Umami & savory oatmeal with topping ideas that you will crave for breakfast

Do you shudder when you think about how sugary “instant” oatmeal flavors are? Do you love the speed and ease of oatmeal breakfasts and how there’s a variety of flavors? Try making savory oatmeal with a long list of toppings you can add for a creative and umami twist every morning.

Sliced mushroom with steak cubes and spinach on top of savory oatmeal for inspiration for the savory oatmeal recipePin

As two working adults, Alex and I rush through breakfast weekday mornings. Our goal is to get sustenance in an efficient manner to power our workday until lunchtime. With Alex’s low-carb diet (it works), traditional breakfast options are off the table. No bread, bagels, muffins, instant oatmeal, or cereal. How have we replaced these carb-heavy options considering they are ready to eat, no fuss, and delicious?

One of our favorite breakfast options

Luckily, we’ve adapted a few breakfast recipes to get the quick, easy-to-prepare benefits of toast and cereal, while making them healthier and more varied. One of these quick-to-serve breakfast options is savory oatmeal.

Oatmeal is easy to batch cook and lasts for 5 days (how convenient). The ingredients are pretty healthy (not low carb, per se, but it’s higher in fiber and keeps you full longer than sugary pastries). Plus, oatmeal is a frugal option and easy to spruce up.

Why make savory oatmeal

We started years ago with traditional oatmeal flavors like butter and brown sugar or cinnamon with apple slices. There’s nothing wrong with them. I love these flavors but they get boring after eating the same breakfast day in and day out. We switched to various frozen fruit for variety.

Then I remember the infinitely long recipes for rice porridge I enjoyed growing up. Genius. I applied the same approach to savory oatmeal that is packed with umami tastes that make your look forward to breakfast every morning.

Let’s learn more about my savory oatmeal “recipe templates” and how you can build on the foundation.

RELATED: For another “recipe template”, check out how to make Thai coconut curry that’s as tasty as your favorite Thai restaurant using a similar approach to customize the dish.

How to make savory oatmeal

I start with oatmeal as the foundation. I used to cook rolled oats but I switched to steel-cut oats for their chewier texture (variety!). I replace milk with broth (vegetarian, chicken, or beef broth), bump up the salt, and serve the oatmeal with savory rather than sweet toppings.

And sometimes I add in beaten eggs for extra protein, because why not?

Jump down for the savory oatmeal recipe ↓

Then the magic happens with the toppings. The beauty of oatmeal is the variations you can add by topping it with different breakfast foods. Here’s a list of my favorite savory oatmeal variations.

Vegetarian savory oatmeal toppings

These vegetarian options focus on making the most of veggie options by including umami-rich ingredients, such as tomatoes. You can also use vegetarian and plant-based substitutes for sausages other meat foods.

  • Fried egg and sliced green onion
    Side-by-side zoomed-out and zoomed-in view of a fried egg and green onions on top of savory oatmeal for inspiration in the savory oatmeal recipePin
  • Feta cheese and chopped tomatoes
  • Ratatouille
  • Goat cheese, beets, and walnuts
  • Sliced mushrooms pan fried in garlic butter
  • Salted duck eggs
  • Soy sauce
  • Chili sauce
  • Pickled mustard greens
  • Pickled and sliced olives

Meat savory oatmeal toppings

You may notice some of my favorite oatmeal toppings are leftovers from the night before (e.g. chopped steak and pan-fried chicken). You too can get creative with your leftovers to use as toppings for savory oatmeal.

  • Bacon and eggs
  • Sliced bacon with green onions
    Side-by-side zoomed-out and zoomed-in view of sliced bacon with green onions on top of savory oatmeal for inspiration for savory oatmeal recipePin
  • Sliced Chinese sausage lightly pan fried
  • Pan-fried chicken breast or thighs with thinly sliced ginger
  • Spam and cucumbers (contrast of textures)
    Side-by-side zoomed-out and zoomed-in view of sliced Persian cucumbers with cubed spam on top of savory oatmeal for inspiration for the savory oatmeal recipePin
  • Ham and grated cheese
  • Smoked salmon
  • Chopped steak, sliced shiitake mushrooms (for umami), and wilted spinach
    Side-by-side zoomed-out and zoomed-in view of sliced mushroom with steak cubes and spinach on top of savory oatmeal for inspiration for the savory oatmeal recipePin
  • Meat floss
  • Kari’s shiitake mushroom meat sauce
  • Pan-fried, sliced sausage and frozen tricolor vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, beans)
    Side-by-side zoomed-out and zoomed-in view of sliced sausage with string beans, carrots, peas, and corn on top of savory oatmeal for inspiration for savory oatmeal recipePin

RELATED: Check out how to eat less meat without going vegetarian

When to cook savory oatmeal

If you’re following the similar workaday timetable, I typically batch cook oatmeal on Sunday evening. Breakfast is ready for Monday morning after a quick assembly of toppings over the oatmeal and a zap in the microwave.

How to store savory oatmeal

After cooking the oatmeal, I allow it to cool on the stovetop. Then I place the whole saucepan with the cooked oatmeal in the fridge and consume it throughout the week. It typically lasts for 4 to 5 days in the fridge. Refrigerating the oatmeal is extra important if you add in the eggs and non-vegetarian broth for food safety.

In case you haven’t tried it, oatmeal freezes well. If I know I won’t be able to finish the bulk quantity I cooked, I portion the oatmeal into smaller containers to freeze. To defrost, I leave it in the fridge for a day or in the sink overnight.

Savory Oatmeal With Eggs and Breakfast Toppings Ideas

Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe
Savory oatmeal is an easy breakfast meal and a refreshing twist on the overly sweet oatmeal options that are dripping with sugar. Make a big batch of vegetarian oatmeal with eggs for extra protein and enjoy all week with different breakfast toppings to add variation.
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 10 ingredients or less, batch-cooking, carbs, comfort, family-friendly, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 142kcal
Author: Anna Rider
Cost: $5


  • Saucepan
  • Spatula


  • 2 cups (468 g) oatmeal, rolled oats or steel-cut oats
  • 1 carton (946 ml) broth, vegetarian broth for vegetarians or chicken broth, about 1 quart
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) Salt
  • 3 medium Eggs, optional


  • Gather the ingredients.
    Ingredients needed for the Savory Oatmeal recipePin
  • Cook the oatmeal and broth in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
    Anna's hand pouring a carton of vegetable oatmeal into a sauce pot for the savory oatmeal recipePin
  • while dd the salt to the oatmeal and broth. You may need to add more salt before serving to season it to your tastes.
    Anna's hand pouring salt into a sauce pot for the savory oatmeal recipePin
  • Stir the oatmeal periodically to avoid burning the oatmeal at the bottom. Cook the oatmeal and broth for 3 to 5 minutes if using rolled oats. Steel-cut oats may need 5-10 minutes. Follow the instructions on the package of oatmeal to determine how long to cook the oatmeal for.
    A spatula stiring oatmeal cooking in vegetable stock for the savory oatmeal recipePin
  • If adding eggs, beat the eggs until the egg whites and yolks are combined.
    Anna's mixing raw eggs for the savory oatmeal recipePin
  • Check that the oatmeal is fully cooked before adding the eggs to avoid overcooking the eggs.
    A spatula stirring oatmeal as it thickens while cooking in vegetable stock for the savory oatmeal recipePin
  • Once the oatmeal is fully cooked, stir the beaten eggs into the oatmeal and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and allow the eggs to cook in the residual heat.
    Anna's hand pouring mixed raw eggs into a sauce pot with cooked oatmeal for the savory oatmeal recipePin
  • If the eggs are not fully cooked from the residual heat, turn the heat back on medium and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the eggs are just done. Usually, this step is unnecessary because the residual heat from the hot saucepan and oatmeal is enough to cook the eggs. But make sure the eggs are cooked to avoid risks of food-borne illness.
    A close up look of cooked savory oatmeal with cooked egg in the savory oatmeal recipePin
  • Serve the savory oatmeal with your favorite savory breakfast toppings.
    Sliced bacon with green onions on top of savory oatmeal for inspiration for savory oatmeal recipePin


Add your favorite breakfast toppings to serve with the savory oatmeal, including sausages, spam, eggs, cheese, green onions, etc. See the Savory Oatmeal recipe post for more ideas.


Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 2703mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 661IU | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg
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About Anna Rider

Hi! I'm Anna, a food writer who documents kitchen experiments on with the help of my physicist and taste-testing husband, Alex. I have an insatiable appetite for noodles 🍜 and believe in "improv cooking".

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