Oats are the ultimate breakfast food. Not only are these humble grains tasty and gluten-free, but they’re also nutritional powerhouses – packed with important vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants.

And the good news is that there are so many ways to enjoy them. Gone are the days when oats were reserved solely for making bowls of bland porridge. Today, people are using oats to make everything from baked, cake-like breakfasts to granola and oat pancakes.

To help inspire you, here are eight ways to enjoy oats for breakfast.

1. Overnight oats

Overnight oats

If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious breakfast that won’t have you working overtime in the kitchen, look no further than overnight oats.

Overnight oats are the ultimate prepable breakfast. Simply mix the ingredients in a container and leave them to soak overnight (or for a minimum of two hours) – then grab-and-go on busy mornings.

Overnight oats are typically a blend of oats, milk, and yoghurt, but some people like to add protein powder too for an extra protein hit. Like many other oat recipes, overnight oats are perfectly customisable and you can have fun adding whatever toppings you like. Bananas and strawberries work well, as do nuts and seeds like chia and pumpkin. If you have a sweet tooth, you could also add a drizzle of honey.

For inspiration, check out these six overnight oat recipes from Downshiftology for inspiration. Piña colada or banana bread flavour…which sounds best to you?

Alternatively, for maximum ease, you might like to try Linwoods’ premade overnight oat blends. Available in three delicious flavours – original, chocolate, and strawberry – just add milk and leave it to chill in the fridge.

2. Oat pancakes

Oat pancakes

We’re so creative with oats these days that they’re being made left, right, and centre into pretty much any sweet breakfast delicacy – including pancakes!

You might think that making pancakes is fussy and time-consuming, and best saved for lazy Sunday mornings. But oat pancakes are quick and easy to whip up so you can enjoy them on any day of the week.

Not only are oat pancakes delicious, but they’ll also keep you fuller for longer than most regular pancakes. This is because, unlike white flour, oats have a low-glycemic index and don’t cause blood sugar spikes.

Some recipes use a blender – but don’t worry if you don’t have one. Simply skip this step by using oat flour in place of regular oats.

Why not try this oatmeal pancake recipe from Love & Lemons? Or these banana oat egg pancakes from Meaningful Eats, which only use three ingredients? Sprinkle with your favourite toppings, from nut butter to fresh fruit and honey.

3. Homemade granola

Homemade granola

There’s something about granola – its crunch, nuttiness, and warming scent – that makes it the ultimate comfort food for many of us. Whether eaten by the handful or with a hearty serving of milk or yoghurt, granola is delicious.

If you’re a granola fan, why not consider making your own? Not only is the sweet scent of fresh, homemade granola enough to fill your home with joy – but it’s often healthier than store-bought options, too, which tend to have more added sugar.

You’ll typically find four different kinds of oats in the supermarket breakfast aisle: quick oats, instant oats, steel-cut oats, and rolled (or old-fashioned) oats – and the type you use can make or break how your granola turns out. To achieve hearty, crunchy granola, we recommend using rolled oats because their thicker, chewier texture holds up best when baked.

Why not try this chunky healthy granola recipe from Ambitious Kitchen, which is vegan and gluten-free? Or this healthy granola that uses no sugar or oil from Lazy Cat Kitchen if you’re being particularly health conscious?

Remember, like most other oat recipes, you can add any toppings you like to granola – just make sure you add any chocolate after the baking step so that it doesn’t melt!

4. Savoury oatmeal

Savoury oatmeal

If you’re more partial to a savoury breakfast, you might be sick of the endless stream of oat recipes that seem to be centred around satisfying a sweet tooth. But savoury oatmeal is delicious too.

Combining the creamy taste and comforting texture of oatmeal with your favourite savoury breakfast options like bacon, eggs, and mushrooms might sound unusual, but many people find it to be a winner. Even if you don’t usually eat a savoury breakfast, why not mix up your usual routine and give it a go anyway? You might be pleasantly surprised.

To get a taste for some of the different variations you could try, check out these 12 savoury oatmeal and porridge recipes for a filling breakfast from Eating Well. There’s everything from tomato and sausage oatmeal to sriracha, egg, and avocado overnight oats.

5. Oat smoothie

Oat smoothie

If you aren’t usually hungry in the morning and would rather start your day with a drink, smoothies can be an appealing breakfast option.

While smoothies, whether milk-based or simply a mix of blended fruit, are delicious on their own, adding oats can be a game-changer.

Oats can help to bulk out your smoothie and create a creamier texture. Plus, they add a healthy dose of fibre and slow-release carbohydrates, which can make your smoothies more balanced and filling.

BBC Good Food has a range of delicious oat smoothie recipes to try – from peanut butter and super berry to minty pineapple and easy two-minute smoothies. Alternatively, if you already have a favourite smoothie, don’t worry about finding a new one – oats can be added to pretty much any recipe!

6. Baked oats

Baked oats

Baked oats first exploded on the internet a couple of years ago, and the popularity of this tasty breakfast treat is yet to wane. Did you know that it’s entirely possible to enjoy a cake-like treat for breakfast as part of a healthy diet?

The majority of baked oat recipes are made by combining oats with milk, eggs, banana, baking powder, and sweeteners of choice (for example, maple syrup or vanilla extract). You can then add any toppings you like – nuts, seeds, fruit, or chocolate chips, for example – and bake in the oven until golden.

Blended baked oat recipes are generally best for achieving that real cake-like texture. However, baked oats are still delicious without a blender, so don’t worry if you don’t have one. Simply mix all of the ingredients by hand instead.

Baked oats also make fantastic meal prep. Simply whip up a larger batch in one go, portion it, and reheat for your breakfasts throughout the week.

Why not try one of these five easy baked oats recipes from Sainsbury’s Magazine? You’ll find everything from blueberry and lemon to chocolate and carrot cake.

7. Oat granola bars

Oat granola bars

Another tasty on-the-go breakfast option is oat granola bars. Simple, quick, and super easy to prep, you don’t even need to worry about adding extra toppings – they’re good to go as they are.

Like granola, homemade oat granola bars tend to be much healthier than store-bought options because they have less added sugar. While recipes vary, most granola bars are made by lightly toasting rolled oats and mixing them with ingredients like butter, honey, and sugar (and various add-ins like nuts, seeds, and chocolate!) – before patting the mixture down into a flat dish and leaving to cool.

Inspired Taste’s homemade granola bars are soft and chewy and can be easily adapted to different flavours. You could also try this granola bar recipe from Love and Lemons, which uses only seven basic ingredients. Just mix the ingredients together and leave to chill in the fridge for an hour.

Or, if you’d prefer to keep things savoury, you might like to try these savoury breakfast oatmeal bars from Very Good Cook.

8. Oat muffins

Oat muffins

If you enjoy baked oats, you’ll probably be a fan of homemade oat muffins too. Essentially baked oats in cupcake form, these muffins use many of the same ingredients as baked oats but are easier to transport.

Light and fluffy but perfectly filling, oat muffins are perfect for prepping ahead of time too.

Check out these 13 oat muffin recipes from Eating Well for inspiration. From classic banana chocolate chip to apple spice muffins, all will have you wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Though, blueberry and lemon are the winning combination for me…once baked, the blueberries add a delicious jammy texture that’s pretty difficult to resist.

Final thoughts…

Oats have got to be one of the most versatile breakfast foods out there. And luckily, gone are the days when traditional porridge was the only way to enjoy them.

From pancakes and granola to overnight or savoury oat bowls, you could enjoy oats a different way every morning if you wanted to!

For further reading, head over to the food and drink section of our website. Here, you’ll find everything from healthy 30-minute meals to baking ideas with a healthy twist.

What are your favourite breakfast oat recipes? Will you be trying any of the recipes from our list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.