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. There’s actually a secret method that makes cooking steel cut oats a breeze – you just have to get them started the night before!

An overhead shot of a bowl of steel cut oats with banana slices, blueberries, and an almond butter drizzle on top.

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.

Different Types of Oats Explained

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

Steel cut oats: These are the least processed type of oats. The oat groat (the full oat “grain”) is simply cut into two or three parts to get steel cut oats. Because they are less processed, they absorb more liquid and take longer to cook.

Old fashioned rolled oats: For this type of oat, the oat groats have been steamed and then rolled. This bit of processing speeds up the cook time for all of us at home. Rolled oats make for a super creamy bowl of oatmeal and they are my personal favorite!

Quick or instant oats: These 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 than steel cut or rolled oats, but they also lose a bit of texture in the cooking process so they tend to be mushy and less voluminous.

Nutritional Differences

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 breakfast like with my peanut butter chia oatmeal, overnight oats and baked oatmeal recipes.  I’ll occasionally use quick oats for baking like with my healthy no bake cookies and lactation cookies!

Ingredients measured out to make steel cut oats: water, steel cut oats and sea salt.

Here’s What You Need

  • steel cut oats – make sure you grab gluten-free oats if needed. I prefer Bob’s Red Mill organic steel cut oats.
  • water – the liquid I chose to cook these oats in. They’re creamy enough made in just water but if you want even creamier oats, you can use dairy-free milk like oat or almond milk.
  • sea salt – to season the oats.
  • toppings of choice – cinnamon, banana, berries, hemp seeds, chia seeds, maple syrup, etc.
Side by side photos of a pot of steel cut oats before and after being cooked.

How to 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.
  2. As soon as it’s boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer for 1 minute.
  3. Remove from the heat, cool, cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  4. The next morning, uncover the saucepan, heat over medium-high heat until hot. Serve warm.

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.
  2. For 4 servings: Place 1 cup of steel cut oats, 4 cups of water and a pinch of sea salt into the slow cooker. 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.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Place in a bowl to serve.

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.
  2. Cover with the lid and turn the vent to “sealing.”
  3. Press the manual button and set time to 4 minutes on high pressure. The Instant Pot will automatically start.
  4. Once done cooking, allow the pressure to naturally release.
  5. Once all the pressure has released carefully remove the lid and stir the oatmeal and serve.
A close up shot of steel cut oats in a bowl with blueberries, bananas, and almond butter drizzled on top. A spoon rests in the 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 an air-tight container. To reheat, I typically add 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 in 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.

An overhead shot of two bowls of steel cut oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, and almond butter drizzled on top.

Additional Oatmeal Recipes

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

4.04 from 32 votes

Creamy Steel Cut Oats

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!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 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).

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl without toppings | Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 45mg | Fiber: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: steel cut oatmeal
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating




39 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to get into overnight steel cut oats, but was a little wary of leaving them out all that time. This recipe removes those worries and produces perfectly-cooked oats. So convenient to have in the fridge, ready to reheat in the morning. So delicious with fresh fruit and nuts, and so filling. Thank you!

    1. WOO! I am pumped to hear that you are loving this recipe, Catherine. Thank you so much for coming back and sharing your review + star rating, I truly appreciate it!

  2. 5 stars
    I am finding it hard to get organic, gluten free steel cut oats in the UK. Saw it in America though. Where can I find out?

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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. 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. 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

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

  7. Hi,
    I like to toast steel cut oats before cooking with water or almond milk. It just seems the flavor comes alive this way.

  8. I’m with Kendra L.’s boyfriend. As yummy as the photos look, from a food safety stand point this method is dubious. Leaving a cooked, hot, high carbohydrate item at room temperature overnight can promote unwanted bacterial growth. I’ve seen overnight no cook recipes that are left in the refrigerator. Be safe everyone’s immune system is not young and strong.

    1. Hi Jane! I can see your food safety concern with this method. I’ve read that it’s perfectly fine, especially if you’re reheating the oats the next morning before eating, but if you’re concerned you can certainly prep the oats the same way and store them in the fridge overnight after they’ve cooled. I will add this to the instructions. 🙂

  9. In the instructions for slow cooker oats, you say to increase the servings from 4 to 8 to use 2 cups of oats and 4 cups of water. Wouldn’t you also need to double the amount of water to 8?

  10. 3 stars
    Author said steel cut oats last only 4-6 days, even if kept refrigerated in an airtight containe??? She must be out of touch with reality.

    1. I see how this could be confusing. I was referring to cooked steel cut oats. Cook oats will typically last 4-6 days in an airtight sealed container in the refrigerator. Of course, dry uncooked steel cut oats stay good for much longer, 1-2 years even! Added a note about this in the article.

  11. Hi, I was just wondering about this part here:
    “Coat slow cooker with cooking spray, butter or coconut oil.”

    Firstly, I’ve never (ever!) used a drop of oil or fat in a slow cooker (presumedly this is an electric crock-pot type of thing?). Nor do I really want to… So, why do you suggest this? Why is it needed?

    Secondly, if some kind oil is needed, may I ask why you specifically list those three?

    Thanks. I just found your blog/thingy and look forward to looking around. I like your well-rounded approach. 🙂

    1. Steel cut oats have a tendency to stick when you prepare them in a slow cooker/crock-pot. If you want to try it without, you’re more than welcome to. These three oil/fat options are the ones I use in my kitchen. I usually use avocado or coconut oil cooking spray too. Hope this helps!

  12. 5 stars
    These are great! This is my 3rd time making them. For those of you who said you are hungry after eating them, you could try to add a tbsp. of almond or organic peanut butter to add some protein. Still would be great mixed with berries. Thank you for all of the great recipes. My friends and I run in the mornings and share recipes we find on your site. Love it!!

    1. That’s so awesome, Kelley. I’m glad that you enjoy this recipe. It’s one of my favorites as well. I actually just made a batch tonight to have for the rest of the week. 🙂

      Love that you and your running buddies chat about recipes while running. So fun! Let me know if you have any other favorites.

    2. 5 stars
      I have been eating steel cut oats for about 18mths now and don’t think I’ll ever go back to oats. I used to get them from the supermarket but now I buy them from a lady in ganmain. Her company is brushwoods and they are so much nicer than supermarket ones. I cook mine in the crock pot with a timer for about 4hrs totally superb I just love them even in summer.
      Suggest you try brushwoods and taste the difference. Yumo. 💐🇦🇺

  13. I’ve made this for myself and enjoyed it much more than other oatmeal. I tried to make some for my husband but he was floored that I would eat something warm and wet that had sat out overnight!! He was like what do you think health codes are for?! Any idea on how I can prove to him that it’s safe to eat?

  14. I actually prefer steel cut over regular rolled oats. They do get much creamier and have a little more filling power in my opinion. Glad you had fun in DC. It’s such a beautiful city!

  15. I LOVE oatmeal for breakfast, but it leaves me hungry very quickly, and makes me want to eat allllll day. Any reason for this?

  16. Looks delicious! I’ve been cooking my rolled oats with almond or coconut milk for the last few months and it’s amazing what it does for the flavor. I tried this recipe (http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-baked-pu-159872) for baked pumpkin steel cut oats – you cook a batch (beware, it’s a ton, so you might want to halve it) in a dutch oven, store it in your refrigerator, and reheat when you want to eat. I loved it with cocoa nibs and maple syrup!

  17. I always make oatmeal, but have never tried this variation of cooking them. It’s sort of like overnight oats, but warmed the next day. Definitely need to try this!

  18. That’s so cool you got to meetup with Gena! I’m in DC and LOVE her blog! Love both of your blogs! You make steel-cut oats sound so easy! Will have to give them a try!!!!