I’m apparently very late to be jumping on the steel-cut oat bandwagon.  Previously I operated under the assumption that all oatmeal for breakfast was tasteless and chewy.  Then I found a few variations that I liked by topping them with deliciousness.  Several readers recommended that I try steel cut oats, but my main problem was that I could never find them in my grocery store.  Finally, after over a year of keeping my eyes peeled, I found some.  As it turns out, they keep them in a different spot than all the rest of the oatmeal, but I still think it may be a fairly new item.  Either way, they have completely changed my perspective on oatmeal.  The flavor is nuttier, the texture is smooth and just a little bit chewy.  I’m sure I can’t do them justice with a description, you’ll have to try them for yourself.

I used to view oats as one of the very last things I would choose to eat for breakfast, but now I actually find myself craving them!  It’s only a shame that they take 30 minutes to cook, otherwise I might eat them daily.  At least for now I’ve found a weekend breakfast that I look forward to and is also nourishing (you know, as opposed to most waffles and pancakes).  Our whole family loves this dish and it is gobbled up in no time.  The recipe supposedly yields four servings, but I normally make a half batch and it is plenty filling for Ben, Andrew and I.  You can certainly play with different mix-ins as well.  The cookbook suggests honey and figs, cranberries and walnuts, or bananas (I add peanut butter).  This apple-raisin combo is our favorite but all are sure to be tasty.


3 cups water
1 cup (2% or 1%) milk
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup maple syrup


  • 01

    Combine the water and milk in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the oats and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  • 02

    Stir the toasted oats into the simmering liquid.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the mixture is very thick, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the salt, cinnamon, apple, raisins and maple syrup.  Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the oatmeal is creamy, about 10 minutes more.  Remove from the heat and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

  • That is my favorite way of preparing porridge!



  • Annie: when I make steel cut oats I always make extra, keep it plain, and store it in the fridge in portion size containers. This way you can reheat them in the microwave with a little splash of water to have a quick weekday breakfast. They keep really well, they are just maybe a little bit chewier when reheated (but not really noticeable). Just add the add-ins once it’s reheated. This recipe looks great, I’ll have to try it!

  • Annie

    I thought about that and was actually going to try it last weekend, but then my leftovers were eaten by someone else :) Thanks for the tip!

  • Valerie

    You need the Two Minute Steel Cut Oats recipe! http://www.giverslog.com/?p=10349

    I make a large batch every week or so and keep it all week. It reheats well in the microwave, and freezes great, too.

    Even my toddler loves to eat plain steel cut oats…as long as I put a few colorful sprinkles on top!

  • “I used to view oats as one of the very last things I would choose to eat for breakfast, but now I actually find myself craving them!”

    SAME HERE!! And especially after viewing your recipe and gorgeous photo, now I crave them even more :)

  • Bridget

    I make a big batch and freeze it in a silicone muffin pan. Then I store the frozen pucks in a bag in the freezer.Not my idea – Trader Joe’s sells frozen steel cut oats.

  • I eat oatmeal or oat bran all the time but I’ve never made steel cut oats, mainly because of cook time. Good to know it is worth the work!

  • I have rolled oats just about every morning for breakfast, but steel cut oats are growing on me. The technique of toasting them first sounds great – I will have to try that! Along the lines of what other readers have suggested, you could try partially cooking the steel-cut oats the night before, refrigerating overnight, and then reheating in the morning. I also happen to love swiss oats (combine oats, milk, yogurt, fruit & nuts and refrigerate overnight – enjoy cold in the morning) but have yet to try it with steel-cut oats. I’m guessing they would probably have to be cooked before chilling with the rest of the ingredients.

  • Steel cut oats are one of my favorite breakfasts. I love the healthy version you did here. Yum!

  • You can also cook them over-night in a crockpot on low. Kinda messy if you’re cooking for yourself, but great for a Saturday morning with company. Tons of recipes out there if you google “steel cut oats crock pot.”

    Indiana, eh? And they don’t keep the steel cut oats with the other oatmeal? Maybe because most oat production in our hemisphere is up in Canada?

    An Englishman once commented to a Scotsman that he found it interesting that in Scotland, they eat a lot of oats, while in England, the mostly feed it to their horses. The Scotsman replied, In England, you’re known for the quality of your horses, while Scotland is known for the quality of our men.


  • This looks delicious- I bet toasting the oats takes it over the top! If you want a night-before way to prepare them, Food 52 has a great crock pot version that you top with almond butter and honey.

  • I love oats, although I just buy porridge oats. My baby eats porridge for breakfast most mornings with mashed up banana and raisins and he loves it.

  • Mmmm steel cut oats are the best! When I’m in the mood for an especially hearty and filling breakfast, the oats are what I always turn to! I also love to add peanut butter to my oatmeal, no matter what toppings I choose! Apples and raisins and peanut butter is great – you’ve got to try it! I’m looking forward to giving honey and figs a chance next time I make some oatmeal. I love the endless breakfast possibilities oatmeal offers – thanks for sharing a few of them!

  • Kerry

    Annie –

    I, too, love steel cut oats but do not always have the time to cook them. That is why I thought I’d share some information about Scottish Oats with you. These oats, from Bob’s Red Mill company, are almost identical to the steel cut oats but can be prepared either on the stove top or in the microwave. They are SO GOOD… Here is the link to check them out:



  • Michelle

    We also love steel cut oats! I make them on weekday breakfasts by using my crockpot as a double-boiler — the night before, I fill partway with water, put in a smaller-sized corningware bowl and fill with the oats/ingrediends. Put the crock-pot on low and wake up to creamy deliciousness!

  • Rachel

    I love oats – eat them at least 5 days/week! I will never eat microwave quick oats again. Trader Joe’s has steel cuts oats in the frozen section that you can quickly pop in the microwave. Not quite as good as stove top, but still good.

  • Holly

    Hey Annie, I love steel oats too! I like to do a big batch in the crockpot. Just a thought to make a bunch to eat all week long!

  • Hi Annie-
    I have a tried and true recipe for steel cut oats that cook overnight in the slow-cooker. So good & breakfast is waiting for you in the morning. :) Love your post.


  • Hey Annie! Have you ever tried soaking the oats overnight? That is what I have been doing with whole rolled oats (I am late on the steel cut oats bandwagon too!). After soaking 12-24 hours, they cook up in about 5 minutes. And I love the taste and texture from the soak. Now, I need to try the steel cut too!

  • We love steel cut oats here! My youngest always wants them for breakfast but on school mornings its rushed. So…we make them in the crock pot! I bought a small (1.5 qt) crock pot and to make it, put in 4 c steel cut oats, 4 c water & 1/2 c milk. Put it all in the crock before bed and turn it on Low. By morning you’ll have a pot full of ready oats! :) So easy…then just add whatever toppings you like.

  • Heidi Marie

    They also work wonderfully in a crock pot on low… I just ran a RAGNAR Relay Race and took my mini-crock pot with me and we had steel-cut oats on the road. Put 2 cups SC oats and 6 cups of water and set the pot on low – in the morning they were fantastic! (tried it on high also, but it scorched and burned the oats on the edges…)

  • Anne

    I have heard people using a slow cooker at night so they are done in the morning. Maybe it is something to look in to.

  • Love oatmeal (and dare I say it, Cream of Wheat too!). We make a big batch as well and reheat in the morning. Saves so much time and tastes just as delicious!

  • I just started making steel cut oats this year! I make mine in my rice cooker and have the timer set so they are finished when I wake up in the morning:

    My husband loves them so much that he eats them in the car on the way to work. Even my mom has me making extra so she can store it in her fridge for a few mornings.

  • I featured you on my blog last week.

  • I absolutely love oatmeal. I eat it almost every morning! I haven’t tried steel cut oats, but you’ve got me wanting some right now!

  • cat

    If you have a trader joe’s near by…they have a quick cook steel cut oatmeal…best thing ever =) I also saw that costco is selling steel cut oatmeal too

  • Kate

    You don’t even need a slow cooker to cook them overnight. At night I bring them to a boil with the water (or whatever cooking liquid) and whatever add ins you want and let them simmer about 5 minutes. Then I turn the stove off, cover the pot with a lid and leave it on the stove over night. The next morning you just have to warm it up (on the stove, or in the microwave) and they are cooked. For just me, I usually do 3 tbs. of steel cut oats and 1 tbs. of red quinoa with 1 cup of water and cinnamon. I actually don’t think I’ve ever cooked steel cut oats the traditional way because I never wanted to take the time before I learned this trick.

  • I love to make a big batch of plain steel cut oats on Sundays and put them in separate containers for the rest of the week. When I am ready for them I just add milk and reheat in the microwave and add in my flavor additions then. It’s a great way to enjoy steel cut oats during the week!

  • Annie

    Good to know, thanks so much! I don’t do the crockpot/slow cooker thing everyone else is suggesting but this is more up my alley.

  • Katie

    Trader Joe’s carries Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats. They taste just as good as the long cook. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area, keep your eyes peeled for the quick cook version to arrive. With the popularity of steel cut oats on the rise, I wouldn’t be surprised if your grocery store starts carrying them.

  • Yay! Welcome to the delicious world of steel cut oats :)!

  • Jen

    Trader Joe’s sells a brand of quick cooking steel cut oats, ready in 5 minutes, FYI. I’m in Cincy, but believe they have a few locations around Indy : )

  • Lauren

    I felt the same way about how time consuming it was to get a great bowl of oats every morning and then a friend recommended soaking them in water over night. IT’S AMAZING! For a single serving of oats (whole oats not steel cut, but I don’t think it’s probably much different) I soak them in just about equal parts water (but a little bit less) and in the morning all I have to do is add 1/2 cup of milk and nuke them for 1 1/2 minutes. I love it. Also, the quick steel cut oats are a nice solution if you don’t want to soak them…but inevitably oats that haven’t been processed at all are healthier.

  • Maria

    I also substitute a cup of water with apple cider and it comes so tasty! I also cook enough to last for a few days so when i wake up all i have to do is warm each serving in the microwave.

  • Suzannah

    Wow – people are pretty passionate about their oats, huh?! Love all the info from everyone!

  • Annie

    No joke! First time in history that oats have gotten more comments than the cheesecake right below them :)

  • Nichole

    Oh jeeze, I love all of the good ideas on here! Applesauce? + cinnamon?? mmmm Apple cider as part of the liquid??? Freezing it in a muffin tin to have on hand for later?? I generally use my crock as a bain marie to make them overnight but I think I’ll try the oven method for my next batch. I also use almond or rice milk for part of the cooking liquid because it makes them extra-creamy.

    I have been known to add a heaping spoon of peanut butter, a tsp or two cocoa powder and a splash of honey or guava nectar to tame a dessert craving quite successfully.

  • anna maria

    love oats! one of my favorite go-to combos (specifically on exam mornings) is brown sugar, bananas & walnuts :) i also love the crunch that apples bring – thanks for another great post, annie!

  • Melanie

    I get the McCann’s five minute steel cut oats and up the water a little bit. This morning I did dried apricots, coconut, pecan’s, and a little bit of apple. I also do dried cranberries, pecans, pumpkin pie spice, and a little brown sugar.

  • I love raisins and maple syrup together!!!! Especially with oats! We have some steel cut oats in the cupboard. Now I know what I will be using them for! ;)


  • I totally agree. I was always the one that hated oatmeal or “mush” as we called it. About two weeks I ran across a baked steel cut oats recipe. I tried it and I am hooked. We find ours at Winco in the bulk section. I have totally had a change of heart. I add a little cinnamon to my mix and then top it with a bit of brown sugar and chopped up apples and raisins. I find myself craving it as well. Here is the link I found the recipe for baked –http://changeabletable.com/Changeable_Table/Empty_Nest%3A_Cooking_for_two_%28or_fewer%29/Entries/2010/12/2_2-Minute_Weekday_Steel_Cut_Oatmeal.html

  • Oatmeal is my favorite breakfast ever! I recently tried steel cut for the first time as well, and loved them. This apple and raisin version look delicious!

  • I love steel cut oats and you can really add whatever you like to them. I love adding a scoop of peanut butter. Yum!

  • I recently discovered steel cut oats as well. I make them in my slow cooker usually, but the the leftovers keep really well, too. (Just add a touch of water before you reheat them.)

    I find they also make a really great dinner food–add cheese, spinach, and peas for an easy meatless monday meal (the heat from the oats cooks the spinach and the peas if you add them a few minutes before the oats are done). Two or more kinds of cheese is best.

  • Ashley

    Hi Annie – love your blog ever since my sister recommended it. If you need/want any inspiration, Kath’s Eats has a whole Tribute to Oatmeal (I know, right?). I love oats hot or cold for breakfast now, and both of you are to blame! At least my trainer says it’s healthy :) http://www.katheats.com/kaths-tribute-to-oatmeal

  • This was the subject of one of my first posts when I began chronicling our family’s eats. I admitted (with shame and pride) that I’ve eaten steel-cut oats for breakfast most days of the week for the past 8 years! There are endless varieties and flavors – one morning can be pumpkin pie; the next chocolate bacon. Even my toddler enjoys the lovely texture of these oats.

  • Cari Jackson

    I just found Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats at costco. I’m excited to try this recipe.

  • I do the same thing: big batch on the weekend and heat it up each morning for 60s in the microwave. Easy, peasy! I have also heard you can pre-soak your oats so that it doesn’t take as look to cook either, but haven’t tried it myself yet.

  • I have always loved oats, but I am new to the steel cut oats train too. I agree, it is a shame that they take longer to cook… it’s just a little too long for a weekday morning. Thanks for the recipe. My husband and I both really enjoy it!

  • Courtney

    I hadn’t imagined oats to be so yummy but this recipe was awesome. A new family favorite!!

  • Abby’s_Dad

    Oats are so good for you. This is one of the best recipes ever. The toasting is a great start, and the grated apple and raisins gives it more flavor as well as fruitiness. Yes it takes time, but they way it comes together is perfect.

  • Abby C.

    My Dad and I made this a while ago. IT IS SO GOOD. I’ve always hated oatmeal but wanted to like it because it sounds so good! Now I finally can love it :) Most delicious breakfast I have ever had, thank you so much for sharing this!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pamela N

    This is hands down my new favorite breakfast! Toasting the oats imparts a rich flavor, and the texture reminds me of old fashioned tapioca pudding – but healthier! Love, love, LOVE!

  • Linda

    This was my first attempt at steel cut oats, and it was fantastic! Love the idea of cooking up a bit batch and reheating. Although these oats would be the perfect start to a weekday morning, they don’t really fall under the “quick and easy” banner!

  • Anna

    I used to just cook steel cut with some water, then throw a bit of splenda on top and that was that. Guess I have a high tolerance for boring food. This variation was delicious. The milk added an extra creaminess while the apples and cinnamon made me reminisce about apple pie. Thanks for sharing.

  • Megan

    Made this recipe today with the 8-minute steel cut oats from Trader Joe’s. Amazing. I love the added depth of flavor from toasting the oats. Delicious and nutritious. Thanks!!

  • Karen

    I’ve recently discovered this recipe and make it on a day off, then just microwave a portion on busy mornings. Stir in some milk, maple syrup and chopped nuts, and voila, breakfast to keep you going right through until lunch! I buy the steel cut oats in the bulk foods section of the grocery store as they’re fresher, then store them in a freezer bag in the freezer. Much tastier than regular oatmeal.

  • I made this today without the raisins and we loved it! It was my first time eating steel cut oats. I don’t like oatmeal but really enjoyed this. We will be making them again…Thx for sharing such a great recipe!

  • Lohrewoks

    I make up a batch in a small crockpot and reheat a bowl each morning. 1 cup oats and 4 cups water. Cook on low for 3 hours or so, it sticks too.