Soaked Oatmeal Recipe

Nearly every morning, my husband prepares a soaked oatmeal porridge.   It’s evolved over the years, from an overly sweetened oatmeal to a version that’s sweetened only by dried fruit like raisins.   It’s important to soak oatmeal prior to preparation.   Doing so increases the digestibility of oats as it does and it enables the nutrients found in the grain to be better absorbed by your body.   Oats, like all grains, contain phytic acid which can inhibit the proper absorption of minerals link zinc and iron.


soaked oatmeal recipe

By Jenny Published: June 9, 2009

    We like to serve these oats with seeds, nuts, dried fruit and yogurt or diary kefir.


    • 1 Cup Rolled Oats
    • 1-2 Tbsp Raw Cider Vinegar, Whey, Yogurt, Lemon Juice or Kefir
    • 1 Cup Whole Milk
    • Pinch of Salt
    • 2 tsp Cinnamon
    • 1/4 Cup Nuts and Seeds
    • 1/4 Cup Raisins


    1. Soak rolled oats, seeds and nuts overnight in enough water to cover – adding lemon juice, kefir, whey, yogurt or cider vinegar to the water.
    2. In the morning, drain oats and rinse them well.
    3. Add milk to a pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    4. Immediately turn down heat and add remaining ingredients.
    5. Stir frequently and continue to simmer until oatmeal has thickened to your liking.
    6. Serve with yogurt, kefir and natural sweetener of your choice.

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    What people are saying

    1. Elizabeth says

      Is there a reason you boil it in milk instead of just adding more water and boiling? We use raw milk, but I would think that boiling it would make using raw less beneficial. Just curious.

    2. Jenny says

      Good question. Of course, one of the primary benefits of raw milk is that it is a living food: beneficial bacteria, natural vitamins and enzymes are all intact. If you cook the milk as we do in this recipe, there’s nothing critical about using raw milk; indeed, you can use pasteurized milk. Of course, it should still be from grass-fed cows and be nonhomogenized.

      You could definitely use water in lieu of milk, but I think it’s important to not only respect a food’s nutrients but also the flavor and texture of the overall dish. In this case, cooking the oats in milk makes them ever so creamy and that is missing when they’re cooked in water.

      By coupling the oats cooked in milk with a raw milk yogurt or kefir you can balance both the creaminess of cooked milk in the porridge with the beneficial bacteria and natural enzymes present in the yogurt or kefir.

    3. D says

      I’m new to soaking grains.

      Can you soak the oatmeal in just plain water overnight?
      Why do you need to drain the oatmeal the next day and rinse it?

      I learn this cooking process in a magazine and want to know if this can pass as soaking:
      I normally put steel cut oats in a pot with water and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, I remove the pot from the heat and let it sit overnight. Is this the same as soaking?

      • Alyse says

        The point of soaking with water and the acids or whey is to release some or most of the phytic acids in the oats which inhibit your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in the oats. It’s important to rinse the oats after soaking overnight to flush away the phytic acid. I you use the method of bringing the oats and water to a boil and then turning off the heat, this is slow cooking and softening the oats over night. A short cut to cooking in the morning. Though when you soak the oats and then rinse before cooking the oats will cook more quickly as well.

        • Joy Roxborough says

          some other folk (eg sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions says add more water to the soaked oatmeal without rinsing. so i am confused . . .

          • says

            yes, i’ve read the same thing in several places, including Nourishing Traditions, that instructs to just add water and cook in the morning. I’ve also read that you cannot break down the phytic acid just by soaking with an acid medium, because oats do not contain phytase, so it is necessary to add a little rye or buckwheat or other grain to aid in this process. (I’ve seen wheat flour used for this, too.)

            Alyse, have you heard of this? Thanks for the recipe!

            • Maritza says

              I have the same question as Trish. i am new to soaking and even though in Nourishing Traditions, it doesn’t say that oats do not have enough Phytase, I read somewhere else that this is true. What are your thought on this?

    4. says

      Soaked oatmeal is a favorite in our house too. I haven’t put nuts or seeds in it yet. That sounds yummy! We also love to make an oatmeal casserole where instead of cooking the soaked oats on the stove we put them in a casserole dish with a few eggs and all the fixins’ and bake it at about 375 degrees. It comes out thick and is soooo good.

      Check out Kelli’s last post: New Echota and The Vann House.

      • heidi says

        Does the rinsing remove the nutrients though? I’ve tried soaking grains in the water and acid, and can’t stand the taste. Does the sour flavor disappear completely, or just partially?

    5. Laure says

      Help, please. Some of the numbers in the recipe appear as “” instead of as numbers. How can I get the right numbers for your recipes?

    6. says

      For raw milk users who don’t want to compromise the milk by boiling it, you can cook the oats in water, and add milk to serve. Personally I prefer a dollop of cream instead of milk, as do the French.

      For medicinal porridge recipes, try The Book of Jook.

    7. meaghan says

      I’d really like to try this method. I guess that soaking the grain with an acid is similar to treating corn with lime juice (nixtamalization) to make it more digestible, as is done in Mexico.
      I’ll be trying it this weekend. Thanks for the clear instructions!

    8. Elisabeth says

      I’m going to try using coconut milk with my oatmeal next time since I am trying to avoid dairy. I’ll probably mix it with water since it is 100% fat – maybe half water and half coconut milk. I will let you know how it turned out :)

    9. Elisabeth says

      Ok, so adding the coconut milk to my oatmeal tasted great but was harder for me to digest. Overall I noticed that starches don’t mix well with fat. Adding a raw egg however goes very well with me.

    10. Nicole says

      Had this last weekend for the first time, and it was SO YUMMY! I’m not a big oatmeal eater, but this was just wonderful.

    11. Jenny says

      Rachel –

      I’ve had great success with this recipe using steel cut oats; indeed, I far prefer them to rolled oats.

      Thanks for reading, and let me know if you try it!

      – Jenny

    12. Keri says

      I soaked this recipe last night with steel cut oats, raw sunflower seeds & pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and pecans. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk was the only option for a cooking medium but it turned out so creamy and luscious! I put a handful of frozen blackberries at the bottom of each bowl, scooped the porridge on top, added a dollop of yogurt and we were good to go! I haven’t had success with using a slow cooker for oatmeal or with an earlier attempt at soaking, but this time it was fabulous. Thank you for this post.

    13. Laura Weimer says

      Thanks for these tips. I tried making soaked Oatmeal for the family but didn’t know I was to drain and rinse and didn’t know I could use milk to cook. Will try this next time and I couldn’t get anyone to eat it! They said it was too sour! Perhaps the rinsing and cooking in milk will help this. Thanks!

    14. says

      I used to soak my oats in yogurt and eat them straight out of the fridge as is the next morning. Little did I know that this method probably fails to get rid of the phytic acid in the oats. I soaked my oats “properly” last night with water and some yogurt. I loved how they turned out this morning! I made mine with pumpkin pie spice, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds – the perfect fall combination!

    15. Wendy Jeffreys says

      If you double or tripple the batch of oatmeal porriage, do you have to increase the amount of vinegar or lemon juice,etc. My family doesn’t like the residual taste of the soaking agent. Any ideas??

      • Jenny says

        Just make sure you rinse it thoroughly, and the residual sour flavor should recede a bit. Of course, I’m a big fan of the “Eat what’s on your plate or don’t eat at all” philosophy which usually gets reluctant kids and spouses to start eating more nutrient-dense foods within about a week … or learning to cook.

    16. Cathy says

      Thanks for the great ideas! I am new to soaking grains and wondering if I can use souring raw milk to soak the oats (to clarify, this is milk that has been opened but in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks and souring). I wasn’t sure if this would have the same effect on the grains as the cultured kefir or yogurt. Thanks very much!

    17. says

      Hi Jenny,
      Appreciate your website!
      So the purpose of the soaking is to get the phytic acid out of the oats. Is there also the purpose of fermentaion from the kefir or whatever is added, that this will grow and increase these good bugs while sitting out on the counter overnight? If the fermentaion growth is also a purpose, then wouldn’t the heating of the oatmeal destroy those good bugs? Wanting to introduce this into our diet and wanting to understand the whole process. thanks for your help!

      • jsb says

        My understanding is that you need an acid medium WITH the water during the soak to reduce phytic acid, water alone won’t do it.

        Also, oats are low in phytase – the enzyme that breaks down phytic acid, so adding a bit of rye flour (1 TB per cup of oats) or buckwheat flour if you want gluten free, which are both high in phytase, will help remove even more phytic acid from the oats. The flour is flushed away when you rinse the oats in the morning.

    18. Justine says

      I did this last night. although I did put it in the fridge (didn’t know you were suppose to leave it on the counter) and I used apple cider vinegar. It was just delicious. My two year old son ate the whole bowl. I used sliced frozen strawberries and agave nectar in his and nothing in mine. It was perfect just the way it was!! thankyou so much for posting this.
      Two question though. How much apple cider vinegar should you use. I just did a capful for one cup steeled cut oats is that enough? Also, is steeled cut better than rolled or vice versa?

    19. Justine says

      Oh my bad. I see the 2 tbsp. apple cider now. sometimes when you a have a toddler doing a recipe with you, you miss things. lol

    20. says

      Hi Jenny, I’ve started making soaked oats and even made your bake from your new cookbook. I’m curious though what you use to strain and rinse your oats? After soaking all night with an acidic medium they are thick and gooey and when I rinse I can’t seem to really drain much liquid out of them. I would love to see a photo of what yours look like when your doing this process! None the less they end of tasting great I just end up making a mess all over the kitchen pressing the oats through my colander, rinsing, pressing and finally just hopjng that its good enough! With the bake, it turned out pretty soft so I think maybe I didn’t drain them enough-help!

      PS I LOVE your cookbook, it is amazing!

    21. Sherri says

      Have you ever tried cooking the oats in the crockpot? I’m not able to find a recipe that soaks, rinses and drains, then cooks in the crockpot. I’m not sure how much liquid to add. Any thoughts?

    22. Jeremiah says

      I have been soaking oats overnight for a while (steel cut along with rolled, with flax meal and sometimes ground almonds), but I don’t cook the mixture in the morning. I just blend it up in the morning with a banana, an apple, or blueberries. I love the taste, but is it healthy to eat soaked oats raw?

    23. says

      What do you think about soaking these over night then eating them cold? That is, no cooking?

      It seems really popular now with lots of recipes online for “cold porridge” or something like that. I’ve been soaking oats for years and my daughter LOVES oatmeal. She even wants it in the summer and it is too hot for me to deal with, so I am considering the cold version. But I am interested in your take on this method. Would you still use warm water? Seems like letting them soak at room temp for awhile would be better instead of putting them in the fridge right away?

      Thanks from a long-time reader!

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