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Hello! Iโ€™m Anjali. Iโ€™m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Ann Arbor, MI!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali See what I'm eating this week

Indian Spiced Oatmeal (or a healthy version of Kheer)

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My hubby is coming home from India tomorrow!

He’s been there for the past few weeks, visiting family and taking advantage of his last summer vacation as a student. Once he finishes his PhD, those days of flexible vacation will be over. ๐Ÿ™‚

I couldn’t join him (we have too many summer vacations planned that use up my days off, and I’ve been to India a bunch more than he has) – so he embarked on his trip alone. This has been the longest we’ve lived apart since we got married, and we both missed each other like crazy!

Needless to say, we both can’t wait until he lands at SFO tomorrow.

In honor of his trip (and his return), I decided to spice up my breakfast this morning with some traditional Indian flavors. And what’s the best breakfast base for almost any flavor combination?


That’s right – I added Indian spices to oatmeal and it tasted absolutely amazing.

It actually reminded me a lot of Kheer, which is basically an Indian spiced rice pudding. It’s super creamy, rich, and sweet – and it’s eaten as a dessert. My oatmeal tasted almost exactly like Kheer, but it’s filling, healthy and balanced – the perfect breakfast. It tastes like it’s bad for you, but it’s actually really good for you!

And of course, it’s extremely easy to make.

The Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats or multigrain oats
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 3 tsp finely ground flax seed
  • 2-3 tsp slivered almonds
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sugar/honey/agave
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of 1% organic milk (the creamier you want the oatmeal, the more milk you should add)

The Directions

Step 1:ย ย Cook the oats with the water in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir, and cook again in the microwave for 1-2 minutes more until all the water is absorbed and the oats have a very creamy texture. Depending on your microwave, you might have to cook them for longer for them to become soft.

Step 2: Stir in the saffron, flax seed, and almonds. The heat of the oatmeal will help melt the saffron until it’s fully combined.


Step 3: Add the rest of the spices (salt, cardamom, nutmeg, sugar/honey/agave) and stir to combine.

Step 4: Stir in the milk until the oatmeal is the consistency you like.

Step 5: Heat the oatmeal again in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until it is hot and ready to eat.

I love the bright red of the saffron and the melted yellow color it brings to the oatmeal.

This is such a fun way to start your day, by having the warmth of Indian spices right in your breakfast bowl. This recipe has about 300 calories, ~7g fiber, and ~14g protein.

It’s guilt-free and delicious!

Indian spiced oatmeal

Indian Spiced Oatmeal (or a healthy version of Kheer)

My oatmeal tasted almost exactly like Kheer, but itโ€™s filling, healthy and balanced โ€“ the perfect breakfast. It tastes like itโ€™s bad for you, but itโ€™s actually really good for you!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: healthy Kheer recipe, Indian spiced oatmeal, Indian spiced oatmeal recipe
Servings: 1 bowl of oatmeal
Calories: 343.2kcal



  • Cook the oats with the water in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir, and cook again in the microwave for 1-2 minutes more until all the water is absorbed and the oats have a very creamy texture. Depending on your microwave, you might have to cook them for longer for them to become soft.
  • Stir in the saffron, flax seed, and almonds. The heat of the oatmeal will help melt the saffron until itโ€™s fully combined.
  • Add the rest of the spices (salt, cardamom, nutmeg, stevia) and stir to combine.
  • Stir in the milk until the oatmeal is the consistency you like.
  • Heat the oatmeal again in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until it is hot and ready to eat.


Nutrition Facts assume 2/3 cup milk and 3 tsp silvered almonds.


Calories: 343.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.6g | Protein: 14.5g | Fat: 13.8g | Sodium: 219.5mg | Fiber: 7.5g | Sugar: 12.8g



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47 responses to “Indian Spiced Oatmeal (or a healthy version of Kheer)”

    • Thanks so much Lauren! Can’t wait to hear what you think of this when you try it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. What a cool fusion! I just had a “Why-did-I-never-think-of-that” moment! I can see this becoming a global phenomena/part of the Indian healthy movement back in the subcontinent ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks so much for sharing, I need to try this tomorrow morning

    • Haha! Thank you so much Arushi!! If people in India started making this for breakfast, that would make my day ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure you will love it as your breakfast tomorrow!

    • Thanks Richa!! I’m sure you will love this recipe – if you love Kheer it tastes exactly the same!

    • That’s true! Mixing oats in yogurt and letting it sit overnight gives a “muesli” type effect!

  2. Yum!
    My dude is in India right now too ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to cook him some more of your delicious treats upon his return.
    These oats look SO good.

    • Oh wow! I hope he’s having a great trip! I hope he likes the recipes when you make them for him ๐Ÿ™‚

      • He will/does – ๐Ÿ™‚ I love to cook but ran out of ideas a while ago and am constantly scouring the net for flavorful things we both can enjoy. Your site in particular hits home as he is from Chennai and I am from the midwest U.S. where most of the cuisine I grew up on would bore him to tears :). I really truly appreciate your healthy and flavorful (often Indian inspired) recipes that both he and I can enjoy. You help bring harmony to our dining room table for certain!

        He is having a great trip. Only 18 more sleeps until he returns ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Aw that’s so good to hear! Hope he has a safe flight back! My hubby came back this past week – he’s still a bit jetlagged – but it’s so nice to have him home!

  3. Great food, I am teaching professional dancers and always looking for recipes like this one. Finding food they can eat a few hours before a dance performance. Because of the energy factor and its light.

    • Thanks Angel! I’m so glad you liked (most) of this recipe ๐Ÿ™‚ Cardamom is a strong flavor – so totally understand if it wasn’t for you (it’s not for everyone!) Next time just make it without the cardamom and I’m sure it will still taste great. Thanks again!

  4. I am eating this as I write. It’s just perfect, especially on a damp, cold day. Wonderful recipe. Thank you.

    • No problem at all! This is one of my favorite ways to use Indian spices actually – you’ll have to let me know how you like it!

  5. For a Picky Eater like me it looks really tasty… question about trader joe’s, what do you do if there isn’t a trader joe’s by you as I live in Flint Michigan so we only have Walmart, Kmart, Krogers the big brand grocery stores.

    • Hi Anthony! While I do like shopping at Trader Joe’s, you can actually find all of the ingredients for this recipe at any local grocery store – Walmart, Krogers, Safeway, etc. should have everything on this ingredients list. The only thing they may not have is the pre-ground flax seed. But they should have whole flax seeds which you can buy and grind yourself. If they don’t have flax seed at all (or if it’s too expensive – because the cheapest way to buy flax seed is in bulk at the grocery store vs. in pretty packaging) – you can just leave that ingredient out, the rest of the oatmeal is still very nutritious and delicious! Hope that helps!

  6. This is such a unique recipe. I love how you changed up traditional oatmeal into an ethnic dish. The use of spices is great, especially with all the health benefits they provide. I will definitely have to try this out since I am always trying out new recipes with my oatmeal!

  7. THIS LOOKS AMAZING! I love indian flavors and have been tinkering with the idea of indian oatmeal for a while now. A quick google search revealed this recipe- and I could not have done it better myself!

    • Thanks so much Abby! This is honestly one of my favorite oatmeal recipes ever ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure you will love it!

    • Hi Nirmala! You can use the flax seeds as is – you don’t have to cook/boil/fry them beforehand. But you should get them ground (not whole) — or if you have them whole, then grind them yourself in a spice grinder before adding them to your oatmeal. They are much easier to digest that way!

  8. Hi, just for another idea, this is how I make my morning quinoa! I haven’t tried it with oatmeal because I don’t love oatmeal and because quinoa is supposed to be healthier? Another alternative is sooji halwa/sheera, you can make it into a healthy breakfast version with much less ghee, sugar, half milk and water or no milk.

    • Hi! You can absolutely use quinoa instead of oats in this recipe! Honestly both are super healthy — quinoa has more protein than oats but slightly less fiber, oats have more fiber but less protein. If you don’t like oats, it’s totally fine to use quinoa instead. But if you do like oats – I’d recommend mixing it up and doing quinoa some days and oats other days since both are good for you and have different sets of nutrients! Sooji halwa I wouldn’t recommend actually, because it doesn’t have any fiber or protein so compared to oats or quinoa it’s not as good for you ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope that helps!

  9. This was delicious – great twist to traditional oatmeal! The saffron smelled amazing and added great flavor, I also added some kismish (raisins) and shredded coconut Turned out perfect! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Marisa! I’d just quadruple the recipe (so you have 4 servings). You can cook the oats on the stove with the water and milk (just follow the directions on the package of oats you have), and then add in all of the toppings in the last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Hope that helps! Let me know how it turns out!

  10. I LOVE the idea for this recipe, i donโ€™t really follow recipes exactly. I didnt have saffron, ground flaxseed or. Almonds so i was worried it wouldnt come out right. Turned out pretty good though, so that i can get that crunch i love so much I used unsweetened coconut flakes & evaporated milk since i ran out of my almond milk. Only thing is though i missed was the sweetness & richness of condensed milk in it. Have any hacks to find a healthy alternative so that I still get that flavor & richness without the extra not so good for you stuff.

    • Hi Kess! So glad you liked this recipe! I’d definitely recommend adding saffron next time! Regarding the condensed milk — you can try making your oatmeal with organic whole milk and vanilla for the richness and half a banana with a pinch of salt for the sweetness (the salt will bring out the sweetness of the banana even more) – but condensed milk is so sweet and rich you may not be able to mimic it exactly (you’d have to add a TON of sugar to the oatmeal to mimic the sweetness, which I don’t recommend). Try the whole milk/vanilla/banana combo and let me know how it goes!

  11. Good recipe. My hubby is Indian and likes this. I added a little chili powder and curry powder as well. Made it with almond milk.

    • Awesome!! Love the idea of making it a little more savory too! So glad this is a hit with your hubby!

    • Absolutely! You’d just need to warm it up in the microwave first so it’s nice and hot when you enjoy it the next day!

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