Hot Breakfast Ideas That Require Little Effort (Eat Well, Spend Less)

This month’s Eat Well, Spend Less theme is Back To School!  I’m looking forward to getting back into somewhat of a routine this fall, and in fact, have been putting some effort into getting into a better meal planning groove all summer.

One of the things that’s changed in the past year or two is that a bowl of cereal – or two bowls – no longer fills up my kids.  It’s not uncommon for us to go through a whole box of cereal at breakfast, and we just haven’t gotten great deals on cereal recently.  Plus, my husband gets light-headed if he doesn’t eat something substantial for breakfast, so I’ve been trying to make sure we have some sort of decent breakfast.

Usually, that means making something hot, but I’ve learned that “hot breakfast” doesn’t mean cooking for 30 minutes every morning.  Here are four hot breakfast ideas that require very little effort in the morning.

Homemade Muffins

Image from The Chou Life

When I posted about freezing cooking dough a few weeks ago, a reader commented and said you can do the same thing with muffins!  Since then, I’ve tried it, and it really does work.  Just line your muffin tin with paper liners and make your muffin batter as usual.  Fill the liners with a normal amount of batter and place the muffin tin in the freezer.  Once they’re fully frozen, take them out of the tin and put them in a freezer bag until ready to use.

When you want fresh muffins, pull out the frozen muffins and place them in a tin; then bake for just a few minutes longer than the original recipe.  You can have hot muffins in 15 actual minutes or less!  Here’s a good blueberry muffin recipe from Abby (who writes the What To Make With What’s On Sale posts each week!).

Breakfast Casseroles

A lot of us tend to relegate egg casseroles to special occasions only, but they’re really not that complicated and they’re great for making up the night before.   I like egg casseroles or bakes because they are usually really easy to throw in the oven and then head back to the bathroom to get ready.  Or (if I’m being honest) sometimes back to bed!  :)

I also have a recipe similar to this Wild Rice Cran-Apple Breakfast Casserole that is great for making up the night before.

If your family won’t eat a whole 13×9 casserole, just assemble an 8×8 pan using half of the ingredients, and assemble a second casserole the next day with the rest of the ingredients.

English Muffin Sandwiches

Image from mhaithaca

You can pre-assemble English muffin sandwiches and put them in the freezer to be heated up when needed.  Just spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and put one egg in each muffin tin.  Bake until the egg is cooked through, then put it on a toasted English muffin with some cheese and a slice of sausage, ham, or bacon.  Wrap in foil or paper and freeze, then microwave or warm in the oven when ready to eat.  (If you’re planning ahead, take them out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator the day before so they aren’t completely frozen.)

Steel-Cut Oats

Image from LizMarie_AK

We tried steel-cut oats for the first time a couple of years ago and we love them, so much so that I rarely fix “regular” oats anymore.  I basically follow this recipe from Alton Brown and add in raisins, dried cranberries, peaches, blueberries, or blackberries.

Now, I’ll admit that these take a few minutes to get started, but a good portion of the cooking time is hands-off, so I classify these as “little effort” with a grain of salt, as they do a few minutes to get started and a little while to cook.

However, some people like cooking steel-cut oats in the crockpot overnight which does make it a quick hot breakfast.  I personally tried doing that once and thought they were too mushy, but enough people like it that maybe you will, too. :)

Hot Breakfasts: New and improved, with little effort required!

Though it does take a little more effort than saying “go fix yourself a bowl of cereal”, I’m finding that hot breakfasts don’t have to be that difficult and are so much more filling and nutritious.  I would love to hear your tips for fixing hot breakfasts with little effort!

Be sure to check out the rest of the Eat Well, Spend Less bloggers for more “getting back in the groove after summer” cooking inspiration:


  1. Good ideas, Carrie! I need to start making egg casseroles on a regular basis to give us all a shot of protein in the morning. I never make them the same twice as they seem to be very forgiving with using up bits of this and that (meats, bread cubes or potatoes, peppers or broccoli and cheeses). We do our steel cut oats in the rice cooker. I measure it all out the night before and set the timer on my rice cooker to come on an hour before I think we’ll eat. I don’t find them mushy that way. This is not a hot breakfast but this summer we’ve been having lots of musli/summer oats/soaked oats…whatever you want to call them. I found the idea on Pinterest to make them into individual jar servings, but instead just make a big bowl for our family, mixing together rolled oats, homemade yogurt, milk, berries or diced fruit, brown sugar and sometimes a dash of vanilla. I mix this up the night before, put it in the fridge and just serve it up in the morning.

    • I had no idea you could do that with a rice cooker! I don’t have one but that alone might be a reason to get one. :)

      • You can also preprep your steel cut oats the night before. Bring the water to a boil, turn off and add the oats. Let it cool and put the pan in the refrigerator until morning. The next morning put back on the stove and continue cooking. It only takes about 15 minutes.

  2. If you like steel cut oats for breakfast you should try grinding your own oat groats.

    I put whole oat groats in the blender for about 1 second per cup of groats. Combine it with 3 cups of water per cup of groats and cook stirring occasionally. I cook 4 cups of groats at a time and keep them in a big container in the fridge. To reheat in the microwave you just add a little water, heat them up and stir.

    These oats have more texture since some of the oats are not ground but are creamier than steel cut oats. They have a ton more flavor that regular oats too; we don’t even add sugar. We buy oat groats in 25 or 50 lb bags from the Taste of Life in Monument but I am sure you can get them in Colorado Springs too.

  3. Would you mind sharing an egg casserole recipe please. I would like to make that in the morning.


  4. Here’s my basic breakfast menu:

    Sunday: Oatmeal
    Monday: Eggs and Toast
    Tuesday: French Toast
    Wednesday: Rice, or other hot cereal
    Thursday: Eggs and homefries (haven’t done the homefries in a while, though)
    Friday: Pancakes (it’s baking day, so it’s not inconvenient)
    Saturday: Baked good (muffins, cinnamon rolls, biscuits and gravy, or some such, made on Friday)

    All served with fruit.
    Eggs I usually make scrambled with veggies, but not always.

  5. We are trying to do better with breakfasts too! After eating pretty much only cereal for the past couple of months, I decided to challenge myself to not have cereal as a breakfast option for the month of September. So we’re doing the Think Outside The Box Breakfast Challenge this month, which you can follow along with on my blog.

  6. We LOVE steel cut oats, too. You have to try my overnight recipe in the slow cooker. Not mushy, I promise! ;)

  7. Hi – I found your site Kitchen Stewardship. I love your ideas for a quick, hot breakfast, especially the muffins. I had no idea you can freeze the batter! I shared some ideas for quick breakfasts on my blog this week too –


  8. Frozen pancakes (leftover) or waffles make great breakfast sandwiches! Frozen precooked sausage patties take almost no time to heat up while you toast the pancakes and scramble an egg. Add a piece of cheese and it will hold them all morning long. It wraps up great for the road. Add an orange to round it out!

  9. Here are a few things we do for breakfast with more protein:
    1. Hard boiled eggs, cook one day and make extra which store in the fridge for a few days, then peel, quarter and salt and pepper. Add some fruit on the side.
    2.”Egg in the eye”, not sure how we got this name…but take a piece of bread, cut a hole out of the middle, butter your skillet or frying pan and place bread on the butter, crack an egg in the hole and cook on med heat, add a little butter to the top side of the bread and flip it over to finish cooking, either over easy eggs, or over med. Kids love this, you can also butter and cook the hole and put it over the egg as a “patch”
    3. Omelettes, with a little cheese and whatever is fresh from the garden or in the fridge.
    4. Oat groats, we don’t blend ours, just put 1-2 Cups in a pan with double the amount of water and let soak overnight. In the morning turn on and let cook about 15 min. Add some honey/cinnamon/dried fruit/whatever suits your taste.
    5. And whenever we make waffles or pancakes, we always make extra and freeze in wax paper and pull out and heat up.
    6. Smoothies: with or without yogurt, almond or coconut milk, fresh or frozen fruit, raw local honey, coconut oil, ice. One combo we love is fresh Peanut butter, bananas and a little chocolate.

  10. These are great ideas, I’m stuck in a breakfast rut. I also cook my steel cut oats the night before, like this: Not mushy at all!

  11. I read this post last night and immediately went to the kitchen and started some steel-cut oats. They were so good this morning! We’ll definitely be making them regularly:)

  12. I was given a fuzzy logic rice cooker several years ago and started looking for other ways to use it. Thanks to a great book and the internet, I’ve been successful. So-another way to do steel cut oats is in a rice cooker on the porridge setting. Set the timer to be done when the alarm goes off. Yum!

  13. early bird says:

    I usually make breakfast for the kids (teens), so they eat SOMETHING before dashing out to school. Although I try to include protein, sometimes I don’t manage it.

    Some things we’ve had recently:

    * strawberry/cream cheese crepes
    * breakfast burritos
    * fried eggs
    * croissants w/ nutella
    * grilled cheese
    * bagels (cream cheese)
    * chicken + mashed potatoes
    * omelets
    * egg foo yung
    * oatmeal

    Most are quick to make; I use ready-cooked bacon (either bacon I’ve pre-cooked, or Sam’s Club giant packs of ready-cooked). We rarely have cereal.

    However, I’m fighting fussy eaters: One teen doesn’t like omelets or oatmeal; the other doesn’t like breakfast burritos or yogurt!

    Tomorrow will be bacon + eggs.
    Maybe egg foo yung on Friday.

    I’d really, really like to get more ideas. For example, I think there are some bean dishes that are breakfast foods in some cultures.