Brown sugar oatmeal is easy and a great make ahead breakfast. You can freeze this oatmeal for a quick, nutritious morning meal! Get creative with your toppings and use whatever fruit is seasonal, along with some chopped walnuts or pecans.

A white bowl filled with Brown sugar oatmeal topped with blueberries.

I used to feed my boys those little packs of instant oatmeal for breakfast at least 3 days out of 5. They were quick, easy, and the boys loved them. These days, I’m a little more conscious of sugar content and the chemicals in processed food, so I prefer to make my own oatmeal.

Of course, these days my kids are grown and I work from home so I have a lot more time. If I were still a young single mom of two little boys, I would totally be using the instant packets!

Or, I would make a large batch of this brown sugar oatmeal on the weekend and freeze it for ready-to-eat meals.

How to make oatmeal

Note: You can use the steel cut oats or regular oats to make brown sugar oatmeal, but I prefer the steel cut because I like the chewy texture better. It’s just a personal preference.

  • Bring water and steel cut oats to a boil.
  • Stir in milk or half-and-half, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Cook 45 minutes.

You can use regular oats in this recipe, which reduces the cooking time down to 5-10 minutes. I prefer using the steel cut oats if freezing but that’s just personal preference. Either works just fine!

Check out all of our best breakfast recipes here!

To freeze brown sugar oatmeal

  • Allow the oatmeal to cool, then scoop into lightly greased muffin tins.
  • Place the muffin tins in the freezer for several hours until the oatmeal is frozen.
  • Wrap each oatmeal muffin in freezer paper and place them all in a large zipper storage bag.
  • When ready to eat, just take one or two muffins right out of the freezer and place in a microwave-safe bowl for a minute or two.
Muffin pans filled with frozen brown sugar oatmeal.

That’s it! Then you can toss in blueberries, nuts, dried fruit, or whatever toppings you want to add. Brown sugar oatmeal is a great way to have a nutritious breakfast in no time at all.

Another option is this Overnight Oats recipe from Spend with Pennies.

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5 from 1 vote

Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Nutritious and quick, these frozen oatmeal muffins go from freezer to microwave and are ready in two minutes or less.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 18 muffins
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  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 cups half-and-half or cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (maybe more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (maybe more to taste)
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter


  • Bring water to a boil. Add oats and stir gently. Bring back to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer.
  • Stir in half-and-half or cream. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter. Stir occasionally.
  • Cook for about 45 minutes, until oats are tender and thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Allow oatmeal to cool for about half an hour.
  • Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Scoop oatmeal into muffin tins, filling completely. Place muffin tins uncovered in freezer for several hours until oatmeal is completely frozen. You can leave overnight.
  • The oatmeal muffins should just come right out when you pull at them, but if not you may need to run a little hot water on the underside of the pan.
  • Wrap each oatmeal muffin in freezer paper and place in a large zipper storage bag.
  • To serve, unwrap oatmeal and place in microwave-safe bowl. Add a tablespoon or two of milk or water if you like oatmeal a little less thick. Zap 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through.


  • Oatmeal can be completely dairy free: replace the milk with water and omit the butter.
  • You can use regular oats instead of steel cut. Reduce liquid to 4 1/2 cups total and cook 5-10 minutes over medium heat.


Serving: 18muffins, Calories: 131kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 3g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 145mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Calories: 131
Keyword: brown sugar oatmeal, freezer oatmeal
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Update Notes: This post was originally published June 17, 2014, and on July 15, 2020, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

More make-ahead breakfast favorites:

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About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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