The Best High Protein Oatmeal Recipe Without Protein Powder

Posted: November 4, 2022

If you are looking for a quick and easy high protein breakfast, this protein oatmeal is a great option. This is one of the best protein oatmeal recipes as it contains 20 grams of protein made without protein powder, egg whites, or whey protein. This recipe also makes 2 servings that make it perfect to make ahead.

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image of the best high protein oatmeal in a bowl with a  spoon laying next to it.

This was inspired by my other recipe on this site. If you're like me and you are trying to find easy ways to stick to your healthy eating and healthy lifestyle, then you need easy recipes that will keep you feeling full throughout the day.

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Why Oatmeal Makes a Good Breakfast

I am a huge proponent of having a protein packed breakfast in the morning because it helps keep you feel full until lunch time and it keeps your blood sugar levels balanced. This helps provide your body with sustained energy. And if you are on a weight loss journey, then you definitely need to focus on eating more protein earlier in the day.

Oatmeal is a great way to feel full and satisfied in the morning when you focus on adding protein.

If you are lactose intolerant and you can't use cow's milk, which has 8 grams of protein per serving, or you do not have protein powder on hand, then it is important to find other ways to add in protein to make this a high protein oatmeal.

Why is it important to add protein to oatmeal

It is important to add protein to oatmeal because even though oatmeal has fiber and it digests slowly, it still spikes blood glucose levels. When you add protein, it helps stabilize blood sugars which helps prevent the sugar crash that follows a quick rise and dip in your blood sugar levels.

Another reason I love oats for breakfast is that it falls in the whole grains category and is loaded with soluble fiber, especially β-glucan. β-glucan has amazing nutritional properties including cholesterol-lowering and anti-diabetic effects on the body. So get that bowl of oatmeal in!

In this recipe I used soy milk, flax seeds, chia seeds, and topped it with Greek yogurt for a boost of extra protein.

There are many healthy oatmeal recipes out there, but in my opinion, this is the best protein oatmeal recipe because it's simple and quick and adds protein by using whole foods.

Ingredients to make protein oatmeal

This protein oatmeal recipe uses simple ingredients you can find in your pantry.

image of high protein oatmeal without protein powder ingredients
  • Old fashioned rolled oats. This is the main ingredient. Do not use instant or quick oats for this as they may turn out soggy.
  • Soy milk. Soy milk was used in this recipe because soy milk contains 8 grams of protein versus 1 gram of protein when you use almond milk. Feel free to substitute with any milk you have on hand though such as: coconut milk, oat milk or cow's milk.
  • Chia seeds. Chia seeds have so many health benefits including being rich in minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. There is also about 3 grams of protein per tablespoon of chia seeds. I find that adding in a tablespoon or two of chia seeds in my oatmeal is one of the easiest ways to boost protein intake.
  • Hemp seeds. These are a good source of plant-based protein at about 3 grams of protein per tablespoon.
  • Unsweetened chocolate chips. To make this chocolate peanut butter oatmeal recipe, you need a source of chocolate. You can substitute the chocolate chips with cocoa powder here.
  • Peanut butter. Since we are making chocolate peanut butter variation, I added peanut butter. Feel free to use almond butter or other seed butters if you prefer.
  • Maple syrup. This is used as a sweetener. You can omit it if you prefer your oatmeal unsweetened. You can also substitute with brown sugar or monk fruit. 

Hint: There are oat brands that make oats with high protein. Some of my favorite include kodiak protein oats, and quaker protein oatmeal.

See recipe card for quantities.

Stovetop Cooking Instructions 

For the stovetop start with bringing the liquid to a boil in a small saucepan. Then reduce the heat to low and pour in the rest of the ingredients, excluding the toppings. Allow them to cook until they thicken and absorb all the liquid. Stir frequently for about 5 minutes.

Microwave Cooking Instructions

Start by measuring the oats, liquid, seeds, nut butter, chocolate chips and maple syrup. Then place in the microwave without a cover on it. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and the consistency should be perfect. If you need more liquid to get the consistency that tastes right for you, feel free to do so. This recipe is so versatile that you really can't do any wrong. Add toppings after the high protein has cooked through. 

The difference between quick oats, steel cut oats, and old fashioned oats

  • Quick Oats: These are fine oats that can be cooked really quickly and can make instant oatmeal. For this recipe, I don’t recommend using instant or quick oats as the recipe needs a few extra minutes to help the chia seeds soak and expand. You may end up with mushy oatmeal if you use these kinds of oats with this recipe.
  • Steel Cut Oats: This is the whole oat, unrolled and unprocessed. Steel cut oats take the longest to cook, and need at least 20 minutes on the stove top. These oats are a little more nutritious as they contain more fiber and nutrient density.
  • Old Fashioned Oats or Rolled Oats: These oats come between the quick oats and steel cut oats. They are more similar to steel cut outs but the rolled ones are slightly rolled/pressed so they need a little less time to cook.

How can I add protein to oatmeal naturally? 

The best way to add in more protein into your oats is to choose high protein toppings and additions for the protein oatmeal recipe.

These include seeds, nuts, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, and a tablespoon of peanut butter or other nut butters.

However, be mindful of portion sizes if you are on a weight loss journey. Those toppings can quickly add up. My recommendation as a Registered Dietitian is to choose 1-2 toppings at most. 

My Favorite Protein Powder

Even though this is a protein oatmeal recipe without protein powder, I wanted to share my favorite protein powders as this is a common question I get.

When choosing a protein powder, I look for ones without artificial sweeteners, added sugars or artificial flavors and contain all essential amino acids.

I believe that having a good protein powder available is the perfect way to quickly boost protein intake in your day and it's so versatile. You can make protein powder oatmeal or protein oats. I also use mine for overnight oats sometimes and always in my morning smoothies.

When it comes to choosing quality protein, the best protein powders are a complete protein source which are made with whey protein. Whey protein powder is considered a complete protein since it contains all nine essential amino acids — the building blocks of protein. 

Biosteel 100% whey protein powder is one of the best ones on the market and it's made with simple ingredients.

However, if you want a plant-based protein powder, then Orgain Organic Vegan Protein Powder has 21 grams of plant protein and is also made with simple ingredients. This is dairy free and gluten free. Their vanilla protein powder is delicious!

My 3rd favorite is Vital Proteins . This is a collagen protein and they also make a yummy chocolate protein powder as well.

Healthy Oatmeal Toppings

image of high protein chocolate peanut butter oatmeal in bowl with a spoon

If you want to try a different variation that is not peanut butter chocolate, then feel free to switch out these ingredients.

Here are some of my favorite healthy oatmeal toppings and additions that you can use if you want to change it up!

  • Fresh fruit: Feel free to use any fruit you have on hand. I like to add a ripe banana, berries, or even dried fruits like cranberries, figs or dates.
  • Nuts & Seeds: You can play around with this all depending on what you have available to you. My biggest recommendation is being mindful of portion sizes and not going overboard as nuts and seeds are calorie dense. You can use almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.  You can also do any nut butter or seed butter.
  • Spices: Cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and nutmeg can change this recipe to be more cozy which is perfect for the fall and winter seasons.
  • Sweeteners: I listed maple syrup in the recipe but you can substitute with honey, brown sugar or monk fruit.

Pro tip

  1. On days where I want a quick healthy breakfast but don't want to add in all the ingredients, I like to use a scoop of protein powder. Even though this recipe does not have protein powder, you can still add in a scoop if you have it on hand for that extra creaminess.
  2. If you like cottage cheese, you can try adding ¼ cup to your oats AFTER cooking your oats. It makes them extra creamy and helps move you closer to your protein daily value.

Common questions about oats and oatmeal

Is oatmeal high in protein? 

Oatmeal is high in protein when you prepare it right. Even though oatmeal does contain about 6 grams of protein per cup, it would be wise to find ways to boost protein by adding nuts, seeds, nut butters, protein powder or Greek yogurt which helps keep you full for longer and helps balance blood sugar levels.

Is oatmeal healthy?

Oatmeal is healthy as it is a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Oats and oatmeal have many health benefits including weight loss, stabilized blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease.

How long does oatmeal last in the fridge?

Cooked oatmeal lasts about 4-5 days in the fridge. However, oatmeal can be frozen and stored for up to 3 months. 

What is the difference between oatmeal and overnight oats?

Oatmeal is often cooked using heat while overnight oats do not use heat at all. Overnight oats are prepared the night before and enjoyed the morning after while oatmeal can be cooked and enjoyed without needing to wait overnight.

How to add protein to oatmeal without protein powder? 

Oatmeal alone contains protein (but only about 6 grams per cup). If you want to make high protein oats without protein powder then use a higher protein liquid choice like soy milk or cow's milk. You can also add non-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, chia seeds, hemp seeds, seed butter or nut butter. There are many healthy ways to add protein into your morning bowl of oats without protein powder. 

Can I add protein powder to this recipe? 

Yes. Add a serving size of protein powder to the mixture and an extra ½ a cup of milk and enjoy! 

image of high protein overnight oats in bowl with spoon

The Best High Protein Oatmeal Without Protein Powder

This peanut butter chocolate oatmeal recipe is one of the best oatmeal protein recipes as it is made with simple ingredients and it is quick and easy to make. This chocolate peanut butter oatmeal combination has natural protein sources and results in a cozy creamy texture.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 2 bowls
Calories 815 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups soy milk
  • ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or to taste

Toppings

  • 1 tablespoon greek yogurt optional
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds optional
  • fresh fruit optional
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

Instructions
 

Stovetop Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the oats, seeds, peanut butter, chocolate chips and maple syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the oats are soft and everything has melted together in a creamy consistency. This takes about 5-7 minutes.

Microwave Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients into a medium microwave safe bowl and stir together. Heat in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes. If you need more liquid to get the consistency add in one tablespoon at a time. Add toppings after the high protein has cooked through. 

Assembly

  • Add toppings and let rest for a few minutes to cool. Thin with a little more milk, if desired. Serve warm.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 5 days in the fridge.
Make Ahead Tips: You can make the oatmeal in advance. To reheat, simply add a splash of milk or water and microwave for 1 minute.
Substitutes: You can use any type of milk you like. Substitute the chocolate chips with cocoa powder, omit the maple syrup for lower sugar content.
* Please note the nutrition label does not include any toppings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowlCalories: 815kcalCarbohydrates: 75gProtein: 36gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 22gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0.03gSodium: 381mgPotassium: 1135mgFiber: 16gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 1946IUVitamin C: 34mgCalcium: 892mgIron: 9mg
Keyword breakfast, easy, healthy, healthy recipe, high protein, oatmeal, oatmeal bowl, quick, weight loss
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