Steel Cut Oats: Make Once - Eat All Week (Three Topping Ideas Included)

This is not exactly the post I had in mind for Valentine’s Day – honestly, I’m pretty much a chocolate-caramel-peanut butter-deep dark flavor kind of girl anytime, and especially on

I think by now the excesses of the holidays are firmly behind us, and resolutions– like health and fitness and saving money–stretch ahead.  I’d like to suggest one proverbial stone for these two birds—and that is Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats. They’re incredibly healthy and filling, full of protein and fiber– I definitely notice that the days I start with whole grains like steel cut oatmeal, I can hold out better ‘til lunch. It’s also cheap to prepare; plus you can make enough in one go to last for the week, (like I’m about to describe) and using different toppings helps keep it interesting. Voilà–cook once, and you’ve got hot breakfast for the week.

And most important, they really taste great.  I’ve pretty much sworn off rolled oats and instant oatmeal, because after I tasted steel cut oatmeal, with its nutty taste and firmer texture, I’ve never looked back. No more gluey oatmeal for me.

Steel cut oats straight from the box can be cooked immediately in about 25-30 minutes . . . but I’m not going to wake up 30 minutes early to make them. (I know myself.) Luckily, with whole grains like steel cut oats, a little forethought can save a ton of time. I like the texture best when they’re soaked overnight, and the shortcut method – dropping them into boiling water the night before, then warming them up the next morning after they’ve soaked—simplifies life.

Start with a cup of Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats.

Boil 4 cups water in a saucepan, and pour in the oats. (Note: I’ve heard some people use milk, or half milk/half water, but I never have–have you?)

Some foam may develop as the oats hit water—just give it a good stir. It doesn’t hurt anything.

Let them boil for a minute. Now the best part: turn off the heat, cover the pan, and forget about it until the next morning. Really.

They’re basically done when you uncover the pot the next morning. They’re just cold. (Not exactly what you’d like on a cold January morning.)

Warm them on medium low heat for about ten minutes, and they’re ready to eat. You’ll hear them start to bubble lazily, because they’re so thick, and you’ll see the surface pop with big bubbles like molten lava.

You can test the consistency by spooning a bit into a bowl, and seeing how well it keeps its shape. My personal preference is for it to be pretty well set up, and not move or run too much when I tip the bowl. It will become firmer as it cools, too.

You can eat immediately, or refrigerate and heat up single servings in the microwave (mine works at 1 ½ – 2 minutes on medium) or the stovetop on low (with a sprinkle of water and attentive stirring).

Now onto the fun: what will you top them with?

The one thing I believe in, strongly, is a pinch of salt. We think of oatmeal as sweet (most toppings and add-ins are), but the oats themselves are nutty, and the salt brings out the nutty savory-ness in them. If you’ve never tried it, then you’re missing out. I like to sprinkle it on after it’s cooked, because I can use a bit less than when it’s cooked in, and the taste is front and center.

Here are three topping ideas that I’m currently enjoying—these are taste combination suggestions, and where possible I’ve chosen ingredients that can be easily found and stored, so you can keep them on hand and not have to think about breakfast– because it’s just too early to think.

My classic favorite: Steel-Cut Oatmeal withBrown Sugar and Milk

Download this recipe as a PDF

  • 1 cup cooked Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. 2% milk (use more or less, to taste)

This is the first way I ever ate steel cut oatmeal, and it’s still pretty awesome. The sugar melts, and the milk cools it all down and flows into all the cracks. If you’re anti-sugar, but still want some sweetness, either maple syrup or honey makes a great substitute.

A newer favorite: Fig and Toasted Walnut Steel Cut Oatmeal

  • 1 cup cooked Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats
  • 1 Tablespoon fig preserves
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted walnuts
  • Pinch of salt
A friend who always has great ideas for taste combos just introduced me to this. It’s really deep and earthy tasting, hardly sweet at all. The fig preserves are smooth and rich, contrasting with the crunchy walnuts, and it’s a perfect match with the nutty oats.

And my newest favorite —

Chocolate-Hazelnut and Raspberry Steel Cut Oatmeal

  • 1 cup cooked Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats
  • 1-2 teaspoons chocolate-hazelnut spread (like Nutella)
  • 1 teaspoon all-fruit raspberry preserves
  • Pinch of salt

It’s a bit decadent, but the goodness of the oats under it helps keep it grounded. It’s my reward for those days when it’s reeeeeeally difficult to get out of bed. I can only imagine how amazing this would be with actual bits of shaved dark chocolate, chopped toasted hazelnuts, and fresh raspberries on top . . .  but seriously, I can’t be expected to have all three of those things in the house at the same time.

These are my favorites—do you have any? Are you a traditionalist, or an experimenter? (I hear some people do savory oatmeals, and I’d love to hear what works and doesn’t work.) Leave any ideas in the comment section.

Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oatmeal, Overnight Timesaver Method

Boil 4 cups of water in a large saucepan or pot, add 1 cup of Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats. Turn off heat, cover, and leave overnight. In the morning, cook them on low for 10 minutes.


Makes 4 servings. Keep in sealed container in refrigerator up to 4-5 days, and reheat in microwave or on stovetop.