This simple, overnight steel cut oats recipe is healthy, easy to prepare, and a delicious vehicle for your favorite breakfast toppings, from sweet to savory!
I groomed my kids to love oatmeal, like these homemade instant oatmeal packets, early on. But I’m always looking for variations on a theme, and oatmeal is the perfect launching pad for breakfast creativity.
Here’s why I love this particular recipe:
- Simple. There are only 4 basic ingredients, plus toppings.
- Healthy. Steel cut oats are an unprocessed whole grain and packed with nutrition.
- The perfect crunch. Forget those mushy, gray oats of days past. These oats are toasted just slightly to give them the ideal texture.
- Fast. Nothing beats a breakfast that cooks in 5 minutes and, while you sleep, magically turns into a breakfast that’s nearly ready to serve.
- Easy to personalize. The endless variations of toppings ensure a delicious meal every time you make it, even for your picky eaters.
- By double batching this simple recipe I can save time and have breakfast for days!
What You Need
- Oats (preferably steel-cut)
- Toppings as desired
- Oats. I use Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats, but also found store brands for good prices at ALDI, Walmart, and Kroger. Yes, you can use rolled oats, but steel cut oats are minimally processed and cost about the same (just 4 extra pennies) as their more highly processed counterpart. And since you’re cooking them overnight, they only require 5 minutes of hands-on cooking.
I know, I was hesitant to give them a try, too. But trust me here. They are delicious.
- Toppings. Oh how I love oatmeal toppings!!
- One of my favorites is apples + walnuts + maple syrup. Just like how I top my single serve slow cooker oatmeal.
- My son adores peaches and cream, using real peaches and real cream (because that’s the real food equivalent to dried up and shriveled peaches with powdered “cream”)
- My daughter likes strawberries and cream and once asked if she could put Nutella on top. A girl after my own heart.
- I’ve also heard that savory oatmeal is a trend. Maybe a fried egg with prosciutto, Parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes? Or some smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers?
Oh my. This is going to be seriously tasty!
A Note Before You Start
I have a secret to making perfect overnight steel cut oats that are delicious and crunchy and will forever change the way you think about oatmeal as a whole.
- A cast iron skillet. Yep, a little bit of butter in a warm cast iron skillet (I have this one) turns plain Jane steel cut oats into an incredible bowl of oatmeal that looks nothing like the grey mushy bowls you’re used to.
- This cast iron skillet is my favorite size. It’s perfect for cornbread, skillet blondies, and pan-fried sweet potatoes!
Plus toasted oats means better leftovers for future breakfasts, and who is going to turn down the option to cook less? Certainly not me.
Step 1. Measure water into a medium saucepan with a lid and bring to a rapid boil. (I like to use this dutch oven).
Step 2. Meanwhile, melt butter over medium low heat in the cast iron skillet. Add the steel cut oats and toast until they’re darker in color and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Step 3. When the water has come to a rapid boil, add the steel cut oats and salt and stir. Set the timer for 1 minute and allow the oats to cook.
Step 4. When the timer goes off, cover the oats and turn off the stove. Set the oats aside until morning.
Step 5. In the morning, reheat the oats until they are the desired temperature and top with desired toppings.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to toppings. Here are a few ideas:
- Top with this sweet Slow Cooker Apple Butter. Add a handful of nuts for some savory crunch.
- Swirl in some Nut Butter for a boost of protein and top with fruit.
- Make a batch of this Homemade Yogurt and add in. Slice fresh fruit and save half for some delicious yogurt parfaits the next day!
- Go savory and top with a poached egg and a handful of arugula lightly dressed with oil and vinegar. Top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Are overnight steel cut oats healthy?
Absolutely! Steel cut oats are an unprocessed whole grain, packed with fiber, long-release carbohydrates, and even plant based protein, as well as many other health benefits. It also pairs nicely with other nutrient-packed whole foods.
Which oats are best for overnight oats?
This recipe calls for steel cut oats. Because the oats are unprocessed and toasted to boot, they give this oatmeal a fantastic, crunchy texture that holds up overnight.
Is it okay to soak steel cut oats overnight?
Definitely! After toasting the oats for five minutes and cooking them for one minute, the oats sit overnight and continue to soften, delivering the perfect bowl of oatmeal in the morning!
More Oatmeal Recipes
- Marathon Training High Protein Oatmeal
- Soft Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
- Leftover Oatmeal Cakes
- Cinnamon Oatmeal Waffles
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Watch How to Make Perfect Overnight Steel Cut Oats
Steel Cut Oats
Try this simple overnight steel cut oats recipe for a healthy, delicious breakfast! Use this easy-to-prepare method, and finish with your favorite sweet or savory toppings.
- Prep Time: 1 minute
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 6 minutes + 8 hours hands-off
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Measure water into a medium saucepan with a lid and bring to a rapid boil. (I like to use this Dutch oven.)
- Meanwhile, melt butter over medium low heat in the cast iron skillet. Add the steel cut oats and toast until they’re darker in color and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- When the water has come to a rapid boil, add the steel cut oats and salt and stir. Set the timer for 1 minute and allow the oats to cook.
- When the timer goes off, cover the oats and turn off the stove. Set the oats aside until morning.
- In the morning, reheat the oats until they are at the desired temperature and top with selected toppings.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to delicious oatmeal toppings. Some suggestions:
- apples + walnuts + maple syrup
- peaches and cream, using real peaches and real cream
- strawberries and cream with a scoop of Nutella
- savory oatmeal with a fried egg, sprinkled parmesan, a handful of arugula, or smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers
This recipe is easy to make in larger batches and keeps well in the fridge so you can have leftovers!
- Serving Size: ¼ cup dried oats
- Calories: 128
Keywords: steel cut oats