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Steel cut oatmeal is a delicious, hearty morning breakfast. Learn some make ahead tips for a perfect bowl plus some tasty toppings to go with it.

Basic Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe

Steel Cut Oatmeal Topping Ideas

Steel cut oats are my favourite type of oatmeal to use. I like having it year-round and it’s easily customizable with many different toppings so it never gets boring.

It’s also easy to store in the refrigerator which makes for quicker breakfasts during the week. I’ll be answering a few commonly asked questions about this simple cereal and how to make the perfect creamy bowl.

What are steel cut oats?

Steel cut oats are made when the oatmeal grains or groats are cut into 2 or 3 pieces with steel blades. They are also called Scottish or Irish oats. Rolled or Old Fashioned oats are steamed groats that are then pressed until flattened. Quick-cooking or instant oats are processed the most as they are precooked and flattened even thinner.

Are steel cut oats better?

Nutritionally, there is not a major difference between steel cut oatmeal, rolled oats or any other form of unflavoured oats for that matter. Although steel cut oats are the least processed variety, they do have the most appealing texture.

I’ve found that they hold up the best when prepared and stored in a large batch. Cooked oatmeal softens overtime while being stored in the fridge. But steel cut oatmeal would still have some chew even up to 5 days while rolled or instant oats would get very mushy after a day or two.

Should you soak Steel cut oats?

Yes, you should soak steel cut oats prior to cooking as this improves the texture of the grains and makes it easier to digest. The very first time I made steel cut oats I had no clue of this tip and ended up taking twice as long to finish my breakfast. It was tasty but it gave my jaws quite a workout.

steel cut oatmeal with berries
My first time making steel cut oatmeal. Pretty but too chewy

Cooking it longer didn’t help much as even after cooking for 15 mins, it was still quite chewy. Plus did not I have the patience for it. I’m all for a quick breakfast.

Then after some research (Googling) I’ve learnt that it’s much better to soak the oat grains overnight to soften them. This also greatly reduces the cooking time to about 3 to 5 minutes.

Should you rinse oats after soaking?

Some people rinse the oats after soaking, some people don’t. Personally, I like to rinse the oats after soaking as I tend to leave the container uncovered overnight on the countertop, similar to how I soak beans or legumes.

I never place the oats in the fridge while soaking and use lukewarm to warm water. I feel more comfortable changing the water before cooking.

Can I eat steel cut oats raw?

Steel cut oats can be very chewy and hard to digest when they are eaten raw, so I do recommend cooking them first. If you’d like to use steel cut oats in shakes then I recommend grinding the dry oats first or soaking for an hour or 2 before blending with your smoothie or shake ingredients.

How to soak and cook steel cut oats

  1. To make 1 serving of steel cut oats add 1/4 cup dry oats (44g) to a bowl and cover with twice as much warm or lukewarm water. This will make 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal. For a larger batch of 6 servings, use 1 1/2 cups dry oats (264g) to make about 4 1/2 cups.
  2. Leave the bowl on a countertop overnight for at least 8 hours.
  3. In the morning, drain and rinse oatmeal then add to a pot with 1/4 cup water (59ml) for 1 serving and 1.5 cups water (354ml) for 6 servings.
  4. Simmer on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes until creamy.

Storing and reheating steel cut oats

Once cooled, add steel cut oatmeal to a container and place it in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, simply scoop out and measure the desired serving of oatmeal and add to a pot.

The oatmeal will be congealed so add about a 1/4 cup of water per serving to loosen it up. Add the pot to the stove and reheat while stirring until it becomes creamy again. This should take about a minute or 2. This can be done in a microwave as well.

What can I add to oatmeal to make it taste better?

Let’s face it, plain steel cut oatmeal is pretty boring but there are lots of different add-ins, toppings and spices you can use to make it taste better. Fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, grains are great for adding flavour and texture. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla are great warming spices.

Nut butters and soy milk can be great sources of protein to add to oatmeal. I personally like to add almond butter or natural peanut butter and even coconut milk for added flavour and creaminess. For sweetness, I usually use coconut sugar, maple syrup or dried dates.

Here are 5 steel cut oatmeal toppings ideas you need to try:

 1. Banana, coconut chips, dried cranberries and chia seeds

banana cranberry coconut steel cut oatmeal toppings

This bowl is quite the treat as it gives a perfect blend of sweetness, tartness and crunchiness with a hint of coconut flavour. Add-ins: cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut milk, banana, coconut chips, cranberries, chia seeds and maple syrup.

2. Blueberries and steamed beets with raw granola

beet blueberry steel cut oatmeal toppings

The mild sweetness of the blueberries pairs well with the mild earthy sweetness of the beets to give a unique flavour to this nutritious bowl. It includes coconut milk, dates, cinnamon, cloves and topped with frozen blueberries, diced beets and raw granola (made from ground nuts, oats and dates).

3. Dried figs, dates and cranberries with almond butter and maple syrup

dried figs dates cranberries almond butter steel cut oatmeal toppings

The one has rich caramel-like taste that is simply satisfying. Add-ins: cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut sugar and topped with dried figs, cranberries, dates, maple syrup and almond butter.

4. Dried dates, raw granola, kiwi and persimmon

steel cut oats toppings with persimmon and kiwi

A bowl with a deliciously nutty flavour and added freshness from the fruits. It includes persimmon slices, kiwi, dates, raw granola and coconut sugar.

5. Almond butter, dark chocolate, coconut flakes and dried dates.

dark chocolate coconut dates steel cut oatmeal in a jar

What a better way to use up the last bit of almond butter in a jar than to pour in some oats. With some coconut chips for crunch and dark chocolate, it’ll make you wonder if this is actually breakfast or dessert. Add-ins include coconut milk, vanilla, dates, coconut chips and dark chocolate.

Try these other comforting breakfast recipes:

beet blueberry steel cut oatmeal toppings
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Basic Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe

Steel cut oatmeal is a delicious, hearty morning breakfast. Here's how to make the perfect creamy bowl with storage tips.
Prep Time8 hrs
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: basic steel cut oatmeal, dairy free, gluten free, meal prep, overnight steel cut oatmeal
Servings: 6


  • cups steel cut oats, (264g)
  • 3 cups water, lukewarm (709ml)
  • cups water or plant based milk, (354ml)


  • Add oatmeal to a bowl and cover with lukewarm water. Leave the bowl on the countertop overnight for at least 8 hours.
  • Optional step: In the morning, drain and rinse oatmeal.
  • Then add to a pot with remaining water or plant based milk. Simmer on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove you desired serving and add preferred toppings, spices or sweeteners.
  • Once cooled the remaining oatmeal is cooled, add to a container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.


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