Skip to Content

How To Store Oatmeal – Ultimate Guide

Sharing is caring!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

In order to guarantee freshness and preserve nutritional value, it’s important to learn how to store oatmeal the right way. Lets cover the basics for properly storing bulk oats, cooked oatmeal and also overnight oats.

Storing bulk oats begins with removing oxygen and sealing inside an airtight container. Oats should also be kept in a storage area that is clean, cool, dark and dry. Furthermore, it should adhere to the standard pest prevention techniques to discourage uninvited visitors.

Cooked oatmeal and overnight oats must be refrigerated to prevent spoiling. Soaked and cooked grains can easily mold or become the host for unwanted bacteria that can deliver a food borne illness.

The temperature danger zone ranges from 40°F to 140°F. Basically speaking, keep cold food cold, hot food hot, and properly store the leftovers.

Lets discuss some methods to properly store bulk oats, cooked oatmeal and overnight oats. These steps will help you maintain long lasting freshness next time you decide to store oatmeal.

How To Store Bulk Oats

Safely store bulk oats or dry oatmeal in a cool, clean, dark and dry storage area. Store bought packaging should be sufficient, however, opened packages should be secured in an airtight storage container.

Bulk oats have a varying length of longevity based on the storage solutions you choose. If you effectively store bulk oats, you can extend the shelf life to 30 years.

How do you store dried oatmeal?

The goal is to extend the shelf life by storing bulk oats in the optimal conditions. Focus energy on reducing air contact, light exposure, moisture and also preventing pests.

Proper storage of bulk oats begins with removing contact with air by using oxygen absorbers and also creating an airtight seal to eliminate any excess exposure. To do this, there are a few recommended storage vessels.

  • Freezer bags
    • Pros:
      • Durable
      • Semi permeable membrane
      • Stackable
    • Cons:
      • Not always reusable
      • Retains bad odors
  • Glass containers
    • Pros:
      • Airtight
      • Glass does not harbor bad odors
      • Reusable
    • Cons:
      • Breaks easily
      • Heavy
  • Plastic containers
    • Pros:
      • Airtight
      • Durable
      • Stackable
    • Cons:
      • Retains bad odors
  • #10 Can
    • Pros:
      • Airtight
      • Stackable
    • Cons:
      • Onetime use
Bulk oats stored in glass containers

How long can you store oatmeal?

How you store bulk oats really determines how long the oatmeal will last. The shelf life of your dried oatmeal can easily be prolonged as a result of following a few simple precautions.

However, if done inadequately then matters can turn in the opposite direction and the duration will be hastened. Here are a few safeguards to adhere to when storing bulk oats:

  • Clean: Cleanliness is important to prevent undesired visitors like insects and rodents.
  • Cool: Temperature control is vital to preserving nutrients within the oats.
  • Dark: Keep light exposure to a minimum in order to preserve the oat nutrients.
  • Dry: Moisture is quickly absorbed by the dried oats and will eventually cause mold.

Now it’s time to decide where to store bulk oats. Appropriately packaged bulk oats can be stored in a few desirable locations:

  • Dry storage: A well-ventilated dry storage area is an excellent place for dried oats.
  • Refrigerator: Refrigerators are cool, dark and dry, which ultimately works well for dried oats.
  • Freezer: Freezing oats is one way to further extend the shelf life. However, freezer space and cost of running the appliance can become problematic over time.

At room temperature, properly package bulk oats will maintain best quality for about 18 to 24 months. To maximize the shelf life of bulk oats once the package is opened, transfer to a covered airtight container or place the original package in a resealable plastic freezer bag and add an with an oxygen absorber.

Can I store uncooked oats in the fridge? Oats should be kept in an airtight container to discourage moisture and also pest intrusion. A refrigerator is cool, dark and dry, which will help to safely preserve the oats and maintain freshness.

Can I store uncooked oats in the freezer? Dried oats can also be stored in a freezer bag inside the freezer.  This will extend the shelf life, however, it does take up space and running the freezer in and additional cost to consider.

Oats can be cooked directly from the freezer. No thawing required, just start cooking!

How long does oatmeal last uncooked?

In optimal storage conditions at room temperature, oatmeal can easily last one to two years. As long as the oats are stored in a sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place, a majority of the oats should last one to two years before they start to turn funky.

How long can you store oat groats? Under ideal storage conditions, oat groats will store for 10 to 15 years in a sealed #10 can or food grade bucket with an oxygen absorber included.

Should you store steel cut oats in the fridge? The fridge is an adequate place to store steel cut oats and preserve their freshness. The shelf life will be slightly extended, however, the storage container needs to be airtight for the best quality long term.

How do you store oat bran? Oat bran should be refrigerated due to its high fat content. Store oat bran is an airtight container and place in either the fridge or freezer.

Handful of bulk rolled oats on a table.

How do you store oats for long term storage?

The best option available to store oats for long term storage is a #10 can with an oxygen absorber inside. #10 cans are airtight container that is also durable against insects and rodents.

When placed in a cool, dry area, #10 cans can store for up to 30 years. This method works well for oats, oat groats, steel cut oats, rolled oats and quick oats.

How long can you store oatmeal in Mylar bags? When stored in a mylar bag with sufficient oxygen absorbers, oatmeal can last 20+ years. It’s important for the area to be cool climate controlled and also dark.

How can you tell if oatmeal is bad?

There is no perfect test, except to rely on your senses. Sight, smell, taste and touch are reliable instruments to help you determine whether or not the oats have expired and gone bad.

Dry oatmeal can last for many years! It’s important to watch for changes in color, odor and texture. Do not eat oats that have developed an off-putting smell, soft texture, or taste different than expected.

What can you do with old oats? Even when oats are too old to eat, oatmeal can still be used for other applications. Bath Bombs, body scrubs, facemasks and also hair masks are just a few options.

To treat acne, simply whip up a batch of plain oatmeal and let it cool. When the oatmeal is lukewarm, gently apply it to the acne-infected area. Allow the oatmeal to sit on the skin for 15 minutes then rinse away.

How To Store Cooked Oatmeal

I’m sure that this has happened to all of us before, when you host a large gathering and the portion sizes get a bit out of control. No need to throw everything away, so here are some tips to store that cooked oatmeal.

Even though everyone eats, there still seems to be lots of leftovers. If you have cooked oatmeal that needs to be stored, these tips will make sure that it maintains freshness as best as possible.

Simply Oatmeal features a diversity of tasty oatmeal recipes for you to try! You will definitely want to save some leftovers to reheat later on!

Can I store cooked oatmeal? Cooked oatmeal will last between 3 to 5 days. The most important step is to completely cool the oatmeal before storing. Stir the oatmeal to make sure that the interior has cooled.

How can you save leftover oatmeal?

Successfully save leftover cooked oatmeal using three distinct methods, refrigerating, freezing or dehydrating.

  • Refrigerator: The fridge is the most obvious methods to store cooked oatmeal. Individual portions can be separated and saved in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Freezing cooked oatmeal is another useful method. Cooked oatmeal can be separated into individual portions and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Dehydrator: Dehydrated oatmeal is shelf-stable and can be efficiently stored in a cool, dry and dark area for up to 3 months. Use an airtight container and oxygen absorbers to maintain best quality.

How do you store leftover cooked oatmeal? No matter how you choose to save leftover cooked oatmeal, the first step is to pick the proper storage container. Stick to the storage vessels recommended about for best results.

The priority is to always avoid air-contact by using an airtight container. Then, determine how you are going to save the leftover cooked oatmeal.

Is it OK to refrigerate oatmeal? Yes it is perfectly safe to refrigerate cooked oatmeal.Refrigeration is actually the most convenient method to store cooked oatmeal. Make sure the cooked oatmeal is covered in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag and you’re all set to go.

Can oatmeal sit out overnight? Cooked oatmeal must be refrigerated. After the oatmeal has been fully cooled to room temperature, cover and place inside the refrigerator. Cooked oatmeal can host bacteria that put everyone at risk for contracting a food-borne illness.

Do I need to refrigerate baked oatmeal? Whether its baked, boiled or steamed, all cooked oatmeal must be refrigerated in order to avoid bacteria and the potential risk of a food-borne illness.

Can Oatmeal be reheated?

The oatmeal can easily be rehydrated, heated up and served without a very noticeable difference. The consistency can be adjusted with more liquid, and the texture will resemble oats that have been well cooked.

How can you reheat oats the next day? Start by leaving the oatmeal at room temperature for about an hour so that it gradually rises in temperature.

Add a splash of liquid so that the oatmeal is slightly more wet than normal. Reheat the oatmeal in the microwave, oven or on the stovetop until piping hot.

Stir well to make sure that the inside of the oatmeal is hot. Add a touch more liquid if desired, and then the oatmeal should be ready to eat.

How To Store Overnight Oats

This glass jar with lid is perfect for every overnight oats recipe. It is so easy to eat from, the size is great and the lid makes it easy to transport.

Once oats have been mixed with a liquid, they are vulnerable to bacteria growth and risk harboring a food-borne illness. As a result, it’s best to store overnight oats in the fridge.

The recommended storage container is a bowl with a lid or an overnight oats jar. This locks in the freshness by forming an airtight seal.

Is it necessary to refrigerate overnight oats? Yes, it is absolutely necessary to refrigerate overnight oats while soaking in liquid. Once everything has been mixed together, seal your jar and place into the fridge.

After the oats have fully soaked for 12 to 16 hours, they dilute the anti-nutrient phytic acid. This helps to aid digestion so that the body can absorb the benefits of oats.

How long do overnight oats last? Overnight oats do not need to be eaten right away the next morning. Overnight oats are good for 3 to 5 days after mixing.

Factors like the choice of liquid, sauce and toppings all have an influence on the consistency, freshness and taste of the final product. Simply Oatmeal features a variety of delicious overnight oats recipes for you to try!

Sharing is caring!


Sunday 5th of March 2023

Is there a difference in how you store sprouted oats?


Sunday 5th of March 2023

In the fridge, sprouted oats will last between 3 to 5 days. Out of the fridge, the oats continue sprouting and may either overgrow or wither away.

John Parog

Tuesday 1st of November 2022

Can rolled oats be stored in a vacuum sealed bag with an oxygen absorber and put in a pest prof container, if so how long will they last.


Tuesday 1st of November 2022

Yes, rolled oats can be vacuum sealed with an oxygen absorber. They should last 1 to 2 years without any issues, and may even last much longer than that when stored in a cool, dry and dark storage area. Just to be safe, look for any signs of spoilage before consuming.


Saturday 22nd of October 2022

Hi, just wondering if you have any info on storing unstabilised steel cut oats long-term please? Do you think vacuum packing with an oxygen absorber would work? And if so how long would they last for?

Thanks in advance!! Terri


Sunday 23rd of October 2022

Steel cut oats are unstabilized because they are cut, not steamed and rolled. When stored in a cool, dark and dry area, there are numerous reports of steel cut oats lasting more than 30 years when the seal is left intact. If you have opened an original container, then vacuum seal with an oxygen absorber works well.

Claudia Vess

Monday 25th of April 2022

Thanks, useful. Question: What is happening when the oatmeal/ other small grain such as rice, clings to the side of the storage container in a webby/ wispy manner. No evidence of moths. I'm not finding a description or picture of this and am curious as to the pest/ phenomenon causing it.


Monday 25th of April 2022

Thank you! To address your question, there are few things that I think are happening. The starches get wet from a bit of moisture in the air because the container are never truly airtight. There are also yeast spores living on the surface of all grains, therefore the moisture activates living organisms that multiply and replicate. Furthermore, there could be microscopic insects like mites that create a webs. I would throw away the top layer and would believe the bottom layer of the container should be fine after being cooked. Hope this helps.