Home Recipes Easy Steel Cut Oats: Winter’s Best Breakfast

Easy Steel Cut Oats: Winter’s Best Breakfast

Easy Steel Cut Oats: Winter’s Best Breakfast
Easy steel cut oats
Easy steel cut oats: deliciously simple and second-serving worthy!

A bowl of steel cut oats is a fall breakfast favorite for me. I’ve never been a huge fan of rolled oats, that is unless in a cookie, granola bar or apple crisp. (Hmmm, I see a pattern developing.) As a breakfast food, its texture and consistency seem better suited for those wearing bibs awaiting big spoon choo-choos to deliver their slimy cargo post haste than for those set to champion to take on the world each morning. Yes, your mom was right; breakfast IS important.

easy steel cut oats in the raw uncooked form
Steel Cut Oaks are the monster trucks of grains; their rolled oats counterparts, flattened clunkers.

The day I discovered steel coats oats, I was a changed man. This is the food of lumberjacks and iron workers, longshoreman and farmers.  After a bowl of winter’s best breakfast, I feel the need to put on flannel and fell a tree. (Anyone seen my blue ox, Babe?) Why are steel cut oats so great? The texture is firm, the flavor is nutty, and I would never call it mush.

steel pan steel cuts oak
A steamy steel sauce pan, readies itself for steel cut oats.

But when it comes to making steel cut oatmeal, most people complain it takes too long.  So I’m here to show you a quick and easy way to cook steel cut oats. The secret is timing. If you take a step or two before you go to bed, breakfast will be ready when you wake up, and for a couple days down the road.

Recipe: Easy Steel Cut Oats 


  1. 4 Cup of water (3 Cups for firmer oats)
  2. 1 Cup steel cut oats
  3. 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Making the Night Before:

  1. Boil water.
  2. Add salt and oatmeal.
  3. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Continue to stir until boiling subsides.
  6. Again, the stovetop is now OFF.
  7. Place the lid on the pan.
  8. Return in the morning to 4-5 servings of toasty oat goodness.
  9. Breakfast is ready for the week.

I divide it into four servings and just microwave it when I want it–two minutes and it’s done.

easy steel cut oats toppings deluxe
Easy Steel Cut Oats is the perfect nutritious vehicle for your favorite toppings.

Not surprisingly, I like to gild this lily by chopping up some dried fruit and nuts to top it off.

Custom Oatmeal Topping Recipe (add what you like)

  1. 1 Cup of nuts
  2. 1/2 Cup dried currants
  3. 1/2 Cup golden raisins
  4. 1/2 Cup dried apricots, chopped
  5. 1/2 Cup of brown sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon

MIx the ingredients together and top off your oatmeal with a couple spoonfuls.

oatmeal topping
Just a spoonful of goodness on top of what’s good for you.

Drizzle with a little maple syrup and milk for winter’s best  breakfast–so says Tom and Boz. (Gracie prefers scrambled eggs.)

Boz the bulldog and steel cut oats
Boz trying to move a bowl of steel cut oats through mind meld and unwavering concentration.

What I was blogging about a year ago:

  1. Sweet New Job for an Old Sugar Bowl
  2. Boz Likes to Help With the Dishes


  1. Hi Tom, I came upon your site and am thoroughly enjoying it. Speaking of oats, I enjoy Bob’s Red Mill 5 grain cereal and top it every morning with a healthy helping of frozen Honeyberries. I hope their huge content of anti-oxidants will help my eyesight. I also read with interest your observations on Peach growing and was intrigued by the Mystery Peach. As you, I am always searching for leaf-curl resistant varieties. Please drop me a line and let’s correspond about this and other subjects. Jim

  2. I discovered steel cut oats sometime ago, and love them. I garnish as I get ready to eat…thanks for thinking outside the box and making a mix of delish-ish-ness to have ready for the garnishment. Fab idea!!

  3. Hamlyn’s Pinhead Oats are the pinnacle of steelcut oats! They have a wholegrain flavor that is superb. Problem with the recipe: You should never add the salt at the beginning. The grains won’t swell and the oats will take longer to cook and be less creamy. Only add it in the last few minutes of cooking.

  4. This was ridiculously delicious! Call me crazy, but I put it together this morning and ran out of time to eat, so I had it for an afternoon snack – I’m not going to lie, this is a new favorite. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Tom – I’ve tried cooking steel cut oats a variety of ways after seeing Alton Brown from Good Eats do a show on them. Never, never did I get the results that I got from your recipe. Funny thing, Alton mentions the salt issue as well and its effects on many dishes. It’s worth looking into ’cause Mom taught me to put salt in first, old habits are hard to break. Thanks for the recipe. I guess this year you’ll make your ketchup in the driveway in a turkey fryer, huh.

  6. brion, I’m a changed man; salt goes in last and just for seasoning. As for ketchup making, just wait, I think I’ve got it down without trashing my kitchen in a tomato sauce bomb. I see a redemptive post coming shortly.

  7. thanks so much for the terrific, fabulous garnish for my oats. I usually toss in a spoon of brown sugar and some gold raisins….your recipe is FAB..thanks again for sharing.

  8. Moderation has flown the coup. I’ve made your oatmeal recipe twice now and we’re enjoying it very much. We’d never tried steel cut oats before and we’re definitely converted.

  9. Hi Tom – I usually save steel-cut oats for the weekends, but cooking the night before makes it much more doable for weekdays. Thanks! Also… love the rug in the last photo with Boz. (I repair Oriental rugs in my spare time)

  10. Thanks Eileen. After your winter, I’d say a warm bowl of oatmeal is just what the doctor ordered. And I tell you, your talents are impressive. Boz, Gracie and I may show up with rolled tattered Tabriz in hand.

  11. Late to this, but we had the oat groat and crumpet special at the Crumpet Shop in Seattle, and were hooked. I make oat groats in the crock pot the night before and won’t have any other kind of oatmeal–it’s the most creamy.

    I really love this blog.

    4 cups water
    1 cup oat groats
    pinch of salt

  12. After reading this post I when to the kitchen to fix myself some oats. I have them for dinner and today for breakfast.

    I had those oats for months un touch but they way you presented them got me in love with them. Even my teenager son have some!

    Great blog!

    Thanks for stopping by Mexico in my kitchen.


  13. Big Guy’s in Fargo, ND and he was bragging to everyone on your oats. Just had to let you know that you’re up today on JBug’s Kitchen. Thanks my friend!

  14. Thanks June, whoa, Fargo? I get chills just thinking about a North Dakota winter — I’m not tough enough for that, at least without a good bowl of steaming oats each morning.

    “Warm” regards to you and the Big Guy.

  15. Reading through the posts, I’m wondering if you have a current preference: Hamlyn’s Pinhead vs Bobb’s vs McCann’s. By turning off the heat, how does the oatmeal actually cook as it usually requires 30 minutes cooking time? Does covering it and letting it sit overnight do the trick? Any difference on using a gas vs. electric range? BTW, I liked the crockery in the photos; reminds me of of another question re measuring cups and saucepans. Have you found a difference in the type of pan used in cooking?

    • Hi Ajit, I usually use the Red Mill brand, but I don’t really think it matters. And yes letting it sit overnight does the trick. Once the heat is off from a boiling point it still takes a good 30-40 minutes to cool down, and during that time it is cooking still. I’d say no difference in a gas or electric range, and I like stainless steel pans for making my oatmeal. Not a big fan of aluminum as a pan surface.


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