Cranberry Orange Steel Cut Oats

cranberry orange steel cut oats recipe

Though I’ve run across many recipes for steel cut oats on my favorite blogs and inside my most dog-eared cookbooks, somehow the fact that steel cut oats are infinitely better than their old-fashioned counterparts escaped me. Steel cut oats are so creamy that they seem positively indulgent—so decadent that I can’t resist eating tiny bowlfuls for dessert. If you haven’t given steel cut oats try yet, please do. I promise you’ll never look at oatmeal the same way again.

steel cut oats

If, like me, you’ve avoided steel cut oats because they require more time on the stove, I assure you that they are worth the effort in spades. The process is largely passive, so you can set the timer and forget about it for a while. I made this big batch last weekend and it has proven to be plenty for all five weekdays thereafter. I just reheat a bowlful with a bit of extra milk and top it with a big spoonful of yogurt. Breakfast is served!

how to cook steel cut oats

As usual, when I want to learn how to cook something right the first time, I turn to The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook for the proper technique. The test kitchen tried cooking oats every which way and determined that they are best when toasted first, and cooked with one part milk with three parts water. If you’ve tried steel cut oats any other way, please let me know how these compare!

orange zested oatmeal

orange steel cut oats

cranberry sauce recipe

Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Adapted from Green Market Baking Book‘s recipe for Blueberry Ginger Syrup (seen on these blueberry waffles and these coconut cranberry waffles)


  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoon water


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Stir constantly for about 3 to 6 minutes, until the cranberries pop, the sauce thickens and turns red. That’s it!

cranberry orange steel cut oats

Cranberry Orange Steel Cut Oats
5.0 from 2 reviews
Recipe type: Breakfast
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other milk: cow’s milk, coconut milk, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Zest of one orange and juice of one orange
  • Optional garnishes: toasted and chopped pecans and/or yogurt
  1. In a large saucepan, bring the water and milk to a simmer over medium heat. In the meantime, melt the butter (or coconut oil) in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Toast the oats, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, around 1½ to 2 minutes.
  2. Stir the oats into the simmering water/milk mixture. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the mixture is very thick.
  3. Stir in the salt. Continue to simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. The oatmeal should be very creamy at this point. Stir in the orange zest and juice, and let the oatmeal stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  4. Portion into bowls and top with cranberry sauce, toasted pecans, a splash of almond milk and/or Greek yogurt.
Recipe adapted from: The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
Make it dairy free: Just sub regular butter with coconut oil.
Serving Suggestions: Serves 4 modestly. Add yogurt to stretch the portions.
Preparation tips: If you ignore the orange zest and juice part of the recipe, you'll have a basic recipe for super creamy steel cut oats, which you can top any way you'd like. Nut butters, fruit (fresh or defrosted), toasted nuts, compotes, jam and honey are all good ideas. Greek yogurt is highly recommended.


  1. says

    sounds delicious! I almost only ever eat steel cut oats, and then when I’m stuck with old fashioned oats because I’m traveling it’s nearly always disappointing. This cranberry orange combination sounds wonderful!

  2. says

    I’m a huuuuuge fan of steel cut oats! And I love the cranberry orange combo, but I’ve never tried it in oats. Sounds super yummy. I love making a huge batch of steel cut oats and keeping them in the fridge just to reheat in the mornings.

  3. says

    I totally didn’t get ‘in’ on the secret of steel cut oats until I met Matt…He would make us steel cut oats for breakfast and I still associate them with the early stages of our relationship. Beautiful colors here, Kate! xo

  4. says

    That’s how I make my own steel cut oats.. except I usually use all water and may thin with almond milk afterwards. Truly delicious! :) Love your cranberry sauce – sounds like a great topping for tomorrow morning.

  5. says

    I keep seeing cranberries popping up all over the blogworld, but here in Switzerland they just are not common at all. I don’t think I’ve ever had cranberries before, or maybe dried in a trail mix, but not fresh or frozen. I guess I have to go on a cranberry hunt or make something similar with an other berry or fruit.
    I usually eat bread for breakfast but I’m not too happy with that and I’m really hungry again after only 2 hours. If I can make this on a day I don’t have to get up early and can reheat it the rest of the week, I might just convert. Do you reheat your oats on the stove? I don’t have a microwave, but I guess it should be easy on the stove, too.

    • says

      Lena, I think you could easily reheat the oats on the stove on low with a bit of extra milk. Even if you can’t find fresh cranberries, any fruit would be delicious mixed into the oats! I think I’ll try using coconut milk instead of almond next time, and dump in some defrosted frozen raspberries or some sliced fresh banana near the end of cooking.

  6. Tracy says

    These look soooo good! My hairdresser eats a “raw” vegan diet. Nothing cooked…I’m not that brave Ü She taught me how to eat steel cuts oats by just soaking them is water with raw almonds and frozen blueberries (sometimes shredded coconut, too) overnight.
    Next morning, drain off all the water and mix oats with greek yogurt. It’s so quick and delicious…so I’m adding your cranberry concotion to my oats tomorrow morning! Yea Ü

  7. says

    Such a delish take on an old morning classic! I’ve been craving orange and cranberry lately, and I was going to make a cake this week, but maybe I’ll switch to this breakfast and save my diet!

    Catherine @ The Spring (in Brisbane, Australia)

  8. says

    This looks so fresh and so satisfying! It took me a while to get on the steel-cut bandwagon as well, but now that I’m here, there is no going back! :) I love that recipe mixes things up but is also totally manageable. Yum!

  9. Grace says

    yum! yum! I made this recipe last weekend with everything but the cranberry sauce. I had fun trying different combos and ways to enhance the oats: maple syrup, almonds…my favorite was a combo of plain yogurt (not greek unfortunately, it is very hard to find organic greek at my grocery) and a tart local berry preserve (probably the best substitute I had for cranberry sauce :D). Thanks KT!

  10. Tessa C says

    Hey Kathryne, I had this for breakfast and I could not stop saying “mmm…!” after every single bite!! I love that can be so sweet using just fruit and honey. I am definitely going to make this again! Talk to you soon, friend!!

    • says

      I love that both you and Grace tried these steel cut oats, Big T! I love that we’re all three eating the same breakfast even though we’re so far away. Fuzzies!

  11. Brit says

    Just tried this recipe but modified the sauce with ingredients I already had – frozen raspberries and lemon. Delicious! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful and wholesome recipe. All of your ideas are very inspiring for a young and health-conscious cook!

  12. says

    Hey there, just want to tell you that I tried your recipe a couple of weeks ago and It’s my favorite… made it 3 weeks in a row… REALLY GOOD! Thanks for this recipe:)

  13. says

    Ooh, this oatmeal sounds lovely. I’ve always had a bit of trouble with cooking steel cut oats and can never seem to get the consistency that I’m after. Maybe your recipe will be the one I’m looking for!

  14. says

    These look amazing! I do have a rice cooker that also makes oatmeal, so we make ours in there. I will have to explore if we can put milk in with the water (in the machine). Never thought to add cranberry sauce, but those look divine! Will be trying this!

  15. Kristen says

    I have become a frequenter at your website over the last 6 months and love everything I have made so far! I made this for breakfast this morning and it is, of course, delicious. I couldn’t find cranberries at my usual grocery store, so I substituted with raspberries. Turned out great. Thanks for the amazing food! :)

  16. Ela says

    Mmmm! This is the perfect way of cooking steel-cut oats. I make a big batch of them on Sunday, so I can enjoy reheat it with yogurt for the rest of the week. It really is great! Thank you for another great recipe :D

  17. Stephanie says

    This got us out of the breakfast rut this morning!

    I had cranberry sauce made with another recipe in the freezer so I used that but followed the rest of the recipe as it was. I do find that ATK really does do their research well, loved the steel oat cooking method. Nice addition of the orange juice and zest.

    Only one cranberry protester in the family this morning (he went for apples and cinnamon on his – to each his own) but everyone else enjoyed the creamy oatmeal with the zingy pop of cranberry and toasty nuttiness of the pecans. Thank you!

    You’ve got a great blog, looks like I have a lot of inspiration here to last me a good while.

    • says

      Thank you, Stephanie! So glad you all enjoyed the oats. Apple and cinnamon sound like a great addition. Hope you enjoy my other recipes, too!

  18. Stacey says

    I love steel cut oats and have not been able to go back to old fashioned. I make mine pretty much like yours except I put the oats in the milk/water, bring to a simmer for one minute, cover with a lid and turn off the heat. In the morning you have perfectly creamy cooked oats. It is so much easier and takes a lot less energy to cook! In the morning I add my extras and reheat it right there.

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