Oatmeal is known as much for its important health benefits as for its blandness. If you want to make your oatmeal tastier and more exciting to eat, try one of the spices for oatmeal below.
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One of the traditional spices for desserts and breakfast breads, vanilla works well in most sweet preparations and is excellent in cereals like oatmeal. Vanilla’s flavor profile is sweet and floral with hints of caramel.
You can add it to your oatmeal in multiple ways. Scraping the seeds from a fresh vanilla bean is the best way to add vanilla flavor to anything. Alternatively, you can get a similar effect with a few drops of vanilla extract. All forms of the spice work well in oatmeal. All forms of vanilla also pair well with the other spices on this list.
The name cinnamon can refer to true cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), which is also known as Ceylon cinnamon or its relative cassia (Cinnamomum cassia). The two spices are often both labeled as cinnamon, and each can enhance the taste of oatmeal. Both true cinnamon and cassia are made from the barks of their respective trees. The barks are peeled off, dried, and powdered.
True cinnamon is a pale medium brown; cassia’s color is darker and closer to rust-colored. Cinnamon’s flavor profile is sweet, resinous, and spicy. It is the cinnamon that you might expect from cinnamon-flavored baked goods like cinnamon rolls. Cassia’s flavor is much more assertive and closer to what you might get from cinnamon candy.
Cinnamon is versatile in that you can add it during the cooking process or after. Both forms of cinnamon pair well with the other spices on this list.
Taken from the seed of the Myristica fragrans plant, nutmeg is another spice commonly reserved for sweet preparations. Its flavor profile is sweetly nutty with warm cinnamon-like notes and has a lot in common with another spice from the same fruit: mace.
While it is not usually associated with oatmeal, nutmeg is the perfect spice for it. It is best if you add it during the cooking process to mellow out any potentially bitter notes, and it works well with all of the other spices on this list.
If you want to add more than just one or two spices at a time, chai spices may be just what you need to liven up your oatmeal and give it a complex flavor profile. A chai spice mix can contain as few as six spices and often more.
The main spices in most chai spice blends are often cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, but the blends can vary, and you will often see coriander seed and black peppercorns in there, along with cardamom. The flavor profile is usually complex, warm, and sweet. All the spices blend well in chai and will work in oatmeal as well.
Pumpkin pie spices
Like chai spices, pumpkin pie spices are another way to add complexity to oatmeal’s flavor. Pumpkin pie spice can contain many of the same spices found in a chai mix but in different proportions, which results in the blend having its distinctive flavor profile.
Pumpkin pie spice typically contains cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, along with cloves. It is particularly heavy on the cloves, ensuring that its mild bitterness and camphoraceous flavor are at the forefront. As with chai spices, the rest of the flavor profile is sweet and warm.
Must-read related posts
- Cinnamon Vs. Nutmeg: How do they compare?
- Too Much Vanilla? Here’s what you can do to fix your dish.
- Cooking With Nutmeg: Learn the dos and don’ts of using this spice.