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How To Properly Cook Steel Cut Oats

Updated on November 16, 2012
Steel Cut Oats
Steel Cut Oats | Source
5 stars from 1 rating of Steel Cut Oats

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 15 min
  • Ready in: 20 min
  • Yields: 1 serving

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When I was growing up, to be honest, I actually had a very limited appreciation for oats and oatmeal. Sure, there was the Quaker oatmeal tub with Benjamin Franklin on the front (it wasn’t Benjamin Franklin, but that is who I always thought it was), and there was the instant oatmeal (the brands that had all the different flavors in it—the raisins, apple and cinnamon or maple and brown sugar styles). That was it for oatmeal options.

I never liked the plain Ben Franklin one – it had no flavor to it (plus, as a kid, you tend to want the “flashy”boxed cereal with the sugar and prizes inside), and I’m not a fan of fruit cooked or baked into most things (outside of certain pies and specialty desserts). So, I only ever really liked the maple syrup and brown sugar instant oatmeal.

Also, outside of the always awesome oatmeal cookie, or the wonderful bowl of tasty granola (oats with honey and nut clusters), I can safely say I never went out of my way to eat oatmeal until I was much older.

I guess that the old saying of “with age comes wisdom” can include a footnote about certain foods, as well.

Nowadays, I really seem to enjoy oatmeal on a more regular basis; not because “I’m old”, but because as a home cook, I find more and more uses and health benefits for oatmeal: it is high in fiber and it can be made into breads, cakes, cookies, scones and all sorts of delicious treats.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/4 cup
Calories 150
Calories from Fat27
% Daily Value *
Fat 3 g5%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 27 g9%
Sugar 1 g
Fiber 4 g16%
Protein 4 g8%
Cholesterol 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Steel cut oats (also known as pinhead oats because of their shape) are a “newer” way of enjoying oats and oatmeal besides the standard Quaker instant oatmeal or the rolled oats variety of oatmeal out there.

They have a very high amount of fiber (16 percent), iron (10 percent), they are 100 percent whole wheat, and they have 4 grams of protein. They also help lower your cholesterol and, if made properly, they are great tasting and have a distinct texture.

One of the first things to understanding the difference between rolled oat (the standard kind in the round containers and the instant brands) and the steel cut oats (also called Irish Oats or Scottish Oats) is the cooking time is much longer for steel cut oats compared to rolled oats.

In fact; if you actually look at rolled oats, you will see that they are flattened (thus the term “rolled” oats). This process, of course, allows these oats to cook up faster (which is why they are sometimes referred to as “quick oats”). This is good for time, but the pressing of the oats does diminish the texture and lessens the amount of fiber (around 5 percent) in the oats.

Since there is such a large difference in the two types of oats and there is a growing interest in eating healthier (with many people buying steel cut oat, but not realizing the longer cooking time), I decided to give a short lesson in cooking up a batch of steel cut oats for anyone who is wondering the best way of doing so.

Not that there aren’t instructions on the Steel Cut Oat boxes or that the process in daunting, but if you are thinking about trying some and would like to know about the process before buying them, here is a quick guide:

Needed Ingredients
Needed Ingredients | Source

Serving Sizes and Cook Times


1 serving = 1/4 cup of dry oats and 1 cup of water: cook time, 10 to 15 minutes

2 servings = 1/2 cup of dry oats and 2 cups of water: cook time, 15 to20 minutes

3 servings = 3/4 cup of dry oats and 3 cups of water: cook time, 20 to 25 minutes

4 servings = 1 cup of dry oats and 4 cups of water: cook time 25 to 30 minutes

Toasting the oats
Toasting the oats | Source

Pre-Cooking Step:

Something that I do with my steel cut oats is I toast them before cooking them.

1. Use a flat oven safe dish, and pour the oat into it.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Bake the oats for 20 minutes. (This helps give the oats a nice toasted nutty flavor.

Cooking the oats
Cooking the oats | Source
Cooked Steel Cut Oats
Cooked Steel Cut Oats | Source

Cooking Steps:

1. First, you’ll need a medium sized cooking pot.

2. Second, you need to measure out the desired serving amount of steel cut oats that you wish to make (a recommended serving size is ¼ cut of dry oats, so we will use that for this recipe—if you wish to toast them as explained above, feel free. If you are pressed on time, you can pass on that step). If you wish to make more than 1 serving feel free; i.e. 4 servings will be 1 cup of oats plus 4 cups of water, and then cook time on the stove top will be 20-30 minutes.

3. Third, you need one cup of water.

4. Now, pour the water into the pot.

5. Then, place the pot over medium high heat and allow the water to come to a boil.

6. Then, add the steel cut oat (slowly, as not to splash any boiling water).

7. Allow the oats to soften and “thicken” this will take about 3-5 minutes.

8. Then, reduce the heat to low.

9. Simmer the oats, covered with a lid, for about 10-15 minutes for the single serving (longer if you are cooking multiple servings ). You can also simmer them uncovered but the water will evaporate, and can dry out the oats and they can burn. You can add a little water every so often to keep this from happening. Also you can add a tab of unsalted butter to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

10. Once the oatmeal is at the desired consistency and softness that you wish, serve them immediately with any number of additions: milk, sugar, honey, fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, molasses… the options are endless!


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    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      thanks for reading

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I was just thinking today that since winter is here so must be oatmeal. I like the idea of pre toasting the oats. This is a great recipe and I am going to bookmark like many of yours. Sometimes in the higher altitude they take a bit longer. Voting UP+++

    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      Hope you enjoy them!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you, I am getting some today.

    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      You bake them; I don't broiling will work as well.

      I made the proper change to the text, so there shouldn't be any confusion. Thanks for pointing that out for me, and thank you for reading.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I think in the beginning you say toast the oats. I am thinking broil or bake, which is it?

    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      Thank you for reading!

    • JessicaAnnoDomini profile image

      JessicaAnnoDomini 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Sounds good! Thanks for the informative article.