How to Cook Steel Cut Oats (4 Ways!)

 Learn how to cook steel cut oats in four different ways: microwave, stovetop, overnight, and slow cooking. Choose your preferred method based on convenience and batch size. This nutritious carbohydrate is a healthy and affordable meal to start the day!

One of the healthiest grains you can eat

Nearly every household has a canister or box of oats stashed in their pantry, or at least they should. This shelf-stable cereal grain is packed within each spoonful. There are various to choose from at the store it can be a little overwhelming. So I’m going to walk you through one of the most popular varieties called steel-cut oats or Irish-style oats. These little bits have a delicious nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture that gets creamy as it cooks. Because they are one of the least processed varieties, they can take a longer time to cook. But not to worry! I have four easy methods you can try that vary in cooking time, hands-on activity, and yield. Choose the one that best suits your needs, and you’ll be an oatmeal pro in no time.

How to cook steel cut oats

  • Microwaving is the quickest method. Works well for single-serving portions only.
  • Stovetop is the most traditional method, giving you control of the cooking process. Best for those not in a rush, and want to feed more people.
  • Overnight combines soaking the evening before and quickly heating on the stovetop in the morning to thicken the oats. For those in a hurry but have a few minutes to spare.
  • Slow cooking is a great way to make a big batch with very little need for stirring. Just set it and let the machine do all of the work!
  • Pressure cooking makes oatmeal in about half the time compared to the stovetop. If you have this device, check out my separate Instant Pot steel cut oats recipe.The most important thing to remember for this method is to use a large microwave-safe bowl that can hold up to eight cups of water. Even though you only add two cups of liquid, when the electromagnetic waves heat the liquid it starts to rapidly bubble and expands. If the bowl isn’t large enough, it will flow over causing a mess.

    Cooking time is about 10 minutes, stirring once in between. If you’re just a personal-sized serving this is a good option. Compared to cooking rolled oats in the microwave, steel cut oats need more water and time.This is the classic method that brings water to a boil, stirring in the oats, then reducing heat to a gentle simmer. It takes about 30 minutes for the oats to absorb the water, and become creamy. This is the most involved technique, requiring frequent stirring to ensure even cooking and heat distribution. You can easily scale the recipe up or down, just change the size of your saucepot.

    Storing and reheating

    If making a large batch of oatmeal, store in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Smaller portions can be frozen for up to 1 month then defrosted before reheating. The oatmeal can be reheated on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring and adding in more liquid to thin out the consistency as needed.

    Small portions can be reheated in the microwave. Cook on high power in 30-second intervals, stirring and cooking until warmed through. You can add more liquid if needed after microwaving for the first 1-minute of reheating to make it easier to incorporate.


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