Make Ahead Irish Oatmeal

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Make a pot of Irish oatmeal for easy reheating all week long. Top with dried fruit and nuts and a creamy pat of butter, this wholesome breakfast is comfort food at its best on a chilly morning.

A bowl of Irish oatmeal has dried craisins and chopped pecans on top.

If your only experience with oatmeal has been with instant oatmeal packets, you are in for a crazy treat today.

Homemade Irish oatmeal is just as fast as those instant packets to make but tastes so much better you'll never look back.

Even better? You can prep an entire pot of oatmeal on a Sunday for easy reheating all through the week.

Why This is the Best Recipe

When we spent a week in Ireland near St. Patrick's Day during the chilly early spring, I loved spotting big vats of Irish oatmeal on the breakfast buffet line at our hotels.

This is the best make ahead Irish oatmeal recipe for using at home because:

  1. Classic Irish Breakfast: Hearty oatmeal sticks to your ribs and keeps you warm on a chilly morning!
  2. A Little Bit Salty: A pinch of salt in the oatmeal enhances the sweetness of the fruit and brown sugar.
  3. Easy to Customize: Want it thicker or thinner? Want to change the flavor up? There are so many ways to customize your oatmeal bowl to make it just right for you.


A box of Irish oatmeal next to a container of kosher salt.

Making traditional Irish oatmeal takes just two ingredients:

  1. Irish Oatmeal: I used McCann's Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal which gives a smoother, creamier texture. If you can't find it, I suggest using steel-cut oats which will have a heartier texture.
  2. Kosher Salt: Unlike oatmeal packets, you can control just how much salt goes into your oatmeal. I use Morton's Kosher Salt.

Make the Oatmeal

Place a pot with six cups of water on the stovetop.

Add the oatmeal and kosher salt and stir.

Bring the mixture to a boil.

The oatmeal and water are in a pot on the stove.

Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir for just two minutes.

Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to a week.

The oatmeal has been boiled and is quite thick.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

If you plan to make the Irish oatmeal ahead of time for using during the week, as soon as it is finished cooking remove the pot from the heat.

Place a lid on the pot and let it sit until it cools down, about an hour or so.

Transfer the oatmeal to a refrigerator-safe storage container and keep for up to a week.

The oatmeal is cooling with the lid on the pot.

How to Reheat the Oatmeal

As it sits in the fridge, the oatmeal will become nearly solid as it continues to soak up the moisture from the water.

To reheat a bowl of oatmeal, scoop out a portion into a microwave-safe bowl.

Add at least one tablespoon of water to the bowl and cover the dish with a paper towel.

Heat on HIGH in the microwave for 1 - 2 minutes and stir. If it is still too thick, add another splash of water and heat again.

Best Irish Oatmeal Toppings

The plain bowl of Irish oatmeal sits next to a tray of toppings including small bowls of dried fruit and nuts.

You can customize your bowl of oatmeal in countless different ways. I tested a new flavor every day for two weeks and by far my very favorite was:

  1. Dried Cranberries
  2. Chopped Pecans
  3. Brown Sugar
  4. A Pat of Butter

The tart cranberries, salty pecans, and sweet brown sugar tasted absolutely delicious with the creamy oatmeal.

I enjoyed the pat of butter in lieu of a splash of milk because it does not affect the texture of the oatmeal and adds just another small dose of saltiness to the bowl.

It also highlighted the flavor of the brown sugar as they melted together in the steamy bowl of oats.

Serving Suggestions

A bowl of creamy oatmeal with craisins, chopped pecans, and brown sugar on top.

Top your bowls of Irish oatmeal with your own favorite combination of dried fruit, nuts, and sweetners.

You could add maple syrup, honey, a splash of milk or cream, and any combination of fruit and/or nuts you love.

For some truly unique stir-ins, you could add a boost of fruity flavor with a homemade strawberry sauce or my triple berry sauce drizzled in.

A dollop of cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving or roasting cherries during the summer would make for a deliciously seasonal version, too.

More Make Ahead Breakfast Recipes

Looking for more easy make ahead breakfast recipes to keep on hand for busy mornings? Here are a few more of our family favorites:

📖 Recipe

A bowl of Irish oatmeal has dried craisins and chopped pecans on top.

Make Ahead Irish Oatmeal

5 from 1 vote
Prep a pot of Irish oatmeal to enjoy for a family breakfast or store in the fridge for easy reheating all week long. Just pop individual bowls into the microwave and then top with dried fruit and chopped nuts with a pat of butter for salty creaminess.
TOTAL TIME 6 minutes
PREP TIME 1 minute
COOK TIME 5 minutes
YIELD 6 bowls of oatmeal


For the Irish Oatmeal:

  • 1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats like McCann's Irish Oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For Serving, Per Bowl:

  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon salted butter


Prepare the Oatmeal:

  • Stir 6 cups of water together with the oats and kosher salt together in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Enjoy immediately or cover and let the oatmeal sit for 2 hours at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator overnight.

For Serving:

  • To reheat the overnight oatmeal, spoon a serving into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it on HIGH heat until warmed through, about 1 - 2 minutes. It is helpful to add a tablespoon or so of water to help thin it out, it will become very thick as it sits overnight.
  • Top steaming hot bowls of oatmeal with the dried cranberries, chopped pecans, brown sugar, and salted butter. Stir them in and enjoy.

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The photo collage shows a bowl of Irish oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts on top next to a photo of the box of oatmeal.

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