Have you seen the prices that restaurants are charging for bowls of steel-cut oats these days? Six dollars! Eight dollars! Twelve dollars in New York! My goodness. Apparently steel-cut oats are the new overpriced grandpa cardigans of the food scene.
Today, I’m sharing my tricks for making the creamiest, dreamiest steel-cut oats at home. Your bowl will taste like a million bucks. Or, at least ten dollars. I’m concerned that my photos don’t do this oatmeal justice (it’s not easy to make porridge look sexy), but trust me here. We’ll talk toppings later so you can make yours however you’d like.
Steel-cut oats shine in the texture and flavor departments. They are exceptionally creamy and delicious, especially if you toast them beforehand as instructed in my recipe below.
Steel-cut oats are also a fun way to change up your morning oatmeal routine. Unlike old-fashioned or instant oats, they reheat beautifully, so you can make one big batch that lasts all week.
All About Steel-Cut Oats
Steel-cut oats are a less refined version of the old-fashioned and quick-cooking oats you already know. All oats start out the same, as an oat groat.
Steel-cut oats are oat groats that have been sliced into smaller pieces, whereas old-fashioned oats are oat groats that have been flattened. They all contain the same pieces and parts, but the difference between slicing and flattening explains why steel-cut oats take longer to cook (around 30 minutes).
Nutritionally speaking, they are pretty much the exact same and share all of the health benefits of oats, so don’t split hairs there. Oats lower bad cholesterol, help stabilize blood sugar levels and on and on.
Steel-Cut Oat Topping Ideas
- Peanut butter, almond butter or pecan butter
- Homemade chia jam or your favorite jelly/jam
- Applesauce, preferably the chunky homemade variety, or grated fresh apple
- Coconut whipped cream or regular whipped cream
- Yogurt or a splash of cream
- Sliced bananas, apples, strawberries, pears, mangos…
- Fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or pomegranate arils
- Dried fruit, like dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins, chopped dates or apricots…
- Toasted chopped nuts like walnuts, pecans, almonds…
- Toasted pepitas or sunflower seeds
- Flaxseed or chia seeds
- Toasted or raw shredded coconut
- Dark chocolate, either chopped or mini chocolate chips
You’ll find my go-to steel-cut oat cooking method below. The only hard part is deciding what to mix in and how to top your oatmeal. Looking for inspiration? Here are my official variations: Apple Steel-Cut Oatmeal, Morning Glory Oatmeal and Cranberry Orange Steel Cut Oats.
If you find yourself on a steel-cut oats kick, you might want to check out the overnight oats cooking method or this individual serving freezer option. I haven’t tried either, but I’m intrigued.
Please let me know how your oats turn out in the comments! I’m always so eager to hear from you.
Watch How to Cook Steel Cut Oats
Perfect Steel-Cut Oats
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Irish
Learn how to make the most delicious steel-cut oats here! These ultra creamy, toasted steel-cut oats are ready in under 40 minutes and reheat beautifully for the rest of the week. I suggest doubling the recipe if you’d like to make breakfast for the whole week. Recipe as written below yields 4 modest servings (about 3 cups total, or ¾ cup per serving).
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup milk of choice: almond milk, cow’s milk, coconut milk, etc.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or unsalted butter
- 1 cup steel-cut oats (choose certified gluten-free oats if necessary)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Optional mix-ins: ground spices like cinnamon, dried fruit like cranberries or chopped dates, toasted chopped nuts like walnuts, lemon or orange zest, etc.
- In a large saucepan, combine the water and milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. In the meantime, melt the coconut oil (or butter) in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the oats and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, around 2 minutes. This toasting step greatly enhances the flavor of the oats.
- Stir the oats into the simmering liquid. Reduce the heat to medium-low, adjusting as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very thick.
- Stir in the salt. Continue to simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to prevent scorching on the bottom, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. (If you doubled the recipe, your oatmeal might need an extra 5 minutes cooking time here.) The oatmeal will be very creamy when it’s done.
- Remove from heat and stir in any mix-ins that you’d like. Let the oatmeal rest for 5 minutes before serving so it has more time to thicken up and cool down a palatable temperature.
- Portion oatmeal into bowls and add any toppings you’d like to portions that you intend to serve immediately. Let any extra oatmeal cool completely before covering and refrigerating for future breakfasts.
Recipe adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
Make it dairy free/vegan: Use coconut oil or vegan butter instead of regular butter, and choose a dairy-free milk (or substitute water for the milk).
Make it gluten free: Use certified gluten-free oats and make sure your mix-ins/toppings are gluten free, too.
Make it nut free: Easy. Use nut-free milk and don’t add nuts.
Update 10/18/2016: Finally got around to taking better photos of this recipe, so it might look a little different, but the recipe is the same!
Delicious!! I made several batches with regular steel cut oatmeal. I am wondering how to modify the recipe if I use quick cook steel cut oatmeal?
Hi, I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure the adjustments.
Hi, first of all, I absolutely love this recipe. One of my friends is a big foodie and I made this for him and even he was impressed!
Second, I was wondering if you’ve experimented with cooking this overnight in a slow cooker? I’d love to set it the night before and have it be freshly finished and extra creamy when I wake up! Figured I’d ask before experimenting on my own!
Thanks so much.
Hi Julia, I haven’t tried these in a slow cooker. Sorry!
It would seem impossible to remove any chaff and hulls if prepared this way. Do you have a method for removing before adding to the oil and toasting? Can you do this recipe with oats after having been put in water and allowed to settle a minute to permit chaff and hulls to rise to the surface and be removed?
Hi J, Evon, you don’t have hulls to remove for steel cut oats. Maybe you are thinking of a different type of oat?
Are we supposed to cover the oats while cooking?
Hi! No need to cover. Thank you for your review!
The British topping Marmite is yummy and a different, tangy taste to go with any kind of porridge or oats.
Unfortunately Your steel oat cooking instructions didn’t provide enough information.
Hi Adam, What do you feel is missing?
Yum! I made this using oat milk and loved it! It’s a keeper. Thanks Kate.
You’re welcome, Sharon! Thank you for your review.
Making this for the second time tonight, for breakfasts this week. It’s so good heated up the next day! The first time I cooked it, I was too cautious with the heat and it took about twice as long. This time I turned it up and it’s coming along nicely. I’ll top with apples, pecans, and brown sugar.
Perfect! Thanks, I never really knew how to prepare them.
These are the best steel cut oatmeal recipe ever! I love the health benefits from it but it was always too hard to eat for me unlike rolled oats. Toasting it gives it a nutty flavor. Love it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
This is way to runny!
I found I added about another 10 minutes of simmering, but maybe that was due to the temperature during the rest of the cook time. It does say to simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Too salty, had to rinse out the parts to eat it.
I’m sorry you didn’t love this recipe.
I don’t know how a quarter-teaspoon of salt in 4 cups of liquid can be too salty…did you accidentally put in a quarter cup of salt?
Great recipe, easy and always turns out great.
I dry toast the oats in a cast iron skillet instead of using fat. I make extra to freeze in single or double servings.
Great to hear, Danette! I appreciate your review.
my go to recipe. I add honey and vanilla at the end. Nice and creamy.
The oatmeal was perfect. I was so nervous about cooking steel cooked oats because I typically use rolled oats.
I’m glad you loved it!
Excellent recipe! Threw in some very dried-out raisins at some point to rehydrate, served with brown sugar and pecans. Creamy and yummy.
I’m glad you love it, Mara! I appreciate your review.
A bit of a lengthy cooking process, but so worth it. Deliciously creamy and flavorful! I use soy milk and vegan butter or olive oil for toasting and it’s great. Thanks for the recipe!
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
You don’t have to search anymore. The recipe is absolutely perfect! The recipe calls for more liquid than other recipes I’ve tried. Makes a huge difference imo.
Delicious and easy to make. I think my oats were stale as I had to cook for almost an hour to get it thick enough and liquid absorbed. I ate it plain!
Great to hear, Jackie!
How do you reheat them?
You can gently reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
This is the best recipe for Steel Cut oats. Toasting the oats brings out the nutty flavor.
Thank you Kate!
You’re welcome, Tracy!
Greetings from Sydney, Australia. I had never made steel cut oats as I was worried that they were complicated. I just make your steel oats and OMG, I’m savouring every mouthful. I’m glad I made a double batch so I’ll have plenty to enjoy. Thank you!!!
Hooray! Thank you for sharing, Mia.