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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 and original Steel Cut Oats recipe. 

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

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

4.45 from 275 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 minutes
Total: 10 hours

Servings: 4 servings


Overnight Steel Cut Oats—Base Recipe:

Optional Additions:


  • 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.



  • 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.


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 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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4.45 from 275 votes (189 ratings without comment)

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  1. Stunning recipe. I added just a pinch of salt and the outcome was creamy , tasty and delicious. Will be my new go to brekkie for sure as the preparation was so easy. Highly recommended.5 stars

    1. Hi Ellisa, although I haven’t tried it, you could try using water. It will change the consistency and flavor of the oats but it might work. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

    2. Please do post your result. I’ve always made steel cut oats with water. Oats and nut milk sounds a little too thick.

  2. I tried this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats. I used milk, chia seeds, and ground flax seeds. After sitting in the fridge for 16 hours the oats are still hard. Steel cut oats need to cook for at least 15 minutes on the stove top to soften up and get a creamy texture. Sitting overnight in milk does not soften up the oats enough and the oats don’t absorb much of the milk.2 stars

    1. Hi Rob, I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe. On Day 1 we find them super chewy but yummy. They will continue to soften throughout the week. Even on Day 5, the Overnight Steel Cut Oats still have a nice texture and are not at all mushy. Hope this helps!

    2. Hi Rob, I know you posted a little while back, but hope this helps. If your oats are not super fresh, they might take longer. Or, may not soften up at all. (Dry beans are the same way). Be sure to check the expiration dates at the store. Good luck!

  3. I haven’t tried the finished product yet but the flavor pairing of honey, peanut butter & salt is so good!! I can’t put my finger on which candy bar it reminds me of — but it’s delicious. Maybe a Babe Ruth!? I am looking forward to trying the citrus zest, honey & cinnamon flavor pairing too!5 stars

  4. I mix a 1/4 cup each of steel cut and rolled oats 50/50, one cup milk, a tablespoon of grade A natural maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of honey the night before. I mix in a couple spoon fulls of granola in the morning and I’m off. It is the best breakfast of all. I love the chewiness of it and the granola adds just a little crunch. Easy, quick and delicious.
    Thanks.5 stars

    1. Hi! I wouldn’t recommend kefir because I worry that it would curdle (in my experience, this is what would happen if you used Greek yogurt, and I know the two are similar). That may not be the case, but I’m not super familiar with it, so I’m afraid I can’t give you a definite answer.

  5. I love overnight oats. Just tried the steel cut. I put cardamom in mine. Chop 1/4 apple in it instead of sweetener.

  6. Tried this and boy! Was it good! I used maple syrup, almond (sweetened) vanilla milk, peanut butter, steel cut oats, and cinnamon but no salt.
    Left it for 12 hours, remixed it, and had a portion 24 hours after mixing it. I found the oats chewy but not as stiff like stove top al dente lead shot pasta (even when made creamy – using more water). I had another portion the next day and they were softer and not as chewy. The following day, they were even less chewy. Each subsequent day, the mixture became a little thicker. What a flavour!
    Thank you Erin for posting!5 stars

  7. They were very chewy on day one and not much softer on day 3 & 4. Hard to mix peanut butter in cold milk too.2 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe, Cheryl. I know it can be so disappointing to try a new recipe and it does not turn out for you. It has worked well for myself (and others) and I wished it would have been a hit for you too.

  8. Last night I put together this overnight steel cut oats recipe (12 hours ago). This morning it isn’t creamy but very soupy—pretty much the same as it started out. What’s the trick? It’s a failure for me. I’ll have to keep with the Instant Pot steel cut oats.1 star

  9. Hi,
    I can’t wait to try this but wondering why not do each serving right in the mason jars? I’m all for less dishes to wash!!

    1. Hi Heather, 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. Hope you enjoy it!

    1. Hi Cindy, yes we mentioned that the first day it is always going to be liquidy, this is why we recommend consuming on day 2 or later.

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