Overnight Steel Cut Oats

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.

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

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Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
10 hrs
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.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Recipe 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.
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 (of 4)) — Calories: 223, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 245mg, Carbohydrates: 35g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 6g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

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.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

70 comments

  1. A great breakfast!

  2. I really haven’t ventured into the world of steel cut oats. I need to do that ASAP! And extra peanut butter for me, please!

  3. A perfect breakfast!! Looks so perfect!! 

  4. I have often wondered if steel cut could be soaked long enough to be eaten as overnight oats. I will wonder no more, and as soon as I get steel cut oats, I’ll be trying this!! Matt isn’t an overnight oat fan, so I’ll be enjoying these all to myself. :) Our mattress was new in 2015, but it’s not like we knew exactly what we needed until we got it home and slept on it. My low back hurts unless I put a pillow between my legs. Ugh. One day I hope to invest in a really quality mattress like yours! Sleep is so important. Good for you both in finding what works best for you after that year of rough sleep!

  5. I love that big bowl of deliciousness!

  6. It’s a match made in easy-to-make breakfast heaven!

  7. These steel cut oats are amazing! I’ve tried and tried and tried to like oatmeal but I just can’t get past the consistency. I love baking with oats so I’m always disappointed that I don’t like oatmeal. I saw this recipe yesterday and after reading your description of chewy but not mushy, knew I had to try one more time. I stopped into the grocery store on my way home from work last night for the steel cut oats and put them in to soak about 6:00 last night. It took, maybe, 3 minutes to mix up. My husband and I tasted them before leaving for work this morning and…wow! I can’t believe how good these are! I have quite the sweet tooth but the little bit of honey was the perfect amount of sweetness. I only made a half-batch as I was skeptical and was informed after leaving for work that my husband added blueberries and made it his breakfast! I can’t wait to whip up another batch tonight! I also can’t wait to try topping it with sliced banana and walnut. Thank you, Erin! I’m not sure which I am a bigger fan of…your recipes or your writing. I wish all recipe sites had the “jump to recipe” button but I’m such a fan of your writing that I have to read it top to bottom! Thanks again!

    • Elizabeth, this comment MADE MY DAY!! I am so happy that you loved the oats (I’m so glad you gave them another chance!), that your husband loved them too, and that you enjoy my writing <3. This is one of the kindest things I could hear!

    • I love this recipe. Being diabetic I was looking for something that would make me feel full, with less sugar, and low on the glucose index. Steel cut oats fit the bill, but I don’t have time to cook them every morning. This recipe really made it work for me I use dried blueberries in mine. Super tasty! Thanks a lot!

  8. “Breakfast magic”… love that description for overnight oats! Definitely a breakfast favorite around here! Love all the delicious mix-ins!

  9. Overnight oats are the best. And peanut butter, even better! Great recipe!

  10. This is an excellent and super easy recipe. I followed it exactly using 2% milk with the addition of flax seed and protein powder. It works perfect for a busy morning breakfast. Thanks Erin!

  11. Thank you so much! And I hope they help (:

  12. Can I make this with old fashioned oats? Would that change the amount of liquid used? Thanks! I’m having fun going through your recipes. So many sound delicious!

  13. I tried these last night. They were too chewy for me on Day 1. I will try them again and leave them to soak for two days, hopefully that’ll be enough time to soften. I just tried overnight oats for the first time two nights ago and fell in love with them. And I looked up steel oats since I prefer them over regular oats. So I’ll try again! Thanks for sharing this recipe : ) 

    • They definitely are a different texture than regular overnight oats, and I enjoyed them as the week went on! Thanks for giving them a try and reporting back, Kathy!

      • At what day would you say they taste like the steel oats you cook on the stove? I tried two nights and the oats were still too chewy for me. Thank you :)

        • Hi Kathy, I enjoyed them best from Day 2 on, but if you have cooked steel-cut oatmeal in mind, these will probably remain more chewy than the texture you’d get on the stove. I’d suggest you continue assessing the texture for a few more days, and if they still are too chewy, this may not be the best method for how you prefer your oats!

  14. Can these be heated in the morning and enjoyed warm?  I want the ease of preparation this recipe provides, but I want my oats warm.  Will that work?

    • Hi Christie, I haven’t tried that myself since I like them cold, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work! I hope you enjoy!

  15. This was delicious! I added cinnamon to my almond milk for the steel oats to soak in over night. In the morning, I added fresh blueberries and packed it up in a mason jar. So quick, easy, and delicious!

  16. Kristin Lahnert Reply

    A quarter of a cup is the serving size?  
      I can’t wait to try this even though I’d want a bigger portion lol. 

    • Kristin, it’s actually quite a bit more than that! The oats are 1 cup DRY, but once soaked, they expand. You’ll have the milk and any yummy mix-ins you make too :)

  17. I love overnight oats! Any idea how to make them work with oat groats? 

    • Hana, I’m afraid I’ve never used groats so I’m not sure but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work with some modifications! I did some googling and it seems like you should rinse and soak the the groats for 4 hours first (and some recipes use 1/2 steel cut, 1/2 oat groats). I’d do some looking online for yourself too, just to make sure you are happy with what you find. I hope that helps!

  18. Have a batch “brewing” for tomorrow morning – can’t wait to try them! One question though – did you wait to put your chia seeds in until morning?

    • Eileen, I do both! 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 are good, just different.

  19. Approximately how much per serving? I’m trying to divide it up evenly over 4 days.

    • Jennifer, I didn’t measure exactly (and your oats will absorb different amounts of liquid on different days also). The batch isn’t huge, so I think you should be OK eyeballing it.

  20. I have wanted to try overnight oats for quite a while, but honestly, I don’t know if I will like them. I guess the fact that they will be cold makes me think is all the times I tried to eat my oatmeal and realized I let it get cold. I like the fact that our is easy and is made ahead and you can put whatever you want in it. The benefits are what I’m looking for, but… if I don’t like them, all the great things that were said don’t matter. I am looking for that something that convince me to try them. Please convince me…

    • Curtis, personally I adore them, but you do have to get past the different sensation of eating oatmeal cold. I’d suggest trying a few different mixins (like nut butter and fruit) and see if that helps!

  21. No recipe details for the slow cooker!

  22. Patricia Stevens Reply

    I was wondering about using kefir instead of milk; your thoughts.

    • Hi Patricia, 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.

  23. I found this recipe a couple months ago &, honestly, had never heard of overnight oats. Loving oatmeal, ESPECIALLY steel cut oats, I had to try them! They are DELICIOUS! I’ve made them a couple weeks (& ate every last bit) but then we went on vacation, had family in town & had a convention to attend so haven’t had them in a while. I can’t wait to have them again! I mixed them up while on the phone & can’t wait for breakfast! I had to Google it & wanted YOUR recipe again because it was SOOO good before! I use fresh peanut butter, flax seeds, dried fruit, honey & (for then first time) almond milk. I’ll be dreaming of breakfast! 💕

    • Barb, I’m so happy to hear this method is a winner for you! Thanks for sharing this awesome review and your tweaks too. :)

  24. Since I have known oats, I replaced them for my breakfast instead of cereals. Honestly, I always enjoy playing with toppings xD
    – Natalie

  25. I bought steel cut oats tonight by accident, I was hoping I could sub them for regular oats in overnight oats and from what I am reading they are going to be better!! YAY!

  26. I’m excited to try this recipe and wanted to let you know that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were meant to be three times. Their first movie together was Joe Versus the Volcano. It is different than the later two but oh so good! :) 

  27. Delicious- I always made my steel cut oats in the crockpot- but we are in the midst of renovation and wanted an easier clean up option- almond milk and the oats are amazing!!!! Thank you

  28. I followed the recipe but I only ended up with enough for 2 12oz servings… what did I do wrong??

    • Hi Carolyn, it sounds like your servings were bigger than mine. I divided it into four portions, but you can scale it up as needed!

  29. Hi, I found your recipe during a google search. I am sharing my version today on my blog. I did of course give credit and a link back to this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Hi, I’m going to make the overnight steel oats.  Using the 1 Cup of oats per the recipe, how much of the chia seeds do I add in?  I know they gel as my grandchildren eat it in their yogurt (prepared overnight)-they call it pudding!  I just do t know how much to add to the overnight steel cut oats. Thank you

    • Hi Nancy! It really is a matter of preference, but you could start with a tablespoon or two (less if you’re concerned about them thickening the oats too much). I hope you enjoy!

  31. I see you pouring water in the video, but in the recipe there’s no indication of water… Also you’re missing how many hours and cooking temps in the recipe.

  32. I was wondering if you have ever used this recipe,  soaked steel cut oats overnight and then baked them in the morning? Was thinking of making a baked oatmeal with fruit. 

    • Hi Jenny, I have not tried that myself, so I couldn’t say for certain, but I see similar recipes to what you describe with an online search. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes.

  33. Hi! 
    This may be a dumb question, but you are eating these raw after soaking and not cooking them first right? Also do you feel it would be safe to soak them unrefrigerated and just with water and no salt for say, 24 hours or so?

    Thank you!

    Josh

    • Hi Josh! You are correct that there is no cooking needed. I haven’t personally done the countertop soak, but from online recipes I’ve seen, that is a way that some people do traditionally soaked oatmeal. They often cook it after soaking, but I haven’t tested it myself. For this particular recipe, the milk is really important for flavor and creaminess—it won’t taste the same if you were to just use water. I hope that helps!

  34. Josh Ginsburg Reply

    Ok great and thank you for the response. I actually just cooked some organic steel cut oats I had soaking at room temperature uncovered for 24 hours this morning and they were fantastic. No gut inflammation at all, which was why I started soaking in the first place. Will try out your recipe soon uncooked  with some raw goats milk I have :)
    Best,
    Josh

  35. When would you add the Greek yogurt? At the start or each morning with the fresh fruit?  Thank you!

  36. I wanted to let you know that this is my new favorite breakfast after hating warm oatmeal for years. Day three offers my preferred texture but I enjoy day 1 also. Thanks for showing me that cold oatmeal is delicious!

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