I love oatmeal, but not by itself. The plain pale mush always needs a little something to help it along; at the very least a few berries scattered over the top. I love this recipe because it makes regular old boring oatmeal feel a little bit fancy and decadent. If you usually add a little sprinkle of sugar to the top of your oatmeal anyway, then with this recipe you're really adding only one tiny step to the breakfast routine to give it extra oomph.

This is also a great idea for a dish to serve at a brunch -- oatmeal in a jam jar with a brulee top and a sprinkling of berries and nuts is simple and healthy, but with a little something special to make people go, "Oooh, yum!"

You can top the oatmeal brulée with your favorite nuts and any in-season berries, or what also works really well is putting a layer of sliced bananas or figs between your oatmeal and the sugar topping -- these fruits brulée up beautifully under the thin sugary layer of crunch.

This recipe is inspired by Camille Styles who has this dish as a breakfast routine.

Prep time: 5 minutes 

Cook time: 40 minutes 

Total time: 45 minutes 

Yields: 4 servings

Oatmeal Brûlée in a Jam Jar with Fruit and Nuts


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated cane sugar
  • Your favorite berries and nuts
The brulée torch at work

Cooking directions

  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and stir in the oatmeal and salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring often. When almost all the water has been absorbed, the oats are done. Stir in the cinnamon.
  2. Pour the oatmeal into four ovenproof jam jars or ramekins. Stir together the brown and cane sugars and sprinkle over the tops of the oatmeal.
  3. You can brulée in one of two ways. You can preheat the broiler of your oven, place the ramekins on a baking sheet, and broil for a couple minutes until the sugar melts and forms a crust. Or if you happen to have a brulée torch, you can just fire that up and wave it over the tops to melt the sugar and create a crust that way. Either way, you're looking at just a couple extra minutes for a creme brulée-style oatmeal breakfast, and who could pass that up??

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Oatmeal Brulée in a Jam Jar with Fruit and Nuts
This recipe makes regular old boring oatmeal feel a little bit fancy and decadent.