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How to prepare soaked oatmeal |

How To Properly Prepare Grains


For the past year, I have restricted most of my grains in my diet.  I have been slowly reintroducing grains back into my diet.

I have learned a lot about grains and how to properly prepare grains.

There are 3 ways one can properly prepare grains to make them more digestible.   I will be expanding on this information in future post.

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  1. sprouting grains
  2. fermenting grains
  3. soaking grains

If you care to read more on soaking grains you can read this post here.

Soaking Oatmeal


Today we are using the soaking method.  By soaking the grains in an acidic medium (lemon juice, buttermilk, liquid whey, yogurt, or apple cider vinegar) you break down the anti-nutrients in the oats  and the minerals are released making the oats digestible.

Soaking grains has been done for centuries by our ancestors and it has only been since after WWII that this process has been eliminated.

So if you are looking for a traditional way to prepare your oatmeal try this recipe.  You might be surprised how great you feel and how filling this breakfast is.  I am not hungry at all after I have oats in the morning until 12:30 pm and I feel great!

5 from 1 reviews
Traditionally Prepared Soaked Oatmeal
Cook time
Total time
Nutrition Info: Calories: 153.8 Fat: 3.0g Carbohydrates: 28.3g Protein: 5.1g
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 cup rolled organic oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 tbsp acidic medium (yogurt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, buttermilk)
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  1. Add 1 cup of oats, water, and the acidic medium into a glass bowl and stir well. Cover and let it sit overnight on the counter (at least 7-8 hours).
  2. In the morning add another 1 cup of filtered water and the unrefined sea salt, stir well. ***Note - if you feel the oatmeal is to sour, you can rinse the oats before adding the additional 1 cup of water, but this is not necessary.
  3. Heat to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Serve with a generous portion of butter and cream.
Recipe Method From Nourishing Tradition
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 serving

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59 thoughts on “Traditionally Prepared Soaked Oatmeal, Holistic Recipe”

  1. Hi- thanks for this.

    I have a couple of questions. 1) Normally when I cook oatmeal, the ratio is 4:1. Here it is 2:1. Is that because of the soaking?

    2) I use steel cut, not rolled oats. Would there be any difference in the soaking time or amts. of water? (And maybe that is the answer to #1?)

    3) Can you also do a post about the need (is there one?) to soak nuts? I have heard that the skin on the almond should be discarded and that they should be briefly par-boiled to release some poisons?

    Thanks for all your wisdom.

    Candace Davenport ~ Little Books with a Big Message

    1. hallecottis says:

      @CandaceDavenport to answer your questions … 1. If you like your oatmeal runnier, you certainly could add more water, but 2:1 offers a very creamy oatmeal. 2. Steel cut oats would work just fine. You can soak the same time, but you will need to cook them a little longer closer to 10 minutes. If the liquid absorbs quickly you can add some more water, but the 2:1 should work fine too. 3. I will work on a post about soaking nuts. Yes, you should be soaking your nuts. You can also buy them pre soaked but they are quite pricey.

  2. Rhonda Harader Cain says:

    What are your thoughts on steel cut oats? A

  3. Tracy Carver says:

    Thanks Halle. I have been having oats each morning lately and they kind of feel like they’re just “sitting there” lately. I’m going to give this a try tonight for tomorrow.

  4. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Let me know how it turns out Tracy…It is night and day for me…I must soak mine, I feel so much better after I do and they sit with me great! @ Rhonda, steal cuts are fine to eat, I haven’t tried soaking them however, I have always used rolled oats and not the quick oats.

  5. Stuart Pierce says:

    Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Lorenda Butler says:

    Rhonda the steel cut oats are great I love them better than regular oats. I soak them over night and in the morning I cook for about 10 minutes maybe less but they are great

  7. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    How funny Lorenda, I was just going to tell Rhonda that she would be fine with steel cut but to cook them a bit longer. She can still soak them in a 2:1 ratio, it should work out just fine.

  8. Lorenda Butler says:

    I do my 3:1 ratio as that is how I was told to cook them and it works out great but either way they are good especially with alittle pure maple syrup and scrammble eggs mixed in

  9. Rhonda Harader Cain says:

    I had steel cut oats this morning with some banana, cinnamon, and coconut butter It didn’t quite hold me over. I could feel my blood sugar start to drop about 1030.

  10. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Rhonda I do mine with butter and half and half and heavy cream and the fat holds me over just right. Maybe the bananas pushed you over on the carbs?? You’re a protein type right?

  11. Rhonda Harader Cain says:

    I am a protein type. Could have been the banana, was hoping the coconut butter would add enough fat. My blood sugar has been weird lately. I think it is because of the stomach bug I had recently. I think my body is healing & adjusting. I went several days without eating much then I went into overdrive! Lol! Nothing bad necessarily just eating. I had salad today & it really did a number on me…miserable. I was so burned out on salads, I stopped eating them. I continued spinach with eggs & did fine.

  12. Jan Martin Whitlinger says:

    Just clarifying: Halle, you’re still eating a protein alongside your oatmeal, correct?

  13. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    yes, I usually have a few slices of bacon with this and also top my oatmeal with cream and butter.

  14. Jan Martin Whitlinger says:

    Thanks, Halle, I was just wanting to make sure–since everyone that posted only stated that they were eating oatmeal… I thought I might have missed something! 😉

  15. Carolyn Kormanyos says:

    Should rolled spelt also be soaked in this way?

  16. Carolyn Kormanyos says:

    and can you taste the lemon? How would you do it with buttermilk, would you still add water to it in the morning or more buttermilk?

  17. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Carolyn, I would soak the rolled spelt too and you can taste the lemon a bit. With buttermilk, just replace the lemon juice with buttermilk and then add water in the morning.

  18. Carolyn Kormanyos says:

    Thankyou Halle. I will have to get some buttermilk and try this.

  19. Tracy Carver says:

    So, I’ve been doing this for a week now and they are doing just fine for me! Yeah! If I don’t let them soak overnight then they feel like they are just kind of sitting in my stomach. Doing them this way, no problem! Thanks Halle! The only thing is I’m not really liking the taste of the lemon juice. It seems unnatural with oats. Maybe I’m putting too much in. Oh, I just read above about putting in buttermilk. I’ll have to try that.

  20. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Tracy, I have been experimenting with which acidic medium I like. I have tried lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and buttermilk and hands down I like the buttermilk. Tomorrow I am going to try yogurt, I think that one might be the winner for me. I agree with you, the lemon is a bit harsh, but once I added plenty of cream it mellowed the lemon flavor out. I will let you know how the yogurt soaked oats go. I am so glad it is working out for you. It’s nice to be eating oats again :)

  21. Carolyn Kormanyos says:

    Should this be done with other grains aswell? Such as quinoa and rice? I’m thinking it would, but thought I would check first.

  22. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    yes, you certainly can. Let me check on the ratios, you might need more or less of the acidic medium.

  23. Rachel says:

    I found a muffin recipe ( using oat flour and I am wondering if there is a way I can soak it without messing up the recipe because the recipe does not call for any liquids.  It calls for 1 1/2 c yogurt and 3/8 c lemon juice.  I am wondering if it would work to soak the freshly ground oat flour in this mixture overnight to breakdown the antinutrients or if it would be possible to soak it in a mixture like you list and then drain and use less yogurt?  (Haha, this may be completely ridiculous.) Thoughts from your experience? :) Thanks!

  24. I really loved the flavor and texture of our oatmeal this morning! I made dairy free buttermilk by curdling some coconut milk with lemon juice for a few minutes, then continued as described. No one noticed an overpowering lemon flavor this morning…added some coconut butter and chia for goos measure Long with stevia and a splash of maple syrup…delish! Thanks Halle…curious to see how my body handles the oatmeal soaked….

    1. hallecottis says:

      tessadomesticdiva do keep us posted Tessa :)

    2. Well I have tested it many times now….never will I shy from oats again! No gas with this method! Woohoo!

      1. hallecottis says:

        tessadomesticdivaYeah!  And did you notice that you were full longer with soaked oats.  I eat half as much and stay fuller twice as long when they are soaked.  Makes a huge difference!

  25. Nut butter is fun for a PB&J style oatmeal….fresh fruit and sunflower seed butter is a favorite! We usually add some chia seeds or gelAtin too for additional protein. I have also whisked an egg into the liquid before I cook it! Lots of options!

  26. purljamr says:

    @Whole Lifestyle Nutrition I have used yogurt & it is so delicious, I didn’t think oatmeal could be any better, but soaking it makes it feel better on your tongue-more nurishing:)

  27. Mary says:

    Do you have to cook them afterwards? I like them in smoothies

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      No you don’t have to cook them if you don’t want to. I just like a very smooth oatmeal.

  28. Daniel says:

    Yes, soak your nuts as often as you can.

  29. Alan says:

    I love rolled oats for oatmeal, especially when they have been soaked. From what I have read it is generally suggested that they be soaked for up to 24 hours. I usually soak 2 days worth at once, which means that some of the rolled oats are soaked for more than 24 hours. Does anybody see any problems with soaking them for this amount of time?

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      They will start to sour that long. I also caution you against soaking this long as bacteria can start to grow (and not the good kind)!

  30. Marie says:

    Is the soaking liquid supposed to be warm? It doesn’t say so, but your post on soaking says warm water.

    And I was also wondering if this was one serving or two? Says it yields 2 servings and a serving size is 1 serving.

    One more question :-) – when soaking, it should just be the oatmeal + water + acidic? I’m just thinking of the many overnight oatmeal recipes I’ve seen. They’re soaking… But with other stuff. And usually in the fridge, not on the counter.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Room temperature is fine, not warm. There are 2 servings in this recipe and last but not least :) That is right, oatmeal, water and acidic and you can certainly rinse the oatmeal the next day to remove some of the acidic flavor. Soak on counter, and not in fridge.

  31. Christine P says:

    Why do I need a protein along with the oatmeal, and also would kefir be enough of a protein or do I need more than that?
    Oh, and I soaked 2 cups of oatmeal in 2 cups of whey (from raw milk products I’ve been making) because I have excess that needs to be used up. Added 2 cups water this morning and cooked. It was really good and not too sour at all.
    I’ve also read that you need to add a tablespoon or so of fresh ground wheat while you’re soaking. What are your thoughts on all of this?

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      What is the purpose of the fresh ground wheat? I am primarily gluten free, so I would not add the wheat. I add a protein to balance the carb so that my blood sugar doesn’t spike.

  32. I recently stumbled upon the concept of soaking oats in an acidic medium. I am a huge fan of steel cut oats which I soak overnight in just water. The last few months I have had minor issues with tendonitis near my shoulder to the point where it has affected my range of motion for my arm and caused tingling down to my fingers. I have not done anything to strain the muscles so I am attributing it to my diet. Doing research I realized that maybe it’s the grains causing me harm. It’s only been 5 days since I’ve stopped eating grains and I am noticing my range of motion has slightly increased and there’s no more tingling. I am looking forward to slowly reintroducing grains back in the future, and I will definitely refer to your informative posts

    I recently started blogging, , and there is so much of a learning curve. I’ve already bookmarked your beautiful and information packed website.

    BTW, welcome to the beautiful, sunny state of Florida! Isn’t this December weather just delightful?

  33. Hilda Gore says:

    Halle, I, too, have been on a wellness journey and am a HUGE fan of WAPF and traditional foods. I was recently certified as an integrative nutrition health coach, and I am eager to encourage others on their path. So glad to read your blog and see the resources that you promote! I am putting a link to your oatmeal recipe in my next post!

    Thanks so much!
    Best, Hilda Chispa Health Coaching (Chispa means “spark” in Spanish) :)

  34. UmmBinat says:

    Thank you! Raw organic full fat milk and butter with this and we no longer have to avoid oats! I did add some organic Thompsons rasins and raw honey but it probably doesn’t need it.

  35. Mariana says:

    Well, I certainly wish I knew how beneficial soaking my oats would be back in 2012! This article was wonderful and the recipe was very easy to follow. I do have one question though regarding the portions. The first time I tried this recipe was yesterday and I did a full cup of oats, a cup of water, etc. Today I cut everything in half because I didn’t want to waste what I couldn’t finish. Does that have any effect at all? Is it bad? Thoughts please.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Always listen to your body and what it tells you. Certainly you can cut back or add more and you will still benefit from soaking.

  36. Megan says:

    I am confused about a couple things. If I soak my oats in buttermilk or plain yogurt overnight on the counter, won’t the dairy go bad? Same question for soaking whole wheat flour on the counter (for pancakes). And I don’t understand why it’s not necessary to then rinse the oats (or flour)? If the bad stuff is released during soaking, am I not going to then consume the released bad stuff when I eat my oats and yogurt in the morning?

  37. Farhaana says:

    Here is an explanation I read on another site:

    ” The reason you need rolled rye or ground buckwheat groats is because they contain the phytase necessary to help break down the high levels of phytic acid in oats. Oats do not contain much phytase so soaking them without a phytase booster (like rolled rye, or ground buckwheat groats for those who are GF) doesn’t do much to reduce the physic acid.”

    What do you think?

  38. Farhaana says:

    Here is an explanation I read on another site about why to add another grain:

    ” The reason you need rolled rye or ground buckwheat groats is because they contain the phytase necessary to help break down the high levels of phytic acid in oats. Oats do not contain much phytase so soaking them without a phytase booster (like rolled rye, or ground buckwheat groats for those who are GF) doesn’t do much to reduce the physic acid.”

    What do you think?

  39. Cheri says:

    Soaking my rolled oats with yogurt overnight is my new favorite way to eat them! The taste and texture is so much better! They were very filling too. I always eat a big breakfast, but I could barely finish my meal when I ate this oatmeal. I just put a coffee filter over the top of my bowl and set it in one of my cupboards and come back to it the next day. I have also soaked my brown rice too and that is now my favorite way to make it. I soak that in apple cider vinegar. The difference it makes is amazing! The most soft and fluffy brown rice I have ever had. I can’t wait to try more things soaked haha.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      I totally agree with you. When you soak them, they are incredibly filling!

  40. Matt H says:

    Is it vital to use filtered water? I do not have access to filtered water and refuse to buy water in plastic bottles. What is the repercussion of using tap water? Is boiled tap water any better?
    Thank you!

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      It isn’t absolutely necessary, I just prefer filtered water.

  41. Jennifer says:

    I made this recipe using ACV as the acidic medium because my daughter has a dairy allergy. I have a high tolerance for the taste of vinegar, but even after adding lots of maple syrup and cinnamon to this batch I still couldn’t finish it. The taste was truly nasty! I ended up wasting a lot of high quality ingredients. Soaked oatmeal can be delicious, but I would warn against using ACV! Stick with the dairy products like whey, yogurt, or buttermilk if you can. Has anyone tried ACV with success?

    1. Beverly says:

      I used ACV and found it tasted yeasty. Added maple syrup, butter, cinnamon and banana and was able to tolerate it. Also, I soaked 2 cups and cooked it up. I cooled a refrigerated half of it. It reheated very well the next day, very low heat setting for an hour while I was getting ready.

      1. Halle Cottis says:

        Yeasty taste might signify that it started to ferment. Try a little less time, or a cooler place on the counter.

    2. Nina says:

      Hi Jennifer! I made them with ACV for my hubby this morning actually and he’s usually very picky about straying away from how he normally eats things but I told him it was a must. I soaked them in the ACV, salt, and water last night and this morning I rinsed them thoroughly to remove any sour taste (i could smell it as soon as I lifted the lid of the bowl). Then mixed them with a banana that I had mashed with water, cinnamon, vanilla powder, and flax (he likes added protein). He also added PB (his fave) and said he couldn’t taste any sourness. Success in my book! I think if you just let them soak overnight not longer, rinse them good, and add other strong ingredients like the cinnamon you should be able to balance the acidity taste. Hope this helps!!! =)

      On a side note, I’ve read in multiple places that anytime you soak grains or legumes or nuts that you should always rinse them to get off the antinutrients that you just spend time soaking to remove!

      Thanks Halle for this super easy way to prepare oats!! Makes my life so easy in getting breakfast ready for my hungry hungry hubby! 😉

  42. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for your comment, Nina! Maybe I’ll give it another shot and rinse after soaking this time

  43. Charzie says:

    Acidifying or adding whey or yogurt initiates lacto-fermentation, as you know, a beneficial process. What works even better for me, because I had digestive issues with oats sometimes, is a slight twist on the process. What I do is cook my oatmeal first, usually at night before I go to bed, and when it cools enough to touch comfortably, I add about a TBS of shiro (white) miso, which has to have live cultures and not be pasteurized. (It’s easier if you mix it with a tiny bit of warm water and then add it to the oats). After you stir it in, cover and let it sit on the counter overnight. The enzymes break down the the grains and make them easier to digest almost immediately, and overnight, the microbes magically change the oats into a creamy, slightly sweet, somewhat yeasty, breakfast treat! I usually just enjoy mine as is at room temp, but if you heat it, keep it under 110 degrees or so, so you don’t kill the live microbes and get all your probiotics!
    Also, not sure if you are aware of recent research showing phytates have been shown to have quite a few health promoting effects, which makes sense since we have evolved eating them according to the microscopic DNA they can now identify! Turns out that plants are so nutritious, phytates help limit mineral overload. Of course, if you eat animal products, you lose that benefit, so continue to soak! By the way, that isn’t my opinion, that’s pure science. Plants are the medicine that protects us from eating flesh. I do occasionally too, but I always read the science, never the latest fads and net hype that gets copied and repeated because people want to hear it’s okay to eat what isn’t really good for them…I may still eat it, but I WANT to know the facts, not the fads! LOL!

  44. Kayla Wheeler says:

    I’ve been told oatmeal turns to sugar once I your body. Can anyone tell me if preparing it this way makes it so it doesn’t turn into sugar? TIA :)

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Grains can quickly convert to sugar if you eat them alone. Soaking the grain helps you digest the grain better and fills you up with less grain. I always eat some protein (greek yogurt, bacon, nuts…) and some fat (butter) with my oatmeal and have absolutely no problems with blood sugar fluctuations.

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