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Overnight Steel Cut Oats

March 16, 2011

Is it too late in the season to talk about eating oatmeal for breakfast? I hope not. Because I’ve been meaning to share this for a few months now, and knowing how the weather rolls around here (and maybe around where you live, too), we still have some chilly mornings ahead of us — even though winter seems like it’s on the cusp of fading. Finally.

We’re big oatmeal eaters in this house, even little A. Our darling girl is also an early riser, and until only recently, would awaken us at 5:30 or 6am with a combination of wailing, screeching, and “ma-maaaaaaaaa….” Oy. Thankfully, she’s been throwing us a bone lately and waking more around 6:30, turning on the music box attached to the side of her crib, and jabbering away to her stuffed animals. Which is a MUCH nicer way for Mommy and Daddy (and her, I have to think) to wake up in the morning. All of this is to say, when we were getting up so early, it was all I could do to carry her downstairs, flip on the coffeemaker, and pop our bowls of oatmeal into the microwave (minimal assembly required.)

I gave up on quick-cooking oats awhile ago — their texture was too gummy for me — and was doing the old-fashioned oats thing for awhile. I tried cooking a big batch of those for us for the week, and wasn’t really happy with how they reheated. I then turned to steel cut oats, which are just the whole oat groat chopped up a bit, and in doing so stumbled upon our new favorite way for making big batches of delicious oatmeal ahead. The steel cut oats retain some texture without being excessively chewy, have a pleasant nuttiness, and (best of all) reheat really  nicely.

The process: boil steel cut oats for 1  minute the night before. Let them sit, covered, overnight; in the morning, turn the heat back on and cook an additional, oh, 5 minutes or so. Eat some then, and save the rest to eat throughout the week — just a quick zap in the microwave to warm is all that’s needed. Finish with your favorite toppings: mine is apples, walnuts, cinnamon and local maple syrup; Little A’s is (of course) blueberries.

Next up for us: locally-grown oats. We have a great local food producer, Cayuga Pure Organics, that grows and sells all sorts of wonderful dried beans, flour and grains (I love their farro). They recently started selling live oat groats, which are the whole, minimally processed oat grain. A quick buzz in the coffee grinder gives you — presto! — steel cut oats!


Overnight Steel Cut Oats

1.5 cups steel-cut oats

6 cups water


The night before, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Pour in the oats and boil for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit overnight.

The next morning, turn the heat back on and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes (at the end of 5 minutes on my stove, the oats are nice and soft and fully cooked but it might depend on your stove.)

Save the cooked oats in a container in the fridge; they only require about 30 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave to reheat.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. jackson brody permalink
    March 16, 2011 5:55 pm

    I’ve heard of these before, but I’m not a big consumer of oatmeal – I haven’t had it in over half a year. Nonetheless, these sound interesting (oatmeal always seems boring) and I’ll attempt to try my hand sometime. Incidentally, I’ve been glad to see you’re back to posting regularly.


  2. Betsy permalink
    March 16, 2011 6:25 pm


  3. jackie permalink
    March 16, 2011 6:42 pm

    I love steel cut oats with toasted slivered almonds, cinnamon, and dried tart cherries. They make my oatmeal taste like cherry pie. I add them in the last 5 minutes of cooking, along with a little milk.

  4. March 16, 2011 7:23 pm

    Oooooh, Big time oatmeal eater over here. Super jealous you have a local oat guy.

  5. March 16, 2011 7:51 pm

    Yes! They are so yummy! I recently inherited a beautiful copper double boiler with a stoneware insert. I can put it on the wood stove (that will have to change soon) filled with milk and oats, either rolled or cracked, and when I’m ready to settle down to breakfast (after I’ve done the chores), I have a wonderful creamy porridge with next to no clean up.

    I made it with an egg mixed in, some slivered almonds, some dried fruits (sour cherries, cranberries and local raisins I dried in the summer). I didn’t need to add any sweetener and it was still like dessert! : ) I think people who ‘don’t like’ oatmeal, may not have had it made with creamy fresh milk.

    I’m glad to hear the baby is entertaining herself more now. It does get easier.

  6. ger permalink
    March 16, 2011 8:01 pm

    Thank you sooooooo much for your wonderful recipes and writings that warm the soul! gp

  7. March 17, 2011 7:53 am

    yum i lovee steel cut oats! the nutty texture is SO much better! thanks for the advice on how to make the process quicker!

  8. March 17, 2011 8:11 am

    I make oats over night by using a crockpot. 1 cup of steel cut oats to 3 1/4 cups of water. That ratio varies based on your crockpot. It’s very easy and it comes out very well. Here’s the original recipe:

    Don’t forget your blueberries for antioxidant goodness!

  9. jane s permalink
    March 24, 2011 9:45 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing a way to cook steel cut oats that doesn’t involve a crock pot or an hour of cooking on the stove!

  10. March 25, 2011 5:29 pm

    I keep thinking I need to try the steel cut oats I have in my cupboard… we actually have an overnight crockpot recipe for them… maybe I’ll try this instead!

  11. happysimpleliving permalink
    March 26, 2011 7:44 pm

    This recipe sounds so good, and I love anything that can make mornings easier. Thanks for inspiring me to stop eating quick-cooking oats and get my hands on some steel-cut oats. YUM!

  12. March 28, 2011 7:18 pm

    Lovely Amy! I have to admit, I like my oatmeal salty but my husband likes his the more traditional way and eats it almost every morning. I like the idea of having this healthier version on hand for the whole week that we can each doctor to our liking. My youngest was doing a 5am wake-up for a while. He is 4, so we could tell him to stay in his room and play quietly, but you can imagine how well that worked. Fortunately, he is waking at more like 7am these days. Hang in there!

  13. March 31, 2011 11:19 pm

    Dear Amy, just wanted you to know, I’ve chosen you to have a “Stylish Blogger Award”. I really like reading your posts – please click on my blog to copy your award and nominate 5 others- thanks for sharing your great recipes-

  14. brieana permalink
    April 4, 2011 5:49 am

    beautiful blog! Love the pictures!

  15. dmg permalink
    April 13, 2011 9:00 am

    I finally got around to trying this, this morning. So yummy! The texture is just perfect. Can’t wait for tomorrow to test out reheating it in the microwave. My poison — brown sugar with craisins and walnuts and a little flax seed

  16. dmg permalink
    April 15, 2011 11:18 am

    Just as great reheated! This is such a godsend for a healthy start of the day. Could I sound any goofier? But truly, it’s so fast and so good and really portable. I put some in a tupperware container, bring it to work and heat it up in the microwave. I’ve been trying to get the kids to try it (they actually like oatmeal but are a little put off by the looks of it in bulk….why isn’t it in a little paper pouch? but I’m going to keep at them) Thanks Amy!

  17. April 24, 2011 8:30 pm

    it’s never too late! oatmeal is for all year round, i had it this morning with blueberries, bananas, cinnamon, and brown sugar, mmm practically dessert.

  18. January 7, 2012 9:09 pm

    Oh, thank you so much for this post! I have a bag of Cayuga live oats from my CSA and had no clue what do with them. I will certainly be trying this

  19. March 12, 2012 9:43 am

    I love that you can make the oatmeal the night before and it is ready to go in the morning.


  1. Paleo Overnight Oats | The Paleo Recipe Blog

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