How To Cook Steel Cut Oats On The Stovetop – This cozy, healthy steel cut oats recipe is anything but boring. Learn my secrets for perfect oats every time and check out the list of oatmeal topping ideas!
Winter is such a cozy time for food! During these months, I usually gravitate away from my colder breakfast standbys like overnight oats and acai bowls, and more toward warm breakfasts, like potato and veggie scrambles and steel cut oatmeal.
There are so many reasons to love steel cut oats, and I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know to get a perfect bowl every time.
I’ve mentioned this before, but steel cut oats aren’t nutritionally different from other forms of oats (like quick-cooking or rolled/old-fashioned). They’ve been prepared differently (cut by a large steel blade instead of being rolled or sliced), but they have the same basic nutrients (protein, fiber, etc.) as any other form of oats. What IS different is the glycemic index, or how quickly the carbohydrates enter your bloodstream. Think of steel cut oats as a slow-releasing form compared to quick or rolled oats. This means that while they take a bit longer to cook, they won’t cause any sharp blood sugar spikes and they’ll stay with you a little bit longer.
The extra cooking time is sometimes what keeps people from trying steel cut oatmeal, but for me, it’s worth every moment of that time. If you’re really strapped for time in the mornings, you can actually make them the night before and reheat them. Their cut will keep them from getting gluey or losing their texture, and you can finish cooking them in the time it takes to clean up dinner!
Here’s What You Need To Make Steel-Cut Oats On The Stovetop:
- A Saucepan. To make stove top steel cut oats, you’ll cook them in a small pot on the stove. I recommend something with a lid, which can help your water boil faster.
- Water. I usually cook my steel-cut oats in water. It’s easy and keeps them from burning.
- Steel-Cut Oats. Can’t make oats without oats! I use gluten-free steel cut oats.
- A Pinch Of Salt. One of my tricks is to add a small pinch of salt. It won’t make your oats taste salty at all (pinky promise!), it’ll just bring out the flavor of the oats and keep them from tasting flat or dull.
- A Drizzle Of Milk. After the oats are done simmering on the stove, I like to stir in a small splash of milk. It adds a creamy finish, which is so lovely. I use almond milk, but you can use whatever you drink!
- Vanilla (If You Want). I recommend a little vanilla. It adds a hint of sweetness without sugar, and really makes the oatmeal taste fantastic.
How To Make Steel-Cut Oats On The Stovetop:
- Start By Boiling The Water. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add Oats & Salt. When the water is boiling, add the steel-cut oats and a tiny pinch (less than 1/8 tsp.) of salt.
- Simmer & Stir. Reduce heat to low and cook 15-20 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed and the oats are tender.
- Finish With Flavor. Stir in milk and vanilla and remove from heat.
- Add Your Favorite Goodies! Top with your favorite goodies. There are TONS of steel-cut oats toppings to try, but we’ve definitely got some favorites, like…
Yummy Toppings To Try On Stovetop Steel Cut Oats:
- Raspberries (Try frozen berries! They’re delicious, too!)
- Fresh Cherries
- Sliced Bananas
- Pomegranate Arils
- Sliced Pears
- Peaches or Nectarines
- Raisins or Dried Cranberries
- Diced or Sliced Apples
Nuts, Nut Butter & Seeds:
- Peanut Butter
- Almond Butter
- Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (Like Nutella or this dairy-free Option)
- Hemp Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Sliced, Chopped, or Toasted Almonds
- Chopped Hazelnuts
Sweeteners, Flavors & Extras:
- Pure Maple Syrup
- Raspberry or Strawberry Jam
- Vanilla Extract
- Chai Spice
- Cacao Nibs
- Mini Chocolate Chips
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Stovetop Steel-Cut Oats:
How To Make Steel Cut Oats In Advance. A great thing about steel cut oats is that it’s almost impossible for them to end up gluey. They maintain their slightly chewy texture and can even be reheated, so you can make a big batch on Monday, keep leftovers in the refrigerator, and warm up a bowl in the microwave or on the stove each morning for the rest of the week.
Pack Oatmeal For On The Go! You can even pack them in single-serving jars or containers for a quick on-the-go breakfast to warm up at work or right before school.
Gluten-Free? Read This! Oats themselves are gluten-free, though farming and processing procedures often cause cross-contamination with gluten/wheat. If this is a concern for you, you can try certified gluten-free oats. We love these.
Prefer To Make Them In An Instant Pot? If you want a more hands-off approach, you can totally make steel cut oats in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Get our Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats recipe + favorite flavors here!
Tips for Perfect Steel-Cut Oats Every Time
- Cook them long enough. You might be tempted to pull them off the heat early. I say give them a good 20 minutes of simmering time. They’ll be at their best texture and will have absorbed the most liquid.
- Don’t be afraid to add more liquid. After cooking, I always stir in extra milk at the end. I use non-dairy milk (almond, cashew, or coconut), but dairy milk works great too.
- Make the most of non-sugar flavor boosters. Adding a little vanilla extract or cinnamon will give your brain and tongue the feeling of sweetness without adding any extra sugar. You’ll end up using less sweetener overall if they’ve already got a little taste of sweetness.
Originally shared Nov 2016. Fully updated Jan 2021.