Try this Make Ahead Steel Cut Oatmeal that takes just 10 minutes of prep the night before! These delicious and creamy steel-cut oats are versatile, healthy, and easy to make.
The last few days it has been unseasonably chilly in the mornings and that has me craving a big bowl of creamy steel-cut oats. Since steel-cut oats can take a while to cook, I almost always make them using this overnight stove-top method so I don't have to stand by the stove for an hour. I also love this foolproof Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal.
It takes about ten minutes of prep the night before and you have the most delicious, creamy oats in the morning. Plus unlike traditional oats, they only get creamier after a couple of days in the fridge. Just reheat them on the stove-top or in the microwave with a touch of milk.
Depending on how you like your oats, you may want to add a sweetener during the cooking process. You can add about one-fourth of a cup of brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup to add some sweetness or a couple of mashed ripe bananas for a more natural option. You can also add dried fruits, nuts, nut butter, or any combination of spices you like.
Once everything is cooked, the options are endless. I almost always add some yogurt and fresh fruit, some flax or chia seeds, and a drizzle of wild honey.
What are steel cut oats?
Steel-cut oatmeal is the least processed of the three most common types of oatmeal found in stores. It is also called Scottish or Irish oatmeal. It has thicker, pieces that almost look like broken rice. When cooked, steel-cut oats have more texture and bite. It is almost a bit chewy. The taste can be nuttier than traditional oatmeal, especially if the oats are toasted. It takes the longest to cook, about 30 minutes on the stove.
In comparison, rolled oats also called old-fashioned oats, are flat and round. They have been further processed and have a smoother, more porridge-like texture. They take about 5 minutes to cook.
The last type of oatmeal is instant oats. These have been processed more than the other two types. They normally cook in one minute. This is normally what is used in prepackaged, flavored oatmeal packets.
Best Toppings for Make Ahead Steel Cut Oatmeal
Let's be honest, the toppings are what makes a bowl of oatmeal delicious. Here are some of the best toppings to add.
- Fresh fruit: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries blackberries, bananas, apples, pineapple, mango, peaches, plums, or cherries
- Dried fruit: Figs, apricots, dates, cranberries, raisins, blueberries, cherries, or apples
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts, or shredded coconuts
- Nut butter: Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or hazelnut butter
- Seeds: Chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, or flax seeds
- Honey or maple syrup
- Yogurt: Any variety works and if the yogurt is sweetener, you can avoid adding additional sweetener.
How to Store Leftover Steel Cut Oatmeal
Cooked steel cut oatmeal keeps very well in the fridge and freezer. It's a great option for meal prep.
- To refrigerate: Refrigerate cooked oatmeal in an airtight container. It can be packed in individual portions or as one large portion. Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Please note that the oats will absorb more liquid as they sit so you may need to add more liquid when reheating.
- To freeze: Freeze in individual portions, like these freezer oatmeal cups, for the best results. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
The Best Ways to Reheat Oats
Once oatmeal is cooked and frozen, there are a few ways to reheat it. If making a big batch, the easiest option is to gently reheat it on the stove with some extra water or milk. If possible, let it defrost slightly in the fridge before reheating.
For individual portions, they can reheated slowly in the microwave or in a saucepan. Add a splash of extra liquid and stir occasionally as it reheats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions from readers about making steel cut oats.
Generally speaking, all types of oatmeal including steel cut oats, rolled oats, and instant oats are healthy. With that said, since steel-cut oats are less processed, they do have slightly more fiber and a lower glycemic index than rolled and instant oatmeal. Also since they are less processed, the nutrients stay more in tact than in more processed oatmeal.
If steel-cut oatmeal is hard in any way, it means that it hasn't been cooked long enough. Continue to simmer the oats, adding more liquid if needed until they soften. In terms of chewiness, steel-cut oatmeal does have some chewiness and texture and won't be as smooth as old-fashioned oatmeal.
Raw steel-cut oatmeal is very hard and difficult to eat. It is generally not recommended to eat steel-cut oats without cooking them first. If you want to eat raw steel-cut oats, make sure to soak them first in water in the fridge. This can help slightly soften the oats and make them easier to eat raw. Uncooked steel cut oatmeal can also be difficult to digest.
When cooking steel cut oatmeal, you will need 3.5-4 cups of liquid for every one cup of steel cut oatmeal. They can be cooked with water, milk, or a combination.
It is not necessary to soak steel cut oatmeal before cooking, but it is optional. Soaking steel cut oats will soften the oats and also make them cook more quickly. Thye also tend to have a fluffier, creamier texture when they are soaked beforehand.
To soak oats, simply cover them with water and let them soak for at least one hour, ideally overnight in the fridge. Strain out the water before cooking.
Make Ahead Stovetop Steel Cut Oats
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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