Oats: More Than a Boring Bowl


(Credit: Hana Shinzawa '24)

Hana Shinzawa’s baked oats using the first recipe below.

Two months ago, I had an experience that would change my life — or at least my breakfasts — forever. As I scrolled through TikTok, a recipe for chocolate baked oats appeared on my “For You” page. I was about to scroll past it, but it looked just like chocolate cake, so naturally, I took a closer look. I was astonished at how simple the recipe was. I realized that I had all of the necessary ingredients in my kitchen, and I ran downstairs to try it out. As I waited for the oats to bake, I scrolled through the comments on the video. Surprisingly, they were all positive. Everybody loved them. However, I was still a little nervous. How good could a combination of oats, milk, and banana be?

Half an hour later, when I took my first bite of the baked oats, I found out. They were amazing. Although the texture was not entirely cakey, it was also not the mushy texture of normal oatmeal. The oats were sweet, like a normal cake, but the recipe required no sugar; the sweetness came from the banana and a splash of maple syrup. After devouring the rest of the pan, I started searching for more recipes for the next morning’s breakfast. 

Since then, I have gained an even greater appreciation for oats. Along with the baked oats that I have described, I have also made overnight oats, which are even easier to prepare. You simply mix together oats, milk, and yogurt in a container, and then pop them in the refrigerator overnight. If I am too busy to bake oats, I just take five minutes to prepare some overnight oats before bed, and they are ready for me in the morning. Because they are chilled from being in the  refrigerator, they are perfect for a hot day; if it is chilly out, I like to put them in the microwave for a minute. The texture of overnight oats is quite different from that of baked oats: they are somewhat like a thick pudding. To fully understand the texture though, you really do need to taste them. 

These experiments, with untraditional forms of oats, have also led me to reconsider the classic bowl of oatmeal. In the past, I am ashamed to say that I ate it plain, hating every bite. Now, after experimenting with different flavors and toppings in baked and overnight oats, I have started enjoying bowls of oatmeal with fun flavors. One recent recipe was a lemon flavored oatmeal bowl; the zesty flavor was a sharp contrast to my previous plain sufferings. I have even seen recipes for savory oatmeal bowls with avocados and potatoes, but I have not had the courage to try them — yet. 

The secret to a good oat concoction is simple. Add tons of toppings, and don’t be afraid to get creative with them. You can adjust recipes to suit your own tastes; the possibilities are virtually endless. Try oats out. You may never go back to boring breakfasts again.  

Basic Banana Baked Oats Recipe from @tracesoats on Instagram & TikTok


⅔ cup ground oats

⅔ cup milk (any type)

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 mashed banana

Handful Chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F 
  2. Mix together all of the ingredients
  3. Add to parchment lined (lining is optional) baking pan
  4. Bake for 23 – 25 minutes and Enjoy!

Basic Overnight Oats Recipe


½ cup oats

2 teaspoons chia seeds

½ cup yogurt

½ cup milk

Optional: Add a handful fruit, chocolate chips, or really any other topping that you want


  1. Mix together all the ingredients in a cup or bowl
  2. Refrigerate overnight

Hana Shinzawa ’24, Staff Writer