This steel cut oats recipe cooks perfectly and produces creamy oatmeal every time. Top it with toasted coconut, fresh fruit and nuts for a delicious and healthy breakfast! This is a great meal prep breakfast option too as it stores really well.

A bowl of steel cut oats topped with blueberries, sliced almonds, and milk.

When I learned how to cook steel cut oats, I was in heaven! The oats are chewier when cooked right and topped with your favorite fruits and nuts, it’s a delicious, creamy breakfast that even my kids enjoy! 

I find that my family eats better and healthier breakfasts when we have options to create customizable flavors. Oatmeal is a great meal for this because oats are incredibly beneficial and with healthy add-ins, the flavor combinations are endless! According to Healthline, oats are one of the “most nutrient-dense foods.” I mean, that’s awesome! If I can provide some healthy toppings and add-ins for me and my kids, oatmeal is a great way to boost our nutrient intake. (See my list of healthy topping options in the Recipe Tips section below.)

A bowl of steel cut oats on top of an amber colored napkin.

If you’re skeptical about oatmeal and the first image that comes to your mind is a mushy mess, then you’re probably thinking of the bland, plain instant oats cooked in the microwave with water — these are not that! I love steel cut oats because they have a chewier texture and a kind of nutty flavor.

If you’re curious about the difference between steel cut oats, rolled oats and instant oats, I did a little research — but even making a bowl of each of these, you’d be able to see and taste a difference, too.

Comparing Steel Cut Oats, Rolled Oats, and Instant Oats

Steel Cut Oats

All oats come from the same thing — an oat groat. We get steel cut oats when the oat groats are cut into pieces by a steel mill. Since the pieces are larger, steel cut oats take longer to cook but have a chewy texture.

Rolled Oats

We get old-fashioned rolled oats when the oat groats are flattened. These take less time to cook than the steel-cut oats and don’t have as much texture since the oats are all flat. 

Instant Oats

From flattened oat groats to create old-fashioned rolled oats, instant oats are the flattened rolled oats cut into smaller pieces. There isn’t much dimension in these, creating a soft and mushy oatmeal.

When we understand the difference between the types of oats we are using, it makes sense why instant oats would create a mushy oatmeal with no real texture. By using a version of the oat groat that is chunkier, our oatmeal will not only be creamy but will have a beautiful texture that is missed when using rolled or instant oats. (However, rolled and instant oats are great for baking!)

A metal measuring cup full of raw steel cut oats.

Ingredients needed

Ingredients used to make steel cut oats; water, almond milk, and steel cut oats.
  • Steel cut oats — These oats are different than your rolled oats and instant oats. See my descriptions above and the FAQs below for more information on steel cut oats. 
  • Water — We use water and milk to ensure the oats soak up a lot of liquid to get the creamiest result!
  • Almond milk — You can use dairy milk too. I like the nutty aspect of almond milk, plus it has less sugar and calories than normal dairy milk. Using almond milk also makes this a dairy-free steel cut oats recipe.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Generously grease the insert of a 6-qt Instant Pot with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To the pot, add the steel cut oats, water, and almond milk. Stir to combine. Cover (make sure it’s sealed) and select the “manual” or “pressure cook” button. Set the dial to 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will start automatically.
  3. When it has finished cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure. You don’t want to do a quick release because the oats can spurt out of the valve.
  4. Once the pressure has been released, open the lid and give the oats a stir. Serve warm. (The oats will thicken as they cool.)
A wooden spoon holding up a scoop of creamy steel cut oats.

Tools Used for This Recipe

6-quart Instant Pot – this is the one I use and it’s wonderful! I also use it to make my instant pot Philly cheesesteak pasta and instant pot beef stroganoff.

A bowl of steel cut oats topped with sliced bananas, pecans, and cocoa nibs.

Recipe Tips

Serving: Serve with a drizzle of milk (if desired) and a sweetener such as brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey. 

If you’re looking for additional syrup flavors, I enjoy Uncle Bob’s Butter Country syrups. It’s a buttermilk syrup. And they have additional flavors: Cinnamon Bun, Creamy Maple, Original Buttermilk and Coconut Cream. 😍

Topping ideas 

  • Fresh fruit — Apple slices (or grated fresh apple), sliced bananas, strawberries, raspberries, mangos, blueberries, blackberries, pomegranate arils (seeds), etc. Even frozen berries will work as a great topping!
  • Toasted nuts — Pecans, sliced almonds, etc.
  • Shredded coconut — Check out my toasted coconut recipe!
  • Cinnamon
  • Chocolate chips — Whether it’s chopped dark chocolate or mini dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate with 50%-90% cocoa solids is the best if you’re looking for a healthier option. However, dark chocolate is still chocolate so don’t completely rule it as a healthy snack. Healthline does a great dive into dark chocolate.
  • Nut butters — Peanut butter, almond butter, etc.
  • Jams or jellies
  • Applesauce
  • Whipped cream — Try my coconut whipped cream recipe or my Greek yogurt whipped cream recipe.
  • Milk or cream — To drizzle on top
  • Dried fruits — Craisins, raisins, dates, dried apricots, etc.
  • Seeds — Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds or toasted pumpkin seeds

 Leftovers will stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week.

A bowl of steel cut oats topped with blueberries, almonds, and milk.

FAQs

How are steel cut oats made?

Steel cut oats are the product of cutting oat groats into pieces with a steel mill.

How are steel cut oats different from rolled oats?

Rolled oats are the product of flattening the oat groats, whereas steel cut oats are cut oat groats.

Why are steel cut oats better than rolled?

There really isn’t much difference in health benefits between steel cut oats and rolled oats. The oats aren’t being stripped of nutrients, they are just being cut or flattened. Cooking Light does a great job of diving into each version of oats. There’s also a helpful chart where they’ve taken one brand of oats and compared the nutrition facts between that brand’s instant, rolled and steel cut oats. 

Are oats good for you?

Yes! According to Healthline, oats are one of the “most nutrient-dense foods” that can aid in lowering blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of heart disease and encouraging weight loss. Oats are rich in fiber and protein.

More Healthy Breakfast Recipes


Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a rating and review.

A bowl of Steel Cut Oats on a white background with blueberries and nuts.
Print Review
5 from 2 votes

Steel Cut Oats Recipe

This recipe produces creamy steel cut oats. It's a healthy meal prep/breakfast option!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups almond milk - can use dairy milk too

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Generously grease the insert of a 6 qt Instant pot with nonstick cooking spray.
  • To the pot add the steel cut oats, water, and almond milk. Stir to combine. Cover (make sure it’s sealed) and select the “manual” or “pressure cook” button. Press the dial up to 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will start automatically.
  • When it has finished cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure . You don’t want to do a quick release because the oats can spurt out of the valve.
  • Once the pressure has been released, open the lid and give the oats a stir. Serve warm. (The oats will thicken as they cool.)
  • Leftovers will stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week.
  • Serving ideas: Serve with a drizzle of milk (if desired) and a sweetener such as brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey. 
    Topping ideas: fresh fruit, toasted nuts, shredded coconut, cinnamon, chocolate chips, cocoa nibs.

Notes

If you make this recipe and love it, I would be so grateful if you come back to leave a rating and review on this recipe. Thank you! ❤️

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 27g (9%)Protein: 7g (14%)Fat: 4g (6%)Saturated Fat: 1g (5%)Sodium: 84mg (4%)Fiber: 5g (20%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Calcium: 97mg (10%)Iron: 2mg (11%)
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
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