There is nothing more comforting on a cold morning than a hot bowl of oatmeal. It’s warm, it’s hearty, and it’s pretty darn tasty. And for the mightiest morning meal, I recommend this dairy-free steel cut oatmeal recipe. Steel cut oats are the least processed type of oats you’ll find at most grocery stores. They’re basically cut up oat groats with a wonderfully rustic texture. And they don’t take as long to cook as you might think!
The Perfect Dairy-Free Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe and Tips
When it comes to cooking the perfect pot of dairy-free steel cut oatmeal, there are a few tricks.
- Cook with Water: Quite a few dairy-free steel cut oatmeal recipes use part milk or milk alternative for cooking. There are a couple of reasons that I usually stick with water. First, cooking oats in any type of “milk” can lead to stickier, thicker oats. Consequently, you need to add more liquid if using milk alternative. Plain water keeps the integrity of the oats better. Second, not all dairy-free milk alternatives cook seamlessly. Some separate, some thicken oddly, some just don’t taste fantastic. Using water gives you consistent results.
- Add Salt: Yes, your oats need some salt to make them come alive. If you’re trying to limit your sodium intake, you can reduce the salt in this recipe to 1/4 teaspoon, but I wouldn’t personally go lower than that. For optimum flavor, 1/2 teaspoon to 1 cup of oats is ideal.
- Add Creaminess at the End: Add that splash (1/4 cup in this recipe) of milk alternative at the end. You could even use a favorite dairy-free creamer instead. I typically use plain, unsweetened, but you can use a flavored or sweetened version if you like! I like to stir it in just before letting the dairy-free steel cut oatmeal sit. This allows it just enough time to infuse, but doesn’t cook it into the oats. This means that pretty much any type or brand will work well!
- Sweeten at the End: I find that I need less sweetener if I add it at the end. It tends to coat the oats rather than cooking into them. My favorites are brown sugar, coconut sugar, or molasses. They provide that extra little depth of flavor that complements oats. But you can use your favorite liquid or granulated sweetener. Sugar-free sweeteners work well, too!
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Steel Cut Oatmeal
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
- 1 cup steel cut oats (certified gluten-free, if needeed)
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup dairy-free milk beverage or creamer
- Sweetener, to taste (optional; see post above for suggestions)
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil.
- Stir in the oats, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water is mostly absorbed and the oats are tender.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and then the milk beverage. Cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Divide between bowls and serve with brown sugar, or your choice of sweetener.
Instant Pot Option: These instructions are per Bob's Red Mill. Use the High Pressure setting and cook the oats, water, salt, and vanilla for 3 minutes. Once the cooking time has finished, leave the steam release handle in place and allow the pressure to release naturally. Stir in the milk alternative before serving.