overnight oats with steel cut oats

Overnight Oats with Steel Cut Oats

Overnight Oats with Steel Cut Oats

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overnight oats with steel cut oats
overnight oats with steel cut oats



If you’ve never had steel cut oats, prepare yourself for a serious oatmeal upgrade.

  • Steel cut oats (whole oats that have been cut into a few pieces) are significantly less processed than instant oats, which are steamed, pressed, ground, and otherwise obliterated.
  • This means that, unlike instant oatmeal, which has all the flavor and texture of a pile of wet sawdust (oatmeal skeptics, I can sense your nods of understanding), steel cut oatmeal has a hearty, pleasing texture and nutty taste.
  • As a bonus, because steel cut oats take your body longer to break down, they keep you fuller too.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

I’m not usually one to play matchmaker, but I was so firmly convinced that two of my longest-running, most-treasured breakfast besties—overnight oats and steel cut oatmeal—would hit it off that I couldn’t resist the urge to combine the two into a single bowl of Overnight Steel Cut Oats.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a match made for a 1990s rom-com classic! Ever since I stirred together my first batch of make-ahead steel cut oats, it’s been a ride-off-into-the-sunset breakfast love story.

Now, if you are reading this and thinking to yourself, Isn’t the fact that you can use steel cut oats for overnight oats incredibly obvious?, please consider the great fictional romances of our time.

Wasn’t it also obvious that Harry would end up with Sally? That Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were meant to be (twice)? That Ross would finally win over Rachel? Why, yes. But that doesn’t make the evolution of the love story any less satisfying.

The same is true of Overnight Steel Cut Oats.

If you are reading up to this point and wondering, What are overnight oats?, let me give you a brief rundown: overnight oats are dry oats that are stirred together with milk, a bit of sweetener such as honey or maple syrup, and whatever other deliciousness you like.

You can make overnight oats with chia seeds, peanut butter, fresh or dried fruit, and any other mix-ins. The limit is only your imagination (or perhaps your pantry). This Sugar Cookie Protein Oatmeal, for example, includes a scoop of protein powder.

You leave the oatmeal in the refrigerator overnight and then wake in the morning to a bit of breakfast magic.

In the refrigerator, the oatmeal absorbs a portion of the milk and becomes irresistibly creamy. You give it a stir, pour it into a bowl, and sit down to reap the benefits of a filling, healthy, delicious breakfast that took seconds to prepare.

Overnight oats are typically enjoyed cold, similar to muesli. If you prefer a hot oatmeal that can be made overnight, you can check out my Overnight Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats. If you need a hot oatmeal that can be made in minutes, check out my Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats. 


  • 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!


Overnight Oats with Steel Cut Oats
Overnight Oats with Steel Cut Oats


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.


Serving: 1/2 of recipe without toppings Calories: 150kcal Carbohydrates: 27g Protein: 4g Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 83mg Fiber: 3g

Flavoring Steel Cut Oats

On its own, oatmeal can be pretty bland, but with a few little tricks, you can turn it into a crave-worthy breakfast.

  • To give my banana bread overnight steel cut oats some pizzazz, I took inspiration from my favorite healthy banana nut muffins, adding mashed ripe bananas, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the oats before they cooked.

The result was a filling, healthy breakfast with the cozy flavor of freshly baked banana bread.

Going along with the Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats banana bread theme, I couldn’t stop myself from topping my bowl with extra banana slices and walnuts.

Combined with the bananas that were mixed into the crock pot oatmeal, this steel cut oats recipe has just the right amount of sweetness for me.

  • If you prefer your oatmeal on the sweeter side, I suspect a drizzle of pure maple syrup or honey will do the trick. Chocolate chips and a giant dollop of peanut butter wouldn’t hurt either.
  • For those who prefer to keep the overnight Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats plain, you can swap the mashed banana for unsweetened applesauce or a few extra splashes of milk to ensure they do not dry out.

What Are The Best Type Of Oats For Overnight Oats?

Now that I have talked about steel cut oats and rolled oats, you might be wondering what the best type of oats are for overnight oats.

The answer to this question, again, in the end it really depends on your personal preference.

If you like a softer and creamier breakfast, then rolled oats (or even quick oats!) are definitely the way to go.

But if you prefer a heartier and chewier breakfast, then steel cut oats are the perfect option.

No matter what type of oats you choose, you can be sure that you will end up with a tasty and nutritious breakfast!

How To Soften Steel Cut Oats For Overnight Oats

As steel cut oats tend to be harder than other types of oats, it is recommended to soften them a bit before adding them to your overnight oats.

The best way to do this is to cook them for a few minutes or to soak them overnight.

If you choose to cook the steel cut oats, simply add the steel cut oats to boiling water and let them cook for about five minutes.

Once they are done cooking, drain any excess water and add them to your overnight oats.

This will allow them to soften during the night more easily so that you can enjoy your breakfast in the morning.

Can you soak rolled oats overnight?

Classic overnight oats are the process of soaking rolled oats in a liquid overnight in order to soften them enough to digest without cooking.

Can you use steel cut oats for overnight oats? 

Steel cut oats can be used for overnight oats. We recommend using quick-cooking steel cut oats with a 1 to 2 ratio of oats to liquid. From there we suggest soaking your steel cut oats overnight or for at least 2 hours.


Overnight Oats with Steel Cut Oats
Overnight Oats with Steel Cut Oats


What type of oats are best for overnight oats? 

Overnight oats work with a variety of forms of oatmeal including quick cooking oats, rolled oats, quick cooking steel cut oats, and normal steel cut oats!

It all depends on how creamy you like your oats. Quick cooking oats will get you the creamiest and then steel cut oats will give you more of a bite.



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