I prefer hearty, steel cut oats to old-fashioned oats but I don’t prefer them enough to launch a 45 minute cooking endeavor in the morning.  Some things require a good short cut.  And, I have found one.  The guys at The Bitten Word suggested a little “night before” prep followed by only 10 minutes of cooking in the morning.   It worked!

I then got greedy and tried to find an even EASIER method.  Some say that a rice-cooker is fool proof for almost any grain. Wake up, put the water and oats in, go take a shower while oats cook.  Unfortunately, I came down this morning to find a gloppy, sloppy mess on my counter from a rice-cooker, bubble over mishap.  It may have been the small size of my rice-cooker that was to blame but the oats were still a little too chewy and the bottom layer of oats was stuck on the rice-cooker creating additional ugly clean up.  I’ll stick to the overnight soak.

Toppings?  I went with freshly toasted almonds, cranberries and maple syrup. Maybe it doesn’t make a lot of sense that I am NOT willing to wait 45 minutes for oats to cook but I AM willing to take the time to toast almonds first thing in the morning.  If you have a toaster oven, put the chopped almonds on the mini baking sheet and toast them.  Added benefit: Your house will smell amazing.  The mixed aromas of fresh brewed coffee and toasted almonds are aromatherapy for a winter morning.

Overnight Oatmeal with Almonds and Dried Cranberries

Food & Wine
Makes 6 Servings

1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
6 cups water
1/4 cup chopped salted roasted almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Brown sugar or pure maple syrup, for serving

In a large saucepan, boil the oats in the water for 1 minute. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature. The next day, uncover the oats and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is cooked and creamy but still a little bit chewy, about 10 minutes. Spoon the oatmeal into bowls. Top with the chopped almonds and dried cranberries and sweeten to taste with brown sugar or pure maple syrup.

The prepared oatmeal can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Rewarm in a microwave oven and thin with water if necessary before serving.

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23 Responses to “Steel Cut Oats – A Short Cut!”

  1. Monika Says:

    I was just gifted with a slow cooker; apparently you can cook steel cut oats quite well in them. I’ll have to try it!

  2. Anna @ unsweetenedcocoa Says:

    This is so perfectly timed, it’s weird–I was JUST trying to remember the quick-soak method for steel-cut oats. I am on a total oatmeal kick.

    “The mixed aromas of fresh brewed coffee and toasted almonds are aromatherapy for a winter morning.” WORD.

  3. seo Says:

    oh~ i love it,looks very delicious

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  5. beebalm Says:

    I forget where I got the instructions, but somewhere on the web I found a foolproof method for cooking steel cut oats in the slow cooker. It takes exactly 2 minutes of prep (and that includes getting everything out of the pantry). Here’s what I do, and it works every time in my big oval slow cooker:

    The night before…
    Put a smaller heat-safe bowl into the crock of your slow cooker. (I like my deep souffle dish; a pyrex bowl would work well, too.) Stir 1 cup of oats, 4 cups of water, and a pinch of salt in the inner bowl. Then pour water into the crock so it comes about halfway up the sides of the inner bowl. Put the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on low for 8 hours.

    In the morning, your oatmeal will be ready and it won’t be all stuck to the inside of the crock, like some recipes. The water bath works magic! I can’t take credit for the method, but I can attest that it works.

  6. stresscake Says:

    eek … as the one who recommended the rice cooker method, i do apologize for the mess :)

  7. Kasey Says:

    I’m a big fan of steel cut oats, but the time associated with making them always turns me off. What a fabulous idea! I first read about it in Heidi’s (101cookbooks) book. What a breakfast revelation!

  8. Hannah Says:

    your toppings look so good! thanks for the tip.

  9. LoveFeast Table Says:

    I am so happy you posted this!! I am a huge fan of steelcut, but who has that kind of time in the morning? Now, I can enjoy it during the week not just on the weekend! Thank you!

  10. my spatula Says:

    we love steel cut oats in our house…and like you, never enjoyed the long cooking time. this is fabulous!

  11. chef renee Says:

    We eat it steel cut oats at my house every other day,what can I say, it’s the Irish in me!
    I have good luck cooking oats at night while cooking dinner. I start cooling it when it’s still a little al dente. Then cover and stick the whole pan in the fridge. In the morning I add some water warm it up slow. They finish cooking in just a few minutes,I add some brown sugar, milk, and raisins. Yum!

  12. James Says:

    Great hint, this will definitely increase my ability to eat steel cut oats in the morning

  13. Janna Says:

    I love the new blog layout!

  14. Amalia Says:

    Thanks for this- I have a slow cooker recipe, but they always come out gloppy. I’ll definitely give this a try!

  15. stephen Says:


    look at the bowls in both posts. blue and true. from oats to soup.did we dream the same dream. nice comforting post!

  16. Anne Says:

    I love the new blog look! I’ve been on a steel-cut binge, too, using the overnight method. I do it once on Sunday night and make enough for all week, to be microwaved in the morning, since I’m a true zombie then. I have tried the bowl in the slow cooker method, but was not happy. The oats came out overcooked and viscous. With the overnight method they come out perfect. I’ve found I actually don’t need the stove reheat the first morning; microwave works fine.

  17. Julia Says:

    You can cook steel cut oats in the slow cooker!! It’s fabulous when you add some fruit, brown sugar and cinnamon too! The recipe is 4 cups of water to 1 cup of steel cut oats and whatever amount of fruit and sugar you wish. Set the slow cooker on low and you’ll have a fabulous breakfast in the morning. Beware!! It makes alot!! Hope you’re hungry!!

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