Oatmeal Recipes: Boiling Vs. Cold Water

Nutrition Diva compares methods for cooking oatmeal.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
1-minute read

Q. It's been decades since I've read Frances Moore Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet, but I remember that when cooking oatmeal, one should pour the oats into boiling water so slowly as to keep the boil. Is it still a valid approach?

A. Some of the well-meaning advice in this 1971 classic has since been relegated to the dust-bin of history. For example, it was Lappe who first popularized the notion that vegetarians need to combine complementary protein sources like beans and rice in order to get "complete" proteins.

We now know that this is unnecessary. 

I don't know the rationale for the oatmeal technique you are describing. All I can imagine is that it might have been intended to prevent the oatmeal from clumping together. (Any old hippies want to dig out their copy of Diet for a Small Planet and get back to us?)

In any case, I don't think it's necessary. In fact, I prefer to add my oatmeal to cold water and then cook it. I find it makes the porridge creamier. An occasional stir seems to be all that's required to keep it from clumping but if you do end up with a clump or two, a couple of strokes with a whisk should leave you with smooth, creamy oatmeal.

Related content:

Steel-Cut vs. Regular Oatmeal

Should You Soak Your Grains?


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About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.