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Learn how to cook the perfect oatmeal for baby. It’s easy, fast, and customizable! Serve as is or as a finger food, baby led weaning style.

four oatmeal with vegetables rolled into balls with a baby's hand touching one.
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Baby Oatmeal

A common misconception is that you need to purchase packaged baby oatmeal for serving babies, which can be costly and unnecessary.

You can easily prepare delicious oatmeal at home safely using any type of oats. While packaged baby oatmeal is often fortified with iron, it is naturally present in all varieties of oats. You can also easily incorporate other iron-rich foods to your homemade oatmeal.

Here let me show you!

When can babies eat oatmeal?

This nutritious whole grain can be offered to babies as soon as they’re ready to start solids, usually around 6 months. It’s important to remember that your baby is unique and that rather than going by the calendar, you need to make sure your baby is DEVELOPMENTALLY ready to start solids.

If you’re unsure what signs to look for, be sure to grab my FREE handout by clicking below.

tired mom with baby food

Is your baby 6 months old and up?

Learn all the secrets to starting solids safely while optimizing nutrition!

Health Benefits

Oatmeal is a wonderful first food as it is easy to digest and loaded with so many nutrients that babies need to grow and thrive, including iron, zinc, fiber, and calcium.

Variety is the name of the game when it comes to increasing food acceptance and minimizing picky eating down the road. And oatmeal is SO versatile! You can mix in eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, yogurt, cheese…endless possibilities!

Types of Oats

an infographic showing the differences between steel cut, rolled, and quick oats.

Baby oat cereal is basically ground oats, which is easy to make at home with the oats you already have on hand.

You also don’t have to start with serving only baby cereal or ultra smooth purees, unless that’s what you feel most comfortable doing.

If you’ve decided to take the baby led weaning or combination feeding approach, you can serve thicker oatmeal from the start as long as the oats are well cooked and soft.

For 6-8 month old babies, quick cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats are best.

Steel-cut oats are quite chewy in texture so they’re best to serve to older babies (10+ months).

Ingredients

  • Oats – I prefer old-fashioned rolled oats as they’re the most versatile and have the perfect texture, not too mushy or firm.
  • Milk – can use breastmilk, formula, cow’s milk, or non-dairy alternatives. While milk shouldn’t be given as a drink until around 12 months of age, it is fine to add to recipes. Dairy is one of the top most common allergens, so take caution when introducing it for the very first time. Here’s a super in-depth post covering the best milk for babies after 1.
  • Chia seeds – here are the health benefits for babies.
  • Egg (optional) – It not only makes the oatmeal creamy and fluffy, it will also provide your baby with iron and protein! If using, be sure to whisk it really well before mixing it in with other ingredients.
  • Optional Toppings/Add-ins:
    • Vegetables – feel free to add in whatever you have on hand!
  • Spices – Such an easy way to expose your baby to more FLAVOR!!

How to Cook Oatmeal for babies

a four image collage showing the cooking process on the stove top.
a close up shot of what sweet potato oatmeal looks like cooked on the stove.

Quick Oats – 6+ Months

  1. Heat 1 cup of milk on the stove and once it simmers, add 1/2 cup of oats. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Optional: Add in whisked egg, stirring vigorously, until light and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes).
  3. Add in the extra ingredients (I’ve included suggestions below but feel free to add whatever you wish! Pictured: sweet potatoes). Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit for another 3 minutes or so until fluffy. Thin out with additional liquid as needed.

Rolled Oats – 6+ Months

  1. Heat 1 cup of milk on the stove and once it simmers, pour in 1/2 cup of oats. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Optional: Add in whisked egg, stirring vigorously, until light and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes).
  3. Add in the extra ingredients. Thin out with additional liquid as needed.

Steel Cut Oats – 10+ Months

  1. Heat 1 1/2 cup of milk on the stove and once it simmers, pour in 1/2 cup of oats.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Be sure to scrap the bottom to prevent the oats from sticking.
  3. Optional: Add in whisked egg, stirring vigorously, until light and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes).
  4. Add in the extra ingredients. Thin out with additional liquid as needed.

You can also try overnight steel cut oats.

Cooking oatmeal with breastmilk

Heat does affect the quality and nutrient profile of breast milk. Research shows that it can break down various enzymes that aid in digestion and boost the immune system.

However, breast milk sill provides incredible nutritional value. So if you have extra milk, you can certainly use it to cook with. But if you’re able to stir it into food once it’s cooked and cooled, it’s even better.

Tips for success

  • Normally, the oatmeal to liquid ratio is 1:2, which you can use if you desire a looser consistency. However, if you want to shape into porridge fingers or balls, I recommend adding slightly less milk. You can always add more liquid at the end to achieve desired consistency.
  • If adding eggs – Be sure to whisk the egg prior to adding it in. Once you pour the egg into the oatmeal, mix in the egg VIGOROUSLY. Otherwise it will cook unevenly and you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. Not the end of the world, but just something to be aware of.
  • Refrigerating oatmeal for at least 30 minutes will make it easier to shape into fingers or balls.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between homemade oatmeal vs. Store-bought infant cereals?

Once you try making oatmeal at home, I have a feeling you will never look back. It’s super simple to make and much cheaper.

Packaged cereals are oftentimes fortified with iron, which does give them a leg up, but you can easily add toppings to the homemade version, as you see here, to make sure your baby gets that essential nutrient. 

But of course, when we’re sleep deprived and spread so thin, taking shortcuts may just be what the doctor ordered. And that’s totally fine! Remember to always take care of YOU!

What is the difference between baby oatmeal vs. rice cereal?

First, you don’t have to start with rice cereal. And if your pediatrician tells you that you absolutely need to, it is outdated advice.

Oats are going to be the better choice than rice as they contain a much smaller amount of heavy metals. This is not to say that you shouldn’t offer rice to your baby ever, but you want to make sure to incorporate variety and avoid serving it every day.

How much should my baby eat?

I never like to provide specific numbers as every baby is different and it’s so important to follow their lead. Start with a small amount so that it’s not too overwhelming for your baby, and offer more if they seem interested!

What’s the best way to store leftovers?

Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

When ready to eat, microwave or take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. It will firm up so you can stir in water or milk (a great time to add breastmilk/formula) to thin it out a bit.

Serving Suggestions

You can absolutely prepare oatmeal for your baby the same way you would for yourself, so don’t hold back ;). You just have to be mindful of modifying the size and texture of add-ins according to your child’s eating skills.

6-8 Month Baby

If you are starting solids and introducing oatmeal for the very first time. Keep it pretty simple with just a couple of toppings of choice. Leave out the egg until you’ve tested separately for any allergic reactions as it is one of the top 9 common allergens.

If you’re desiring a more pudding-like consistency, make oatmeal the way you’d eat it and then simply blend. Voila! Oat porridge.

Offer a spoon (these are THE best for this age) but chances are your baby will just dive in with their hands and that’s ok! Resist the urge to interfere and continuously wipe them. Messy eating is an important part of learning to self-feed.

Alternatively, you can shape into balls or fingers to make the oatmeal easier to eat.

Be sure to pair with a source of vitamin C to baby oatmeal to help absorb the iron in oats.

9+ months old

Continue offering the spoon without any expectation that your baby will use it. With continuous exposure and opportunities to practice, things will start to click!

Start experimenting with more toppings and textures. Again, variety is the name of the game!

4 Baby Oatmeal Recipes

a collage with four images of baby oatmeal variations with vegetables.

1. Sweet Potato

You can use any variety of sweet potatoes – jewel, garnet, Japanese sweet potatoes…. My son’s favorite food when he was a baby was purple sweet potatoes so they definitely have a special place in my heart. Compared to the orange ones, they are starchier but not as sweet.

I highly recommend you to give them a try! Isn’t the color so gorgeous?! Simply cook and mash with a fork before combining with the rest of the ingredients.

You can also use butternut squash or try this easy pumpkin oatmeal!

2. Zucchini and bell pepper

You truly can use whatever vegetables you have on hand for this one! You can add finely chopped cooked or finely grated raw vegetables.

3. Tahini broccoli

Broccoli + lemon + tahini. Remember this combination!! SOO good!

How to cook broccoli PERFECTLY for baby

4. Beetroot curry

Beets + spinach + ricotta + curry powder + coconut milk. Yup. It’s as good as it sounds!

How to cook beets

Other baby-friendly oat recipes

Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!

5 from 28 votes

Homemade Baby Oatmeal

Learn how to cook the perfect oatmeal for baby. It's easy, fast, and customizable! Serve as is or as a finger food, baby led weaning style.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
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Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

Equipment

Ingredients 

Base ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (50g) rolled oats
  • 1 cup milk of choice, (e.g. breastmilk/formula, full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (or flax or hemp seeds), , optional but highly recommended
  • 1 medium egg, well whisked , (can leave out if there's an allergy)

Instructions 

On the stove

  • Heat milk on the stove and once it simmers, pour in the oats. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add in whisked egg, stirring vigorously, until light and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes) – see note.
  • Add in the extra ingredients as suggested in the recipes below (or whatever you desire). Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit for another 3 minutes or so until fluffy. Thin out with additional liquid as needed.

Notes

Flavor Combinations:
Zucchini and bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1-2 tablespoons shredded cheese (can omit, add less or more)
  • Stir-ins: cooked zucchini and bell pepper, finely chopped
Sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • Stir-ins: fresh parsley, finely chopped
Tahini broccoli
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • Stir-ins: cooked broccoli, chopped; more tahini, if desired
Beetroot Curry 
Helpful tips:
  • If you’re desiring a more pudding-like consistency, add to blender and blend until smooth.
  • Be sure to stir the oatmeal constantly when adding egg. Otherwise it will cook up unevenly and you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. 
  • Offer a spoon but chances are your baby will just dive in with their hands and that’s ok! 
  • Alternatively, you can shape into balls or fingers to make the oatmeal easier to eat. If you happen to plan ahead, refrigerate for 30 minutes or so after shaping. This will make the balls firmer.
  • Be sure to pair with a source of vitamin C to baby oatmeal to help absorb the iron in oats.
  • You can store any untouched leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 41mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 159IU | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

5 from 28 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




43 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Creamy and great texture even for adults! I tried it with pumpkin puree and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Baby loves it!

      1. You could but likely won’t hold together when thawed. You can freeze without shaping and then shape when ready to enjoy!

  2. I made the egg and sweet potato version, but how do you know when the egg is cooked if it’s all basically mush? I’m hesitant to give raw egg to my LO

  3. 5 stars
    My baby LOVED it!!! Thats enough!
    Honestly very simple and quick to make. I made the oats as explained. I mixed steamed carrots with apples which made it that much better for her.

    Thank you for taking the time to come up with these recipes.

  4. Trying them out tonight! I’ve tried the basic version with just egg and baby loves it!! What age do you think is appropriate for the oatmeal balls?

    1. 6 months and up! Shaping into balls or even finger shape will make it easier for babies to eat with their hands

  5. 5 stars
    These are surprisingly tasty! I made these for my constipated 9 month old, my add ins were finely chopped kale, chunky mashed black beans, and a jar of prune and pear puree. Instead of rolling into balls, I put the cooked mixture into a mini muffin tin and let cool. My whole family ended up really liking the taste.

  6. Hi Min, I made these last night following the basic recipe and added frozen spinach and grated carrots but the oatmeal didn’t turn out creamy, it was rather clumpy and the oatmeal was like in individual pieces but everything was soft. So shaping into fingers for my baby was difficult. Should I be adding more oats or liquid to get it to a creamy consistency? Thanks in advance. Also love your content, it has really helped me! 😊

    1. Hi! I’m sorry it didn’t turn out. Yes if it’s clumpy then you’ll need to add more liquid! Thank you for being here!

  7. 5 stars
    My little boy (9 months old) LOVED this oatmeal. He couldn’t stop eating it! I added flax instead of chia and mashed sweet potato. Definitely making this again 🙂

  8. i m using the ready to eat formula to make these. can i still store them for 4 days as ready to eat formula says consume within 48 hours?

    1. If using formula I would either half the recipe and consume within 48 hours, freeze, or make the oatmeal with water/regular milk and add a bit of formula to thin it out right before serving.

  9. Hi Min,
    I made these last night following the basic recipe and added frozen spinach and grated carrots but the oatmeal didn’t turn out creamy, it was rather clumpy and the oatmeal was like in individual pieces but everything was soft. So shaping into fingers for my baby was difficult. Should I be adding more oats or liquid to get it to a creamy consistency? Thanks in advance. Also love your content, it has really helped me! 😊