How to Make Perfect Steel Cut Oatmeal: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you a fan of oatmeal but looking to switch things up from the usual instant oatmeal packets? Look no further than steel cut oatmeal! Not only is steel cut oatmeal a tasty and filling option for breakfast, it also has a lower glycemic index and can leave you feeling full for longer periods of time. However, cooking steel cut oatmeal can be a bit intimidating for beginners. Fear not! With this step-by-step guide, you’ll be cooking perfect steel cut oatmeal in no time.

What is Steel Cut Oatmeal?

Before we dive into the step-by-step guide, let’s first understand what steel cut oatmeal is. Unlike instant or rolled oats, which are steamed and flattened, steel cut oatmeal is made from the whole oat groat that has been cut into pieces with a steel blade. This gives the oats a chewier and heartier texture, making it the perfect option for those who want a more filling breakfast.

Step 1: Measuring Your Ingredients

Before you begin to cook your steel cut oatmeal, it’s important to measure your ingredients correctly. To make 4 servings of steel cut oatmeal, you will need:

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 4 cups water
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

Make sure you have these ingredients ready to go before beginning the cooking process.

Step 2: Boiling Your Water

Once you have measured out your ingredients, the next step is to boil your water. In a medium-sized pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.

TIP: Use a Ratio of 4:1

It’s important to note that the ratio of water to steel cut oats is 4:1. This means that for every 1 cup of steel cut oats, you will need 4 cups of water. This ratio ensures that your steel cut oats come out perfectly cooked and not too mushy or dry.

Step 3: Adding Your Steel Cut Oats

Once your water has come to a boil, it’s time to add your steel cut oats. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add 1 cup of steel cut oats to the pot.

TIP: Toast Your Oats

For a nuttier and richer flavor, you can toast your steel cut oats before adding them to the pot. Simply heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat and add your steel cut oats. Toast them for 3-5 minutes or until they become fragrant and slightly golden. Then add them to the pot of boiling water.

Step 4: Adding Salt (Optional)

If you like your oatmeal on the savory side, you can add a pinch of salt at this point. However, if you prefer your oatmeal on the sweeter side, it’s best to hold off on adding salt until the end.

Step 5: Cooking Your Steel Cut Oatmeal

With the steel cut oats added to the pot, it’s time to cook your oatmeal. Let your oats simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll know your oatmeal is done when the oats are tender but still slightly chewy.

TIP: Don’t Overcook Your Oatmeal

One of the biggest mistakes beginner oatmeal cooks make is overcooking their oatmeal. Overcooked oatmeal can become mushy and lose its texture. Keep an eye on your oatmeal throughout the cooking process to ensure it doesn’t overcook.

Step 6: Serving Your Steel Cut Oatmeal

Once your oatmeal is done cooking, it’s time to serve it up! You can divide your oatmeal into 4 bowls and add your favorite toppings. Some delicious toppings to consider include:

  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Cinnamon or nutmeg

Get creative with your toppings and enjoy your perfectly cooked steel cut oatmeal!

FAQs About Making Steel Cut Oatmeal

How do I Store My Steel Cut Oatmeal?

You can store your leftover steel cut oatmeal in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. When reheating, add a splash of water or milk to prevent the oatmeal from becoming dry.

How Do I Reheat My Leftover Steel Cut Oatmeal?

To reheat your leftover steel cut oatmeal, add it to a small pot with a splash of water or milk. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.

Can I Make Steel Cut Oatmeal Ahead of Time?

Yes! You can make steel cut oatmeal ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Simply reheat when you’re ready to eat.

Can I Freeze My Steel Cut Oatmeal?

Yes! You can freeze your cooked steel cut oatmeal in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the fridge overnight and reheat as normal.

What is the Difference Between Steel Cut Oatmeal and Rolled Oats?

The biggest difference between steel cut oatmeal and rolled oats is the texture. Steel cut oats are chewier and heartier, while rolled oats are softer and can become mushy when cooked for too long. Steel cut oats also have a lower glycemic index and can keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.


Bon Appétit. (2012, March 14). Cooking Steel-Cut Oats.

MyFitnessPal. (2019, August 21). Steel-Cut Oats Vs. Rolled Oats: Which Is Healthier?

Whole Grains Council. (n.d.). Steel Cut Oats.

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