red Mill Organic Cranberry Orange

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.

03 of 05

Best Apple: Earnest Eats Apple + Cinnamon + Flax Superfood

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: $2.99 for 1; walmart.com.

04 of 05

Best Blueberry: Wild Friends Oats and Nut Butter

Wild Friends Oats and Nut Butter
Peter Ardito

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.

05 of 05

Best Nutty: Modern Oats Nuts & Seeds

Modern Oats Nuts & Seeds

Hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds are mixed with an array of seeds, including sunflower, pumpkin, flax, and hemp. It's like your favorite trail mix in a cup.

To buy: $17 for 6; amazon.com.

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