Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Creamy Breakfast Oatmeal

Not all oatmeal is created equal. The rule of thumb is that the longer it takes to cook, the better the oatmeal.

For me, the best (and longest cooking) oatmeal is steel-cut oats. You can see in the picture here that it's more like little nuggets than the rolled out and flattened flakes you're most used to seeing.

Cook it through and it creams up like any other oatmeal, but with a better flavor and more interesting texture. Unfortunately, steel cut oats generally take about 30 minutes in a pot on a stove to get it to the soft consistency you want in oatmeal.

My favorite way to make the cooking easier is to put it in a slow cooker or a rice cooker with a porridge or slow cook cycle.

"Creamy Breakfast Oatmeal" from The Ultimate Rice Cooker Book is my favorite recipe for steel-cut oats.

There's not much simpler than loading a cooker with ingredients and pressing a button, but that's about it for this one. Here's what I put in:

2/3 c steel-cut oats
1 3/4 c vanilla soymilk (or regular soymilk plus 1 t vanilla extract)
1 1/4 t cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
2 T maple syrup
1/4 c golden raisins

And here's what it produces...

The consistency is still creamy, but the little nuggets of oats remain somewhat chewy. It's absolutely a fun and delicious way to eat hot cereal.

Upon refrigeration, the oats harden up a bit so re-heating with a little added liquid is necessary.

Another way to speed up the cooking of steel-cut oats is to soak the oats overnight. Abbie from Foods That Fit very cleverly adds an herbal tea bag or two to soak with the oats for added infused flavor.

Following the overnight soak, normal pot cooking drops to seven or eight minutes. For this soymilk based recipe, just soak it in the refrigerator.


Abbie also has a new blog post about another breakfast item she came across on the web - granola custom made to your specifications. Check it out here.


  1. I love steel cut oats and how creamy they can get. I love to make huge batches of them like you did yourself and just reheat them as I want.

    Thanks so much for the link you posted to my site :)

  2. i haven't had steel cut oats in years! i kinda forgot about them - they're so good, i don't know why i ever stopped eating them. i had no idea you could soak them to lessen the cooking time a little - very cool! totally going to have to get into some steel cut oat awesomeness next time i'm at my natural food store - i think they offer it in bulk, too! yay!

  3. I must be eating some pretty bad oatmeal...one minute in the microwave style! Teehee! I've never eaten real oatmeal...

  4. Leslie, you really must give the real stuff a shot. It's a whole different ballgame. I think the instant stuff is OK, but steel-cut is a whole lot better. This recipe is kind of sweet and very cinnamon-y, so I actually ate it last night for dessert.

  5. i am growing to love oatmeal! especially with bananas and peanut butter!