Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal Packets

Don’t you just hate it when something so simple gets overly complicated? This happens in all sorts of ways, from cumbersome processes in the workplace (like the classic Office Space rant, “We are putting new coversheets on the TPS reports”) to homeowners associations that want to control everything about every house in the neighborhood, to simply what you put in your mouth.

Oatmeal has to be one of the simplest foods I can think of, and yet, the makers of instant oatmeal have gone and made it all complicated. For proof, I offer you the ingredients of Quaker’s Apples & Cinnamon instant oatmeal packet:

Oat(s) Rolled Whole Grain (Oat(s) Bran) , Sugar, Apple(s) Dehydrated (Sodium Sulfate (Sulfite, Sulphite)) , Salt, Cinnamon, Calcium Carbonate, Flavor(s) Natural, Oat(s) Flour, Citric Acid, Guar Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Niacinamide (Vitamin aB), Iron Reduced, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (HCL), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)

This oatmeal, besides having a lot of ingredients, has a lot of sugar! 13 grams is 3.25 teaspoons of sugar per packet! And, let’s be real – most adults eat two packets (I always did!).


Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal Packets

I have a suggestion this week for making your own instant oatmeal packets with only three (perhaps four) ingredients, which has half the sugar, more apples, and will save you money in the long run.

You can keep these in your desk drawer, backpack, or handbag, and always have something healthy with you when the snack attack hits. It’s fairly easy to get hot water and, at a minimum, a paper cup to mix it in, pretty much anywhere – coffee shops, convenience stores, or the office break room.

Keeping with the apples & cinnamon theme, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Quick cooking rolled oats (or, make your own by chopping rolled oats in your Ninja Blender or food processor to make the oats smaller and quicker-cooking)
  • Dried apples (if you have a dehydrator, you can easily make your own and save money)
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt (optional)

Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal Packets | Test Kitchen Tuesday

And, you’ll need some sort of baggie or storage container. These brown paper snack bags would be excellent, and something completely reusable would be even better, but all I had was little plastic snack-sized baggies, so that’s what I’m going with in this example.

Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal | Test Kitchen Tuesday

Here is my suggested proportion for one serving, though you can certainly adjust this to your needs:

  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats (30 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried apples (about 10 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of salt, if you prefer

Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal Packets | Test Kitchen Tuesday

To make hot oats, simply pour the packet into a bowl, mug, or cup, add about 3/4-1 cup (depending your preferences) boiling water and stir. Then, cover and let sit for about 3 minutes and enjoy.

Cost breakdown:

For this breakdown, I’m counting a serving as the serving size used in the recipe, not on the bag/box. There are really only 5 servings of apple rings per package, but I only used 1/4 serving in the recipe. The cost of the cinnamon in this recipe is really negligible, but I have listed it just in case with a guesstimate.

IngredientPurchase Price# of Servings/ContainerCost per serving
Quick Cooking Oats$2.9930$.10
Dried Apple Rings$2.9920$.15
Snack Bags$8.04100$.08

Cost per packet of DIY Instant Oatmeal: $0.34, including bags or $0.26 not including bags

Cost per packet of Quaker Instant Oatmeal: $0.44


The cost savings seems minor in scale, but over time, this could really add up. Plus, by buying bulk ingredients and divvying it up yourself, you save all that wasteful packaging that comes with store bought.

Nutritional Breakdown:


What do you think? Worth it to make your own?

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