You may have had rolled or instant oats, but have you ever trying making steel-cut oats? The healthy, versatile whole grain is nuttier and heartier to make for a filling meal than the instant counterpart. Because they’re so sturdy, steel-cut oats take a little longer to cook than the more processed versions, but we think the extra time is totally worth it. Make a big batch, and then you have a base for breakfast bowls drizzled in maple syrup and milk, and lunches and dinners featuring savory oats topped with crispy fried eggs (or any other toppings). Below is our favorite recipe for making a batch of basic steel-cut oats, along with our favorite serving suggestions.

How to Cook Steel-Cut Oats

Steel Cut Oats RECIPE

(Serves 4)


  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup steel cut oats


  1. Bring 4 cups of water and salt to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Once the water is boiling, sprinkle in 1 cup of steel-cut oats. Let the mixture boil, stirring frequently, until it starts to thicken. At first it will look like loose oats just floating in water, but you’ll be able to tell when the oats start breaking down and the mixture starts to get a little smoother.
  3. Reduce the heat and bring the oats to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. You might need to add between 1/2 – 1 cup of water more if your oats start to get too thick before they’re tender — we added an extra 1/2 cup while they were cooking to get the texture we wanted. It can take up to 30 minutes for the oats to get tender, and don’t forget to give them a quick stir every once and a while, so the bottom of your pan doesn’t scorch.
  4. When the oats are the consistency you like, serve them up.  Try one of the serving suggestions below, but don’t be afraid to experiment with your favorite flavors. Also, these oats keep fabulously in the fridge — just reheat them with a little extra water or milk, and then add your preferred toppings.
Steel-Cut Oats Recipe

Serving suggestions:

  • Make savory Korean-inspired oats by swirling in some toasted sesame oil and a splash of soy, then top your bowl with a crispy fried egg and serve with pickled perilla leaves or kimchi.
  • Get a dose of vegetarian protein by stirring in some almond or peanut butter, then top with sliced bananas.
  • Go classic with a comforting bowl of oats served with a pat of butter, maple syrup, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a splash of cream.
  • Make ris-oat-to by cooking your oats in broth, stirring constantly until they’re creamy. Stir in some butter, a handful of Parmesan, chopped parsley, and some truffle shavings if you’re feeling hella fancy.
  • Try a steel-cut-oat paella by cooking your oats in a mixture of saffron-infused broth, a splash of wine, and some smoked paprika. Top the oats with sautéed bell peppers, grilled chicken, and sautéed Spanish chorizo.

The option are endless and however you eat them, steel-cut oats deliver the fiber and nutrients you can expect from a hearty whole grain.

Look for more healthy meal ideas on our Pinterest page.

(Recipe and photos via Justina Huddleston / Brit + Co)