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How To Store Cooked Oatmeal

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To ensure that your oatmeal remains fresh and retains its nutritional value, you need to learn how to store it the right way.

It is always better to buy oatmeal in bulk and cook larger portions, in order to save some money and time, but often people do not understand how to keep the oatmeal fresh and end up throwing away a good portion that has spoiled or gone stale.

How do you store cooked oatmeal? Store cooked oatmeal in an airtight container in the fridge. This way, you can avoid spoiling or bacterial growth. Cooked oatmeal can be stored safely in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze cooked oatmeal for up to 3 months.

Learning how to properly store oatmeal can help you make the most of your oatmeal at home, and ensure that none goes to waste. Keep reading to find out about the best storage practices for cooked oatmeal and more.

Storing Cooked Oatmeal

It is so easy to make more oatmeal than what you can stomach, and you would not want to throw away the leftovers and waste some good oatmeal.

There are some great ways to store cooked oatmeal to enjoy at a later stage, and you can even make a larger portion to keep some for meals during the week.

Cooked oatmeal can be kept for up to 5 days if stored properly, and this allows you to have oatmeal every day of the working week without having to cook it up in the morning.

There are three different ways to store cooked oatmeal, and all are great for different storage times:

  1. Refrigerating – The fridge is the easiest option to store oatmeal, especially if you are planning on eating the oatmeal in the next few days. You can separate the oatmeal into single portions and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  2. Freezing – Using the freezer to store oatmeal is for when you do not plan on eating the oatmeal in the next few days and want to extend the shelf life even further. Oatmeal stored in the freezer can be kept for up to 3 months.
  3. Dehydrating – If for some reason you don’t want to keep your oatmeal in the fridge or freezer, you can place it in a dehydrator. Once dehydrated, the oatmeal can be kept in a cool, dry, and dark area for 3 months. An airtight container should be used to ensure it maintains its optimal quality.

Any of these methods will work out fine for plain oatmeal, but remember that you’ll have to add the toppings later. Certain toppings may not save as well and will alter the texture and flavor of your oatmeal if they are stored together.

Choosing the Best Storage Container for Cooked Oatmeal

When you are packing away leftover cooked oatmeal, you have to choose an airtight container. This helps to avoid extra moisture and air contact which could lead to spoiling of the oatmeal.

  • Freezer bags – Freezer bags are a good choice because they are durable and you can stack them on top of each other to save some space. They have a semi-permeable membrane which does help to keep the oatmeal protected from moisture. The issues with freezer bags are that they are not necessarily reusable and they do retain bad odors.
  • Glass containers – Glass containers are a popular choice for cooked oatmeal. They shut airtight and the glass does not harbor bad odors and can be reused time and time again. There aren’t many disadvantages to using glass containers, but you should remember that there is the possibility of the glass breaking easily and that glass is heavier than plastic.
  • Plastic containers – Plastic containers are really convenient to use. Good ones shut airtight, they are stackable and durable. You can use plastic containers over again, but they do retain bad odors so it is something to watch out for when using them to store cooked oatmeal.

Once the oatmeal is cooked, you need to refrigerate it within 2 hours. You cannot leave it to sit out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, as this promotes bacterial growth, which could lead to foodborne illnesses. 

When you want to eat the oatmeal, you can simply leave it out at room temperature and then add some more liquid to the oatmeal, stir it and place it in the microwave to warm up, or warm it up onto the stovetop until piping hot.

Remove it from the heat and stir it again to ensure all of the oatmeal is warmed up, add some more liquid if needed, and enjoy.

How to Store Dried Oatmeal Long Term

Where and how you store dried oatmeal will determine how long the oatmeal will last for. Just a few simple precautions will extend the life of oatmeal drastically.

Here are the conditions you should ensure your dried oatmeal is kept in:

  • Clean – Keeping the container and the area clean for oats is important to ensure that no pests are ruining the oatmeal.
  • Cool – Temperature control is essential to ensure the oatmeal preserves its nutrients.
  • Dark – There should be little light exposure to the oats, once again to preserve the nutrients.
  • Dry – Oatmeal quickly absorbs moisture, which can cause mold growth. Keep the oats in a dry area.

Once you know how to store oatmeal, you can decide where to store it. Here are the better storage options:

  • Pantry – The pantry is a good place to store dried oats, as long as it is well-ventilated, dark, and cool.
  • Fridge – Refrigerators are dark, cool, and dry, which makes it a perfect space for dried oatmeal.
  • Freezer – You can freeze dried oatmeal to further extend its shelf life, however, it is not ideal if you do not have a lot of freezer space.

When stored at the right conditions, dried oatmeal can be kept for up to 24 months.

They might be fine to eat after this, but they will not have the same great quality that they would before 24 months. This should be enough time to eat them all!

Can Oatmeal Go Bad?

There is no exact test to tell if oatmeal is bad. You will need to rely on your senses to tell if the oatmeal is still okay to eat.

If the oatmeal looks off or discolored, or if it has a strange smell or taste, you should play it safe and discard the oatmeal. Look for obvious signs of mold, or if the oatmeal has gone soft.

If you have some old oatmeal to throw away, you could always use it for a bath bomb, a body scrub, or even a face mask.

Related Questions

We hope we’ve answered all your burning questions about storing cooked oatmeal, but just in case you’re still left curious, we’ve gathered a few common questions for you to explore below.

Can you freeze oatmeal toppings?

If you enjoy your oatmeal with some apples and cinnamon, or any other extra ingredients, it is better to cook the oatmeal plain before freezing and then add these extra ingredients in later on when you are reheating the oatmeal.

Cooking these ingredients with the oatmeal first time around and then keeping it in the fridge or freezer might cause them to go soggy and mushy when thawed and reheated.

Spices also change their flavor when frozen and thawed, so the cinnamon or nutmeg might not have the same taste as it did when you ate the oatmeal fresh.

Just leave the oatmeal to thaw, and add in the extra ingredients and spices before you put the oatmeal to warm up in the microwave or in the oven to become soft and flavor all the oatmeal.

Can you make oatmeal ahead of time and reheat it?

Yes, you can make oatmeal ahead of time and reheat it. Many people choose to do this to avoid having to cook oatmeal from scratch each day.

You can cook up a batch of oatmeal on a Sunday, keep single-serving portions in airtight containers in the fridge, and enjoy a serving of oatmeal every morning during the week.

You can quickly reheat the oatmeal in the microwave or on the stove and add in whatever extras you want.

Can I eat oatmeal that sat out all day?

You should avoid eating oatmeal which has sat out all day. Oatmeal should not be left out for longer than 2 hours.

Leaving it to sit at room temperature for longer than this increases the risk of bacteria growth, and this could lead to foodborne illnesses. 

Can I store oats in a can?

Yes, you can store outs in a can if you have the proper canning equipment. The only problem with using a can is it cannot be resealed and they can only be used once.

However, it is a good way to keep the oatmeal protected, dry, and in a dark environment.

What are the best ways to cook oatmeal?

There are several ways to cook oatmeal, from the stove to the microwave.

Our favorite way is to use an oatmeal cooker, but if you’re looking for a quicker solution or don’t want another appliance cluttering up your kitchen, there are many other ways to cook your oatmeal to perfection.

On top of these different cooking methods, there are so many different ways to flavor and top your oatmeal, from savory ingredients like eggs and avocado to sweet ingredients like cinnamon sugar and berries.

We’ve found a great tutorial on 6 different ways to cook oatmeal by the Simply Quinoa channel on YouTube below.

Storing Cooked Oatmeal: Final Thoughts

You can keep a batch of dried oatmeal in the cupboard for up to a year if stored properly. Cooked oatmeal can be eaten up to 3 months after being cooked if kept in the freezer.

There are a few ways to store both dried and cooked oatmeal, so you never have to throw any leftovers or spoiled oatmeal away.

It is important for cooked oatmeal to be stored in an airtight container. This alone offers great protection, and then choosing the perfect storage environment furthers the shelf life of the oatmeal even further.

Cook up a batch of oatmeal, store it properly, and enjoy it for quick and easy breakfasts during the week!

Up Next: Can You Reheat Oatmeal? The Best Way

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