Recipe: Mocha Crunch Steel-Cut Oatmeal

updated May 2, 2019
Mocha Crunch Steel-Cut Oatmeal
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfasts you can eat, and I usually like to keep the toppings pretty simple. But once in a while, why not make it just a little indulgent? Adding rich espresso and cocoa powder – and just a few nuts and chocolate chips on top – combines my morning bowl of oatmeal with my favorite winter drink, the mocha.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

The espresso and cocoa powder give the oatmeal lots of rich flavor, and a few chocolate chips on top just puts it over the top. And because we like a little something crunchy with our oatmeal – indulgent or not – we added a few chopped nuts. We suggest mixed nuts for extra crunch, but plain almonds or cashews would work as well.

Check out Emma’s tips on How to Cook Perfect Steel Cut Oats. In fact, we’ve followed her recipe below, with a few sweet add-ins.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Tester’s Notes

I love my morning oatmeal, but I get stuck in my same old routine of plain oats with maple syrup and milk. So I’ve had my eye on Joanna’s recipe for a while. It’s barely more work than regular oatmeal (just add some espresso and cocoa), and the crunchy topping of nuts and chocolate was a seductive little treat for a cold winter morning.

This came together so easily and quickly. I like my oats fairly al dente, so I only cooked it for 20 minutes. The cocoa and coffee flavors were just right — not overpowering — and the oatmeal wasn’t too sweet either.

And, like any steel-cut oatmeal, this is very good the next day. Just warm in the microwave or on the stove with a little extra milk to thin it out. If you like a little chocolate with your breakfast, this is a great pick.

Faith, March 2014

Mocha Crunch Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info


  • 3 cups


  • 1 cup

    steel-cut oats

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons

    cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    instant espresso

  • 1/4 teaspoon


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons

    sugar or agave nectar

  • 1/4 cup

    roasted mixed nuts

  • 1/4 cup

    bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Milk or cream, to serve


  1. Bring water to a boil. Stir in oats, espresso, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring back to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oats reach your desired tenderness. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar or agave nectar.

  2. Meanwhile, while the oatmeal is cooking, roughly chop the mixed nuts and chocolate chips. Mix them in a small serving bowl.

  3. When the oatmeal is ready, serve hot with milk or cream on the side, and sprinkled liberally with the nut and chocolate topping.

Recipe Notes

Updated from recipe originally published January 2010.