There's nothing like a nice bowl of oatmeal for a hearty breakfast, especially when on the go. Growing up, I ate a lot of oatmeal, it's one of my favorite breakfast foods. Even though it's both filling and healthy, oatmeal can start to feel old at times. Thankfully there are plenty of ways to play it up to enhance the flavor, but there are also alternative recipes, similar to oatmeal, that are just as satisfying. Personally, I grew up with Dominican variations and alternatives to oatmeal. So if you're looking for a little Hispanic flair to spice up your morning, here are 4 Dominican alternatives to oatmeal.


Avena is the closest to your average oatmeal, but taken to another level. Made from oats and milk, just like your everyday oatmeal, what makes avena different is that you use more liquid to make it a drink instead of a porridge (although some families will refer to regular oatmeal as avena as well). Quick and easy, you can just pour it in a travel mug if you're on the go. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar elevate avena's flavor. It's important to note that avena is beloved among Hispanic cultures, and there may be variations of recipes. Check out this recipe for some yummy avena caliente ala Dominicana.

#SpoonTip: Avena works for all kinds of diets and flavor palates. If you want a thicker avena, use evaporation milk instead. If you want a lighter avena, use skim milk. You can also use almond milk if you're lactose intolerant or vegan. No matter what milk you use, you WILL be satisfied.

Crema de Maizena

Crema de maizena, commonly referred to as simply, Maizena, is not Dominican-specific, as it is common among Puerto Ricans and has its own variations in other countries such as Colombia. Nevertheless, I grew up with it, I love it, and you will too. Maizena is more of a custard, but it is a breakfast food and is great for those days you want to indulge yourself. Its main ingredients are milk and cornstarch, and is elevated by cinnamon, sugar, and sometimes vanilla. Maizena is great for cold, rainy days and very filling. Check out this standard recipe. There is also a Dominican recipe for maizena inspired dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth.

#SpoonTip: Almond milk is a substitute that may even enhance the flavor of this dish. You can also find maizena mix at grocery stores or Amazon.


Another dish that does not solely belong to the Dominican Republic, farina is essentially cream of wheat. Can you guess the ingredients? Milk, cream of wheat mix, nutmeg, sugar, and cinnamon. All these dishes follow a very similar pattern. Interestingly, there is a recipe in the Dominican Republic that is called Harina del Negrito and it has the same ingredients but includes vanilla extract and butter, making it thick and heavy dish. Not exactly health-concious or vegan friendly, but worth a try if you don't have such dietary restrictions (but you CAN find vegan friendly variations of farina).

#SpoonTip: Fruits such as bananas, strawberries, and berries can make a great topping to this yummy dish.


Majarete is a corn pudding (not to be confused with the Puerto Rican dish of the same name). This is a dish that is probably more often a dessert back in the Dominican Republic, but will also make for a deliciously sweet breakfast. Consisting of corn, cornstarch, milk, cinnamon, and sugar, this creamy pudding will have your mouth watering. Here's a simple majarete recipe anyone can try. I can taste it now. There's also a Cuban variation of the recipe that's very similar.

#SpoonTip: Sweet corn, which you can find at a supermarket, works best for this dish.

It's nice to shake things up and try something different. What's great about all these recipes is that they can be altered to change your dietary lifestyle, so there's really no excuse! Don't be afraid to change your breakfast routines and try these delicious alternatives to oatmeal that have a special place in my heart.