Oats Upma (Savory Oats)

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Oats upma is an easy and delicious breakfast recipe perfect for quick mornings. Made with quick-cooking oats and mixed veggies, this healthy vegetable oats upma recipe is ready in just 30 minutes, start to finish.

oats upma with lemon wedge and a spoon on white plate on a brown board

About This Recipe

This delicious oats upma is easy to prepare and takes only 30 minutes to cook, from start to finish. I make this recipe the same way I make Rava Upma, but with finely chopped veggies.

You can technically have oats upma without the vegetables, but the taste and texture the veggies add is just so good (not to mention the nutritional boost) – I definitely recommend including them.

Oats in general have become very popular lately, which is exciting because we love Oats Recipes! Here are some of my favorite oats recipes on the blog:

  • Oats Idli – Soft instant idli made with oats flour.
  • Oats Khichdi – Savory, spiced mung lentils and oats porridge.
  • Oats Dosa – Crispy crepes made with oats flour, spices and herbs.
oats upma with lemon wedge on white plate on a brown board
Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Oats Upma

Roast the Oats

1. First, heat ½ teaspoon oil in a shallow frying pan. Then add 1 cup of quick cooking oats (100 grams).

roasting oats in saucepan for oats upma recipe

2. After that, stir and roast/toast on low heat until the oats become crisp. Continue stirring so the oats do not get browned from the bottom. Stir for about 3 to 4 minutes.

NOTE: There is no need to brown the oats. You really just want a bit of crispness.

roasting oats in saucepan

3. Next, remove the oats and set aside in a spare mixing bowl or plate.

roasted oats on a plate

Fry Spices and Nuts

4. Now, in the original pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds crackle on a medium-low heat.

mustard seeds and oil in saucepan

5. Next add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon of chana dal, 1 teaspoon of urad dal (optional) and 8 to 10 cashews.

oats, lentils, cumin seeds and cashews added to saucepan

6. Continue to stir and fry the mixture until the chana dal gets golden browned.

frying spices, lentils in saucepan

Add Veggies

7. Now add ¼ cup of tightly packed, finely chopped onions.

added onions to saucepan

8. Then stir and sauté until the onions become translucent.

onions being sautéed

9. Next add ½ teaspoon ginger, finely chopped, 1 or 2 green chilies, chopped, and 7 to 8 curry leaves. Stir and sauté for half a minute.

NOTE: You can also add deseeded broken red chilies or a mixture of both green and dry red chilies.

ginger, green chillies, and curry leaves in saucepan

Cook the Veggies

10. Then add ¼ cup finely chopped carrots, ¼ cup finely chopped french beans and ¼ cup green peas, fresh or frozen.

NOTE: Other veggies you can add are baby corn, capsicum (bell pepper), broccoli and cabbage. You can also add steamed corn or canned corn kernels.

peas, carrots and green beans added in saucepan

11. Stir and saute for 2 minutes.

vegetable mixture being sautéed in saucepan

12. Then add 1.25 cups water.

water added

Simmer Veggie Mixture

13. Now cover the pan with its lid.

pan covered with lid

14. On medium heat, simmer and cook this mixture until the veggies are almost cooked. About 8 to 9 minutes.

vegetable mixture simmering in saucepan

Add Oats

15. Then add the roasted oats.

roasted oats added on top of vegetable mixture in saucepan

16. Stir lightly.

oat and vegetable mixture being combined in saucepan

17. Add salt as required.

salt being added with a measuring spoon

18. Stir very well.

oat and vegetable mixture cooking in saucepan

Simmer Oats Upma

19. Then cover the pan again with its lid and on a low heat, steam for 7 to 8 minutes.

close up shot of glass lid covered on saucepan

20. Here the oats upma is done and steamed well. If the mixture looks very dry, then you can sprinkle some water and stir again.

oats upma in saucepan

Garnish and Serve

21. Then add 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro). Mix and serve.

coriander leaves added on oats upma

Storage and Leftovers

Oats upma is best had hot or warm. If you have any leftovers store in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for a day only. Reheat in a microwave oven or steam in a pan or in the Instant pot for a few minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Serve oats upma drizzled with some lemon or lime juice or with a side of coconut chutney. You can also have them as an evening snack or breakfast with a cup of hot tea.

vegetable oats upma with lemon wedge on white plate on a brown board
Tips

Expert Tips

  • Leave out the veggies – The addition of veggies is optional, but I definitely suggest to add them. They provide great flavor, make the dish more filling, add delicious texture, and also result in more health benefits.
  • Or add even more vegetables – This oats upma recipe can be customized to include your favorites! You can add veggies like carrots, french beans, green peas (fresh or frozen), capsicum (bell pepper), broccoli, baby corn and cabbage. You can also add steamed corn or canned corn kernels.
  • Oil: Make your oats upma in any neutral tasting oil or coconut oil. You can make it with ghee (clarified butter) as well. 
  • Serve hot or warm – Oats upma is best served hot or warm. Drizzle it with a bit of lemon juice and enjoy with your morning cup of tea.

FAQs

What kind of oats should I use for oats upma?

To make this recipe you can use any variety of oats, like rolled oats or steel cut oats or instant oats. The upma made with rolled oats (old fashioned oats) or steel cuts oats will have more texture and chewiness than the one made with quick-cooking oats as used in my recipe. That said, rolled oats and steel cuts oats are a better choice as they are healthier. Note that both rolled oats and steel cut oats will take a longer time to cook and will need more water.

What can I substitute for cashews?

Instead of cashews, you can also use roasted peanuts.

How can I make more servings?

You can easily double or triple this recipe to serve a larger group.

Can I make oats upma without the chilies?

Yes, you can. But to maintain the flavor and a bit of heat, I recommend adding some crushed black pepper or crushed red chillies in its place.

top shot of oats upma with spoon on white plate

More Upma Recipes To Try!

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oats upma with lemon wedge on white plate on a brown board

Oats Upma

4.86 from 27 votes
Oats upma is an easy and delicious breakfast recipe perfect for quick mornings. Made with quick-cooking oats and mixed veggies, this healthy vegetable oats upma recipe is ready in just 30 minutes, start to finish.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Cuisine South Indian
Course: Breakfast
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Easy

Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

For roasting oats

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats – 100 grams
  • ½ teaspoon oil – any neutral oil

Other ingredients

  • ¼ cup finely chopped onions – tightly packed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup finely chopped french beans
  • ¼ cup green peas – fresh or frozen
  • 7 to 8 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal (split and husked bengal gram)
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
  • 8 to 10 cashews or roasted peanuts
  • ½ teaspoon ginger – finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 green chilies – chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 1.25 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons oil – any neutral oil or coconut oil
  • salt as required

Instructions

Roasting oats

  • Heat oil in a pan. Add 1 cup quick cooking oats.
  • Stir and roast on a low heat until the oats become crisp. 
  • Keep stirring continuously so that the oats do not get browned from the bottom. No need to brown the oats. You really just want a bit of crispness.
  • Remove oats in a plate or tray and set aside.

Sautéing onions and veggies

  • In the same pan, heat the oil. Add mustard seeds. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds crackle.
  • Then add cumin seeds, chana dal, urad dal (optional) and cashews.
  • Stir and fry until the chana dal gets browned.
  • Add tightly packed finely chopped onions. Stir and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
  • Next add finely chopped ginger, chopped green chillies and curry leaves. Stir and sauté for half a minute.

Making oats upma

  • Then add finely chopped carrots, finely chopped french beans and green peas, fresh or frozen. Stir and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add water. Cover the pan with its lid.
  • On a medium heat simmer and cook this mixture until the veggies are almost done. About 8 to 9 minutes.
  • Then add the roasted oats. Stir lightly. Add salt as required. Stir very well.
  • Then cover the pan again with its lid and on a low heat, steam for 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Once done, then add chopped coriander leaves.
  • Stir and serve oats upma drizzled with some lemon or lime juice.

Serving suggestions

  • Oats upma is best served hot or warm. Drizzle it with a bit of lemon juice and enjoy with your morning cup of tea. You can also serve it with a side of coconut chutney.
  • You can also have oats upma as a brunch or an evening snack.

Storage

  • Oats upma is best had hot or warm. If you have any leftovers, store in an airtight container or jar, in the refrigerator for a day only. Reheat in a microwave oven or steam in a pan or in the Instant pot for a few minutes.

Notes

  • Veggies: The addition of veggies is optional. But I suggest to include them as they provide great flavor, makes the dish more filling and gives a nutritional boost. You can also customize by adding veggies like carrots, french beans, green peas (fresh or frozen), capsicum (bell pepper), broccoli, baby corn and cabbage. You can also include steamed corn or canned corn kernels.
  • Oats: You can use any variety of oats like rolled oats or steel-cut oats or instant oats. Do remember to add water according to the type of oats you are using. Both rolled oats and steel-cut oats will take a longer time to cook and need more water. 
  • Oil: Make oats upma in any neutral tasting oil or coconut oil. You can make it with ghee (clarified butter) as well. 
  • Cashews: You can omit cashews entirely or replace them with roasted peanuts. 
  • Spicing: You can skip the green chillies. For a bit of heat and spice, add crushed black pepper or red chili flakes. 
  • Scaling: The recipe can be doubled or tripled easily.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Oats Upma
Amount Per Serving
Calories 264 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 554mg24%
Potassium 246mg7%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 2044IU41%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 28mg140%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 60mg73%
Vitamin E 5mg33%
Vitamin K 9µg9%
Calcium 53mg5%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 301µg75%
Iron 3mg17%
Magnesium 100mg25%
Phosphorus 182mg18%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This oats upma recipe post from the archives (April 2015) has been republished and updated on 15 March 2021.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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64 Comments

  1. Dassana ji, My sister n and I are huge fans of your recipes and truly appreciate your work. Our homes are filled with the aromas of your hard work and our dining tables have tastier food, thanks to you. God bless you n your family❤️
    I am yet to experiment with oats and has been on my list for long. Will definitely try this upma and am sure, it’s gonna turn out great, just like all yyour other recipes. Please suggest a brand of oats

    1. Thank you so much Vindya. Glad to read your lovely comment. For this recipe, I don’t remember which brand of oats I had used. Usually I use any organic brand of rolled oats and quick cooking oats. Hope that helps.

  2. Recipe sounds very good. Will try it soon. Also could you please post recipe for mushroom risotto.

    1. Thanks Khaitan. I have noted down the recipe request and will try to post soon.

  3. Hi, if I use rolled oats for this recipe, how much would the cooking time change? Thanks!5 stars

    1. lalita, rolled oats will take a longer time and may also need more water. i cannot tell the exact time. so the only thing is to check when the oats are cooking.

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