I’ve never been a big fan of oatmeal, or any hot mushy cereal. Yik. But a few years ago, I discovered steel-cut oats, which are also known as coarse-cut oats, Irish oats, Scotch oats, and pinhead oats (I like that name the best). Steel-cut oats are chopped oat groats, which only have the outer hull removed, so they are more nutritious than the more popular rolled oats. They are also nuttier, more flavorful, and retain a chewy texture. Like most whole grains, however, they take a while to cook, so you have to plan ahead. Most upscale supermarkets carry steel-cut oats, and Bob’s Red Mill makes a superior packaged product. If you can find them, it’s a good idea to purchase these in bulk as they tend to be fresher.

These are perfect for a rainy, chilly winter weekend morning when you are lounging around reading the paper and have 45 minutes to kill. I like my oatmeal with fruit, preferably seasonal, and since I typically eat this in the winter, I often make it with sauteed apples. A drizzle of pure maple syrup is also delicious.

Steel-Cut Oats with Apples

Serves 4


For the oats:
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the apples:
2-3 medium apples, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon


To make the oats, in a large saucepan, bring the water and milk to a slow boil. Meanwhile, melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a frying pan and add the oats. Toast the oats for about 15 minutes, until golden and toasty. Add the oats and the salt to the boiling water, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy (but not mushy), about 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the apples, cut the apples into medium chunks. Melt the butter in a frying pan, then add the apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender and caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Serve the oatmeal topped with the apples. MMMMMmmmmmm.

Steel-Cut My Oats 29 October,2009Kim Laidlaw

  • wendygee

    bananas are my favorite fruity addition to steel-cut oatmeal– you can just add raw slices to the hot oatmeal once it is cooked — add a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg for flavor.

  • Nicki

    I recently discovered steel-cut oats and love them prepared with dried currants, chopped hazelnuts and cream. I add the currants and nuts at the final 5 minutes of cooking and the cream after I’ve poured the oats into my bowl. Yum!

  • Anonymous

    I just found out about steel cut oats and tried them this AM.

    Cooked them like rolled oats and they were quite hard. Now I know better.

    I love oatmeal and eat with brown sugar and lots of rasians?? marinating in the bottom of the bowl.

    Jim Mc

  • Anonymous

    My cholesterol dropped 20 points and it has to be the steel cut oats I eat every morning! I add fresh blueberries, sliced almonds, pecan pieces, ground flaxseed, and brown sugar. Yummy and sooooooo good for you!

  • Anonymous

    Steel-cut oats with dried cranberries — perfection.

  • Anonymous

    To speed the cooking process, I combine two techniques: the pre-soak and microwave. It may sound complicated, but it really saves a lot of time. The night before, I heat my milk and water to just boiling in the microwave. I put the heated milk in the saucepan and, once it has been brought to a full boil, I add the steel-cut oats. Once the milk/oat mixture returns to a boil, I put on the lid, turn off the heat, and leave a sign for my husband, which reads “DO NOT REMOVE LID.” The following morning, I have oats that, once heated in the microwave for a few minutes, are absolutely perfect. I add vanilla, Splenda, and a pinch of salt to the milk the night before; I add cranberries, walnuts, and brown sugar the morning after. Pure pleasure!

  • lou

    If you want something tasty that is very popular around Cincinnati, find a recipe for German Goetta.

  • tboot

    I make big batches of steel-cut oats, then freeze it in muffin pans. Presto! Steel-cut every morning with a five-minute microwaving. And it lasts for a week for me and my wife.


Kim Laidlaw

Kim Laidlaw is a cookbook author, editor, food writer, producer, project manager, and baker who has been in the kitchen covered in flour since she was big enough to stir the biscuit dough. She has over 16 years of experience in book and online publishing, and a lifetime of experience in the kitchen.

Her first cookbook, Home Baked Comfort, was published in 2011; her second cookbook, Baby & Toddler On the Go, was published in April 2013; and her third cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, was published in October 2013.

She was the first blogger on KQED’s Bay Area Bites blog, which launched in 2005, and previously worked as a professional baker at La Farine French Bakery in Oakland, CA. She lives in Petaluma with her husband and their child, whom she cooks for everyday. Find out more at http://www.kimlaidlaw.com.

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