Prep-Ahead Steel Cut Oatmeal
Usually, making a nutty, creamy bowl of steel cut oatmeal sets you back 20 or more minutes in the morning, but not with this easy method. Three minutes of prep the night before is all you need for a wholesome breakfast at the ready. Simply reheat and add toppings!


  • 1 cup (176g) steel cut oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
  • 3 cups (24oz) water*
  • ¼ teaspoon each cinnamon, vanilla, and kosher salt (may skip if watching sodium intake)
  • For serving: Milk of choice (or more water) to loosen when reheating; a pat of butter; maple syrup, brown sugar, or sweetener of choice; a spoonful of peanut butter or nut butter of choice; sliced bananas; berries; dried fruit; nuts and/or seeds, etc.


  1. The night before: Add the oats, water, and salt to a pot with a tight-fitting lid, place over high heat, and give it a stir. As soon as there are bubbles lightly simmering lightly across the surface, put the lid on and remove the pot from the heat.
  • Let the covered pot sit at room temperature until morning.
  • In the morning, warm the oatmeal in the pot over medium low heat, adding drizzle or three of milk to loosen. Or portion the oats into bowls and warm individual servings in the microwave, adding milk to taste.
  • Top the oatmeal as desired and enjoy.
  • The oatmeal will keep in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
  • Recipe may be scaled up or down as desired.

  • Notes

    *Prefer to make oatmeal with milk instead of water? In this case, let the covered oats cool slightly, and then refrigerate the pot (or transfer to a microwaveable container) until ready to reheat. In this case, I like a 50-50 ratio of milk and water to prevent scorching on the stovetop. Milk will lend creaminess, especially when using one with a higher level of milk fat.

    When scaling the recipe for more or fewer servings, maintain the same ratios.

    For meal prep: Once cool, I portion the oats into individual bowls, cover, and then warm in the microwave as needed. The oatmeal will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

    For added protein: I sometimes stir in a scoop of protein powder. In this case, an extra drizzle of milk is helpful.

    Optional toasting step for a nuttier flavor: I occasionally do this when making bigger batches. For 1 cup of steel cut oats, melt 1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the oats and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are fragrant and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Used the toasted oats in the recipe as directed.

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