What is a good protein to eat with oatmeal?

Oatmeal is a classic breakfast food that is nutritious, filling, and easy to make. It’s a great source of fiber and complex carbohydrates that can help start your day off right. However, oatmeal on its own is not a complete breakfast. Adding a protein source can help round out the meal and keep you feeling satisfied until lunchtime.


Eggs are one of the most popular proteins to pair with oatmeal. They are affordable, versatile, and packed with nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. There are several easy ways to incorporate eggs into an oatmeal breakfast:

  • Cook scrambled eggs and place on top of oatmeal
  • Make hard boiled eggs and slice on top of oatmeal
  • Stir in a runny fried egg into oatmeal
  • Add a poached egg on top

Eggs provide 6 grams of protein per egg, as well as vitamins like A, D, B12 and minerals like selenium and phosphorus. The healthy fats in eggs will also help you stay satisfied until lunchtime.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is thick, creamy and packed with protein, making it an ideal topping for oatmeal. Plain Greek yogurt has around 17 grams of protein per 6 ounce serving. That’s 3 times as much as traditional yogurt!

Stirring a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt into your oatmeal boosts the protein content substantially. You can also top your bowl with dollops of yogurt. For added nutrition and flavor, mix in fresh fruit, nuts, seeds or a drizzle of honey.

Nuts and Nut Butters

Nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans not only add crunch and flavor to oatmeal, they also provide a hefty dose of plant-based protein. Just a 1 ounce serving (about 23 almonds) packs 6 grams of protein.

Nut butters like peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter are another easy way to add plant-based protein to your oatmeal. They are rich, creamy and protein-packed. Try swirling in a spoonful of nut butter into your oatmeal for a satisfying 7-8 grams of protein per tablespoon.

Chia Seeds

Tiny but mighty chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, providing protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients. Just 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 4 grams of protein.

Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor that makes them perfect for stirring into oatmeal. They add a pop of texture and nutrition. Let them soak for 5-10 minutes to allow the seeds to plump up in the oatmeal.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts, are another great way to add plant-based protein to oatmeal. Three tablespoons provides 10 grams of complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids.

Hemp seeds have a soft, creamy texture similar to pine nuts. Sprinkle them over your oatmeal for a nutritious crunch. Add berries or sliced banana for extra flavor and sweetness.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a quick, easy protein that pairs perfectly with sweet oatmeal. It has a mild flavor and creamy texture that complements the oats.

A 1/2 cup serving provides 13 grams of casein protein, which digests slowly to keep you feeling fuller longer. Stir dollops of cottage cheese into warm oatmeal and top with fruit, cinnamon, honey or nuts.

Protein Powder

Adding a scoop of protein powder is one of the simplest ways to increase the protein in your oatmeal. Whey and plant-based protein powders like pea, hemp and brown rice can all blend seamlessly into oats.

Choose an unflavored or vanilla-flavored powder and add to oatmeal after cooking. Top your high-protein bowl with your favorite fruits, nuts, seeds or other mix-ins. Nearly all protein powders provide around 20 grams of protein per scoop.


Quinoa is a nutritious whole grain that is also a complete protein source, meaning it contains all essential amino acids. Cooked quinoa can be stirred into oatmeal to add an extra 8 grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving.

Make sure to rinse quinoa before cooking to remove the bitter coating. Combine milk or water and quinoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until fluffy. Stir into oatmeal once cooked and enjoy!

Lean Meat

Lean cuts of meat can be sautéed, roasted or grilled and served on top of oatmeal for a hearty, savory protein boost. Good choices include:

  • Turkey bacon or breakfast sausage
  • Deli ham
  • Scrambled egg whites
  • Sliced chicken breast
  • Pork tenderloin

Aim for about 3 ounces of lean meat, which provides around 20 grams of protein. Cook meat beforehand and reheat on top of oatmeal, or cook it right in the same saucepan after oatmeal is done.

Canned Fish

Canned fish like tuna, salmon or sardines are excellent sources of lean protein to pair with oatmeal. Drain and mix the fish into warm oatmeal, or serve on top. Three ounces (about 1/2 can) provides around 22 grams of protein.

Look for canned fish packed in water to limit sodium content. Add spices and aromatics like black pepper, lemon juice, hot sauce or fresh dill to boost flavor.


Edamame, or cooked soybeans, contain 11 grams protein per half cup. They also provide folate, iron, and vitamin K.

For oatmeal, look for shelled edamame which has been precooked and frozen for easy prep. Thaw edamame in the refrigerator overnight and add to oatmeal before cooking, or stir into cooked oatmeal just until warmed through.


Milk is not just for kids! Adding dairy milk to oatmeal provides a good dose of protein to help balance the carbs. One cup of 2% milk has 8 grams of protein.

Stir milk into oatmeal while cooking, or drizzle over your finished bowl. The natural sweetness pairs perfectly with the hearty grains. For lactose-free options, try unsweetened soy, almond or oat milk.


Tofu is made from soybeans and is another excellent plant-based protein for oatmeal. Half a cup of firm or extra firm tofu contains about 10 grams of protein.

For best flavor and texture, crumble firm tofu into bite-size pieces and cook until lightly browned before adding to oatmeal. Add spices like turmeric or curry powder for flavor. Top with sliced scallions, chili oil or soy sauce.

Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a fresh, soft cheese curd product that is naturally high in protein. A half-cup (113 grams) serving of low-fat (1% milk fat) cottage cheese provides 12.5 grams of protein (1).

The mild flavor and creamy texture of cottage cheese pairs well mixed into oatmeal. You can also dollop it on top of cooked oatmeal and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has a thick, creamy texture and provides more protein than regular yogurt. A 6-ounce (170 gram) container of nonfat plain Greek yogurt contains 17 grams of protein (2).

Stir it into oatmeal while cooking, or top your bowl with a dollop of Greek yogurt, fruit and nuts.

Peanut or Nut Butter

Nut butters like peanut, almond and cashew butter deliver plant-based protein in a rich, creamy package. Two tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter provides 7 grams of protein (3).

Swirl nut butter into your oatmeal for added richness and protein impact. The nutty flavor also complements the oats nicely.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that are loaded with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, antioxidants and protein. Two tablespoons (28 grams) contain 4 grams of protein (4).

Sprinkle chia seeds onto your oatmeal or stir them in after cooking. Let the seeds soak for 5–10 minutes to soften before eating.

Hemp Seeds

In addition to being a great plant-based protein source, hemp seeds add healthy fats and minerals to oatmeal. Three tablespoons (30 grams) provide 10 grams of protein (5).

Add toasted hemp seeds to oatmeal or blend them into the oats for a creamy, protein-packed bowl.

Protein Powder

Whey, egg, pea and other protein powders can turn your oatmeal into a high protein breakfast. Adding 1 scoop, or about 25 grams of powder, provides 20–25 grams of protein.

Stir any flavored or plain protein powder into your oats after cooking. Top with fruit, nuts or seeds for extra nutrition.


Quinoa is a whole grain that provides 8 grams of protein per cooked 1/2 cup (92 grams). It has a slightly nutty flavor and fluffy texture (6).

Cook quinoa according to package directions, then stir it into your oatmeal along with milk, spices, fruit or nuts.

Lean Meat

Cook lean protein like poultry, eggs, fish or steak to pair with your oatmeal. Three ounces (85 grams) of cooked chicken breast has 27 grams of protein (7).

Add cooked meat to oatmeal or serve it on the side to balance the carbs and protein in your meal.

Canned Fish

Canned tuna and salmon are easy proteins to mix into oatmeal or serve on top. Half a can (1.5 ounces or 43 grams) provides about 13 grams of protein (8).

Drain and mix the fish into warm oatmeal along with salt and pepper or hot sauce for flavor.

Dairy Milk

One cup (244 grams) of 2% dairy milk contains 8 grams of protein. The natural sweetness pairs well with oatmeal (9).

Stir it into your oats while cooking or drizzle over your finished bowl of oatmeal. For plant-based options, try unsweetened soy or almond milk.


Tofu is made from soybeans and provides about 10 grams of protein for a half-cup (126-gram) serving of firm tofu (10).

For the best flavor and texture, crumble firm tofu and cook until lightly browned. Then stir it into your oatmeal along with spices.

The Bottom Line

There are many protein options to pair with oatmeal that will make it a much more balanced and satisfying breakfast. Good choices include eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, nut butters, protein powder, cottage cheese, milk and meat.

Aim for 20-30 grams of protein in your oatmeal breakfast to promote fullness and blood sugar control that lasts through the morning.

Adding protein turns oatmeal into a complete, nutrient-packed breakfast that will give you sustainable energy and keep hunger at bay.

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