Prevent Oatmeal from Boiling Over | Cook’s Illustrated

Update: July 2013
After this article was originally published, recommending the manipulation of a large stadium when microwaving oatmeal to avoid boilovers, some of our readers have asked : “ Why not good cook the oatmeal at a lower power ? ”
Oatmeal tends to overflow when the water boils and bubbles appear, while at the same time, the starches in the cereal swell and form a gelatin. This syrupy mousse makes it unmanageable for the bubbles to escape, causing the oatmeal to rise up and finally spill over. previously, we found that adding fat ( we used butter ) will coat the starches and prevent a impregnable gel from forming, but for the method to be successful, you have to use a fortune of butter. We besides tested laying chopsticks horizontally across the roll, which didn ’ thymine work at all. Some readers suggested adding dry fruits or nuts to the oatmeal, but we found that the gelatin had no trouble forming around these add-ins, so spillovers still occurred .
The hypnotism of lowering the power ( and cooking longer ) did actually work : The mix boiled less vigorously, fewer bubbles formed, and the oatmeal never achieved the same altitude as the batch cooked at high might. But “ gloomy ” exponent can vary significantly from microwave to microwave and might not be a guarantee that fewer bubbles will form. therefore, we ’ re sticking with our former recommendation : Simply use a larger bowl, which gives the oatmeal more quad to expand.


here ’ south why oatmeal boils over : As the oatmeal cook, the water boils and bubbles appear. At the same time, the starches in the cereal bang-up and uncoil to form a mesh. As this mesh thickens, it becomes more unmanageable for the escaping bubbles from the boil water to burst through it. finally, sol many bubbles form that the oatmeal rises up and spills over the sides of the bowl. This problem can besides occur when oatmeal is cooked in a potentiometer .
hypothetically, fat works to prevent boilovers by coating some of the oatmeal starches, weakening the mesh so that air bubbles can escape. That said, we found that we needed a hefty 2½ tablespoons of butter to prevent a boilover in a single serve of oatmeal cooked in the microwave—and 10 tablespoons of butter when we cooked four servings in a toilet. not much of a redress, in our opinion. Another recommended solution—laying a chopstick across the bowl in the microwave or a wooden spoon across the pot on the stove—didn ’ metric ton bring at all .
The best prevention when cooking oatmeal in a pot is what we recommend in our recipes : Stir the oatmeal a few times as it cooks, which breaks up the bubbles. The solution to boilovers in a microwave is even simpler—just use a larger, wider bowl .