Battle of the Steel-Cut Oats

UPDATED:  Scroll down for the delicious verdict!

I’m trying out two new techniques for cooking these, because they are so much yummier (and healthier!) than regular (aka rolled) oats.

I am SO not a breakfast person.   But I am a night person.  And I figure if I can get breakfast started at night, so it’s super-easy in the morning, then my family will think of me and be grateful, even as I doze the hours away lazily in uninterrupted blissful sleep.

So!  Here are the contenders, going head-to-head in my kitchen:

Overnight Oatmeal – boil 1 minute the night before, leave on stove, boil 5-10 minutes in the morning.  Easy!


Alton Brown’s Crock-Pot Oatmeal – toss everything into a crock-pot (or any brand of slow cooker), leave it overnight and awaken refreshed to yumminess.

Here’s another one to try:  Jamie Oliver’s Pukkola.  It’s completely uncooked; you just leave it in the fridge overnight.  I just can’t figure out if he does it with steel-cut or rolled oats.

This all came about because Elisheva was bemoaning the terrible state of breakfasts in this house – specifically, the absence of oatmeal. 

I secretly suspect, however, that she is going to reject BOTH of these oaty candidates because she wasn’t raised with steel-cut, and the texture will be unfamiliar and off-putting to her.   What she means by “oatmeal” is probably “a single-serving packet with 12g of sugar, bunch of preservatives, and a few paper-thin flakes of oat.”

Still, we shall see…

I keep thinking optimistically that if I feed the littles oatmeal MORE OFTEN, then eventually they will eat it happily and not just scoop the brown sugar out from underneath and toss the rest of it.  Brown sugar alone does NOT equal breakfast.  I have tried making it with apple juice, I have tried adding fruit, I have tried fancying it up with yogurt.  But all that has happened so far is that they STILL don’t eat the oatmeal, food goes to waste, and the kids end up growlingly hungry around 10 am… blah.

Hey, happy Thanksgiving to any US-ians* out there reading this!!!

* US-ian = United Statesian, a term I have used for years in my head (see this post), but which Urban Dictionary insists is a real usage.  Kind of.


So:  whose oat scheme reigned supreme???


The Crock-Pot Little Dipper made just under two cups (I had to scale down the recipe radically) of delicious, creamy, cranberry-enhanced oatmeal a la Alton.  Elisheva left a nice note saying thank you.  So I consider that one a winner.  I am soaking the crockpot now; we’ll see how it cleans up… looks a tad messy.

The parboiled regular-pot oatmeal made a HUGE quantity (over 6 cups?) of moist, creamy oatmeal.  The texture was perfect; chewy and creamy all at once.  I found it needed salt, and would include that in the pot next time along with the oats and water.  This was the one I had for my breakfast, and went back for seconds.

image imageSo I guess the verdict is… overnight is a VERY GOOD way to make oatmeal.  Just, whatever you do, please don’t use ROLLED oats in either of these recipes.  Rolled oats are designed to cook quickly or be eaten or baked with little soaking or preparation. 

In other words, they’re designed to turn to mush as soon as possible after hitting water.   If you like mush, then go for it… but it turns out that what I like is – oatmeal.

image See how smashed up and non-nutritious these quick-cook oats are???


  1. You can used rolled oats, preferably the 5-minute kind in your little dipper (I use our for oatmeal for one too!) or big crock pot. Just attach it to a timer and set the time for about 4 hours. It will soak and cook them in time for someone's breakfast!


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