In the world of oats, the steel-cut variety is at the top of the “good-for-you” food chain. Minimally processed, steel-cut oats are nutrient-rich and digest more slowly than rolled oats (which means you and your kids won’t be sniffing around for a hit of sugar come 10 a.m.). I’m crazy about them, but not so fond of the fact that that they take FOREVER to cook. It’s the risotto of breakfast. And who has time for risotto at seven in the morning? Recently I learned this brilliant shortcut: overnight steel-cut oats.

Bring four cups of water to a boil, add one cup steel-cut oats, give it a good stir, bring it back to a boil, put the lid on, remove from heat, and leave on the stovetop overnight. In the morning, bring the cereal to a simmer for a couple of minutes until warm and tender (like you are on your better days). Serve with your favorite toppings. This time of year, I’m partial to chopped apple, walnuts and maple syrup.  Makes four servings.

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  1. 02.10.2011 at 4:28 PM #

    This might be a good way to get my daughter who doesn’t drink milk to have a decent breakfast. Recently a friend told me she cooks her steel cut oatmeal in a rice cooker overnight, maybe another option. I don’t have a rice cooker so I will give your method a go.

  2. Heather
    02.10.2011 at 9:56 PM #

    I may actually finally cook steel-cut oats! Thanks for this tip; can’t wait to try it.

  3. Sabrina
    05.20.2011 at 3:04 AM #

    Purchased steel-cut oats for the very first time. Totally forgot about the 30 minute cooking time this morning so bagged it. Doing your overnight method right now.

  4. Erzsi
    10.12.2011 at 7:23 AM #

    Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book’s recipe involves cooking the steel cut oats overnight in a slow-cooker. My family usually adds some combination of cinnamon, brown sugar or maple syrup or molasses, raisins and/or chopped apples to their bowls of oatmeal. What remains in the slow-cooker goes into yeast-raised bread dough to which I add a tbsp or two of wheat gluten for better rising. If there isn’t time to wait for the dough to rise and bake right away, I shape the kneaded dough into loaves, place them in greased bread pans, brush them with oil, cover them loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for 2 to 24 hours. When it’s time to bake them, I place the pans of dough on the counter for an hour to reach room temperature, preheat the oven to 375* F, and bake the loaves for 35-40 minutes. After baking and tipping out the loaves onto cooling racks, I brush the tops with butter. You can do this with any basic bread dough recipe, and regard the oatmeal porridge as a substitution for some of the flour and liquid in the recipe. Don’t worry too much about exact amounts, for the dough will reach the right texture as you adjust the flour quantity while kneading.

    • katiemorford
      10.12.2011 at 8:18 AM #

      I’m intrigued. I’ve heard of adding cooked oatmeal to muffin recipes, but never yeast-rising bread. I’m curious as to how the oatmeal impacts flavor and texture. I appreciate your sharing that.


  5. Mary
    12.16.2011 at 7:07 PM #

    Love this idea. Am definitely going to try this week!


  6. 05.05.2012 at 8:54 PM #


    Hi Katie,

    This comment isn’t really for your Comments site but just a message to you. I hope it’s all right to send it this way.

    I read about your blog in this week’s PAge, and tried your oatmeal idea last night. It worked perfectly. I love steel-cut oats, but don’t usually have the patience to make them in the morning and wait for an hour. I will check more of your recipes from now on.

    I’m an ED teacher at SFFS and do cooking with the kids every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday. Maybe you can recommend a cookie recipe for my Tuesday cooking club with middle school. It would have to be something without nuts that can be prepared and cooked in the space of an hour.

    I remember Virginia from her drawing of a gingerbread house for the school literary magazine.


    /\/\ /\ ><

    • katiemorford
      05.05.2012 at 8:57 PM #

      Hi Max,

      Thanks for your comment. Maybe you could email me at momskitchenhandbook@gmail.com and let me know what kind of cookie you are looking for….do you want something fairly wholesome? Chocolate? A rolled cookie? I’m happy to share suggestions!



  7. Christina
    05.08.2012 at 7:34 AM #

    I made this oatmeal this morning for the first time. When I took the top off of the pot there was some green liquid on top of the oatmeal. Is that normal? Is it OK to eat it?

    • katiemorford
      05.08.2012 at 10:05 AM #

      Hi there. That’s a new one for me…but after a little poking around, it seems it may be caused by a reaction from cooking the oats in water with a high mineral content (hard water/well water). Here is a link with some details: http://www.ehow.com/info_8054241_causes-foam-steel-cut-oats.html Hope that helps!

      • Christina
        05.08.2012 at 2:14 PM #

        Thanks so much for the information … I’m glad it won’t kill me. My kids and I ate it this morning and so far, so good. :-)

  8. 09.29.2012 at 2:23 PM #

    Great blog! Although I’m dubious about making porridge without milk! Any suggestions for incorporating it?

    Thank you! X

    • katiemorford
      09.29.2012 at 3:25 PM #

      I hear you. I would suggest substituting 1 to 2 cups of milk for the water and then storing it overnight in the fridge.

  9. Maria
    06.29.2013 at 10:27 PM #

    Hi are you sure you aren’t at risk for some bacteria leaving them sitting out afrer cooking?

    • katiemorford
      06.30.2013 at 10:46 AM #

      I would expect the risk to be minimal, but if you are concerned, you can simply store overnight in the fridge.


  1. Holding my Ground on Whole Grains « Mom'sKitchenHandbook - 05.20.2011

    [...] a smoothie, add them to myriad baked goods, and, of course, make them for breakfast such as these Overnight Steel Cut Oats. Choose old-fashioned rolled oats, ideally with the bran intact, instead of quick oats, since they [...]

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