Transform Your Oatmeal With One Fruity, Flavorful Addition

Let's face it. Breakfast can sometimes feel like the most boring meal of the day. There are lots of delicious breakfast foods, but with the bustle of weekday mornings, most of the good stuff has to wait until the weekend. Most of the time, breakfast is about foods that are fast, healthy, and easy — like oatmeal. The only problem with oatmeal is that it takes some dressing up to really be tasty, which is where apple butter comes in. Apple butter might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering oatmeal add-ins, but it should be. It's a surefire way to elevate your next bowl of oats.

In an attempt to add some excitement to oatmeal, you can wind up doing more prep work than at dinner, chopping ingredients like fruits and nuts. Apple butter offers a lot of flavor with exceedingly little effort. All it takes is adding a bit of the sweet condiment to your oats and you've created a fruity, satisfying breakfast.

What is apple butter?

While the thought of apple butter may conjure an image of a block of apple-flavored butter, that's not exactly what it is. Apple butter is made when apples are slowly cooked down over heat until soft and caramelized. Then, they're cooked down even more, until the texture is like thick and the color is nearly mahogany. All of the time on the stovetop means the final result is brimming with the taste of juicy apples full of deep caramel sweetness. It's got a velvety, decadent texture that's great for spreading on warm bread if you're not making oatmeal.

Apple butter is pretty common on grocery shelves these days, and is usually found with the preserves. If you're looking for an extra project, it's also really easy to make at home on a long weekend afternoon, and you can even make it in the slow cooker. However you acquire your apple butter, it will be delicious when blended into your warm bowl of oatmeal, or joined with a few extra toppings like sliced fresh apples and hemp hearts.

Adding apple butter to your oatmeal lends more than just depth of flavor — it can tie the other flavors in the bowl together and it adds density. If your goal is a breakfast that feels and tastes luxurious, apple butter helps achieve both. It's a flexible ingredient to employ as needed and pairs with oatmeal in other tasty ways, too.

Other ways to combine apple butter and oatmeal

​​The breakfast table isn't the only place you can enjoy apple butter and oatmeal together. It's a combination that has a number of different uses. For instance, apple butter is a great way to elevate your next batch of oatmeal cookies with some subtle apple flavor. Mixing apple butter into the batter before putting them in them in the oven means warm, delicious cookies reminiscent of apple strudel.

Oatmeal bars offer another chance to include a boost from apple butter. When assembling your oatmeal bars, add a thick layer of apple butter between two layers of dough. The result is an oat bar that feels more like an apple-filled cookie — perfect for dessert.

Looking to add some apple flavor but want to tone down all the sweetness that comes with it? Writing in the Burlington Free Press, chef Shawn Calley says that he adds port wine to his apple butter to let it hit a savory note. It may be less sweet, but it's still a great addition to oatmeal, whether it's in the bowl or the baking pan.