The Simple Trick That Will Make Your Oatmeal So Much Better
You should stop dipping your pizza in milk. That's a creepy, internet-born thing that's probably a troll, but people are doing it anyway, and ugh. You should also not chug milk in an attempt to show off your genetic fortitude and racial identity because that's misguided and gross on every possible level. But you should make your oatmeal with milk or cream instead of water because it will completely transform the way you regard and embrace oatmeal in your morning routine. If you're already an oatmeal lover (as you rightly should be), cooking your oatmeal in milk will cause you to ascend to a higher plane of earthly pleasure.
Yes, yes, we've been told to cook oatmeal in milk all along. This very site has included the advice several billion times in stories about how to make porridge, oatmeal porn (I'll pause to let you click on that), and overnight oats as therapy. But I was getting so darned preachy about putting hot sauce in oatmeal and exploring it as a blank canvas for cacio e pepe that it didn't occur to me that the oatmeal itself could use an upgrade.
Then chef and author Dana Cree came to Extra Crispy HQ to make an oatmeal, banana. and butterscotch ice cream sundae from her new book Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop and rocked my world. It wasn't just the extraordinary interplay of the tangy bananas, darkly sweet sauce, and rich ice cream—it was the almost cookie dough heft of the oatmeal, itself. All Cree had done was cook it down with milk.
"My mom always made it with water which would explain why I didn't always love it. There's a lot of sad oatmeal out there," said Cree. "If you make your oatmeal with milk, you're ten times more likely to enjoy it. I use whole milk, the most delicious of all milks."
There's no particular math to it; just use as much milk as you would water. If you're feeling extra-indulgent, swap in some or all of the milk for half-and-half or even cream. It's just a small thing, but the difference it makes transforms the cereal from a pleasant-but-neutral base for other flavors (seriously, try the hot sauce thing, or gochujang and fish sauce, or leftover barbecue and sauce), to an almost dessert-like dish of its own even if you're not slathering it with butterscotch and ice cream.
As an oatmeal evangelist, I'm sort of ashamed that I had let my own enthusiasm for the outrageous get in the way of this simple element. As an oatmeal lover, I'm just thrilled to have it in my bag of tricks.