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8 Ways to Sweeten Oatmeal Without Sugar

Oatmeal can be a super healthy breakfast, but how do you make it sweet without adding a ton of sugar? Here are some healthy ideas!

Oatmeal is, in my opinion, one of the healthiest breakfast options out there.

It’s easy to meal prep, can be eaten hot or cold, and has tons of nutrients to keep you full throughout the day.

Oatmeal can also help with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and can give many other health benefits as well.

A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries with text "How to sweeten oatmeal without sugar"

Unfortunately, oatmeal is also easy to turn into sugar bombs if we’re not careful. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sugar, but using too much can prevent us from eating more nutrient-filled foods.

Instead of buying the packets of instant oats, I’ve been buying a huge tub of rolled oats and adding my own mix-ins. It’s a lot cheaper, and definitely lower in sugar!

If you still like your oatmeal sweet (Which I do too) and are looking for ideas on how to sweeten plain oatmeal without all that sugar, I’ve got a huge list below!

A bottle of maple syrup

Maple syrup and honey

These are considered natural sweeteners, and can be called natural sugar. They still HAVE sugar, but not any added sugar like plain sugar does. I prefer maple syrup over honey, but both are really good.

Half a banana on a cutting board, surrounded by banana slices

Fresh fruit / Frozen and dried fruit

This is the main way I sweeten my oatmeal! Fruits have a natural sweetness to them, with some being sweeter than others.

My favorite fruits include sliced bananas (Ripe bananas are sweeter), and diced apples. Others include fresh berries, frozen berries, and even dried fruits like raisins and cranberries.

A bowl of peanut butter with peanuts scattered around the bowl

Nut butters and seed butters

Nut butters add a different flavor and a bit of sweetness to oatmeal. If you want to lower your sugar intake, look for natural peanut butter. The ingredient list on the jar should have only peanuts, or peanuts and salt.

Other substitutes for peanut butter are almond butter, cashew butter, and sunflower butter.

Nut butters are a great way to add healthy fats and can give a bowl of oatmeal more staying power in your stomach!

A spoonful of sugar

Sugar substitute

Artificial sweeteners like Equal and Splenda are popular options too. People have strong opinions on whether or not these kinds of sweeteners are good for you, so use your best judgment.

A hand pouring milk into a glass


Not only does milk make your oatmeal creamier, it can also add some sweetness!

I typically use cow’s milk. But other good options would be unsweetened plant milks, like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or oat milk.

For a 1/2 cup of dried oats, I usually use 1 cup of liquid. If you like a less liquidous oatmeal, aim for a 1/2 cup of liquid instead.

A bottle of vanilla extract next to a bundle of vanilla


Pure extracts like vanilla extract can add flavor and sweetness to any oatmeal! Add anywhere from 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon and adjust according to your tastes.

A bunch of cinnamon sticks on a white background


I love adding cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice for extra flavor!

Cocoa powder is another good option. I’ll use that and peanut butter to make my oatmeal taste almost like a Reeses cup!

A scoop of protein powder on a dark background

Protein powder

Protein powder is another good way to add flavor and sweetness, but use caution! Some powders just don’t mix well with oatmeal and can give it a grainy texture.

I used Nature’s Bounty chocolate powder for awhile and had no issues. But I’ve tried others and it just didn’t turn out well at all. Maybe vegan protein powder works better, I don’t know.

I say just experiment and see what works for you!

Final thoughts

In the end, there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of sugar to your oatmeal. Honestly, I love adding a tiny bit of brown sugar in mine because I love the taste. Just remember that a little goes a long way, and you can add sweet toppings like fruit to keep it sweet.

Favorite oatmeal recipes

Here are some healthy oatmeal recipes I use often! I typically only use old-fashioned oats, but there are other types of oats like instant oatmeal and steel-cut oats. I talk about the differences in this post!

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