Microwaveable Tart Cherry Oatmeal Recipe

Ready in 2 minutes flat, this microwaveable tart cherry oatmeal recipe is delicious and healthy, packing a big antioxidant punch. And it may even improve your sleep! Thank you to the Cherry Marketing Institute for sponsoring this post.

tart cherry oatmeal

As part of my partnership with the Cherry Marketing Institute, this month they tasked me with something little different: their Tart Cherry Juice Sleep Challenge! For 14 days, I was to drink one serving of tart cherry juice (8 ounces/1 cup) or tart cherry juice concentrate (2 tablespoons) in the morning and another in the evening to find out if it helped me sleep better. Interesting, right? I was curious to see if it made a difference!


Why would tart cherry juice help me to sleep, you ask? Well, tart cherries are actually one of the few natural sources of melatonin, which is responsible for regulation of the body’s internal clock and sleep-wake cycle. Research has shown that tart cherry juice may help improve the duration of sleep, reduce the severity of insomnia, and increase overall sleep quality (time asleep vs. time in bed). You can read more about the research findings over on the tart cherry website.

As we all know, sleep is extremely important for recovery from workouts and for overall health. In fact, sleep disturbance is considered an important risk factor for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems. Did you know that Americans spend more than $84 million on over-the-counter sleep aids each year? Yikes.

As a dietitian, I know that sleep is also necessary in our attempts to eat healthy. Lack of sleep upregulates a hormone called ghrelin that makes us hungry, which is why it often seems like we are ravenous (and usually ravenous for sugar) if we are overtired.

Bottom line – I’m fully on board for any way we can naturally improve the quality/duration of our sleep. For this challenge, in the evenings I usually drank the tart cherry juice (or concentrate mixed with a little water) straight; Matt and I also discovered it’s really good mixed with our fave ginger kombucha. As for my morning tart cherry juice consumption, I usually got a little more creative. I threw it into post-run recovery smoothies some days, and also discovered that it’s really delicious in oatmeal.

tart cherry oatmeal step 1

It gives the oatmeal a really nice tart, juicy flavor – and a cool reddish purple color, too. Fun!

tart cherry oatmeal 2

My readers who don’t like bananas will especially enjoy this oatmeal recipe, as it’s banana free unlike all my other oatmeal recipes. Dairy free, too, and made in the microwave so it’s ready in 2 minutes flat! Feel free to get creative with the toppings as well.

tart cherry oatmeal ingredients

Before I share the recipe, back to the challenge. The big question: did I see any results?

Actually, yes, I did! I went into this challenge super skeptical, but low and behold, I actually found that I started falling asleep noticeably faster after a couple days of the tart cherry juice. I don’t normally take long to fall asleep, but I felt like it was suddenly happening the second I hit my pillow! In terms of whether I saw a difference in sleep quality/how often I woke up, I would need to try this challenge without a cat. ;) So no comment there, thanks to my fluffy early morning alarm clock! I wonder if cats can drink tart cherry juice… (kidding).

Bottom line: you have nothing to lose by adding some tart cherry juice to your routine. In addition to potentially helping with your sleep, it also packs some great antioxidants and inflammation-busting anthocyanins, which help with recovery from workouts. And it’s delicious, too. So – eat/drink up! Starting with this recipe. Enjoy!

Serves ABOUT1 SERVING     adjust servings

Microwaveable Tart Cherry Oatmeal

Prep Time
Cook Time 2 MINUTES Cook Time
Total Time 2 mins Total Time


  • 1/2 cup old fashioned/rolled oats
  • 1 cup tart cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • optional: nuts/seeds, dried tart cherries, shredded coconut for topping


  1. Combine the oatmeal, tart cherry juice, ground flaxseed, and maple syrup in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave for 2 minutes, until the oats are cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Top with nuts or seeds, dried tart cherries, and/or shredded coconut before serving, if desired.


tart cherry oatmeal 7

Looking for more tart cherry goodness? Check out my Tart Cherry Pie Snack Balls and Tart Cherry Kale and Feta Stuffed Chicken.


  1. 1

    Ohh I love cherries! And making oatmeal for breakfast after a morning workout!

  2. 2

    I love colorful foods and think this would make me excited to get out of bed in the morning. Very cool to know that you saw some differences in how fast you fell asleep!

  3. 3

    I’ve been really liking tart cherries lately so this would be good to try. Thanks for sharing!

  4. 4

    I’ve been wanting to try out tart cherry juice for recovery…. and I need to change up my oatmeal so perfect timing with this recipe for me! That’s interesting about the sleep, I normally fall asleep pretty easily but transitioning back from west coast time has been a pain, wish I would’ve tried this!

  5. 5

    This is interesting, as my husband and I both have trouble falling asleep. Do you have any insight into the rationale as to having it in the morning too, as opposed to just before bed? Thanks!

    • 6

      I’m assuming the rationale was just so that you weren’t having tons of liquid right before bedtime, but I’ll ask and let you know if that’s not the case!

  6. 7

    I wonder how my 15 month old would like tart cherry juice?! I personally have no issues falling asleep because I’m always so exhausted come bed time but staying asleep is the challenge; bless his cute little heart :)

  7. 8

    Let me know if you test it out on Zara… my kitty needs some sleep meds.

  8. 9

    I have heard so many wonderful things about tart cherries. Your recipe looks delicious!

  9. 10

    that looks and sounds SO delicious, thanks for sharing!! I LOVE tart cherries, but can only find them at WF. I just picked them up, to make my granola bars and your energy balls :))

    • 11

      Yum! Enjoy the recipes! :)

    • 12

      tart cherries in many forms are available on my website and quite a few others in Traverse City, MI. We are the world’s leading producer of tart cherries. I’m posting this to make people aware, not as a sales pitch. Go cherries!

  10. 13

    When I saw the picture with all the ingredients, my first thought was – “A brilliant way to use the packet maple syrup!” Haha! :)

  11. 15

    I feel like this would taste like cherry pie! But a healthy version :)

  12. 17

    Really liked this post. Yay for experiments! I wanna try it now. I always have trouble falling asleep (likely thanks to pinterest:))

  13. 18

    Most dietitian/health recommendations say to not have more than one 8 oz serving a juice a day. This recommends having two servings a day to see the benefits. What are your thoughts on consuming more than one glass of juice each day?

    • 19

      I would just consider dialing back the other fruit/fruit juice you’re having – or just do one serving of it per day! Since stopping the challenge I’ve just been doing 1 serving per day of the tart cherry juice — I don’t like drinking all my calories. :)

  14. 20
    Virginia says

    I’ve enjoyed using two tablespoons tart cherry concentrate in the evening for many years. It is too sweet for me by itself, so I mix it in a smoothie with other ingredients that mellow out the overly sweetness. I experience sleeping more deeply, having more vivid dreams with brighter colors (whatever that means…don’t know…but seems like it means something beneficial is happening somewhere deep within) and sleep longer, since I don’t presently have any early morning furry cat or dog alarm clocks! The tart cherry also diminishes the pain and stiffness from my degenerative osteoarthritis. I also found it extremely effective in recovering better after exercise (I know there are many studies about this.). I think it is wonderful that something so simple and easy to use is so beneficial for us on so many levels…very high in anti-oxidants, orac value, etc., and excellent remedy for gout, if you know anyone who has it.

  15. 22

    Is Zara still waking you up at 4:30 every morning? I hope that has improved!

  16. 24
    Roadrunner says

    Wonderful post. Will try it!

  17. 25

    The oatmeal recipes look fantastic! I can’t wait to try the tart cherry oatmeal.

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