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!
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.
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.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
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?
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting 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.
🍴 Tasting notes
We eat this oatmeal recipe almost every day for breakfast, and we bet you will too. It's:
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 Recipe (Creamy Avena)
- 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!
- 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 ½ 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.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more sweet breakfast ideas, check out our:
- Baked berry oatmeal for a nutritious dish that's easy to make ahead of time.
- Blueberry pie oatmeal if you like healthy breakfasts that taste like dessert.
- Vegan French toast for an even tastier egg-free version of this classic breakfast.
- Chocolate chip banana oat waffles because who doesn't want a waffle that's crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and sweet all over?
It's not necessary to soak the rolled oats before cooking them. However, if you have digestion issues, soaking your oats overnight may help.
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.
Yes, this oatmeal recipe is gluten-free. If you have celiac disease, ensure your oatmeal is packaged in a facility with no cross-contamination.
We don't suggest replacing old-fashioned oats with steel-cut because the timing and consistency will be off.
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.