The Best Start for Chilly Fall Mornings: Make-Ahead Steel-Cut Oatmeal

published Sep 30, 2013
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Huddled under the covers, hitting the snooze button on these chilly fall mornings? Tell me about it! With the temperature creeping lower and lower, practically the only thing getting me to rise and shine is the thought of a hearty breakfast of steel-cut oatmeal waiting in the kitchen.

In anticipation of busy mornings, I often cook up a batch on Sunday to eat all week. Here’s how I do it.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

A far cry from the peaches and cream instant oatmeal packets of my youth (although, let’s be real: those are pretty great in their own right!), steel-cut oatmeal makes for a wholesome bowl that’s comforting and filling long into the early afternoon. With a nutty, chewy texture, cooked steel-cut oatmeal also lends itself to storage in the fridge, becoming even creamier when reheated.

I came to love steel cut oatmeal while working in a 24-hour French restaurant, of all places, where the kitchen whipped up the most amazing batch of oats every morning. Wandering in sleepily for an early morning shift, I’d make the kitchen staff coffee in exchange for a little breakfast contraband stashed in the server station — a cup of steaming oats with sliced bananas.

Trying to recreate this treat at home, I was always dumbfounded by how time-consuming it was to stir a pot of oats on the stove, until I learned about the overnight method. Years later, it’s become my staple.

To cook steel cut oats ahead of time, simply follow the measurements on your canister, bringing the oats and water to a rolling boil. Then, cover the pan and turn off the heat. Go to bed and let the oatmeal work its magic to absorb the liquid. Then, in the morning, just bring the pot to a simmer until the remaining liquid absorbs. After it’s cooled, we transfer ours to a container in the fridge for scooping out breakfast all week. Add a splash of milk when reheating, and voila! Instant oatmeal that’s a heck of a lot better than actual instant oatmeal.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Here’s the process with photos:

Advice for making a week of oatmeal and stashing it in jars:

Lately, my go-to has been to top the oatmeal with the last of our CSA peaches and honey, but it’s simple and delicious with a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon too. With such a satisfying, quick breakfast, you’ll be wondering why you ever bothered with that instant stuff for so long!

(Images: Kate Gagnon; Faith Durand)