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Make this authentic Mexican oatmeal recipe for an impossibly delicious way to start your day. With just 5 ingredients, it’s perfectly sweet, creamy, and rich in flavor.

You have to try the secret ingredient!

Mexican Oatmeal Recipe
Are you team sweet or savoury at breakfast?

📖 About

Avena (oatmeal) is everything we love in a breakfast. Quick, cheap, delicious, and nutritious!

We made this oatmeal recipe to be enjoyed on its own or as a starting point to spark your creativity. Adding different toppings will completely transform your breakfast into a different dish each morning.

Try chocolate chips, peanut butter, Mexican crema, bananas, or mango (our latest obsession).

This Mexican oatmeal is creamy, sweet, and spiced (from the cinnamon). It also carries undertones of caramel from our secret ingredient, piloncillo (more on that later).

We really enjoy making oatmeal this way because it’s such a nostalgic childhood dish for different reasons:

Justine grew up eating old-fashioned oats with healthy and delicious toppings. Mitch on the other hand grew up with dino-egg Quaker packets.

Each time we make oatmeal, we get to reminisce on the past and laugh a little.

Do you have any oatmeal memories? Are they happy or not so much? If not, we think we’ll be able to change your mind pretty soon!

So there you have it. An old-fashioned Mexican avena recipe that’s vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and most of all, delicious.


Piloncillo, Cinnamon Stick, Vanilla, Almond Milk, and Rolled Oats
Have you ever cooked with piloncillo?

🍲 Key ingredients

For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.

Rolled oats

Taste: also known as old-fashioned or flaked oats, rolled oats are sweet and nutty. They absorb liquid super well, creating a rich and creamy texture (no mush going on here).

Health: if you didn’t already know, rolled oats are a gluten-free whole grain full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In fact, in half a cup there are 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 8 grams of fiber. Starting to see why people say oats are healthy?

Cinnamon sticks

Taste: it’s hard to imagine oatmeal without the sweet spice of cinnamon. We use whole sticks to better infuse our oats. While powdered cinnamon gives a more obvious flavor, cinnamon sticks create a well-balanced recipe.

Health: cinnamon has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants, even besting superfoods like garlic and oregano!

Close Up of Mexican Oatmeal
Would you just look at that


What it is: piloncillo (pee-lohn-see-yoh) is the raw form of cane sugar often seen in Mexican cooking and baking. It’s made by boiling down cane juice and pouring it into pylon-shaped molds (piloncillo means pylon). This process contains no additives or preservatives!

Taste: with much more complexity than brown sugar, piloncillo has a caramelly, smoky, and rich molasses flavor.

Where to buy: known worldwide as panela, you can find it at most Mexican and Latin American grocery stores or in the ethnic aisle of larger supermarkets. Can’t find it in person? Look for piloncillo online.

For more information check out our detailed guide on piloncillo.

Plant milk

Taste: we love the taste of plant milk in our oats. It’s what gives this oatmeal recipe such a rich and creamy flavor. We usually go for soy milk, but use whatever your favorite is since any type will work.

Health: plant milks are an extremely healthy dairy alternative. They don’t contain any lactose, which up to 90% of people can’t digest properly. They’re often fortified with essential vitamins and minerals (who couldn’t use more of those). Plus, they’re generally lower in fat and overall calories than cow’s milk!

Cinnamon Sticks, Piloncillo, and Water in a Pot
Simmer the cinnamon sticks and piloncillo first

🔪 Instructions

If you have questions about this Mexican oatmeal recipe, don’t forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.

Step 1: add the water, piloncillo, and cinnamon sticks to a large pot. Bring it all to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to dissolve the piloncillo. It helps to grate or chop the piloncillo cone before adding it in.

Rolled Oats, Cinnamon Sticks, and Almond Milk in a Pot
Add in the oats, plant milk, and vanilla

Step 2: add in the plant milk, vanilla, and rolled oats. Cover the pot and bring it to a low boil again. Then lower the heat and simmer your oats for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. If you prefer your oatmeal a little thicker, cook for an additional 5 minutes with the lid off.

Oatmeal in a Pot
Cook until creamy and delicious

Step 3: divide the oatmeal between bowls and serve with more plant milk, sweetener of choice, a sprinkle of cinnamon, sliced bananas, dried fruit, or whatever else you can think of!

🌡️ Storage

We enjoy this avena recipe fresh off the stovetop for the best texture and flavor. But, oatmeal is actually a great food to make ahead of time as meal prep.


Let the oatmeal cool at room temperature, then store it in your fridge for up to 6-7 days. Make sure it’s in an airtight container to lock in all the flavors. Note: store your oatmeal and toppings separately for optimal freshness.

Meal prep

This is the perfect meal to make on your day off. Portion it out in single-serve containers for the week ahead to save time on busy mornings.


Reheating this Mexican oatmeal on the stovetop is our preferred method. Just add the oats to a pot and cook on low-medium for 4-5 minutes. Add additional plant milk to reach your desired consistency. Alternatively, microwave your oatmeal in 30-second bursts until warm.

Mexican Oatmeal Recipe in a Bowl
Serve with more plant milk, sweetener, and cinnamon!

💭 Pro tips

Time to share the tips and tricks we learned while creating this oatmeal recipe for you:

  • Taste and adjust the oatmeal to your preferred level of sweetness.
  • Cook the oats for the full duration to help them absorb the liquid and achieve maximum creaminess.
  • If you can’t find piloncillo, use a 1:1 ratio of brown sugar or coconut sugar.
  • Avoid using instant oats or steel-cut oats because the texture and flavor won’t be the same.
  • Try replacing the piloncillo with stevia for a sugar-free version.

♻️ Similar recipes

For more sweet breakfast ideas, check out these flavor-packed recipes:

🍴 Tasting notes

We eat this oatmeal recipe almost every day for breakfast, and we bet you will too. It’s:

  • Sweet
  • Creamy
  • Complex
  • Hearty
  • Healthy

If you try this Mexican oatmeal, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!

Mexican Oatmeal in a Bowl

Mexican Oatmeal Recipe (Creamy Avena)

Mitch and Justine
Make this authentic Mexican oatmeal recipe for an impossibly delicious way to start your day. With just 5 ingredients, it's perfectly sweet, creamy, and rich in flavor. You have to try the secret ingredient!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican, Vegan
Servings 4 servings
Calories 295 kcal


  • Large pot
  • Measuring cups & spoons


  • 3 cups water ($0.01)
  • 80 g piloncillo ($0.15)
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks ($0.10)
  • 3 cups plant milk ($1.28)
  • 2 tsp vanilla ($0.42)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats ($0.22)


  • To a large pot, add the water, piloncillo, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to dissolve the piloncillo.
  • Next, add in the plant milk, vanilla, and oats. Cover and bring to a low boil again, then lower the heat to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. If you prefer your oatmeal a little thicker, cook for an additional 5 minutes with the lid off.
  • Divide between bowls and serve with plant milk, sweetener of choice, a sprinkle of cinnamon, sliced bananas, dried fruit, or whatever else you can think of. Enjoy!


YouTube video


  • If you aren’t able to find piloncillo, use equal amounts of brown or coconut sugar.
  • If you don’t have cinnamon sticks, you can also use powdered cinnamon. For every stick, use a 1/2 tsp powdered.
  • Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
  • We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
  • Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
  • All prices are in USD.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.4g | Protein: 10.6g | Fat: 5.6g | Saturated Fat: 0.8g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 79.1mg | Potassium: 375.8mg | Fiber: 5.9g | Sugar: 18.6g | Vitamin A: 382.4IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 275.8mg | Iron: 2.9mg
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Should oatmeal be soaked before cooking?

It’s not necessary to soak the rolled oats before cooking them. However, if you have digestion issues, soaking your oats overnight may help.

Can this be made without sugar?

Yes, you can easily omit it for a sugar-free version. If you still want this oatmeal to be sweet, use stevia in place of the sugar.

Is this meal gluten-free?

Yes, this oatmeal recipe is gluten-free. If you have celiac disease, ensure your oatmeal is packaged in a facility with no cross-contamination.

Can I use steel-cut oats instead?

We don’t suggest replacing old-fashioned oats with steel-cut because the timing and consistency will be off.

I can’t find piloncillo. What else can I use?

You can use any type of sweetener you’d like. Some others we recommend are agave, maple syrup, brown sugar, coconut sugar, cane sugar, or coconut nectar.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Can this be refrigerated after cooking and rewarmed next day for individual servings ? This recipe sounds delicious !

    1. Hey Diane!

      It can definitely be chilled and rewarmed the next day. If it’s a little thick, just add some more soy milk or water as it simmers. Hope that helps – enjoy!

      1. This recipes a winner ! It reheated beautifully . Thank you for introducing me to Piloncillo . Anyone who makes this should not skip it . I served mine with vegan butter , organic brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon, yum !

        1. Hey Diane,

          That is great to hear! We’re so glad you enjoyed it and were introduced to how amazing piloncillo is! The vegan butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon sound incredible 😀

  2. Hi, I have never used panela and I was curious how you go about measuring it. Do you cut of chunks and measure that or do you try to pulverize it somehow?

    1. Hey Jer!

      Great question. You can chop it, but we usually find it easier to grate it on a box grater (like you would a block of cheese). Then, you can measure it or weigh it more easily. Hope that helps!

  3. Have you made this in an instant pot or other similar pressure cooker?
    I just found your site and I am so impressed! I love all the information that you impart!

    1. We have not actually made this in our pressure cooker yet, but you definitely could! Stick to the ratios and start with 3 minutes on high (allowing it to naturally release). That should work, but you might have to tweak it a little! Thank you for your kind words!