Perfect Basic Steel Cut Oats

Steel cut oats in a small bowl with green apple chunks, walnuts, cinnamon, and maple syrup drizzled over the top

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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.


Units Scale
  • 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. Add vanilla. Remove the oats from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Serve with toppings. Dish up individual oatmeal portions and top with your favorite toppings!


  1. 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.
  2. Milk. Any milk will work, be plant-based or dairy milk.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.