The Best Oatmeal for Babies Recipes

Published June 15, 2022
By Renae D'Andrea

Should you give oatmeal to babies? Do you need to give a special kind of oatmeal, or will any old oats do? I’m answering all your questions about oatmeal for babies and toddlers here!

Baby cereal or regular oatmeal for babies?

Baby cereal comes in many different forms. Since the realization that many baby cereals that contain rice also contain heavy metals, the recommendations from organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics have changed. They now recommend serving oat based cereals instead of rice cereal.

The main benefit of serving a store bought baby oatmeal is that it is usually fortified with iron. Iron is one of the big nutrients of concern for babies. It is something that we want to be serving every day and at most meals. 

Rolled oats oatmeal with cut strawberries on white background

But regular old old-fashioned oats, steel cut oats, and even instant oats also contain iron! Really, almost any kind of oats would be considered iron-rich.

While not always in the same quantities, it is there and can be considered an iron-rich food. As long as you are focusing on iron-rich foods at every meal, there is really no need to serve a special baby food form of baby oatmeal. Although there’s certainly no harm in it, either.

Are rolled oats safe for babies?

I get many questions about the texture of oats when babies are first starting off with solid foods. Especially if you are doing baby led weaning there is no need to be worried about rolled oats. They can be served right from the beginning of solid foods around 6 months

If you are serving your baby strictly baby food purees for those first few weeks, your baby might have a harder time accepting something that isn’t completely smooth. But it is still safe for them! You can always grind the oats yourself in a blender or food processor until they are finely ground if you are concerned. Although at that point you would be better off just buying baby cereal.

Oatmeal for Baby Led Weaning

When it comes to baby oatmeal and baby led weaning, there can be a lot of questions about how to serve oatmeal. How can babies eat oatmeal by themselves? It isn't exactly a finger food is it?

Some people prefer to go the route of baking oatmeal in a pan. That means that is able to be picked up easily as a finger food. Or even rolling it into a ball.

I find that babies have no problem at all simply raking oatmeal up in their palm and getting it to their mouth! That is by far the easiest way to serve baby oatmeal. You can also have spoons that you preload and hand to them to eat the oatmeal from.

A combination of these two methods is generally my preferred baby oatmeal eating method. But it's worth experimenting yourself to find what works for you and your baby.

More: For more help with baby led weaning and how to help your baby succeed with eating, be sure to check out this article with a comprehensive guide to baby led weaning and first baby foods!

My go-to oatmeal recipes for babies

I also get asked all the time about how to make oats for babies. The great news is oats are such a versatile base that it’s really hard to go wrong. Start with these recipes I’m sharing below. Then make adjustments as you go to make them how you prefer.

Switching between making oatmeal with quick oats or regular rolled oats and steel cut oats can make the oatmeal taste different in and of itself.

steel cut oatmeal in glass bowl with raspberries on the side

Switching up the toppings can also help make oatmeal much more interesting! Changing the toppings can make oatmeal completely different, and allow you to serve it much more frequently without your baby getting bored of it. Try making a more savory oatmeal, or sticking with the more traditional sweet oatmeal

Try things like nut or seed butter stirred in. Peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower butter are great places to start.

Different fruits to put on top can also add interest. Just like stirring in something like blueberries can. Try stirring in a fruit puree like applesauce or a veggie like pumpkin puree.

You can also switch it up by making a carrot cake oatmeal version!

What milk should you use in baby oatmeal?

When it comes down to whether you should make baby oatmeal with milk or just water, I always recommend adding some kind of milk, whether it be cow's milk or another option.

Cow's milk is perfectly safe in recipes for babies, even from the very first foods around 6 months. Other plant-based milks like canned coconut milk or oat milk are also good options. Almond milk is generally not a great option as it is not very calorically dense.

If you have fresh breast milk, or even a supply of frozen breast milk, you can use it in place of cow's milk. But there is no need to use breast milk or formula to prepare oatmeal for babies.

The goal of adding milk to oatmeal is to up the calories of it to help your baby meet their needs. This can be done with adding breast milk or formula, sure, but can also be done with another calorically-dense liquid.

Your baby is unlikely to finish all of the oatmeal that you make, and that can mean that a lot of breast milk or formula is wasted. We want to prioritize them drinking that more than anything. So if you have extra and feel strongly about it, go for it. But there really isn't a need.

Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats Baby Oatmeal Recipe

This first recipe is my go-to oatmeal recipe for babies. It is one that I have been making for years and years, and is easily made for babies. The chia seeds add an extra nutritional boost of iron, calcium, and calories. They also help to absorb some liquid to make the recipe more forgiving.

To get the most out of this recipe, try "whipping" the oats as they cook. This is especially beneficial if you are adding in the banana, as it will help break up the banana slices so they sweeten the entire pan. Stirring somewhat quickly in a small motion as you are cooking oatmeal makes the oatmeal extra creamy, too, as the oats start to break down a bit.

The oatmeal recipe below is written with the ratios for one serving. Multiply as necessary for how many people you are serving. There is no limit to how many servings can be cooked at once.

If you have extra, they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and reheated in the microwave or on the stove with a bit more liquid added.

Rolled oats oatmeal with cut strawberries on white background

Basic Old-Fashioned Oatmeal for Babies

Basic old fashioned oats with chia seeds, peanut butter, ground walnuts, and fruit. A quicker option than steel cut oats that offer a different experience.
No ratings yet
Cook Time 7 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 429 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Oatmeal:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup milk (whole milk or plant based milk is fine here)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ banana thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

For the toppings:

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp ground walnuts
  • 2 tbsp fruit of choice

Instructions
 

  • Add oats, milk, water, and banana to a pot.
    1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 banana
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with small, fast circles to whip the oats, until oats start to become creamy. Cook longer for a thicker consistency, shorter for a soupier consistency. Experiment with what works best for your baby!
  • Right before you remove from heat, stir in chia seeds. They will soak up liquid and thicken the oatmeal slightly. Pour oatmeal into a bowl.
    1 tsp chia seeds
  • Top with peanut butter by stirring it thoroughly into the oatmeal. (clumps of peanut butter are a choking hazard under 4!) Sprinkle walnuts on top. Serve fruit on top or the side.
    1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp ground walnuts, 2 tbsp fruit of choice

Nutrition

Calories: 429kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 15gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 128mgPotassium: 689mgFiber: 8gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 331IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 217mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Baby Led Weaning Friendly, Quick Meals
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Creamy Steel Cut Oats for Babies

This next recipe can take a little longer on the stove, but is a great option for early eaters that are just starting to eat. The smaller oat groats make the cooked oats much creamier than with regular rolled oats, and can be a smoother consistency for early eaters.

If you enjoy the consistency of steel cut oats, but aren't a fan of how long it can take to cook them, try looking for a quick cooking variety.

You can also try out things like Scottish oats, which maintain the creamy texture but as they are ground oat groats they can cook up quicker.

steel cut oatmeal in glass bowl with raspberries on the side

Steel-Cut Oatmeal for Babies

A deliciously creamy basic oatmeal for babies and the whole family. Serve as is or switch up the toppings to vary the meal.
No ratings yet
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 379 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Oatmeal:

  • ¼ cup steel cut oats
  • ½ cup milk whole milk or plant-based milk is fine here
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

For the Toppings:

  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp frozen and defrosted raspberries or fruit of choice
  • 1 tsp ground walnuts

Instructions
 

  • Add oats, milk, and water to a pot.
    1/4 cup steel cut oats, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until oats start to become creamy. Cook longer for a thicker consistency, shorter for a soupier consistency. Experiment with what works best for your baby!
  • Right before you remove from heat, stir in chia seeds. They will soak up liquid and thicken the oatmeal slightly. Pour oatmeal into a bowl.
    1 tsp chia seeds
  • Top with almond butter by stirring it thoroughly into the oatmeal. (clumps of almond butter are a choking hazard under 4!) stir in berries and ground walnuts or simply add on top.
    1 tbsp almond butter, 1 tsp ground walnuts, 2 tbsp frozen and defrosted raspberries or fruit of choice

Nutrition

Calories: 379kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 15gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 55mgPotassium: 378mgFiber: 10gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 213IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 268mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Baby Led Weaning Friendly, Quick Meals
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The Bottom Line on Oatmeal for Babies

Oatmeal can be a great way to get a ton of nutrients into your baby's food. Whether you choose baby oatmeal or regular rolled oats or steel cut oats based oatmeal, there are endless possibilities of how to prepare it.

Whatever way you choose, make sure you vary toppings and other add-ins to help expose your baby to a wide variety of flavors and textures. And plan to cook with a milk and water to help up the calories in every bite your baby eats.


Tags

Recipes, starting solids


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  • Yay for oats! We eat a ton of them with my 14 month old. Would you say overnight/oats that are soaked, not cooked are also appropriate for young eaters? (Congrats on the new addition, by the way!)

  • newwaysnutrition says:

    Yes, overnight oats could work as long as you make sure that they are thoroughly softened.

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