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How to Make Oatmeal in Microwave Without Boiling Over

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Is your oatmeal always boiling over in the microwave? Whether you are using a deep bowl and nail the correct microwave oatmeal to water ratio, it seems making oatmeal in a microwave can be disastrous. 

The microwave appliance is an easy kitchen gadget that makes meal prep so much more convenient, especially when making oatmeal on a busy morning. Because the dish is liquid based, boiling over the edges of the bowl happens most of the time when not using caution.

How do you make oatmeal in microwave without boiling over? When making oatmeal in microwave, add 2½ tablespoons of butter per single serving of oatmeal to prevent from boiling over. The butter coats the oatmeal starches and allows the air bubbles to escape without being trapped.

Additionally, laying a chopstick across the top of the bowl while microwaving also helps to avoid the oatmeal to boil over by breaking the surface tension. 

Lastly, consider to break down the cooking time in 15 seconds intervals to stir often and use a larger, wider bowl to prevent from boiling and spilling over the sides.

Microwaving oatmeal is the fastest and most efficient way to cook and reheat oatmeal. Whether the microwave oatmeal is made with milk or water base, the appliance speeds up the process and makes delicious and creamy oatmeal that is a wonderful base to add toppings of your choice.

In this article, we are going to investigate why oats explode in the microwave and what is ultimate microwave time to prevent overflow. In addition, we are sharing expert’s tips and answer frequently asked question to help you avoid oatmeal boiling over when microwaving.

Why do my oats explode in the microwave?

Oats may explode in the microwave because the outer edges of the grain is shaped in a way that prevents from expand easily as the moisture inside quickly turns to steam at high pressure. 

As a result, the surfaces are not wide enough to let the steam to escape. The oatmeal tends to boil over or explode since the microwave heats up way too quickly.

Consider using deeper and larger microwave-safe bowl, and do not cover the bowl while microwaving the oats. Adjusting the power to 30% less with longer cooking time may also help to reduce the chance of the oatmeal exploding.

How long should I microwave oatmeal?

When microwaving oatmeal, consider the serving amount, type of oats, and microwave wattage to identify the proper microwave time. For single serving or ½ cup of oatmeal, microwave on high for 90 seconds to 3 minutes depending on the desired consistency. 

Don’t forget to stir every 15 to 30 seconds to evenly distribute the heat. In between each interval, evaluate wether you have to add water while stir to fully cook them, especially for steel cut oats. 

Always let the oatmeal sit for 1 minute before serving to allow the oats to soak up excess water. 

How do you keep oatmeal from overflowing in the microwave?

Depend on the type of oats, oatmeal will cook or boil slower or faster, thus reaching the boiling point more gradually to prevent the overflowing problem. In addition, slow microwaving method can allow you time to catch it when it does happen. 

Here are ways to keep oatmeal from overflowing in the microwave:

  • Do not cover the microwaveable oatmeal bowl with a lid, leave uncovered to let the steam escape.
  • Use deeper, larger bowl and fill the ingredients less than ⅔ of the bowl height.
  • Place a cinnamon stick, wooden skewer or chopsticks across the top of the bowl to break surface tension if it does begin to boil over. 
  • Cook oatmeal with water and not milk, the fat content of milk tends to make oatmeal overflow easily. Add water and garnish with milk, creamer, or yogurt to microwave creamy oatmeal
  • Understand the total oatmeal microwave time and stop at even intervals to stir frequently.
  • Lower the power and microwave for longer to prevent from overflowing.

Tips to make oatmeal in microwave without boiling over

Whether you prefer oatmeal with milk or water, boiling over inside of the microwave is avoidable. From rolled oats or steel cut oats, there are lot to consider when it comes to preventing spill over while microwaving oatmeal.

If you regularly boil over oatmeal in the microwave, here is a checklist to solve your issue.

  • Reduce the power by 30% and increase the cooking time to prevent rapid boiling point.
  • Use ceramic or glass bowls instead of plastic. These materials tend to absorb the heat from the rising bubbles and slow down thermodynamics.
  • Minimize protein ingredients such as milk or egg as these are capable of foaming action. 
  • Do not fill the bowl with oatmeal. Allow enough room on top to prevent from boiling over.
  • Put some butter on the top of the oatmeal to help eliminate the spill over because the fat coats the oats and reduces the amount of starchy bubbles. 

Best way to make oatmeal in microwave without boiling over

Typically starchy foods like oats tend to boil over when microwaved, especially if you cover with a lid.

Always keep the microwaveable bowl uncovered and carefully observe the total cooking time. Stop microwaving at frequent intervals and stir to break the bubbles and distribute the heat equally.

Placing chopsticks or cinnamon stick helps the oatmeal from boiling over while microwaving because it disturbs the surface tension. 

Bigger bowls with taller sides helps to avoid boiling over. Additionally, do not completely fill up the bowl with oatmeal, instead leave ⅓ or more space to allow foam inside from spilling over. 

Another method is to soak oatmeal in water overnight. This will help to reduce starch in oats and microwaves in a shorter time to achieve the desired consistency without boiling over. 

Boiling over oatmeal in microwave

Microwaving Oatmeal Without Exploding: Conclusion

Making oatmeal in a microwave is the easiest and heathy breakfast option, especially to reduce meal prep time in the early morning. Microwaving does not reduce nutritional elements of oats, but can alter taste and texture if not done correctly.

No matter what, starchy food including oats are hard to prevent from exploding in the microwave due to faster reaching the boiling point quickly and forming thick bubbles from the starch. 

Depending on the serving portion and kind of oats used, the proper microwave time will have to be adjusted to avoid spill over. 

When cooking oatmeal in the microwave, consider adding butter in the beginning of process to allow the fat to settle in on the surface to prevent from boiling over.

Furthermore, take time and stop the appliance every 15 seconds to stir in-between each interval. By stirring, this motion breaks the bubbles on the surface that overflow and eliminate the spill over that happens inside. 

Use bigger microwave safe bowl and do not cover with lid nor fill the bowl completely. Placing chopstick or spoon across the top may also help to prevent boiling over.

Take time and reduce the heat by 30% while microwaving. Lowering the heat level is the best way to catch the instant boiling point of oatmeal before boil over occurs.