Oatmeal is a great PCOS breakfast choice as it’s a nutrient dense complex carb providing a variety of nutrients and fiber. It can be made even more blood sugar and PCOS-friendly by adding protein, healthy fats and more fiber.

First let’s explore which oats are best for PCOS and how to make PCOS-friendly oatmeal. Then I offer you a few different PCOS- friendly oatmeal recipes to try out.

Lastly, if you are a nutrition nerd like me and what to know more about WHY oats are good for PCOS, I explore the health benefits of oatmeal for PCOS.

White bowl of oatmeal garnished with banana, blueberries, cranberries. Two small white bowls of almonds and blueberries in background with a cup of green tea.

Choosing the Right Oatmeal for PCOS

It’s important to select the right type of oatmeal for a PCOS diet and then add more protein, healthy fat and fiber to make it more PCOS friendly.

A few things to consider will be:

  • Glycemic index of the oats and the glycemic load after the addition of more protein, fat and fiber.
  • Glycemic index range: Low 1-55, Moderate 56-69. Recommend to a low to moderate range with foods.
  • Cooking time
  • Where to source
  • Uses for different types of oatmeal

If it’s going to take 45-50 mins to cook your oatmeal, you’re most likely not going to make that for breakfast.

Which oats are good for PCOS?

  • Steel Cut Oats 
    • Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
    • Glycemic Index:  53
    • Easily found in most grocery stores
    • Great for meal prep and can easily be cooked in a slow cooker overnight.
    • Use for hot cereal, grain bowls, soups, salads, added to meatloaf
  • Oat Groats
    • This is the entire whole oat kernel
    • Glycemic index (not been tested but researchers estimate low glycemic index)
    • Harder to source
    • Longest cooking time: 45-60 minutes
    • Great for meal prep and can easily be cooked in a slow cooker overnight.
    • Use for hot cereal or like another whole grain in grain bowls, soups, salads and pilafs
  • Rolled/Old Fashioned Oats
    • Most versatile type of oats
    • Easily found and very inexpensive
    • Cooking time:  2-5 minutes
    • Glycemic Index: 55
    • Great for overnight oats, hot cereal, in muffins and baked goods, energy bites, granola, added to smoothies, meatloaf and meatballs.

Worst oatmeal for PCOS

  • Instant Oats
    • High glycemic index of 79
    • Usually packaged in high sugar packets
    • Quick cooking time
    • Easily found in most grocery stores
    • Glycemic load can be reduce with additional protein, fat and fiber
  • Flavored Oatmeal Packets
    • Most of these packets are full of added sugars
    • Made with instant oats and can spike blood sugar more quickly
    • Quick cooking time & convenient 
    • Easily found in most stores and some fast food restaurants (McDonald’s)

How to make oatmeal PCOS-friendly

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts but you won’t see me eating it plain jane. Oatmeal is a blank canvas to add a whole bunch of PCOS supportive foods to your breakfast.  

The suggestions below will also help balance blood sugars, reduce inflammation and improve gut health.

Remember, oatmeal can be both a sweet or savory dish.


  • Nut butter like peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter
  • Peanut butter powder
  • Milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • Protein powder (whey protein, pea protein, collagen peptides)
  • Soft cooked eggs
  • Turkey or chicken sausage
  • Shredded cheese
  • An “Egg Boost” (whisk egg with liquid, add oats, then microwave)
  • Yogurt- greek or regular, dairy or non-dairy, garnish oatmeal with yogurt on top
  • Cottage cheese (No joke! Mix into oatmeal for a super creamy boost!)

Healthy Fats:

  • Nuts like walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, ect
  • Shredded coconut
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds


  • Chopped apple
  • Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Cherries (fresh or frozen)
  • Peaches (fresh, frozen or canned in juice)

Flavor and Nutrient Boosts:

  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cardamom
  • Citrus zest
  • Chopped Scallions (in savory oats with cheddar cheese and turkey sausage. Yum!)
  • Real Maple syrup
  • Honey

Other tips for incorporating oats:

  • Start with ⅓-½ cup of uncooked rolled oats per serving and then adjust based on hunger
  • Utilize a slow cooker or pressure cooker for oats that needs a long cooking time. I.e. whole groats and steel cut oats
  • Consider cooking a large batch of oats in the beginning of the week and then microwaving portions each day.
  • Baked oatmeals are another great way to add oatmeals into your routine
  • Use rolled oats to make energy bites each week
  • Make oat flour by processing rolled oats in a food processor or high power blender until powder. 

PCOS-Friendly Oatmeal Recipes:

Why is nutrition so important for PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is the most common endocrine and metabolic disorder in women of reproductive age. 

While there currently isn’t a cure, we do know that nutrition and lifestyle are critical in managing the condition’s symptoms and preventing chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. 

The underlying drivers of the hormonal imbalances in PCOS are insulin resistance, inflammation and the gut microbiome. 

Not all individuals with PCOS are insulin resistant but research estimates an 35-80% prevalence (1). So diet is key in managing insulin resistance so symptoms don’t get worse.

Women with PCOS have been shown to have chronic low grade inflammation and higher levels of an inflammatory marker called C-Reactive protein (CRP), independent of obesity (2).

Research in the gut microbiome in PCOS is emerging and shows an imbalance of bad bacteria to good bacteria which is associated with the development of insulin resistance, hyperandrogenism, chronic inflammations and metabolic syndrome (3). 

Luckily, we can address all these issues with an anti-inflammatory, high fiber and low glycemic index diet and oatmeal is definitely a part of that. 

The Nutritional Value of Oatmeal

While oats are a source of complex carbohydrates they are a great nutrient dense addition to your diet. 

It’s important to remember that diet quality is just as important than quantity when you have PCOS.  

Oatmeal provides:

  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Thiamine
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Antioxidants like avenanthramide
  • Soluble fiber in the form of Beta-glucan. 

Beta-glucan is really important as research shows this type of soluble fiber plays a role in improving insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension and obesity (4).

Each ½ cup of dry rolled oats also provides:

  • 4 grams fiber
  • 6.5 grams protein
  • Medium glycemic load

Oatmeal and Blood Sugar Management

Oatmeal is beneficial for PCOS in that it can help with stabilizing blood sugars. The fiber found in oatmeal helps slow down the digestion of the carbohydrate, helping to prevent spikes in blood sugar.

When oats are paired with protein, fat and more fiber at meals, oatmeal becomes a perfectly balanced PCOS meal.

Research shows that oatmeal has a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels and insulin levels after the meal (5). 

Oatmeal’s Role in Weight Management

Women with PCOS are usually at risk for weight gain and have difficulty losing weight, due to insulin resistance. 

Oatmeal can help improve insulin resistance and post meals blood sugars, so it may help promote weight loss.

Another important tool in weight management is fiber. As previously discussed oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, specifically beta-glucan. 

Research shows that both short-term and long-term intake of whole grain oats improve blood sugar levels, lipids (fat in the blood) and reduces weight (6). 

Fiber and Hormone Balance

The role that fiber has in hormone balance in PCOS is critical. Insulin is a growth hormone and improving insulin sensitivity is key to balance sex hormones and helping promote weight loss in PCOS.

If insulin levels are high in PCOS, then the ovaries will secrete excess testosterone, which drives a lot of the PCOS symptoms. 

The PCOS symptoms you are experiencing can be improved by decreasing insulin resistance and inflammation and improving gut health, all with the addition of more fiber to the diet. 

Potential Concerns and Allergies:

While following a gluten free diet for PCOS is not necessary, some individuals do have a sensitivity for gluten or follow a low-fodmap diet that restricts gluten.

Oats are a gluten free grain, however, the processing of the grain usually results in contamination with gluten. 

So if you need to follow a gluten free diet, then look for oats that specify gluten free. 

Oatmeal alternatives for PCOS:

I love oats for breakfast but you don’t need to limit yourself to oats for hot cereal.

Try some of these other delicious, PCOS-friendly whole grains for breakfast:

  • Quinoa
  • Farro
  • Corn Grits
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Amaranth


Is oatmeal good for PCOS?

Yes, oatmeal is good for PCOS. Remember to choose rolled/old fashioned, steel cut or whole groats then add more protein, healthy fats and fiber to help balance blood sugar.

Are instant oats good for PCOS?

Instant oats would not be the recommended choice for PCOS as they have a higher glycemic index and are usually in packets with extra sugar.

You can add more protein, healthy fats and fiber to a bowl of instant oats to make them better for PCOS. 

Are quaker oats good for PCOS?

Yes, Quaker Rolled oats/Old Fashioned oats are good for PCOS. But you still want to add extra protein, healthy fats and fiber to make them more PCOS-friendly.

Are oats good for PCOS weight loss?

Oats are good for PCOS weight loss as they are a high fiber and easy to make. It’s important to still add protein, healthy fats and more fiber to help balance blood sugar and hormone levels. 

Is oat milk good for PCOS?

Yes, oat milk is good for PCOS. However, it does have less protein and a few more carbs per serving than regular cow’s milk. It’s important to combine the oat milk with protein, healthy fats and fiber, just like any other type of carbohydrate. Oat milk is very good in these PCOS Overnight Oats.

Ready to take action?

Grab my FREE PCOS Breakfast Recipe Ebook here!

Try out these PCOS Overnight Oats- 4 Different Ways.

Need help figuring out what to eat each week? Join the PCOS Meal Prep Membership.

Try out my FREE 5-Day PCOS Meal Makeover Challenge!