My Perfect Steel-Cut Oats Recipe

For years, my favorite oatmeal recipe was this one: rolled oats cooked in milk, gently sweetened and spiced. I stand by those oats. There’s a little bit of magic in them. But I think there’s room in a healthy, vibrant household for more than one really good oatmeal, as long as the two don’t directly compete for mouthshare. That’s where these steel cut oats factor in.


Steel cut oats are amazingly different from rolled oats, given the only major divergence is their cutting and processing.

A perfectly simple steel cut oats recipe

Steel cut oats, or as we like to call them here in England, pinhead oats (because of their shape — why, what were you going to say?), achieved cult status among food bloggers a couple of years ago, and with good reason.

Although the only major difference between steel cut and rolled oats is the way the grain is cut and processed, a porridge made of steel cut oats is a completely different beast. It’s a little bit chewy, the slightest bit crunchy, and has a much more complex flavor than its rolled counterpart.


Steel cut oats and the autumn trifecta

Steel cut oats stand up especially well to bold toppings like the perfectly autumnal trifecta of figs, apples, and walnuts. Try stirring in a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseed after cooking and christening your bowl with a splash of almond milk. Vegan or no, these steel cut oats are a solid way to start the day.

Perfect Steel Cut Oats Recipe

Steel-cut oats cook up into a slightly chewy, gently complex, totally satisfying porridge.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Serves 4


  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • Chopped fresh figs, apples, and walnuts, for topping (or substitute your favorite fresh or dried fruit and nuts)
  • 1/2 cup almond or other non-dairy milk, optional


  1. In a medium pot, combine the oats, water, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Cover and reduce heat to low or medium-low, to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and oats are tender but still chewy, 40 to 45 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in maple syrup and flaxseeds.
  5. Spoon into bowls and top with fruit, nuts, and a splash of almond milk.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 129 Total Fat:: 3.2g Carbohydrates:: 22.2g Fiber:: 3.4g Protein:: 3.5g