Steel Cut Overnight Oats

Steel cut overnight oats

The Spruce / Laurel Randolph

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Soak: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
229 Calories
7g Fat
35g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 229
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 192mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 103mg 8%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 238mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Oatmeal is a great way to start the day thanks to its fiber content (which will fill you up until lunchtime) and versatility. Steel cut oats are beloved for their texture, nutty flavor, and nutrition, but they take some time along with patient stirring to prepare.

In comes overnight steel cut oatmeal. With just six minutes of cooking time and a few short minutes of stirring, they're an ideal breakfast for busy mornings. Quickly toast the oats in butter, add hot water, and cover. The steel cut oats will slowly soak up all of the water overnight while you sleep. All you have to do in the morning is add milk and sugar, then heat the mixture before serving.

We suggest topping this recipe with yogurt, fresh grapefruit, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of nuts, but you can top your oatmeal with whatever ingredients you like. If you're feeding a crowd or planning ahead, double the recipe and cook it in a big, heavy pot.


  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 cup steel cut oats

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups hot water

  • 1 cup milk , or non-dairy milk

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, optional

  • 1 large grapefruit, peeled and segmented, optional

  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, then add the butter and cook, occasionally swirling the pan, until melted.

  3. Add the steel cut oats and salt, then cook, stirring, for about 1 minute or until the oats smell toasty.

  4. Add the hot water and turn off the heat. Stir, making sure all of the oats are submerged, and cover tightly with a lid. Let sit on the stove (with the heat turned off) overnight, or at least 8 hours and as long as 12 hours.

  5. After soaking, remove the lid from and heat the saucepan over medium. Add the milk and brown sugar, and cook, stirring, until the the mixture begins to simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low to keep it at a simmer and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until the desired consistency is reached.

  6. Scoop the oats into bowls and serve topped with a scoop of yogurt, grapefruit segments, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of pistachios, if desired. Throw in your favorite toppings for your ideal bowl and enjoy!

How to Store

  • Leftover steel cut oats should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and will keep for up to 3 days.
  • Enjoy cold or reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding water and/or milk to reach the desired consistency.
  • Cooked oatmeal can also be frozen. Cool and add to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months, defrosting in the fridge before reheating or consuming.

Recipe Variations

  • For a heartier, chewier texture and no cooking whatsoever, add the oats to a container with a lid along with 2 cups of water (or 1 cup water and 1 cup milk) and the salt. Mix, cover, and store in the fridge to soak for at least 12 hours.
  • Make this recipe vegan by using vegan butter and non-dairy milk.

The flavor variations for oatmeal are endless. Try any of the following mix-ins and toppings or a combination of more than one:

  • Add spices like cinnamon (1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground) or flavorings like vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon).
  • Stir in up to 2 tablespoons of nut butter. For PB&J oatmeal, also add a tablespoon of jam.
  • Top with berries. If using frozen berries, stir into the hot oatmeal to thaw.
  • Top with other fruit like sliced raw apple or cooked apples, sliced banana, or dried fruit.
  • Add some crunch with a sprinkling of nuts like toasted almonds or walnuts.
  • Sprinkle with toasted coconut or chia seeds. For a tropical twist, swap the milk for coconut milk.
  • Sweeten things up with a drizzle of maple syrup or top with chocolate chips.
  • Leave out the sugar and add ingredients like chopped green onions, bacon, and a fried egg for savory oatmeal.