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This 4-ingredient, 10-minute coffee oatmeal (or overnight oats) is the perfect way to start your day, combining much-needed caffeine and a healthy breakfast in one!

completed Coffee Oatmeal against a light surface
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Can You Use Coffee Instead of Water for Oatmeal?

Thankfully, for all those who require coffee just to function each morning, not only is using it in oatmeal possible, but combining the two makes for a super quick and easy healthy morning pick-me-up on low energy and busy mornings. It’s so much better than skipping the meal, too!

Not only is oatmeal quick, easy, and low-budget, but it’s a healthy breakfast, too. It’s loaded with fiber, micronutrients, and various benefits, including controlled blood sugar, improved heart health and digestive health, anti-cancerous properties, and more. It’s also gluten-free, can be made with unrefined or sugar-free sweeteners, and will keep you feeling full until lunch.

Best of all, though, coffee oats require just four base ingredients with practically endless ways to customize (just like a Starbucks order!) with mix-ins and toppings. You can even adapt it into coffee overnight oats if you just can’t find the energy to prepare breakfast in the morning. Is that a winner or what?!

Looking for more simple oat breakfast recipes? Check out our Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal, Carrot Cake Oatmeal, or Vegan Overnight Oats.

The Ingredients

ingredients for Coffee Oatmeal measured out against a white surface
  • Oats: You’ll need rolled oats (old-fashioned oats). Use certified gluten-free oats if necessary.
  • Coffee: Use any strong brewed coffee (regular or decaf) or even a shot of espresso.
  • Sweetener: Honestly, this is up to you. We love using maple syrup or brown sugar, but agave, regular sugar, unrefined coconut sugar, and even sugar alternatives like Swerve or erythritol will work. Adjust the amount to taste.
  • Dairyfree milk: Any will work. I.e., oat milk, coconut milk, soy milk, etc. For creamier vegan oatmeal, use a dairy-free creamer instead.

Adding a tiny pinch of salt will also help to enhance the overall flavor of vegan oatmeal, so it is highly recommended.

The Topping Options

It’s really up to you what you choose to garnish the coffee oats with, if anything. Here is a little inspiration, though:

  • Coconut flakes/shreds (raw or toasted for flavor and crunch)
  • Banana slices (for fiber, filling power, and micronutrients)
  • Other fruits (i.e., berries, apples, mango, etc.)
  • Dried fruit (like raisins, cranberries, or dates – for bursts of sweetness)
  • Cacao nibs (crunchy with a heap of antioxidants)
  • Seed/Nut butter (1 tbsp for creamy richness, protein, and healthy fats to keep you feeling full for longer. I.e., hazelnut, peanut, or almond butter)
  • Nuts (for crunch, protein, & healthy fat. I.e., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  • Dairy-free chocolate (chips, a chunk, or chocolate-covered coffee beans)
  • Compote/sauce/jam (fruity, chocolate, or even healthy date caramel sauce)

What Else Could I Add to Coffee Oats?

In the same way that there are tons of ways to flavor your morning brew, this coffee oatmeal recipe is equally as fun to play around with.

  • Spices: Try cinnamon, nutmeg, chai spice, or even pumpkin pie spice.
  • Cocoa powder: Add about a tablespoon of cocoa powder to make mocha oatmeal.
  • Vanilla extract: Make this coffee oatmeal taste like a vanilla latte with a few drops of natural vanilla extract (or paste).
  • Natural flavor extracts: Play with various flavors (to taste). I.e., hazelnut, orange, almond. 
  • Vegan protein powder: To make delicious vegan protein oats, add a scoop of plain, vanilla, chocolate, or coffee protein powder, and increase the liquid if it’s too thick (plant milk or water).
  • Chia seeds: A tablespoon of chia adds protein, fiber, and heart-healthy omega fatty acids.
  • Zucchini: Okay, bear with me – just ¼-½ cup of finely shredded zucchini cooked into the oatmeal becomes practically unnoticeable when eaten but provides plenty of nutrients. It’s a win-win!

How To Make Coffee Oatmeal?

  • 1) Add the oats, coffee, vegan milk, and sweetener to a small saucepan and stir.
  • 2) Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat, and cook for 5 minutes or until it thickens. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Give it a taste and adjust the sweetener if desired.
process shot of oatmeal cooking in saucepan
  • 3) Remove it from the heat and add more coffee or plant milk if it’s too thick. Then allow it to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  • 4) Finally, transfer the coffee oatmeal to a bowl and top it with your desired toppings (we used coconut flakes and fruit) – enjoy!

For those without morning energy, make these into espresso overnight oats! Just reduce the liquid-to-oats ratio to about 1.5:1, stir everything, and leave it to soak/thicken in the fridge overnight. We also add a tablespoon of chia seeds for extra thickening. You can even microwave it for a minute in the morning if preferred.

FAQs

Can I use steel-cut oats or instant oats?

Unfortunately, steel-cut oats require a different liquid-to-oat ratio and a much longer cooking time (30-40 minutes), so they won’t work with this recipe.

Technically, ‘instant’ or quick-cook oats would work if you follow the package instructions (usually cooking for just 2-3 minutes), though they will be softer/creamier with less texture.

How to thicken oatmeal?

While the simmering process should naturally thicken the oats, if it isn’t quite thick enough for you, continue to simmer for a little longer or add thickening ingredients, like vegan protein powder, almond flour, coconut flour, chia seeds or flaxmeal.

Can I cook oatmeal in the microwave?

Yes, though the exact method will vary slightly based on the strength of your microwave. However, as a general guideline:

Add the ingredients to a high-sided (this is important as the oats will puff up as they cook) microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for between 2-3 minutes (based on the strength of your machine), stopping every 30 seconds to give it a good stir then leaving it to rest for 3 minutes. Adjust the amount of liquid as needed – you usually need slightly less than the stovetop version.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • If the oatmeal is too thick: Add extra plant-based milk or coffee until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Stir often: To avoid scorching/burning at the bottom of the pan.
  • Be careful not to overcook it: Otherwise, oatmeal can become mushy and lackluster.
  • Adjust the coffee-to-plant milk ratio: If you find it too weak/strong the first time, adjust the ratio next time.
  • For coffee overnight oats: Reduce the overall liquid to ¾ cup, optionally add 1 tbsp chia seeds (for thickening), and simply mix all the ingredients and leave them to soak and thicken overnight in the fridge.
completed Coffee Oatmeal against a light surface

How Long Does Oatmeal Last?

Because of how quick and simple oatmeal is to prepare, I’ve never really thought about its storability. However, it turns out coffee porridge/overnight oats are a great meal-prep option to enjoy warm, at room temperature, or chilled.  

Fridge: Transfer the coffee oatmeal to an airtight container, allow it to cool, then store for up to 5 days. Coffee overnight oats will also store for the same time.

Freezer: Separate into portions (like in a silicone muffin tray of freezer bags, spread flat) and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw a portion in the fridge overnight.

How to Reheat Oatmeal?

You can use a microwave (in 30-second increments) or the stove (over medium-low heat), adding an extra splash of water/plant milk if needed to make it creamy once more.

More Easy Vegan Breakfast Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Coffee Oatmeal against a light surface

Easy Coffee Oatmeal

5 from 68 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 1
This 4-ingredient, 10-minute coffee oatmeal (or overnight oats) is the perfect way to start your day, combining much-needed caffeine and a healthy breakfast in one!

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup of vegan milk
  • ½ cup of brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar or maple syrup
  • Fresh fruit or coconut flakes (optional)

Instructions 

  • Add the oats, vegan milk, coffee, and sugar to a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a low boil and cook for 5 minutes over medium low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Turn off the heat and add more coffee if it is too thick or to achieve the desired consistency. Let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  • Serve and garnish with fresh fruit and coconut flakes if using.
  • Enjoy warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Video

Notes

  • Stir often: To avoid scorching/burning at the bottom of the pan.
  • Be careful not to overcook it: Otherwise, oatmeal can become mushy and lackluster.
  • Adjust the coffee-to-plant milk ratio: If you find it too weak/strong the first time, adjust the ratio next time.
  • For coffee overnight oats: Reduce the overall liquid to ¾ cup, optionally add 1 tbsp chia seeds (for thickening), and simply mix all the ingredients and leave them to soak and thicken overnight in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 226kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 6gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 169mgPotassium: 250mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gCalcium: 195mgIron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

More about Toni Okamoto

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I never thought to add coffee to oatmeal – great idea! If you need a little pick me up in the morning, but don’t want to drink a cup of hot coffee, this is a delicious alternative!

  2. 5 stars
    I was a bit skeptical about the coffee, and it is perfect.
    Rich and full of flavor and my husband is making it again. Thank you for the inspiration.

  3. 5 stars
    Loved these oats! I am a caffeine and coffee flavor aficionado and these were on point. Going to make again on our next RV trip to the beach. I hate cooking when I wake up at the ocean.

  4. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness this recipe is genius! I love coffee flavored foods and this is just the perfect easy solution!