Steel Cut Oatmeal: A Morning’s Best Friend

The Tastespotting 28 Days of Oatmeal National Heart Health Month (whoa, what a

Photo by Chris Tuite

mouthful!) event just ended, and it reminded me of a piece I wrote for the Vanguard awhile back. Enjoy:

When I was a kid, the only way I liked oatmeal was if my mom made it: (rolled) oats swimming in milk, topped with pools of butter and heaps of melting brown sugar. Fast forward 15 years, and I’m still craving oatmeal for breakfast, but usually served in a different way.

The following recipe is easy to prepare on a Sunday (or Monday if you have time)—then put away the rest so you can reheat it all week long. I like to use steel-cut oats, which are smaller than rolled oats, and have a little more chew. Not only is it a healthy choice to start your day with fiber-packed oatmeal, but it’s also quite economical. If you buy oatmeal in bulk, it usually costs about a dollar per pound.

Try the base recipe below, and pick a topping option—if you’ve never tried savory oatmeal, you’re in for a real treat. Or, develop your own favorite with jams or butters or anything else you have in your fridge.


  • 3 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup steel-cut oatmeal



  1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan,  add pinch of salt.
  2. Add oatmeal to the pot and stir, lower heat to a simmer.
  3. Cook for 20–30 minutes, until most water has evaporated and the oatmeal is creamy.
  4. Remove from heat, add desired toppings, and enjoy.


Elvis Oatmeal:

While the oatmeal is still hot (or reheated in the microwave for one minute and 30 seconds), add 1 heaping tablespoon of creamy peanut butter and mashed banana. Top with a teaspoon of cinnamon and stir.

Savory Morning:

To the hot oatmeal, add one sliced scallion, one teaspoon of sesame oil, two teaspoons of (low sodium) soy sauce and one teaspoon of Sriracha (or any hot sauce) if you want a little kick.

Buenos Días Oatmeal:

Add one tablespoon of your favorite salsa, and one tablespoon of grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese.

Mama’s Way:

Add a huge splash of milk—so much you almost can’t see the oatmeal, a knob of butter and a heaping spoonful of brown sugar to a hot bowl.

How do you like your oatmeal?


2 thoughts on “Steel Cut Oatmeal: A Morning’s Best Friend

  1. SOOOO you must have read my mind…I have been on the perfect oatmeal search for the past week!! I have bought ANNND returned different kinds, finally this morning I tried this frozen steel cut oats from trader joe’s and might I say it was quite good…only thing missing was a little brown sugar…made it in the microwave at work! Anyway- thank you for the recipe I shall try it this weekend 🙂

    love you giiiiiirl

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