Water Or Milk For Oatmeal (Which Is Best?)

We all know that oatmeal (or porridge) is a healthy breakfast, but which way should we make it to ensure we’re getting the absolute best?

In this article, I’ll explore and compare the key differences between each kind of oatmeal to find out which is best for calories, nutrition, flavor, and cost.

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Best For Calories

Winner – oatmeal with water

Oatmeal is a great way to get a filling breakfast without racking up the calories. If you’re counting calories, then oatmeal made with either milk or water can be lower in calories than most other breakfast options. However, between the two, oatmeal made with water contains less than half the calories than oatmeal made with whole milk.

Oatmeal typeOatmeal With Milk (whole Milk)Oatmeal With Water
Total Calories 315kcal150kcal

This is based on an average-sized serving of oatmeal being 40g with 275ml of milk or water. 275ml of whole milk contains 165 calories, and 40g of rolled (or old-fashioned) oats contains 150 calories.

You can also reduce the calories in oatmeal with milk by using lower fat milk; for example, oatmeal made with 2% fat milk contains a total of 288kcal, or if it’s made with 1% fat milk, the total calorie count is 266kcal.

It’s also important to note that being lower in calories is not always a good thing because having a very low-calorie breakfast can make you feel hungry sooner. Although oatmeal is filling, oatmeal made with milk will help you feel fuller for longer.

The calculator in the link below can help you work out oatmeal calories with any kind of milk (including nut, oat, or soya) or water:

Oatmeal calorie calculator

Best For Nutrition

Winner – oatmeal made with milk

Because oats are highly nutritious, oatmeal is an excellent option, whether it’s made with milk or water, although there are some advantages to choosing one over the other. For example, oatmeal made with oatmeal contains more protein, vitamins, and minerals, but it’s also higher in fat and natural sugars.

Overall, oatmeal made with milk contains more nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, which in turn can provide additional benefits.

Ultimately which is best for you depends on your dietary requirements and, of course – which you like best.

The nutritional comparisons below can help you determine which is best based on your diet preferences.

The nutritional information in the table below is based on a regular-sized serving of oatmeal made with 40g of oats and 275ml of whole milk.

Nutrition TypeOatmeal made with whole milkOatmeal made with water
Carbohydrates39.8g27g
of Which are Sugars13.6g0.4g
Dietary Fiber4g4g
Fat11.4g2.6g
of Which is Saturated Fat5.5g0.4g
Polyunsaturated Fat1.2g0.9g
Monounsaturated Fat2.7g0.8g
Cholesterol33mg0mg
Protein14.3g5.3g
Sodium/Salt107.4mg2.4mg

Carbohydrates

Winner – depends on your dietary requirements

As a cereal-based food, oatmeal can’t be classed as low in carbohydrates; however, it’s lower in carbs if made with water instead of milk.

Oatmeal made with water contains 27g of carbs per regular serving, compared to oatmeal made with milk which contains 39.8g of carbs.

Milk is fairly high in natural sugars, whereas oats contain only a small amount, so if you have oatmeal with water, the total amount of sugars per serving is 0.4g.

When it comes to fiber content, oats are naturally high in fiber, with 4g per average-sized serving. Milk doesn’t contain any fiber, so oatmeal made with milk or water will contain the same amount of dietary fiber.

Protein

Winner – oatmeal made with milk

If you’re looking to get more protein into your diet, making oatmeal with milk instead of water can help up your daily intake.

Because milk is high in protein, a serving of oatmeal made with milk contains a total of 13.6g of protein, compared to a serving of oatmeal made with water which contains 5.3g.

Fat

Winner – depends on your dietary requirements

If fat content is a consideration for your diet, oatmeal made with water is the lowest fat option, with a total of 2.6g of natural fats per serving, compared to oatmeal made with whole milk, which contains 11.4g of fat.

You can reduce the fat in oatmeal made with milk by using lower-fat skimmed milk.

Vitamins And Minerals

Winner – oatmeal made with milk

Oats are highly nutritious, whether cooked with water or milk, and are particularly high in many vitamins and minerals, including manganese, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc. They’re also known for their anti-oxidant properties and could even help to lower blood pressure.

When you make oatmeal with water, you can get all of the nutritional benefits you can expect from oats alone. However, when oats are added to milk, there are some additional nutritional benefits because milk is known to be high in calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, and phosphorus.

Best For Flavor

Winner – oatmeal made with milk

Although choosing which oatmeal is best for flavor is down to the individual, oatmeal made with milk is a more popular choice because it’s more flavorsome and has a creamier texture.

Oatmeal made with water doesn’t have an offensive flavor, but it’s a little bland, and the texture tends to be gluier than oatmeal made with milk.

It can, of course, be made more interesting and flavorsome by adding toppings such as honey, fruit, or a little cinnamon.

Best for Price

Winner – oatmeal made with water

One of the best things about oatmeal is the cost because a small amount of oats go a long way.

For example, (at the time of writing this article) a 42oz pack of Traditional Quaker Oats costs $5.68, and their recommended serving is half a cup. This means there are 30 servings per pack at the cost of $0.19 per serving if cooked with water.

Although milk isn’t an expensive ingredient, it is much cheaper to make oatmeal with water, especially if you have it every morning for breakfast.

Please note that prices are based on averages and may fluctuate over time, depending on the store where you buy them and promotional offers.

Overall Winner And Summary

The winner can now be announced, and the best kind of oatmeal between the two is oatmeal made with milk.

Although oatmeal made with water is lower in calories and cheaper to make, oatmeal made with milk will help you feel fuller for longer, is higher in protein, and contains more vitamins and minerals, and most would agree that it’s more flavorsome.

However, as with all food comparisons, there are advantages and disadvantages to each one depending on your dietary needs. If being lower in carbs or fat is important to you, then oatmeal made with water might be the better option for you.

Whichever you choose, oatmeal is a nutritious breakfast that comes with many health benefits, and it’s tasty too!

Related Articles

I hope this article has helped you to find the information you were looking for; you might also find the following articles helpful too:

Oatmeal Serving Weights & Milk Calculator

Oatmeal Calories With & Without Milk

References Used for this Article

To ensure the nutritional information used in this article is accurate, I have used data from The USDA FoodData Central; the links below contain the source information:

Whole milk nutrition

Oat nutrition