Make-ahead Breakfast: (Almost) Instant Steel Cut Oats

Almost Instant Steel Cut Oats | (Cooking for) Kiwi & BeanMarch 24. That would be the last time I posted anything on this blog. Oy. I blame it on the three month old that is shifting around on my hip as I type this. At some point—apparently shortly after March 24—he (a) woke up from his newborn coma, and (b) gained a few pounds. Which if you are at all familiar with baby physiology means that it was all hands (or dare I say boobs) on deck for this mama.

When I did this baby thing the first time around, rough nights could be chased with sleep-ins and leisurely mornings. Not so with a toddler in the picture. The Bean—bless her—greets each day with a rousing chorus of “Mama I’m huuuuuuuuungry!”, which does not let up until I have carried her downstairs (yes, she INSISTS I carry her down), and slid a bowl of something breakfast-y onto her Thomas the Tank Engine placemat.

So you can imagine why I might seek out a way to concoct make-ahead oatmeal. As I’ve said before, there is really nothing finer than a breakfast that cooks while you sleep and greets you—ready-to-eat—when you wake.

I actually experimented extensively with crock pot oatmeal before I landed on the version I’m sharing today. But I found the crock pot versions to be almost invariably mushy, watery and overdone at the edges. Convenient, yes, but not so appetizing. I also tried the old rolled oats in the microwave variation (if you can’t make ahead, then at least you can make it in a minute, I figured), but flavour and texture wise they just don’t hold a candle to their steely counterparts.

And then walked in this make-ahead steel cut on the stovetop version, and it was love at first bite. Boil up a pot of water before you go to bed, cook the oats for one minute (that’s right ONE MINUTE), then take them off the heat and cover them up with a tight-fitting lid. Then the next morning: just heat and serve.

Almost Instant Steel Cut Oats | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean

If you like your oatmeal adorned with fruit or other fancy stuff, add that to the boiling water along with the oats. We’ve had great luck with maple syrup-sweetened dried cranberries: left to soak overnight they plump up really nice, and impart a good level of sweetness to the oatmeal. Dried figs are also a delicious add-in.

And if you are looking for something really indulgent and incredibly delicious, replace some of the water with an equivalent amount of coconut milk. Best. Oatmeal. Ever.

(Almost) Instant Steel Cut Oats

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 cup steel cut oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
  • 4 cups water (or a combo of water and coconut milk)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Dried fruit (optional)


  1. Bring the water (or water and coconut milk) to a boil in a medium pot.
  2. When the water is boiling, add the oats, salt and fruit (If using), stir everything up, and let it all cook for one minute.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, cover it with a tight fitting lid, and go to bed.
  4. In the morning, reheat the oatmeal in the same pot you cooked it in, stirring frequently as it heats.

12 Responses to Make-ahead Breakfast: (Almost) Instant Steel Cut Oats

  1. allemagne_cialis October 11, 2017 at 5:10 am #

    You don’t have prescription for allemagne cialis but need to get one?

  2. Vanessa April 19, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

    We love this recipe! Super quick and tasty Do you think I could make it with quinoa flakes?

  3. Frankie February 20, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    Seeing as seeds and nuts are more digestible after soaking, I would add them to the UNcooked oakmeal, then either wait an hour +/- or proceed with the rest of the recipe. In the morning, I’d add some flax oil and lightly stir it in before SOME PEOPLE noticed it. Great brain food that also keeps tummies feeling full until lunch.

    • Sarah March 10, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

      Good idea Frankie. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Jill February 9, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    Silly question: Do you put the oatmeal in fridge overnight – or can you really let it sit on the stove? If fridge, do you let it cool first? Thanks!

    • Sarah February 10, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      Hi Jill – you just leave it on the stove (turned off of course). Then reheat in the morning.

    • Erin April 29, 2017 at 12:06 am #

      I was thinking the same thing. I couldn’t possibly leave it out overnight. Doesn’t this go against all safe food handling practices? I believe food has to be kept at a certain temp. in order to stop bacterial growth. Yikes. I wouldn’t feel comfortable eating it, let alone serving it to my babe.

      I wonder if I could put them in the fridge and get the same results?

  5. Ewa November 9, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Can you reheat the oatmeal in the morning in the microwave or does it only work on the stove?



    • Sarah November 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      Yes, microwave works too! Enjoy!

  6. Jen September 21, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    Trying this tonight. Given that I am guilty of slow cooker oatmeal, my trio is in for a treat.

  7. Liz May 12, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’ve tried the steel cut oats in the crock pot and they turned out gluey and no one liked them! This sounds interesting…..and delicious! 🙂

    • Sarah May 13, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

      Yes, the crock pot ones didn’t do it for us either. This version is sooooo much better!

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