How To Sweeten Oatmeal Without Sugar [25 Healthy Ways]

Never Get Bored Of Oatmeal With These Sweetener Tips

Oatmeal is a delicious and health breakfast option full of heart-healthy fiber and antioxidants. They are one of the most budget-friendly breakfast options making it perfect for everyday.

Plain oatmeal is quite bland and so is eating the same combination of flavors daily. Store bought packaged oatmeal varieties are full of processed sugars.

The best option is to make your own low-sugar oatmeal at home. Below I’ll go over how to sweeten oatmeal without sugar by giving you the best healthy ways.

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bowl of oatmeal sweetened with fresh berries

Healthy Ways To Sweeten Oatmeal

If you’re looking for ways to make oatmeal taste better without sugar, then my top suggestion is to chop up your favorite fruit like apples or dates and add it into the oatmeal before cooking. Sprinkle in spices like cinnamon or nutmeg and then cook it.

Here are other ways to sweeten oatmeal without sugar:

  1. Bananas
  2. Berries
  3. Unsweetened Applesauce
  4. Mango Chunks
  5. Chopped Dates
  6. Fresh and Dried Coconut
  7. Nut Butters
  8. Seed Butters
  9. Unsweetened Almond Milk
  10. Unsweetened Soy Milk
  11. Maple Syrup
  12. Agave Nectar
  13. Coconut Nectar
  14. Sorghum Syrup
  15. Date Syrup
  16. Barley Malt Syrup
  17. Yacon Syrup
  18. Cinnamon
  19. Nutmeg
  20. Vanilla Extract
  21. Peppermint Extract
  22. Xylitol
  23. Erythritol
  24. Stevia
  25. Plant-based protein powders

Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast on its own but it can oftentimes taste bland. It’s full of fiber and will keep you feeling full for a while which makes it an inexpensive breakfast choice.

Oatmeal was also one of the top vegan foods I ate that increased my milk supply when I was nursing my son.

In order to make oatmeal less boring, I recommend adding in mix-ins before and after cooking.

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You can use any fruit you want in oatmeal. From the traditional banana to the exotic dragonfruit, they all taste good in oats. You can use frozen, fresh, or dried as long as additional sugar wasn’t added.

To extract the maximum sweetness, chop the fruit into smaller pieces. This increases the surface area of the fruit that is contact with the oats so it’ll taste sweeter.

Nut & Seed Butters

Make sure you choose the varieties without any added sugars. Nut and seed butters give oatmeal a savory taste that works well when paired with fruit.

Some delicious plant-based butter options are peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, and sunflower seed butter. You’ll get some additional protein with these butters too.

Dairy-Free Plant Milks

Plant milk like almond milk, soy milk, and cashew milk are great for cooking your oatmeal. Instead of using bland water, cook your oats in an unsweetened version of your favorite plant-based milk.

You’ll end up with a creamier tasting oatmeal which will make you crave less sweetener.

Syrups & Nectars

Adding a plant-based syrup or nectar is the closest thing to adding plain sugar to your oatmeal as you can get. The difference is that many of these sweeteners aren’t as refined and won’t spike your blood sugar levels.

My favorites are maple syrup and agave nectar. You probably already have them in your pantry and a little goes a long way.


Spice up your oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for a fall-inspired breakfast. Spices also pair well with most fruits and syrups.

The combinations are endless when you start mixing and matching. You can make a cinnamon apple maple syrup oatmeal bowl one day and cinnamon pear agave nectar the next.


A little goes a long way with cooking extracts. My favorites to use are vanilla or peppermint extract.

You only need one small drop to flavor the entire bowl of oatmeal and extracts pair well with other sweet toppings.

Artificial Sweeteners

If you really want a sweet taste but don’t want to add any sugars from fruits, then artificial sweeteners like xylitol, erythritol, and stevia are your best options.

They have only a fraction of the calories of sugar but taste about 70% as sweet. There’s still a lot unknown about the health of artificial sweeteners so make sure you do your own research and ask your doctor.

Protein Powders

Adding a plant-based vegan protein powder to your oatmeal is a great way to make it creamy. You’ll get a large dose of protein and additional fiber.

Many protein powders use artificial sweeteners or added sugars so you’ll want to avoid those altogether, choose an unsweetened version.

How To Sweeten Overnight Oats

Overnight oats use regular oats instead of steel-cut or quick-cooking. Since you’re soaking the oats in the toppings for 12 hours, whatever you use to sweeten soaks into the oats.

Using chopped fruit and vanilla is a great way to sweeten overnight oats. The natural sugar from the fruit has time to permeate into the oats so you need less sweetener overall.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe To Use?

Many artificial sweeteners are bad for you and full of chemicals but there are three that are generally considered the most healthy.

Xylitol, erythritol, and stevia are the three safest artificial sweeteners to use.

  • Xylitol – Xylitol looks and tastes like sugar but has fewer calories. It is a sugar alcohol that doesn’t raise blood sugar levels like regular sugar. Xylitol is naturally found in fruits and vegetables in small amounts so it is considered natural. You typically find this sweetener added to gum since it can help with dental health. One thing to note is that xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs.
  • Erythritol – Erythritol contains only 6% of the calories of sugar but over 70% of the sweetness. This is the best alternative for someone who wants a sweetener that tastes the closest to sugar.
  • Stevia – Stevia is a plant whose leaves have a sweetened taste. Unfortunately, most of the stevia sweeteners in grocery stores are a derivative that doesn’t contain whole stevia leaf at all. They’re usually a blend of a few different sweeteners.

How To Use Protein Powder As A Sweetener

If you want to increase your oatmeal’s protein amounts and sweeten it in the process, then I suggest adding protein powder to your oatmeal.

The biggest consideration when choosing a protein powder is to make sure it’s vegan. Whey, casein, milk, and eggs are in many commercial protein powders.

Casein and whey are derived from milk and egg protein unsurprisingly comes from eggs. Instead, opt for protein powders that use plant-based sources for their protein.

Vegan protein powder sources include:

  • Pea
  • Hemp Seed
  • Soy
  • Brown Rice
  • Pumpkin Seed
  • Chia Seed
  • Sunflower Seed

Adding vegan-friendly protein powder to your oatmeal adds additional fiber and protein, making your morning bowl of oats even healthier.

One thing to watch out for in protein powder is the sweeteners; sometimes they’re artificial or a source of added sugar.

My favorite vegan protein powder is Sunwarrior vanilla. It’s so creamy when blended into foods you’ll hardly notice it. I stick with the vanilla flavor since it’s the most versatile. If I want a chocolate flavor, I’ll add a little cocoa powder.

Can vegans use honey as a sweetener?

In the strictest sense, no, honey isn’t vegan; but there is some debate amongst vegans.

Some vegans argue that since honey doesn’t kill the bees to harvest it, it’s fine to consume. Other’s argue that any prouduct that comes from an animal is not vegan.

Bees make honey to feed their own hive. When humans harvest it, the bees are often given sub-par sugar water to feed off of instead. This can make the bees weak and susceptible to disease.

There are also some beekeepers who let their hives die off every year instead of taking care of them during the non-honey producing months.

Ultimately, choosing to eat honey is a personal choice only you can answer.


Finding healthy ways to sweeten your oatmeal can keep your breakfast choices fresh and exciting. There are tons of vegan options, I only scratch the surface here.

You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you want to use artificial sweeteners or use honey. The great thing is that with so many choices, you can swap them out whenever you get bored.

Let me know what your favorite oatmeal sweetener combination is.

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Stephanie Mantilla

Plant-Based Diet & Vegan Lifestyle Expert

Stephanie is the founder of Plant Prosperous, a plant-based vegan living, and parenting blog. She has been eating a plant-based diet for over 24 years along with a B.S. in Biology & Environmental Science. She also has over 14 years of experience working in the environmental and conservation sectors. Stephanie is currently raising her son on a plant-based diet and hopes to help others who are wanting to do the same. You can read more about her here.

1 thought on “How To Sweeten Oatmeal Without Sugar [25 Healthy Ways]”

  1. Molasses is good in oatmeal. Blackstrap molasses is a good source of iron. It has to say “blackstrap,” though, or it isn’t.

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