This basic steel cut oats recipe is the perfect ratio of oats to liquid for the creamiest, dreamiest canvas for your breakfast creations!
Everyone needs a basic steel cut oats recipe in their back pocket, so get ready for get ready for one of the coziest breakfasts of all time. These are my go-to for warm oats in winter because they have the creamiest texture and reheat like a dream, so I can make a large batch in advance. This recipe combines the perfect ratio of liquid to oats and makes four servings so you can have breakfast ready to reheat for days.
All of the ingredients below make the perfect base recipe for steel cut oats, and of course the toppings are up to you! I'll share some of my favorite suggestions to inspire.
- Coconut oil - I always toast steel cut oats and other grains a little bit of oil before adding the liquid, to really bring out their flavor.
- Steel cut oats - Not quick-cooking for this one! These take longer to cook (25-30 minutes), but it's mostly hands-off, and the texture is SO worth it. Plus, you'll cook once and have oats for days.
- Milk - Whatever milk you like! Lately I've been into organic, grass-fed dairy milk, but plant-based milks will work beautifully.
- Water - We'll use a mix of milk and water to cook these.
- Maple syrup - Just a touch for a light sweetness and comforting flavor.
- Salt - An absolutely necessity for making the flavor of steel cut oats pop (true when cooking any kind of whole grains!).
- Cinnamon - I love the flavor cinnamon gives these oats.
- Vanilla extract - We'll stir in just a bit of vanilla extract after cooking for an amazing depth of flavor.
- Your favorite toppings! Some suggestions below 🙂
Substitutions & Variations
This basic recipe delicious on its own, but it's also meant to go with any flavor variations you choose.
- Milk - Use any kind of milk you like! Lately I have been into grass-fed, organic 2% milk, or Fair Life milk for extra protein. Plant-based milks will work too!
- Ratio - Okay, so clearly I think the recipe here is the best ratio 😉 But, you can adjust it if you find that you'd like it to be thicker or thinner. For thinner oats, add up to ½ cup of liquid, and for thicker oats, reduce liquid by up to ½ cup.
- Apple cinnamon - This is a classic oatmeal flavor and it's SO good! Add chopped apples (ooooh, or sautéed apples), walnuts or pecans, a drizzle of maple syrup, and cinnamon dusted over the top.
- Superfood - Add some pomegranate arils (here's how I deseed them) or your favorite berries, chia seeds, hemp hearts, ground flax, pepitas, and/or your fave nuts (I like walnuts, almonds, and pecans). Berries and pomegranates are high in antioxidants, while nuts and seeds contain extra fiber, protein, and healthy fats like omega-3s!
- Pumpkin pie - Stir ¼ cup of pumpkin purée into a serving of cooked and warmed oats, ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, pecans, and scoop of Greek yogurt or coconut whip.
- Blueberry lemon - Add juice from ½ lemon, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and some fresh or thawed frozen blueberries on top.
For your cozy breakfast of creamy oats, follow the simple steps below! This recipe makes about four servings, so you can eat some right away and save the rest for later.
Step 1: Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a medium-large saucepan.
Step 2: Add dry steel cut oats to the saucepan and toast until fragrant, about a minute.
Step 3: Add milk, water, cinnamon, salt, and maple syrup to the oats. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes.
Step 4: Once fully cooked, oats should be soft, thick, and creamy. Remove the oats from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Step 5: Serve the oats with whatever flavors you like, and enjoy a warm and cozy breakfast.
Store leftover oats in an airtight container in the fridge after they've cooled completely. They'll keep in the fridge for up to a week, and each day you can reheat the amount you want for breakfast and add your favorite flavors.
Note, when reheating the oats they'll be thick -- you may need a splash of milk!
Toasting the oats is key for getting the most flavor out of oats! In fact, I do this with all grains that I cook -- a light toasting in oil, and then add cooking liquids.
Steel cut oats are a filling, delicious, high-fiber and healthy whole grain with tons of health benefits. When I eat them, I definitely notice the high-quality energy they provide me, along with digestive health benefits.
Quick-cooking steel cut oats are cut the same way as regular steel cut, but they're cut into even smaller pieces so that they can cook in less time. Most quick-cooking steel cut oats require a different oat-to-liquid ratio, so I don't recommend them for a direct swap into this recipe. (I'll have to test it!)
Yep! Using regular vs. quick-cooking as overnight oats will result in different texture. Try it out for yourself and see what you like best!
Perfect Basic Steel Cut Oats
This basic steel cut oats recipe is the perfect ratio of liquids to oats for thick and creamy results, ready for your favorite toppings! It's the best cozy breakfast on cold fall and winter mornings, and will give you the energy to power through until lunch.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 cups 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Irish
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup steel cut oats (not quick-cooking)
- 1 cup milk (use your favorite!)
- 2.5 cups water
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Toast the oats. Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add dry steel cut oats to the pan and toast until fragrant (about a minute).
- Cook steel cut oats. Add the milk, water, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon to the oats. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the oats and allow them to simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes (until soft, creamy, and the liquid is absorbed).
- Add vanilla. Remove the oats from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Serve with toppings. Dish up individual oatmeal portions and top with your favorite toppings!
- Steel cut oats. Make sure you don't buy quick-cooking if you're following this recipe! This recipe is designed for regular steel cut oats and have a significantly longer cooking time than quick-cooking.
- Milk. Any milk will work, be plant-based or dairy milk.
- Storage & freezing. This batch makes approximately 4 servings that you can enjoy right away if serving more people, or store and reheat throughout the week. After oats have cooled, store in an airtight (ideally glass) container in your fridge for up to five days. To freeze, place the airtight storage container in the freezer for up to three months and thaw in the fridge overnight when you're ready to enjoy.
- Reheating. One of my favorite things about leftover steel cut oats is that they've absorbed so much of the cooking liquid in the fridge that they get even thicker. This means you'll want to add a splash more milk to reheat, and the results are incredibly creamy and delicious. You can reheat in the microwave or over medium heat on the stovetop.
Keywords: steel cut oats