Creamy Steel Cut Oats

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Make the perfect bowl of creamy steel cut oats. This recipe makes a large batch that can be reheated for a quick breakfast throughout the week!

Oh my goodness! How did I forget how dense, chewy, creamy and filling steel cut oatmeal is? I’ve had a container of steel cut oats in the pantry for months. I always eye it and think, nah… those take too long to cook. But there’s actually a secret method that makes cooking steel cut oats a breeze — you just have to get them started the night before!

A blue bowl with creamy steel cut oats, topped with banana slices and walnuts.

Overall, I really like the texture of these steel cut oats (they’re chewier than rolled oats) and I adore the fact that they are so creamy, without any added milk! Before I share the recipe, let’s address the elephant in the room — how are steel cut oats different than regular rolled oats?

3 measuring cups with rolled oats, steel cut oats and quick oats.

Steel Cut Oats vs Rolled Oats vs Quick/Instant Oats

If you’ve ever walked into a grocery store and wondered why there were a million different oatmeal choices and wondered which to choose, you’re not alone. Let’s breakdown the differences.

Overall, steel cut oats are the least processed oats. The oat groat (the full oat “grain”) is cut into two or three parts to get to steel cut oats. Old fashioned and rolled oats are groats that have been steamed and then rolled which speeds up the cooking process for all of us at home. Quick or instant oats are the most processed of all the oat varieties. They are pre-cooked, dried, and rolled and pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats. They cook faster, but they also lose a bit of texture in the cooking process so they tend to be mushy.

While steel cut oats are less processed than regular rolled oats, there are only minor differences nutritionally. Steel cut, old fashioned/rolled, and quick oats all have approximately the same amount of fiber, protein, calories, and other nutrients. I personally don’t view one type of oatmeal better than the other, but I tend to prefer steel cut oats and rolled oats for my go-to oatmeal recipes like my peanut butter chia oatmeal, overnight oats and baked oatmeal recipes but use quick oats for baking sometimes. Quick oats work great for my healthy no bake cookies!

Up close shot of steel cut oats in a measuring cup.

How do You Cook Steel Cut Oats?

There are a few ways to prepare steel cut oatmeal! The overnight method cuts down on the cooking time in the morning. If you remember to soak your oats the night before, this is by-far the easiest method.

Overnight method:

  1. Place 1 cup of oats, 4 cups of water and a pinch of sea salt into a saucepan. Bring to a boil. As soon as it’s boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cool, cover and place in the fridge overnight.*
  2. The next morning, uncover the saucepan, heat over medium-high heat until hot. Serve warm.

*I have used this same method and let the oats sit out overnight without any issues, but due to food safety concerns I have updated the recipe and recommend storing the oats in the fridge instead..

Stovetop method:

  1. Bring 3 cups of water and a pinch of sea salt to a boil. Add in 1 cup steel cut oats.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Slow cooker method:

  1. Coat slow cooker with cooking spray, butter or coconut oil. For 4 servings: Place 1 cup of steel cut oats, 4 cups of water and a pinch of sea salt into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Place in a bowl to serve. For a large 8 serving batch: Use 2 cups of steel cut oats and 8 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Check out two of my favorite slow cooker steel cut oatmeal recipes: apple cinnamon steel cut oatmeal + pumpkin pie steel cut oatmeal

Instant pot method:

  1. Place 1 cup of steel cut oats, 3 cups of water and a pinch of sea salt into your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Cover with the lid and turn the vent to “sealing.” Press the manual button and set time to 4 minutes on high pressure. The Instant Pot will automatically start. Once done cooking, allow the pressure to naturally release. Once all the pressure has released carefully remove the lid and stir the oatmeal and serve.

Up close shot of creamy steel cut oats topped with banana slices and walnuts in a blue bowl.

How Long do Steel Cut Oats Last?

The shelf life of uncooked steel cut oats is a long time! If stored properly they should last 1-2 years in your pantry.

Once cooked, steel cut oatmeal should last 4-6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a sealed container. To reheat, I typically add in a splash of liquid (water or non-dairy milk) before heating in the microwave or on the stovetop. Larger batches are so easy to make and you’ll have oats for the whole week!

The recipe I’m sharing here makes four servings of oats. You can let the leftover oats cool and place them the refrigerator for up to one week. Simply reheat the oatmeal on the stove top or in the microwave throughout the week for a quick and easy breakfast. Just add a little water or milk if it gets too thick.

Overhead shot of creamy steel cut oats topped with banana slices and walnuts in a blue bowl.

Love Oatmeal? Here’s More Recipes to Try:

If you try this trick for making creamy steel cut oats be sure to leave a comment and a star rating below. Your feedback is so helpful for me and other readers who are thinking about making the recipe. 

Creamy Steel Cut Oats

5 from 14 votes
The perfect bowl of creamy steel cut oats. This recipe makes a large batch that can be reheated for a quick breakfast throughout the week! 
Up close shot of creamy steel cut oats topped with banana slices and walnuts in a blue bowl.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 4 cups water
  • pinch of sea salt
  • toppings of choice - cinnamon, banana, berries, hemp seeds, chia seeds, maple syrup, etc.

Instructions
 

  • Place oats, water and salt into a saucepan and bring to a boil, watching carefully so the water doesn’t boil over. Turn down heat quickly and allow the oats to simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool. Cover with a lid and place in the fridge overnight.
  • The next morning, portion out the amount you want to eat and heat in a saucepan over medium-high heat until hot.
  • Portion the oatmeal into bowl(s).
  • Dress with toppings of choice. I love banana slices, berries and nut butter.

Notes

  • I have used this same method and let the oats sit out overnight without any issues, but due to food safety concerns I have updated the recipe and recommend storing the oats in the fridge instead of at room temperature.
  • For storing: let the leftover cooked oats cool and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can reheat the oatmeal on the stove top or in the microwave throughout the week for a quick breakfast (just add a little water or milk if it gets too thick).
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to cook steel cut oatmeal, steel cut oatmeal

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    35 comments
    1. Leah Manipol
      January 24, 2021 AT 3:12 pm

      5 stars
      Hello Brittany,
      I recently came across with your website and I’m loving it so much 😍

      I love Steel cut oatmeal too, it’s very fulfilling in the morning especially in the winter. I cooked mine like this in a stove top on a sauce pan with 4 tbsp of coconut oil, then roast 2 cups of steel cut oatmeal until golden brown. I then add 4 cups of boiled water and simmer for 10 minutes. Once it’s done and cool I store it in Mason jars it makes 8 jars. Then store in the fridge for the whole week breakfast. When I’m ready to eat it, I add half cup of Almond milk and loosen up the oatmeal and microwave for 1 minute at a time too avoid overflowing while warming up total of 3 minutes. Then I add chia seeds, dried fruits and some nuts. I know it sounds tedious but I don’t mind it as it’s really satisfying after breakfast.

      Thank you and blessings always,
      Leah Manipol

    2. Donna Wilson
      November 4, 2020 AT 10:53 pm

      4 stars
      I have not soaked steel oats but I have old fashioned oats. I have a large bag of the steel so I’m looking forward to try them. With my rolled oats I add either yogurt or kefir to the soaking process. It helps the gut to process the proteins and I love the added flavor.

    3. Karl A Holmes
      October 3, 2020 AT 10:40 am

      5 stars
      Brilliant!

    4. Sarah
      August 16, 2020 AT 4:08 pm

      5 stars
      I’ve made this recipe several times now and it lasts all week. It’s creamy and delicious. I was wondering if you can use the Quick 5 Minute Steel Cut Oats ir should you use the original? Thank you.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 17, 2020 AT 3:20 pm

        Hey Sarah! So glad you’re loving this recipe. I haven’t used the quick steel cut oats for this recipe, so I’m not 100% sure, but I would think it’d work just fine. 🙂 Let me know if you try it and how it turns out.

        1. marcelle
          December 3, 2020 AT 10:12 am

          5 stars
          perfect recipe made with steel oats. quick, took as the prep is done the night before, and it is just a matter of heating in the morning.
          love it.
          thanks

          1. Brittany Mullins
            December 3, 2020 AT 10:20 pm

            I’m glad this recipe was a hit! Thanks for making it and for the review. 🙂

    5. Bethany Nelson
      May 14, 2020 AT 10:37 am

      Question if you add your toppings and then store it to use later through out the week does it go bad faster? New to steel cut oats first experience was great.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 14, 2020 AT 3:51 pm

        Hey Bethany – I would suggest storing your oatmeal separate and adding your toppings on when you’re ready to eat.

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