Steel Cut Oats

September 13, 2013

One of my all-time favorite breakfasts has to be

Happiness is Breakfast

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Steel-cut oats

They're a hearty, warm, stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast that always holds me over until lunchtime.

They cook into something resembling a breakfast risotto, with a milky consistency, and tender, chewy nuggets.  I love the texture, taste, and mouthfeel.  (Unlike the rolled oat, which has always seemed a bit gluey to me)

It should be noted steel-cut will take little longer to cook than rolled oats, although they're always worth the wait.  Over the years, I've made them every which way: soaked overnight, in the slow-cooker, and this old-fashioned stove-top method my favorite by far.

Steel Cut Oats + Fruit - Steel Cut Oats are a hearty, warm, stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast .. that always holds me over until lunch time

I've discovered that if I toast them ever so lightly in butter before they cook, their nutty flavor is only enhanced.  They'll still be great if you skip this step.

Cooking them couldn't be simpler.  Add the oat groats a pot of nearly boiling liquid (2 cups milk and 2 cups water).  From there, let them simmer a half an hour or so, stirring every now and then.  When they're done, they'll be soft and tender and on the side of al dente.

I make mine on the weekends, finding they'll be fine in the fridge for the better part of a week.  In the mornings, it's quick and easy to reheat small portions atop the stove gently

Steel Cut Oats + Fruit - Steel Cut Oats are a hearty, warm, stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast .. that always holds me over until lunch time

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Dressing them up is always the fun part.  A few ideas?

A sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a splash of vanilla

Cook them with dried cranberries, adding a drizzle of honey, a pinch of cinnamon, and some chopped walnuts before serving

Cook them with raisins and dates for hints of natural sweetness  (adding raisins always reminds me of my Mom's rice pudding)

Mix in a spoonful of peanut, almond (or any nut butter you love), and top with banana slices

Fresh, frozen, or pureed fruit are all great complements.  Try a spoonful of blueberries, or stir a something akin to fig compote (or an all-fruit) jam throughout.

How about a splash or two of coconut milk, along with some chopped nuts, cinnamon, and shredded coconut?



ps:  An interesting article from the NYTimes on the benefits of oatmeal

ps:  Steel-cut vs. rolled oats: here and here

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~ Adapted from the NY Times

Steel Cut Oats


  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1-2 tsp natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • a handful of dried fruit


  • Place the oats in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Toast, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes.
  • Combine the water, milk, and salt in a large, medium-sized saucepan, and bring to a boil. Slowly add the toasted oats, stirring constantly.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Stir in the sweetener and dried fruit
  • Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla
  • Cover, and continue to simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the oats are soft and the mixture is creamy.
  • Serving ideas
  • With added fruit and nuts
  • Protein powder mixed in or sprinkled on top
  • An egg or egg whites on the side for protein
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Calories 240
Total Fat 7.8g
Saturated Fat 3.8g
Carbohydrates 32.9g
Fiber 4g
Sugars 7.2g
Protein 9.2g
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