This steel cut oats recipe is a naturally sweetened, whole grain breakfast cereal cooked via the Instant Pot or stove in under 30 minutes. Enjoy immediately, or meal prep breakfast for the week. By reader request, we’re sharing my oldest oatmeal recipe, favorite toppings, discussing steel cut vs rolled oats, and tips to meal prep any oatmeal for breakfast on-the-go.
Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe
Nothing beats a beautiful bowl of steel cut oats loaded with nutritious toppings for a healthy breakfast.
Be it for weight loss, fitness goals, or simply ticking the breakfast box on busy mornings, a reliable oatmeal recipe can literally change your life for the better!
I’ll be honest though, before steel cut oats entered my world, I was not team oatmeal.
I couldn’t make myself enjoy rolled oats or instant oatmeal. The mushy texture was the deal breaker, but I forced myself to eat it…because it was “good for me”.
Then, some years ago, we switched from rolled oats to steel cut oats. Costco had them in giant bags. We bought in and fell for them, face first!
I came up with a maple and date-sweetened oatmeal recipe that we still use to this day. Now, it’s yours to enjoy!
The difference between Steel Cut and Rolled Oats
What are rolled oats?
Rolled oats are are whole, oat groats that have been steamed and flattened. They’re also called old-fashioned oats, and require about 15 minutes of cooking time on the stove top.
What are steel cut oats?
Steel cut oats are whole, oat groats, cut into pieces about the size of dry quinoa. These are not flattened, and are the least processed of the oatmeal family.
Steel cut oatmeal takes 15 minutes longer to cook than rolled oats on the stove, so 30 minutes total. You can pressure cook them in 5 minutes with a natural steam release of about 20 minutes.
When cooked, steel cut oats are chewier and nuttier than rolled oats. they win the oatmeal game by a long shot, in my book!
There is also a quick cook steel cut instant oatmeal, which you can even find packaged with NO salt and NO sugar. That’s a win, but keep in mind, they’re not as cost-effective as buying oats in bulk.
As for sugary, instant oatmeal packets…just, no.
Information sourced from Food Lover’s Companion…one of my all time favorite food resource books!
How to make steel cut oats in the Instant Pot
1. Place stainless steel insert into the electric pressure cooker and add oats and other ingredients (except toppings); stir to combine.
2. Close and lock cooker lid, set pressure release knob to sealed position, adjust panel settings to Manual . . High . . +5.
3. Allow pressure cooker to run the full cycle, followed by a natural pressure release with a 10 minute minimum (preferably a full pressure release to prevent oatmeal from spattering onto your kitchen surfaces).
4. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings; or allow to cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.
* See full steel cut oats recipe below
We started pressure cooking oats a few years ago right after we bought our Instant Pot. Prior to that, we always cooked them on the stove and the results were always perfect.
How to make steel cut oats on the stove
1. Bring liquid to a boil in 3 quart saucepan.
2. Stir in oats and other ingredients (except toppings).
3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 20 minutes, or until oats are fully cooked, stirring as needed.
4. Serve warm with your favorite toppings, or refrigerate up to 5 days.
* See full steel cut oats recipe below
My favorite oatmeal toppings
- fresh or frozen fruit (berries, tree fruit, stone fruit, and tropical fruit)
- dried fruit (dates, cherries, blueberries, coconut)
- nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews)
- nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter)
- seeds (chia, flax, hemp, sunflower, pepitas)
- liquid sweeteners (honey or maple syrup)
- chocolatey toppings (chocolate chips, cacao nibs or carob chips)
- liquids (water, milk, almond milk, coconut milk)
- protein (yogurt, poached egg, salmon, shrimp)
Do you meal prep your oatmeal?
Meal prepping is the ONLY way we approach oatmeal here at The Kitchen Girl HQ.
We figure that if we’re already in for 30 minutes of cooking time, let’s double down and make a jumbo batch so we can eat breakfast for an entire week.
How to meal prep any oatmeal recipe
1. Cook oatmeal using your favorite method. Be sure to scale the recipe to accommodate the number of days you’re preparing.
2. Pour into a large baking pan, cover with foil or plastic wrap, and allow to cool down.
3. Meanwhile, prepare oatmeal toppings by storing them in smaller, airtight containers; plan to add these to the reheated oatmeal.
4. Once cooled, use any of these storage options:
a. Refrigerate in a large, airtight container and serve into daily portions to *reheat before serving.
b. Portion into individual, heat-safe, transportable containers to refrigerate and *reheat and eat on-the-go.
c. Scoop warm oatmeal into thermoses and eat on-the-go with no reheating necessary.
* When reheating, add small amounts of liquid into oatmeal to loosen the consistency, if desired.
* Always reheat oatmeal in a heat-safe container.
Tools I use to make this oatmeal recipe:
- 3 quart saucepan with lid (for stove method)
- Instant Pot (for electric pressure cooker method)
- stirring spoon
- 9″ x 11″ baking pan (for cooling the oats)
- plastic wrap or aluminum foil (to cover the oats while cooling)
- airtight storage containers (for breakfast meal prep)
Grab these other healthy, meal prep, breakfast recipes
Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe
- 2 cups Steel Cut Oats
- 4 cups Water
- 2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 cup Dried Dates pitted
Instant Pot Oatmeal:
- Place stainless steel insert into the body of electric pressure cooker.
- Add STEEL CUT OATS, WATER, ALMOND MILK, MAPLE SYRUP, SALT, CINNAMON, and PITTED DATES; stir to combine.
- Adjust panel settings to Manual . . High . . +5.
- Close and lock pressure cooker lid; turn pressure release knob to the sealed position.
- Allow pressure cooker to run the full cycle, followed by a natural pressure release with a 10 minute minimum (to avoid making a steamy oat mess in your kitchen).
- Serve warm with your favorite toppings; or allow to cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container(s) up to 5 days.
Stove top Oatmeal:
- In a 3 quart sauce pan, combine STEEL CUT OATS, WATER, ALMOND MILK, MAPLE SYRUP, SALT, (optional) CINNAMON, and (optional) PITTED DATES; bring to boil (about 5 min).
- Turn heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring as needed (about 20 min).
- For thicker oatmeal, continue to cook in short increments to reduce the liquid, stirring as needed.
- For less thick oatmeal, add small amounts of water or milk to thin the consistency to your liking.
- Remove from heat; serve warm with toppings of choice, or cool completely, then refrigerate in airtight containers up to 5 days.