Contessa Sunshine Oatmeal

Nothing compares to the scent of cinnamon, orange zest, and almond extract in the morning. And oatmeal creates the perfect blank canvass to paint those warm sunshine flavor pictures. Substitute the most tropical flavored milks–coconut milk, and you have one of the best tasting versions of otherwise boring oatmeal you’ve ever tasted. This is my favorite way to prepare and share it with friends. The creamy cozy comfort of this breakfast treat is beyond beautifully balanced and flavored.

I make my own coconut milk, so, it doesn’t have all the thickeners found in canned milk. You can simply dilute the amount called for in this recipe with half coconut milk and half water, or use a lite coconut milk.


1 1/2 to 2 cups of Coconut Milk (Reserve an equal amount of water in case you choose to dilute the coconut milk.)
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Almond Extract
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 Teaspoon Orange Zest
3/4 Cup of Rolled Oatmeal (Not Instant)
A  Pinch of Salt
Honey or Evaporated Cane Juice/Sugar to sweeten to your taste


In a sauce pan pour 1 1/2 cups of the coconut milk reserving the remaining half cup if you would like to give the oatmeal a thinner consistency. Also, as I said above, I make my own coconut milk so it is not as thick as those found in the can. You can dilute the amount of coconut milk with equal parts water before adding to the pan.

Add the salt,  bay leaf, nutmeg, cinnamon, and orange zest and let simmer for about ten minutes to extract as much of the flavor from the spices. If you are going to use sugar as your sweetener this will be a good time to add it so that it can dissolve during the cooking.

Toss in the rolled oats and simmer until it reaches your desired tenderness and consistency, stirring frequently.

Add Vanilla and Almond Extracts and stir to incorporate.

You  can also drizzle some honey over it to sweeten instead of sugar, if you prefer.



6 thoughts on “Contessa Sunshine Oatmeal

  1. Hi Contessa,

    Wondering if you use instant or steel cut oats in this recipe. I only cook with steel cut oats and am concerned the coconut milk won’t last the full 30 – 45 minute cooking time. Assume I could add water or more coconut milk (I buy lite) if the liquid starts to dry up.

    Love all of your recipes and try to make as many as ingredients will allow living in New Mexico.


    1. Anne, THANK YOU for this question. I can’t believe I didn’t list the oatmeal. I use the rolled oatmeal (Bob’s Red Mill is my favorite) not the instant. If you are going to use the steel cut then definitely modify the amount of water you use. Please let me know how it turned out for you! It is my favorite way to make oatmeal. :)

  2. Hello, I was born and raised in St. Croix, and ate the most delicious crucian foods. I would like to make a comment on the Benye. It is definitely not the way the crucians make it. It is more like a New Orleans Benye. Thought you should know that.

    1. Hello Kim and Fellow Crucian! Thank you for your comment. I agree the Benye recipe is definitely more akin to the Southern European/New Orleans style of beignets. I too was born and raised and still live here on this amazing Rock, so I understand the love of all things Crucian. As I described in the recipe, “My version does not shine the spotlight on banana as the prominent flavor, as the traditional recipe does. Instead, the banana is simply part of a greater ensemble cast that includes vanilla, nutmeg, of-course-coconut, and a variety of other spices!” I always indicate in all the recipes whether it is a traditional version of a recipe or my/Contessa version of a traditional recipe. If you made this beignet, I would love to hear how it turned out for you! And I hope you enjoy all the recipes. It is a labor of love, and I’m glad you took the time out to share your thoughts! :)

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