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.
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!
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!
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
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- 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
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 32 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Breakfast
Enjoy this healthy cranberry oatmeal recipe for breakfast! You’ll learn my tricks to making ultra creamy steel-cut oats, too. This recipe serves 4 modestly; add yogurt to stretch the portions.
- 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
- Cranberry sauce (recipe provided above)
- Optional garnishes: toasted and chopped pecans and/or yogurt
- 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 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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/vegan: Just substitute coconut oil for the butter, and choose a non-dairy milk.
Make it gluten free: Use certified gluten-free steel-cut oats.
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.
I love steel cut oats! Great way to spice them up!
Cranberry Orange. Oh, yes please! Hope those mountains are treating you well!
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!
Oh that looks amazing. Cranberry and orange make the most delicious combination! I bet it smells wonderful!
Mmm what I lovely recipe! I have the ingredients for tomorrow! :)
dana @ my little cel
Beautiful! Great idea, too. I’ll have to try this. Steel cut oats are one of my favorite winter breakfasts.
By the way, I ordered the plate to pixels book today. Can’t wait to get it!
Kayla @ Pure.Sweet.
I love steel cut oats! I’ve never toasted them before cooking though.. I’ll have to try that on my next batch!
Heidi @ Food Doodles
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.
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
Next time I hit the grocery store, I’m so throwing steel cut oats into the cart. You’ve convinced me, majorly!
janet @ taste space
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.
I really wish I could learn how to enjoy oats! For some reason I can never really enjoy oatmeal.. Cranberry and orange sounds so good!
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.
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.
If you can’t find cranberries, try lingonberries or strawberries. Just cook with sugar until berries pop (or look like preserves), then add orange zest. Should be quite delicious!
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
Seriously one of the best recipes for SCO I have ever seen. Posting one tomorrow & will link back to this & FB & pinning now :)
Beautiful!! I made a cranberry orange bread in December and the flavors are so lovely together! Thanks for the lovely idea!
I’m on my way to whole foods in a couple of hours…will certainly look for steel cut oats when i get there! This recipe looks scrumptuous, thx!
Em (Wine and Butter)
Oooh these look delicious! I keep meaning to back on oats – I’m a bit out of the habit at the moment, but I do totally adore them!
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)
Sylvie @ GitK
Ah, so toasting the oats is the secret! Will have to try.
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!
LOVE steel cut oats! They are just so much yummier than regular. Love that chewy texture. And I’m digging the cran-orange vibe!
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!
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!!
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!
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!
Raspberries and lemon are one of my favorite flavor combinations! I’m glad you enjoyed the oats. Happy eating!
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:)
Awesome! I’m so glad you like the steel cut oats, Kim. It’s about time I made another batch.
Came out great! It is so easy to make. So far I have been making cranberry relish only but never cranberry sauce. Awesome!
So glad you enjoyed the oats, Dani!
Amanda @ Once Upon a
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!
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!
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! :)
Kristen, thank you! So glad to hear you’re enjoying my recipes! Your raspberry version sounds awesome.
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
Thank you, Ela! So glad you’re enjoying the oats.
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.
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!
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.
I’ll have to try that method, Stacey! Sounds remarkably easy!
Fantastic recipe by the way…
I included your recipe in a list of 33 different healthy breakfast recipes. I hope you don’t mind the link love back to your website :). If you are not ok with it, just let me know and I will take it down: http://hbhcoaching.com/33-healthy-breakfast-ideas-to-kickstart-your-day/
Be well & Be Happy,
Thank you for the link love, Cameron! :)
Hi! Thank you for posting this recipe- I’m making it now! One question: do you blend the cranberry sauce after you cook it? It looks quite a bit smoother in the picture than mine does right now…
Hope it turned out great! No, I didn’t blend the cranberries. You could probably whisk them while warm to break them down a bit more, or just cook longer.
It turned out AWESOME!!! I portioned it out for the rest of the week, and it’s just as good today (Thursday) as it was Monday :-) Thanks for the recipe!
Hooray, thanks Lindsey!
I just made this recipe before my morning workout, and it was fantastic! I used fresh squeezed orange juice and fresh cranberries. I separated the recipe into single serving size storage containers – I will be eating it all week. Thank you!
Hooray! Thanks, Samantha!
I love steel cut oats any way I can get them. This recipe caught my eye when planning my Thanksgivving weekend menus. As soon as I see cranberries in the grocery store I get excited about fall. I made the cranberry sauce to top the oatmeal and it was yummy. I made it again and added a cold cranberry relish I had left over from Thanksgiving lunch. It is finely chopped whole orange, pecans and raw cranberries with sugar to taste. It gets better and better over time and was a nice complement to the cranberry sauce in e recipe. Thanks for the recipe!
Thank you, Myra! I’m glad you found this one.
Haven’t been a big oatmeal lover, but this recipe has converted me! I like that it’s creamy and tart, not too sweet.
Hi! I’m new to your blog and am loving all your great recipes…have you ever made any of your steel cut oat recipes in the cockpit overnight?
This oatmeal was AMAZING!!! I’d never done the toasting trick, and mixing some almond milk in there with the water was genius! I’ve never had my steel cut oats come out so creamy!! I topped with cranberry aauce, toasted pecans and some Greek yogurt. It was the best breakfast I’ve ever made myself! thank you so much for sharing your recipe!!! April
I’m so happy to hear that, April! It is so good this time of year. Thanks so much for your comment. Since you liked it so much, if you would want to leave a star review I would appreciate it!
Has anyone attempted to make a large batch of this and portion it out to reheat throughout the week? If so, how did it taste reheated?
It should be ok in the microwave to gently over the stove. Let me know what you think!
I am going to marry you, Kate. This is amazing
Ha, sorry Torrey. Already married, but I’m glad you love it!
Oh, wow! My friend told me about this recipe. She was also a life-long oatmeal avoider. I only made half the recipe because I was skeptical that I would like oatmeal. Wish I had made more. It is so very good! Thank you Kate. I love cranberries and the cranberry orange combination is heaven! The oatmeal has a nice flavor and texture too. Looking forward to trying other flavor combinations.
I’m happy you love it, Cynthia! Thanks for sharing.
I have made this recipe several times. I love it – and it’s a hit at my church as well. Now I make the oatmeal in my Instant Pot and it is so much easier! Toast the oatmeal in the Instant Pot on saute. Add the three cups of water and set on manual for 3 minutes. Natural release 12-15 minutes. Add the milk and salt. So stinkin’ easy!
Thank you for sharing how you make this in your instant pot, Karen!
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Hands down the best oatmeal delight we’ve ever put into our mouths. PERFECT as is, no substitutions could possibly make it better…unless, of course, your diet allows pecans!
Hi – have you ever tried the oats with lemon zest and juice instead of orange? Trying to make it with what we have at the house. Thanks!
Hi Silvia! I haven’t, but that sounds tasty. I’d love to try lemon with blueberry sauce, now that you gave me the idea. :) Thank you. Since lemon juice is more tart than orange, you might want to use less of the juice or balance it with a bit of honey or maple syrup.
Ahh thats a great idea. Thanks! We tried this recipe as is this weekend and it was a HUGE hit :) (so huge we are out of it and scrambling for more lol) Loved it.
I live alone and would love to eat this during the week. Do you have a recommendation on saving it and reheating it?
Hi! Steel cut oats reheat well. Store the sauce separate and add per portion. Let me know what you think!
I made this with fresh cranberries, almondmilk and coconut oil. Other than that I stuck to your recipe. 40 minutes for humble oatmeal was pretty off-putting to begin with but BOY was it ever worth the wait!!!! I am the only one in my house who likes oatmeal or cranberries so I love the idea that all the leftovers are MINE! I did add greek yogurt to increase the protein, so great! Can’t wait ’til tomorrow morning for this breakfast again (and I won’t have to wait 40 minutes.)
Just mad the cranberry sauce and I love it!! Can’t wait to use it on my oatmeal in the morning :)
I hope you loved the combination, Deb! I appreciate your review.
Christa M Emrick
Superb! Loved the Cranberry/Orange marmelade.
Janelle Vande Walle
This is such a delicious oatmeal recipe! Thank you, my toddler and I both love it!! :)
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Janelle! I appreciate your review.