I’m not usually one to play matchmaker, but I was so firmly convinced that two of my longest-running, most-treasured breakfast besties—overnight oats and steel cut oatmeal—would hit it off that I couldn’t resist the urge to combine the two into a single bowl of Overnight Steel Cut Oats. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a match made for a 1990s rom-com classic! Ever since I stirred together my first batch of make-ahead steel cut oats, it’s been a ride-off-into-the-sunset breakfast love story.

The best recipe for overnight steel cut oats. An easy, healthy make ahead breakfast!

Now, if you are reading this and thinking to yourself, Isn’t the fact that you can use steel cut oats for overnight oats incredibly obvious?, please consider the great fictional romances of our time.

Wasn’t it also obvious that Harry would end up with Sally? That Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were meant to be (twice)? That Ross would finally win over Rachel? Why, yes. But that doesn’t make the evolution of the love story any less satisfying.

The same is true of Overnight Steel Cut Oats.

If you are reading up to this point and wondering, What are overnight oats?, let me give you a brief rundown: overnight oats are dry oats that are stirred together with milk, a bit of sweetener such as honey or maple syrup, and whatever other deliciousness you like.

You can make overnight oats with chia seeds, peanut butter, fresh or dried fruit, and any other mix-ins. The limit is only your imagination (or perhaps your pantry). This Sugar Cookie Protein Oatmeal, for example, includes a scoop of protein powder.

You leave the oatmeal in the refrigerator overnight and then wake in the morning to a bit of breakfast magic.

Best Overnight Steel Cut Oats. An easy, healthy breakfast! Simply mix up the oats, stick them in the refrigerator overnight, and eat in the morning. Totally customizable (make these overnight steel cut oats vegan with nondairy milk) and delicious!

In the refrigerator, the oatmeal absorbs a portion of the milk and becomes irresistibly creamy. You give it a stir, pour it into a bowl, and sit down to reap the benefits of a filling, healthy, delicious breakfast that took seconds to prepare.

Overnight oats are typically enjoyed cold, similar to muesli. If you prefer a hot oatmeal that can be made overnight, you can check out my Overnight Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats. If you need a hot oatmeal that can be made in minutes, check out my Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

So, What’s the Difference between Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal and Every Other Overnight Oats Recipe?

Up until the point of making this recipe, I’d always made my overnight oatmeal with rolled oats (a.k.a. old-fashioned oats). Rolled oats are whole oats that have been steamed and pressed, so they cook more quickly and have a more pliable texture. Overnight oats made with rolled oats are more creamy than chewy. They are also delicious. Start with my Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats and see if you agree.

Steel cut oats are closer to their original harvested state. They are not steamed but instead are cut into pieces with a steel blade (hence the name “steel cut”). Steel cut oats are chewier and nuttier.

The firmer texture of steel cut oats means they take longer to cook, but your reward is a bowl of oatmeal that has the most perfectly pleasing texture and is never ever mushy. Steel cut oats are also higher in fiber than regular rolled oats, and I find that they keep me fuller for longer.

Generally, you never want to substitute steel cut oats for rolled oats in a recipe, because the two have such different textures…

…unless, of course, you want to try making overnight oatmeal using steel cut oats, which is exactly what I did for us here!

(If you’d like to know more about the difference between different types of oats, this guide briefly explains).

Overnight Steel Cut Oats. Made with almond milk, peanut butter, and all sorts of optional mix-ins, these overnight steel cut oats with chia seeds will be your new favorite make-ahead breakfast.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats—Fall Asleep Dreaming of Breakfast

Overall, I found that I loved overnight oatmeal made with steel cut oats. It was definitely chewy and nutty, but in a way that I found refreshing and enjoyable.

I recommend soaking the steel cut oats for at least 10 hours before eating. They’ll be super chewy but yummy on Day 1 and will continue to soften throughout the week. Even on Day 5, the Overnight Steel Cut Oats still had a nice texture and were not at all mushy. Hearty oats only, please!

Falling asleep knowing that I don’t need to worry about a healthy breakfast in the morning gives me peace of mind. Being better rested is one of my Four Intentions for 2018, and of the four, it’s been my biggest focus so far.

I hope this Overnight Steel Cut Oats recipe gives you better sleep too. I’ve made dozens of versions of overnight oats, and today’s is the best steel cut oats recipe I’ve tried yet. Once you see how yummy it is, I think you’ll fall asleep dreaming about it too!

Easy Overnight Steel Cut Oats. These make ahead steel cut oats are perfect for storing in the refrigerator. Portion it out in a jar with your desired mix-ins for a healthy, delicious breakfast!

If you were hoping for an overnight steel cut oatmeal mason jar recipe, I have you covered there as well.

I recommend waiting until Day 2 to divide the steel cut oats into the mason jars, as they need at least one full night to soak up the liquid. Doing it right away was less convenient in the end.

Waiting to divide the oats also makes it easier to add other yummy mix-ins you know you’ll want in every jar too. Personally, I love my overnight steel cut oats with chia seeds, and if you were looking for overnight oatmeal with peanut butter, ME TOO! You’ll find a suggested amount of nut butter in the recipe as well.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats. This no cook breakfast recipe is endlessly customizable with regular or nondairy milk, optional mix-ins, and nut butter! Easy, delicious, and healthy!

I can’t overstate how flexible these make ahead steel cut oats truly are. If you need an overnight oatmeal vegan recipe, use almond milk or any other nondairy milk you love. Want to pack in some extra protein? Stir in a scoop of protein powder or Greek yogurt. Don’t have any fresh fruit on hand and want to use dried or frozen? GO FOR IT! Chocolate chips? YES!

I’ve come across a few leads on a hot overnight steel cut oatmeal recipe, so that’s my next experiment. Any other overnight oat requests? Send ’em my way!

Recommended Tools to Make Overnight Steel Cut Oats

A blue bowl of overnight steel cut oats with fresh berries on top

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

4.47 from 45 votes
How to make the best Overnight Steel Cut Oats. An easy, healthy no cook breakfast! Made with almond milk, peanut butter, and chia seeds, this delicious recipe is endlessly customizable, vegan friendly, and can be stored in a mason jar in the refrigerator all week.

Prep: 5 mins
Total: 10 hrs

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

Overnight Steel Cut Oats—Base Recipe:

  • 1 3/4 cups milk any kind you like (I use unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter or other nut butter of choice, optional but delicious
  • 1 cup uncooked steel cut oats you can also use quick-cooking steel cut oats; the final oatmeal will have a softer, less chewy texture
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Optional Additions:

  • Chia seeds flaxseeds, or hemp seeds
  • Protein powder
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Citrus zest I love orange zest with honey and cinnamon!
  • Dried fruit favorites: reduced-sugar dried cranberries, raisins, chopped dates
  • Fresh fruit or frozen and thawed fruit
  • Toasted almonds walnuts, or pecans (add just before serving to maintain the most crunch)
  • An extra drizzle of honey or maple syrup

Instructions
 

  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, honey, nut butter, and any protein powder you may be adding until smooth. Stir in the oats, salt, and any other optional additions (wait to add fresh fruit or nuts so that they stay fresh/crisp). Cover the bowl tightly with plastic (or transfer it to an airtight storage container) and refrigerate overnight or for up to 5 days.
  • When ready to serve, stir the oats and portion the desired amount into your bowl. (At this point, you can also divide the oats into individual containers and refrigerate for the week.) Top with any desired fresh fruit, nuts, or other toppings. (If placing the oats in individual jars, feel free to add toppings to each, as they will store fine this way. If storing as a single larger batch for the week, I find it is best to wait to add the fresh toppings/nuts until just before serving so that they don't all sink to the bottom.) Enjoy cold and congratulate yourself for your breakfast-planning prowess.

Notes

  • Leftover steel cut oats can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Their texture will soften as they sit, so if they are too chewy for you on Day 1, you can let them hang out a bit longer.
  • The first day, the oats will be more liquidy, but they will continue to absorb more of the milk throughout the week. If at any point you'd like more milk, simply splash a little on top of your bowl or pour more in the individual mason jars if you are storing the steel cut oats that way.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 223kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 6gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 245mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7g

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How to make the best Overnight Steel Cut Oats. An easy, healthy no cook breakfast! Made with almond milk, peanut butter, and chia seeds, this delicious recipe is endlessly customizable, vegan friendly, and can be stored in a mason jar in the refrigerator all week.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. I would like it if you could send me some more mediterranean recipes if you have some!
    Thank you so much!
    I’m going to try the steel cut oats with fruit as you did above.  I can’t wait, they sound yummy.
    Debra5 stars

  2. Just mixed up a batch of the oats for the morning! Cannot wait to see how they turn out : )
    I followed the recipe and did not add any toppings or extras yet, want to try the base recipe first and then go from there !

  3. I was going to make overnight oats and wondered about the steel cut instead of the rolled. I too love the texture of the steel cut oats. 
    Thanks for this. I will try it!

  4. I have never made overnight oats again, and tried this recipe for the first time last night. After making them, I realized I did not mix the milk, maple syrup, & nut butter together first, BEFORE adding the oats, salt, and protein powder. The almond nut butter was stiff, so I used a hand blender to blend it all up! So, I’ll use up this first batch, and try again. I’m not going to add any mape syrup initially, the overall taste was too sweet for me. Maybe the protein powder along with the maple syrup together made it overly sweet. I used Vega (vanilla) Organic Protein & Beans.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to try the recipe, Gloria! Next time, you can try it without any maple syrup to see if that helps. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. Good morning. I would like to make steel cut oatmeal in my 7qt slow cooker for about 35-40 people. My husband and I cook breakfast once a month for the homeless in our area. Can you. help me with a recipe for that many people?

    Thank you. Nora

  6. Should have noticed in the pictures… this is an extremely runny, soupy mess. Adding more oats into the mixture tonight to try and save the servings for the week.

    However, I must say that the nut butter whisked into the milk at the beginning was pure genius. Truly the most delicious flavoring on overnight oats ever.3 stars

    1. Hi Mindi, I’m very sorry to hear that this recipe didn’t turn out as you’d hoped. I have not had this issue before, so I’m not sure what might’ve gone wrong. I really wish you would’ve enjoyed it, but I’m happy that you liked the flavor!

      1. I dumped in some extra oats to thicken it up. I’ll update tomorrow and let everyone know how it turns out. Definitely a recipe I’m willing to work with cuz the flavor is sooooooo good!

    2. Day #2 – added more oats to the remaining mixture and it was vastly improved. Same amazing flavor without all that milk. When I make this again, I will up the oats to 1 1/4 or 1 1/3 cups with the other measurements in the recipe.5 stars

  7. Don’t put salt in it? I have no clue what this lady was thinking to say add salt, made it gross.

    1. Lisa, I actually find that the oats fall flat without the salt. I promise it doesn’t taste salty. You can always leave it out if you prefer.

  8. Hi, thanks- will try this tonight. One question:  soak oats for 10 hrs first THEN follow recipe? 

    1. Hi! Complete everything in Step 1 the night before, then the next day, proceed with Step 2 and enjoy!

  9. My son has a mild nut allergy (not anaphylactic but he thoroughly empties his tummy if any nuts go down!). Can I add peanut butter to mine in the morning rather than when I mix it up the day before?

  10. Hello. I found this recipe trying to copy a recipe similar to a product called “mush” which is a rolled oats overnight product. I wanted to copy it, but use the healthier steel cut oats which don’t have added ingredients as rolled oats do.
    It uses only 5 ingredients: oats, coconut water, blueberries (for their blueberry version) apples (probably for sweetness) and salt. I have never made overnight oats, but know it to be healthy, and, if anything like the “mush” brand, delicious!

    I used your amounts for the liquid and the oats, but substituted the other ingredients for the blueberries, apples and salt.

    I blended the blueberries, coconut water salt and a bit of apple until smooth, then added that liquid to the oats, and have it in the refrigerator right now. Looking forward to trying this out in a day or two.
    Thank you for the recipe, I may try your version later.

  11. I’m a little late to the party, but had to pop in to say that this recipe is excellent!  The flavors are simple but so delicious.  The texture is excellent!  My two kiddos, 5 and 3, gobbled it up with berries and coconut and asked for it again the next day.   It was a little watery on day one, like you said it would be, but I just drained each scoop a little before serving. Watery is better than mushy!  SO GOOD!  Great work.5 stars

  12. Tried this receipe and loved it! Easy to make and delicious. But for some reason, the second time I made it the steel cut oats did not absorb the almond milk, or barely. Even after 3 days the texture is very crunchy. Any idea why this happened and what I might have done wrong?5 stars

    1. Hi Hélène, I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed this recipe! It’s so hard to say what might’ve happened this last time without being in the kitchen with you. Did you make any changes? I hope you were still able to enjoy them!

  13. Erin,

    Could you make this in individual containers from the start? I have read through all the comments and this wasn’t addressed. New to regular overnight oats and want to try the steel cut version. Thanks for posting your recipe.

    Maureen

    1. Hi Maureen! Once you combine all the ingredients, you can add the mixture to individual containers for easy breakfasts throughout the week. I hope this helps!

  14. This was delicious! Next time I want to add chia, but I know from making pudding those soak if liquid impressively well. Should I add them in the beginning, and then add extra liquid? If so, how much?

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Susan! If you’d like the chia seeds to be slightly crunchy, add them right before serving. Overnight, they will plump and become gel-like. Both will work fine in this recipe as is. I hope you enjoy it!

  15. Loved he taste of this recipe, tho I did find it to be a little too watery to make it easy to eat on way to work AKA too much almond milk maybe?? Heated it up in micro and tasted great tho. Will make again.5 stars

  16. Your recipe claims to tightly fill four 12-oz mason jars (so 48 oz total). Is that like after the fruit is added on top or something? I did a cup of oats and 2 cups milk and after overnight absorption, my jar is at the 20 oz line. How am I well under half of the recipe yield?

    1. Hi Jenna! That estimated yield is based on just the oats. It’s so hard to say what might’ve happened without being in the kitchen with you. I hope you enjoyed the recipe!

  17. Being that my husband used to get up at three in the morning for work, I’ve been making the refrigerated version of this for years. In the winter he always likes hot oatmeal, so I would prep this at night & in the morning, he just popped it in the microwave for about 30 seconds & he had a hot breakfast, before facing the cold. Now that he’s retired, I still do this, & we usually add blueberries to it. Yes, it’s yummy, without the 30 minutes of cooking time.5 stars

  18. Thanks for this delicious recipe, mine came out perfectly! I used cashew butter and also added a bit of turmeric along with the cinnamon.

    I have one small suggestion for people who complained that their oats were still watery on the first morning. A few hours after you make the recipe on the first day, like maybe right before you go to bed, take the bowl out of the fridge and give it a stir. The oats may have settled on the bottom and this will help them fully absorb the liquid overnight.5 stars

  19. I thought steel cut oats had to be cooked before eating. Does this method have some effect similar to cooking, like breaking down the starches overnight? Steel cut are raw (based on the description of rolled oats vs steel cut). Thanks.

    1. Hi Jackson! For this particular method, the milk is really important for helping make the oats creamy overnight so they’re easy to eat. If you’d prefer a recipe that cooks the oats first, I’d recommend checking out my Steel Cut Oats recipe. I hope that helps!

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