May 25, 2023
From fresh fruit to savory toppings, deliciously sweet toppers, drizzles, and sprinkles, plus crunchy and nutty additions this post has them all!
Best Ways to Top Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a nutritious breakfast that can easily be kept interesting and exciting to eat by changing what you add to it.
Oats make a terrific base for both sweet and savory toppings, which are usually added after the oats are cooked. Although, there’s no definitive rule and you can most certainly add some of the ingredients below before you cook them!
Other than for flavor, what you choose to top your oatmeal can also add nutrition to your oats, like fiber and vitamins. Below you’ll find over 100 ingredients to choose from that will make your bowl of oats delicious!
Best Fruit Toppings for Oatmeal
No matter how you dice it or slice it, fruit is always a great topping for oatmeal. It can be added before or after you cook your oats, this is simply a personal choice, and you can use either fresh or frozen fruit.
- Banana: a classic oatmeal topping that never gets old. Pair it with peanut butter, and you have a delicious combination.
- Blueberry: an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants. Use fresh berries or frozen and thawed; you can’t go wrong.
- Strawberry: a tangy-sweet idea to top over your oats and always a favorite topping when making overnight oatmeal.
- Roasted Strawberries: adds hints of vanilla with a rich, caramelized strawberry flavor.
- Raspberries: bright, summery, and super high in fiber; just ½ cup serving has 4 grams!
- Blackberries: a dash of cinnamon + brown sugar + blackberries = blackberry cobbler oats!
- Apple: diced apples can be cooked into oats or served fresh on top with a little cinnamon-like in this apple oatmeal.
- Roasted Apples: if you love apple pie, try this recipe on top of your oats! These have all the deliciousness of the classic dessert without the crust and excessive sugar.
- Pears: similar to apples, but with a juicier flavor. Use them fresh or warm them in a skillet with butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
- Peaches: add a dollop of yogurt or a dash of cream for that peaches and cream flavored oats.
- Nectarine: similar to peaches and taste amazing on oats with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey.
- Mango: a tropical option to pair with shredded coconut and chia seeds.
- Kiwi: would make the perfect pair with fresh mango.
- Pineapple: fresh pineapple tastes like a treat, or you could try browning it as I do in this Pineapple Upside Down Oats recipe.
- Cherries: use fresh or frozen cherries for a low-sugar option, or if you’re making the pineapple upside-down oats, maraschinos!
- Pomegranate arils: provide a nice contrast to the creamy oatmeal flavor and texture.
- Dried cranberries: toss them into the oatmeal as it cooks, or use them as a topping.
- Orange zest: brightens the flavors and tastes incredible with cranberry.
Sweet Toppings for Oatmeal
Sweet oatmeal toppings can come in the form of little pieces of dried fruit, dessert-like ingredients like chocolate chips, sugary goodness, or a drizzle of something sweet. A little is all you need to transform a plain bowl of oats into something that tastes like a treat!
- Raisins: plump up and provide bursts of sweetness in every bite.
- Dried currants: make a tasty replacement for raisins.
- Dates: they are super sweet and have a jammy, chewy texture you’ll love on oats.
- Dried figs: are a great form of sweetness and work great with Greek yogurt, pistachios, and a tiny drizzle of honey.
- Brown sugar: I’m convinced this sugar exists for oatmeal.
- Coconut sugar: a low glycemic option to regular brown sugar.
- Honey: drizzle right over the top, maybe with some peanut butter and banana for some honey oats.
- Agave nectar: is similar to honey but has a lower glycemic index.
- Maple syrup: is not just for pancakes; it also works great in oatmeal.
- Molasses: super rich, and a little drizzle goes a long way.
- Homemade Pancake Syrup: if you’re out of maple syrup, you can make your own with three simple ingredients.
- Homemade Strawberry Syrup: skip the regular sweeteners for this Copy Cat IHOP syrup made with fresh berries.
- Homemade Blueberry Syrup: for the blueberry lovers!
- Chopped dark chocolate: imagine your favorite 70% – 80% chocolate bar chopped and half melting over creamy oatmeal.
- Chocolate chips: use your favorite semi-sweet or white chocolate chips.
- Chopped chocolate candy: Snickers, toffee, chocolate caramels, and chocolate truffles, the possibilities are endless.
- Nutella: swirl a tablespoon right into the oats, then top with banana and walnuts. Thank me later.
- Fruit preserves: this is an invite to add natural peanut butter and make a bowl of PB & J oats.
- Chia Seed Jam: a low-sugar option to regular jam, with the healthy benefits of chia seeds!
- Cranberry Sauce: this Thanksgiving side dish tastes epic with brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal.
- Leftover baked goods: crumble up those last few bits of cookie or homemade banana bread and sprinkle it right over the bowl for dessert-like oatmeal.
- Whipped cream: a dollop on top will add some fancy flair.
- Whipped coconut cream: a non-dairy alternative to regular whipped cream.
- Homemade Caramel Sauce: you can use caramel sauce from the store or my homemade recipe from the Clean Treats Cookbook!
Savory Oatmeal Toppings
Savory oats are totally a thing! Whether it’s a late-morning breakfast or you want to up the ante on a weekend brunch, there are many savory ingredients that can be added to oats before (like cheese) or after cooking.
- Fried egg: the runny egg yolk creates a sauce of its own.
- Soft-boiled eggs: in case you’re more into jammy egg yolks.
- Bacon: nothing like crispy, smoky bacon over a bowl of savory OR sweet oats! If you try this on sweet oats, make sure brown sugar is involved.
- Butter: because melted butter in oatmeal tastes divine.
- Smoked salmon: for a salmon and lox-inspired bowl, pair smoked salmon with a dollop of cream cheese and sprinkle of Everything But the Bagel Seasoning.
- Canadian bacon: a cross between ham and bacon, this has its place on top of oats with fried eggs.
- Shredded cheese: options like Cheddar and Gouda give the cooked oatmeal a risotto consistency.
- Grated cheese: Parmesan, Asiago, and Pecorino Romano make great toppings.
- Sauteed mushrooms: pair this with smoky bacon and a fried egg.
- Caramelized onions: savory, slightly sweet, and go great with the sauteed mushrooms.
- Roasted Curry Cauliflower: the warm curry spices with tender roasted cauliflower is gold over savory oats. Pair this veggie with roasted sweet potato and a soft-boiled egg.
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes: are an underrated oatmeal topping! You can enjoy them for savory oats or a sweet topping with brown sugar and a drizzle of peanut butter.
- Roasted Red Peppers: often used for salads and paninis, but these also work atop savory oats!
- Roasted Butternut Squash: have a golden caramelized flavor similar to the roasted sweet potatoes.
- Roasted Fall Vegetables: a blend of roasted beets, Brussels sprouts, and butternut squash. I love this combo with a fried egg and a sprinkle of bacon.
- Pico de gallo: you can’t go wrong with the fresh salsa flavors!
- Avocado: make the perfect match with pico de gallo.
- Tomato Bruschetta: the Italian version of Pico de Gallo. Pair this with Mozzarella, and you’re in for a delicious bite.
- Arugula: tender greens with a peppery flavor; this would pair well with the bruschetta.
- Chopped cilantro: brighten up any dish and work great with avocado, fried eggs, and pico.
- Chopped green onions: finely chopped and used as a topping with sauteed mushrooms and bacon.
- Creme fraiche: the tangier and richer version of sour cream. Pairs well with roasted butternut squash.
- Slivered almonds: these crunchy slivers taste so good with berries and honey.
- Cashews: one serving offers 5 grams of protein and 69% RDI of Copper.
- Walnuts: contain omega-3s and pair superbly with dried fruit and honey.
- Pistachios: crushed pistachios are one of the richest vitamin B-6 foods and go great with dried cranberries and Greek yogurt.
- Pecans: use these as a topping for pumpkin pie-inspired oatmeal.
- Macadamia nuts: a great source of manganese and go great with tropical fruits and shredded coconut.
- Pumpkin seeds: also known as pepita, these offer a nice crunch and 9 grams of protein per serving.
- Sunflower seeds: one of your favorite snacks also tastes great as a crunchy topping on sweet and savory oats.
Super Food Toppings for Oatmeal
Super food ingredients are those that pack a lot of nutrition in a small serving. Seeds, for example, are often added before cooking to soften them up and a teaspoon per bowl is typically all you need.
Consider upping your nutritional intake by adding:
- Chia seeds: black or white chia seeds both work and provide fiber and omega-6 fatty acids.
- Flax seeds: make a great thickening agent while adding 2 grams of fiber per tablespoon.
- Hemp seeds: these add a pleasant crunch and are rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Sesame seeds: if you’re going the savory route, try a sprinkle of these toasty seeds.
- Shredded coconut: for coconut lovers! Try to use unsweetened coconut shreds or flakes.
- Granola: ANY of your favorite granola, even grain-free options.
- Homemade Pantry Granola: a combination of rolled oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, maple syrup, cranberries, and more!
- Chocolate Coconut Granola: crunchy granola morsel with bits of chocolate- what’s not to love?!
- Peanut butter: creamy, crunchy, natural, or the classic JIFF; it’s up to you.
- Almond butter: the cousin to peanut butter and drizzles beautifully over oats.
- Tahini: also known as sesame seed paste, has a rich flavor that would go great with any of the savory roasted veggies mentioned above.
Mix-Ins for Oatmeal
Mix-ins are often added before cooking oats or right after cooking when the oats are warm. Then, after mixing them in, you can determine if additional liquid is needed to get your oats to your desired texture. Many of these are perfect if you need to thicken your oatmeal too!
- Protein power: stir half a scoop (or more) of your favorite protein powder into cooked oats and turn them into a bowl of protein oatmeal.
- Collagen powder: this flavorless protein lets your oatmeal shine without altering the flavor.
- Peanut butter powder: for peanut butter flavor AND thicker oats, powdered peanut butter is a great option!
- Greek yogurt: plain or vanilla yogurt adds creaminess and protein.
- Canned pumpkin: essential for pumpkin pie-flavored oats!
- Applesauce: adds volume and combines brown sugar and cinnamon, making this “apple pie-esque.”
- Coconut flour: a grain-free flour that is highly absorbent and helps thicken oatmeal and is the base for paleo oatmeal.
- Almond flour: also works as a thickening agent and adds healthy fats and fiber.
- Cocoa powder: a teaspoon or two of unsweetened cocoa powder makes a delicious bowl of chocolatey oats. I also love it in my oatmeal breakfast brownies.
- Cinnamon: is the #1 oatmeal spice, and that’s not changing anytime soon.
- Pumpkin spice: stir it in while the oatmeal is cooking, along with canned pumpkin and a dash of brown sugar and maple syrup.
- Nutmeg: the scent and aroma of Christmas. Try it in oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Vanilla: add a dash or two while it’s cooking, and your kitchen will smell like a bakery.
- Apple pie spice: an autumn spice combination of cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger- pair this with chopped apples for the best flavor!
- Almond milk: use it to cook the oats, or add a splash over the top with fresh berries and honey.
- Soy milk: same as almond milk, but slightly creamier.
- Coconut milk: for the creamiest oatmeal EVER, cut the water in half with canned coconut milk.
100+ of the BEST Oatmeal Toppings
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup water, or milk, any
- 1 pinch salt
Choice of 100+ Toppings
- roasted strawberries
- orange zest
- dried cranberries
- brown sugar
- coconut sugar
- dark chocolate, chopped
- fruit preserves
- whipped cream
- fried egg
- smoked salmon
- grated cheese
- caramelized onions
- roasted vegetables
- walnuts, chopped
- macadamia nuts
- sesame seeds
- chia seeds
- protein powder
- canned pumpkin
- shredded coconut
- Add the oats, water or milk, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, occasionally stirring for 3 to 5 minutes or until the desired consistency is reached.
- Remove from heat and top with your choice of toppings.