How to Make Anti-Inflammatory Oatmeal in Less than 5 Minutes

Let’s be honest. It doesn’t matter if you know something is good for you to eat. You need tips to get your family and yourself to actually eat it!

Oatmeal is a great anti-inflammatory breakfast solution. It’s quick and nutritious, and add-ins further boost protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. 

Oatmeal provides antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Research proves oatmeal lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels and aids gut health. You can read a more in-depth summary of the research here. 

Plus, it’s cheap! Oatmeal is an inexpensive, anti-inflammatory food to experiment with. 

If you do not like the version you made, a bowl of Old-Fashioned Oatmeal costs about $0.10 with no add-ins, whereas a bowl of Cheerios costs $0.72 (not including milk).

What You’ll Need for Anti-Inflammatory Oatmeal

Anti-Inflammatory Oatmeal made with Old-Fashioned Oats, Diced Gala Apples, Cinnamon, and 1 tsp Honey. Packed with soluble fiber and anti-inflammatory foods.

The best thing about this recipe is that it’s simple and uses pantry staples. You need old-fashioned or rolled oats, water, and your preferred toppings. 

I used cinnamon, ground flax seed, a small, diced apple, honey, and milk (dairy or non-dairy alternative). You could easily swap the diced apple for frozen blueberries or other fruit. 

You can use different oats if you prefer. I recommend Quick (1 minute) Oats or Rolled or Old-Fashioned Oats as they are higher in fiber and protein than instant oats but are fast-cooking.

I do not recommend Steel-Cut Oats because they take 10 to 20 minutes to cook on the stovetop. Although they provide similar nutrients and are anti-inflammatory, they won’t be suitable for a quick morning breakfast. 

  1. Rolled or Old-fashioned Oats: cook for 3 minutes in the microwave; have a slightly firmer texture.
  2. Quick (1 Minute) Oats: cook for 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave and are smooth and creamy.

Microwave Cooking Instructions

How to Cook the Oatmeal 

Start by using a microwave-safe bowl, like ceramic, porcelain, or stoneware. 

Measure out your oats and water. You need double the water paired with your oats. Typically, ½ cup of dry Old-Fashioned Oats to 1 cup of water is used for a serving size. 

Place in the microwave and cook on high for 2 to 3 minutes. Check the texture after 2 minutes and increase by 30-second increments until your preferred creaminess is reached. Longer cook times lead to creamier oatmeal. 

Remove the bowls of oats carefully from the microwave and stir. 

*If you opt for Quick (1 Minute) Oats, you will only microwave the oats and water on high for 1 to 2 minutes. 

How to Cook and Add the Toppings

While your oatmeal is cooking, dice a small apple and place it in another microwave-safe bowl. Once your oats are finished cooking, microwave the apple for 1 minute on high. 

Remove the softened apple from the microwave. 

Top your oatmeal with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds, 1 teaspoon of honey or your preferred sweetener, and stir. Then, stir in diced apples. To add some creaminess, add up to 3 tablespoons of milk or a non-dairy alternative. Use more milk if desired.

Stir and enjoy a simple, affordable, healthy, nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory oatmeal. 


Blueberry Oatmeal: In place of the apple, use ½ cup of frozen or fresh blueberries. I like to add the berries after the cinnamon, ground flax seeds, and honey. Frozen blueberries cool the oatmeal to a kid-friendly eating temperature quickly. 

*You could use any fresh or frozen berry of your choosing: strawberries, blackberries, mixed berries, or raspberries.

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal: Prepare the oatmeal as above, but for toppings, only use ground flax seeds, 1 to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 10 dark chocolate chips (or less), and milk. This sweet and filling variation can help satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Banana Nut Oatmeal: Make oatmeal as directed. Top with sliced bananas, ground flax seeds, honey, milk, and your preferred nuts. I like sliced almonds, walnuts, and peanuts with bananas. 

Different Add-Ins and Toppings

Changing up the toppings of your oatmeal can keep this simple anti-inflammatory meal always in your weekly line-up. 

Ideally, adding fiber, protein, and fat sources will help keep you full for three to four hours. Mix up the spices and sweeteners for unique flavors. 

Fiber Sources:

  • Fruit: fresh or frozen options like berries, apples, peaches, pears, bananas, mangoes, pineapple, dried fruits like raisins, dates, cranberries, apricots
  • Vegetables: like pumpkin puree or squash
  • Seeds: ground flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Nuts: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans
  • Nut butter: peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sun butter

Protein Sources:

  • Seeds and nuts pull triple duty with fiber and protein and healthy filling fat
  • Milk: dairy and some non-dairy alternatives like soy or pea protein milk contain protein
  • Yogurt: add a tablespoon (or more) of regular or Greek yogurt
  • Protein powder: half or ⅓ the normal scoop found in your protein powder container can boost the protein in your oatmeal

Fat Sources:

  • Seeds, nuts, nut butter
  • Milk and yogurt

Spices and Sweeteners:

  • Cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, or ginger work well with most toppings. Ginger and cinnamon are anti-inflammatory spices
  • For a touch of sweetness, try small amounts of honey, brown sugar, agave syrup, or maple syrup. Gradually reduce the sweetener each week, and your taste buds will hardly notice. 

With these add-ins, you can make a new version of oatmeal every time. There are so many flavors and options. And if you don’t like the version you made, it’s okay. Just try a different variation. 


What kind of oatmeal is anti-inflammatory?

All types of oatmeal are anti-inflammatory. However, those with large amounts of added sugar detract from the anti-inflammatory benefits. The flavored instant oatmeal packets contain added sugar or adding several teaspoons of sweetener.

All oats contain beneficial soluble fiber and are a good source of total fiber. Instant oatmeal is slightly lower in fiber than the rest of the oats. Pick an oat that suits your time schedule and texture preference.

Instant oatmeal is the softest and quickest to prepare. Quick Oats are still smooth and creamy. Old-fashioned or Rolled Oats have a slightly firmer texture, whereas Steel-Cut Oats have a chewy texture. 

Can you substitute with other types of oats?

Yes, you can substitute with Instant Oatmeal or Quick Oats for a comparable cook time.

Steel-cut Oats will take 10 to 20 minutes on the stovetop, so they would not meet the criteria for less than 5 minutes of cooking time. 

Is oatmeal an anti-inflammatory food?

Oatmeal contains antioxidants that prevent inflammatory responses. Oatmeal contains phenolic acids, tocols (vitamin E), sterols, avenacosides, and avenanthramides, all with antioxidant properties. 

Vitamin E helps prevent aging, chronic disease, cancer, and heart disease.

Avenanthramides are found primarily in oats. Research has shown they are anti-inflammatory and protect against heart disease, colon cancer, and skin irritation. 

Oatmeal helps lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and improve the balance of good bacteria after two weeks. It also helps prevent constipation and improves bowel regularity.

You can read more about the health benefits of oatmeal or another anti-inflammatory breakfast option, smoothies.

Anti-Inflammatory Oatmeal made with Old-Fashioned Oats, Diced Gala Apples, Cinnamon, and 1 tsp Honey. Packed with soluble fiber and anti-inflammatory foods.

Anti-Inflammatory Oatmeal In Less Than 5 Minutes

Oatmeal is a quick, inexpensive, and anti-inflammatory breakfast that reduces inflammation.
It's packed with soluble fiber that lowers blood sugar and cholesterol and boosts healthy gut bacteria.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy, quick, affordable, anti-inflammatory, fiber
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 345kcal
Author: Sarah Bullard, MS, RDN
Cost: $1.50


  • microwave



  • ½ cup rolled or old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water

Oatmeal Toppings

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 small apple (diced)
  • 1 tsp honey or sweetener (if desired)
  • 3 tbsp milk (dairy or non-dairy alternative)


Make The Oatmeal

  • In a microwave-safe bowl, add the old-fashioned oats and water. Cook on high for 3 minutes. (If you like firmer oatmeal, cook for less time).
  • Remove from microwave and stir.

Add Toppings

  • Microwave diced apple for 1 minute.
  • Add ground cinnamon, ground flax seeds, and honey. Stir, add diced apple and milk. Add more milk to thin, if needed.
  • Stir and enjoy.


Calories: 345kcal (17%) | Carbohydrates: 64.5g (22%) | Protein: 10.4g (21%) | Fat: 6.4g (10%) | Saturated Fat: 1.1g (7%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1.5g | Cholesterol: 3.8mg (1%) | Sodium: 36.9mg (2%) | Potassium: 406.2mg (12%) | Fiber: 11.5g (48%) | Vitamin A: 60IU (1%) | Vitamin C: 7mg (8%) | Calcium: 130.8mg (13%) | Iron: 2.4mg (13%)

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