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Everything You Need to Know About Protein Oatmeal

If you think of oatmeal as a boring, bland breakfast food, protein oatmeal will open your eyes to a whole new world. You can make it sweet or savory, have it for breakfast or a dessert, and easily pair thousands of flavor combos together every day.

Protein oatmeal, in short, is one of the best uses of protein powder in existence. And I don’t think that’s going too much against the grain.

In this protein oatmeal guide, I’ll run you through:

  • how I like to make protein oatmeal and the staple ingredients
  • best practices and troubleshooting
  • how to make high volume proats with veggies like cauliflower and zucchini
  • making protein oatmeal in bulk
  • 5 of my favorite protein oats recipes

snickers, butterfinger, and carrot cake protein oatmeal

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How to Make Protein Oatmeal: The Basics & Staple Ingredients

I use a barebones, simple approach to proats that calls for a microwave and takes about five minutes from start to finish.

Here’s everything you’ll need to make protein oats: 

  1. Quick Oats (because these are microwave proats – no stovetop needed)
  2. Milk or Water
  3. Protein Powder
  4. Flavor Add-ins (more on these below)

Technically, there’s a fifth ingredient—volume enhancers—like cauliflower rice, shredded carrots or zucchini, or other ingredients that bulk up protein oatmeal recipes. But we’ll get to this in a moment.

The steps to making protein oatmeal:

  1. Mix the oats and milk.
  2. Microwave for 75-90 seconds until very little liquid remains.
  3. Stir in the protein powder and additional ingredients.

And you’re done!

how to make snickers oatmeal

Oats and Milk

The milk or liquid doesn’t make much difference in my experience. Most of the recipes will call for unsweetened almond milk or skim milk, but water will do the job just fine in most cases.

I prefer quick oats because, as their name implies, they cook fast. Regular rolled oats work fine, but you might need to adjust the amount of liquid and/or cook time.

Speaking of, you may need to slightly modify the amount of liquid used depending on the type of protein powder, flavor add-ins, and desired consistency of your oats. The recipes below give precise amounts, but you will likely need to make minor tweaks as you go to perfect your own protein oatmeal.

My Go-To Flavor Add-Ins

This is where the fun really begins.

  • powdered peanut butter
  • sugar free pudding mix (flavors like vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate fudge, banana, pistachio, lemon)
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • mini chocolate chips
  • chopped nuts or small amounts of nut butters
  • berries and sliced fruit
  • sugar free syrups and honey
  • cheddar powder for savory bacon, egg, and cheese protein oatmeal

banana bread, white chocolate raspberry, and peach cobbler protein oatmeal

The beauty of the add-ins is that you won’t need large quantities to add tons of flavor and texture. A half tablespoon of mini chocolate chips goes a long way, and a tablespoon of powdered peanut butter can seriously add some fluff and density to your protein oatmeal. That’s great for staying full.

You can get a handful of ideas from the recipes at the bottom of this guide, but I’d encourage you to get creative and have fun with proats!

Alternative Ingredients I Don’t Use Often

While you’ll see Greek yogurt in the Cookie Butter Proats recipe below, I don’t use it much. The same goes for liquid egg whites, chia seeds, or cottage cheese.

These are all viable additions for adding a bit more protein to your protein oatmeal, I find they can create weird textures and consistency issues if not done correctly. But like I mentioned with add-ins, you’re encouraged to get creative and experiment.

how to make high protein oatmeal

Protein Oatmeal Troubleshooting

It’s pretty difficult to mess up proats, but here’s a short list of the potential issues I’ve seen:

  • Modify the amount of liquid based on dry ingredient add-ins. Adding both powdered peanut butter and pudding mix will require more liquid than protein powder and fruit on their own. Different types of protein powder may also affect the amount of liquid needed, as casein is much thicker than whey.
    • You can always add liquid after cooking and adding the dry ingredients to adjust viscosity. 
  • A large bowl will extend cook time while a smaller bowl might cause overflow during cooking or cook off too much liquid to hydrate the added protein powder and add-ins.
  • Not weighing ingredients is always a suspect when recipes go awry. One scoop of protein powder might weigh 25 grams while the next weighs 40 grams. That’s a big difference so use a food scale if possible.

The biggest troubleshooting tip I can give is to go in with expectations of making a few different versions for each recipe. Not only will different ingredients affect the finished product, everyone likes their protein oatmeal differently. Make it your own!

How to Make Higher Volume Protein Oatmeal (more food without adding many calories)

Here are the usual suspects:

  • cauliflower rice (I prefer frozen)
  • shredded/finely grated veggies like zucchini and carrots
  • canned pumpkin and unsweetened apple sauce (if you like creamy oats)

The biggest hurdle with these types of ingredients is usually texture. If you like extra creamy oats, you’ll want to grate or shred these options very fine. On the other hand, leaving the rough and coarse will add a bit of grit and texture kind of like undercooked oats.

Like I’ve mentioned a hundred times by now, it might take some trial and error to find what you like.

how to make carrot cake protein oats

You’ll also find two examples higher volume proats in the carrot cake and peach cobbler proats recipes below.

How to Make Protein Oatmeal in Bulk

As you’ll see in the overnight oats section below, I’m not a fan of pre-made protein oatmeal. I find they’re best hot and fresh. So, if you wanted to make your proats in bulk for the work week ahead, this is how I’d do it:

  1. Pick your favorite protein oatmeal recipe. Let’s use the Butterfinger Proats (recipe below) as an example.
  2. Multiply all the ingredients that go in after cooking by 5 and weigh/measure them into a large resealable bag or container.
  3. Give ’em a good shake or stir.
  4. Divide the weight of the dry ingredients by 5 so you know how much to add each day.

You could pre-measure your oats ahead of time as well. Then all you’d need to do is add the liquid, cook the oats, and add your dry ingredient blend.

homemade coffee creamer recipe

these macros aren’t for the Snickers protein oatmeal recipe

What About Overnight Protein Oats?


Just kidding.

While I’m not a fan, I understand the desire to have them cold and ready to grab-n-go. If you wanted to make overnight oats, I would use rolled oats instead of quick oats and potentially add a bit more (maybe 25-50%) liquid. Mix everything together and refrigerate overnight.

Disclaimer: That’s a guesstimate and hasn’t passed through my test kitchen. 

My Favorite Proats Recipes

Finally, we’re to the good stuff. I’ve chosen five of my favorite protein oatmeal recipes with a bit of ingredient variation for examples.

  1. Butterfinger Copycat
  2. Cookie Butter
  3. Snickers Copycat
  4. Peach Cobbler
  5. Carrot Cake

Keep in mind, the ingredients you use may require minor tweaks. If you’re not in love on your first trial run, use the troubleshooting section above to make changes.

butterfinger protein oatmeal on a spoon

Butterfinger Copycat – 252 calories, 21g protein, 28g carbs, 7g fat, 6 Smart Points

Ah, one of my most popular recipes ever. If you’re just starting out with proats, my butterfinger proats recipe is the perfect starting point.

  • 1/4 C (20g) Quick Oats
  • 1/2 C (120mL) Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 2/3 scoop (21g) Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 Tbsp (8g) Sugar Free Butterscotch Pudding Mix
  • 1 Tbsp (6g) Powdered Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Tbsp (7g) Mini Chocolate Chips

To make: Microwave the oats and milk for 75-90 seconds before stirring in the remaining ingredients.

cookie butter protein oatmeal

Cookie Butter – 370 calories, 34g protein, 38g carbs, 8g fat, 6 Smart Points

If I had to choose one flavor combination to eat for the rest of my life, it would be cookie butter. Hands down. No questions asked.

  • 1/2 C (40g) Quick Oats
  • 1/2 C (120mL) Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/4 C (57g) Vanilla Fat Free Greek Yogurt
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 dash Ground Nutmeg, Cloves, and Allspice
  • 1 scoop (28g) Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp (8g) Biscoff Cookie Butter (melt and drizzle over the top)

To make: Microwave the oats, milk, yogurt, and spices together for 90 seconds before stirring in the remaining ingredients.

snickers protein oatmeal

Snickers Copycat – 246 calories, 22g protein, 22g carbs, 8g fat, 6 Smart Points

Sorry to put two candy bar copycats on the list, but chocolate peanut butter is never really the wrong move.

  • 1/4 C (20g) Quick Oats
  • 1/2 C (120mL) Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/2 scoop (14g) Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 2 Tbsp (12g) Powdered Peanut Butter
  • 1-2 tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tbsp (7g) Salted Peanuts
  • 1 Tbsp (15mL) Walden Farms Caramel Syrup

To make: Microwave the oats and milk for 75-90 seconds before stirring in the remaining ingredients.

peach cobbler proats

Peach Cobbler – 190 calories, 17g protein, 23g carbs, 2g fat, 3 Smart Points

The first example of high volume protein oatmeal—this recipe uses frozen cauliflower rice

  • 2 Tbsp (10g) Quick Oats
  • 1 Tbsp (7g) Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp (30mL) Skim Milk
  • 1/4 C (62g) Canned Sliced Peaches
  • 1 Tbsp (15mL) Walden Farms Pancake Syrup
  • 1/3 C (37g) Frozen Cauliflower Rice, thawed or microwaved beforehand
  • 1/2 scoop (14g) Vanilla Protein Powder

To make: Add the thawed cauliflower rice and remaining ingredients (except the protein powder) to a bowl. Microwave for 75-90 seconds. Add the protein powder to the cooked oats mixture and stir well. Top with a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon, if desired.

carrot cake protein oats

Carrot Cake – 206 calories, 15g protein, 20g carbs, 7g fat, 5 Smart Points 

And the final recipe example uses another high volume ingredient—carrot.

  • 1/4 C (20g) Quick Oats
  • 1/2 C (120mL) Water
  • 1/2-1 medium (25-50g) Carrot, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Allspice, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Salt
  • 1 scoop (14g) Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 Tbsp (7g) Chopped Walnuts or Pecans and Dried Cranberries (optional)

Microwave the oats, water, carrots, and spices together for 90-120 seconds before stirring in the protein and optional toppings.

P.S. If you’re a carrot cake fan, you have to check out my cream cheese frosted carrot protein cake recipe.

Enjoy Your Protein Oatmeal!

I hope you found this guide helpful. If you did, I would appreciate you sharing it, making your own protein oatmeal and tagging me on Instagram, or leaving a comment below.

More Healthy Breakfast Recipes You Might Like

If you’d like to go the complete opposite direction from sweet, my 100-calorie breakfast chili or healthy McGriddles copcyat would be great choices. And if you’re looking for a breakfast you can prep in bulk and reheat in the morning, check out my homemade chicken breakfast sausage or Greek yogurt biscuits.

Caitlyn Stevens

Sunday 28th of November 2021

I have been making this protein oatmeal for about 2 years and it’s the best! I make mine with Pescience chocolate mint protein, PB powder, SF chocolate pudding powder, chia seeds & some chocolate chips & it literally taste like a no bake cookies 😍 perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth!


Monday 12th of April 2021

I love these oat recipes and even tho he jokes about not making overnight oats that’s exactly what I do with them! I usually take his base: oats, almond milk, yogurt (fage), & a protein powder, mix and refrigerate over night. Then in the morning I usually add a scoop of nut butter on top. So good!


Saturday 10th of October 2020

I LOVE the Butterfinger oats! A perfect on the go breakfast!!!

Anna Tamlin

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Reading through this post has been so helpful and inspiring! There are so many great tips, troubleshooting, yummy add-in ideas, and generally, a vast array of information on the topic of protein oatmeal and protes. I recommend everyone check out this post as you will learn lots! Just the idea of adding a high volume ingredient like carrots, which I tried after having leftover from carrot cake I made at Easter, was such a creative, smart tip/idea! Didn't hinder the taste/exerience whatsoever, and made my oatmeal much ”bigger”/voluminous! (In my opinion, it's the same with egg whites, which I will add - 1/4 to 1/2 cup - at the end and stir! Hardly changes the taste and make it so fluffy!!!)


Wednesday 15th of April 2020

I loved these! The cookie butter flavor was definitely my favorite. I liked the excuse to get an extra finger of cookie butter out of the jar 🤣