Yes, you read that correctly – TWO steel cut oatmeal recipes in one! I’ve been cooking and uncooking steel cut oats every which way to find the method that we love best. It had to be time-effective, convenient, and of course, delicious. The winning method is cooked (sorry, those raw overnight oats just didn’t measure up) and can be enjoyed immediately, made ahead and chilled overnight, frozen for busy mornings, or all of the above!
This maple and brown sugar version (don’t worry, you can swap out sweeteners, if desired) is, in my opinion, the best recipe for steel cut oatmeal. It has extreme versatility for both weekends and weekdays, and an easy option for crazy good, yet unique griddle cakes.
The secrets to fantastic steel cut oatmeal include toasting the best grains, using just the right amount of water, minimizing morning cook time (the busiest time of day!), and having a back up plan for the leftovers. First, you pick up some of those good quality grains. Fortunately, Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats are easy to find, affordable, and award-winning! In addition to their Original freshly milled oats, they offer Organic Steel Cut Oats and Certified Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats – take your pick!
Next, the oats are toasted in just enough oil for richness. This not only brings out the naturally nutty flavor of this high protein grain, it also helps to thoroughly coat the pan and avoid steel cut oatmeal stickage! Trust me, I tried both with and without the toasting – it works like magic.
Then, rather than following the traditional 4 cups water to 1 cup steel cut oats recipe, I use just 3 cups. This allows you to create a richer, more versatile steel cut oatmeal that can be thinned as desired with dairy-free milk beverage in each persons bowl, and is thick enough to set up into easy to cut, serve, prepare, refrigerate, and even freeze portions. They keep in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days, and can be flash frozen and stored in airtight plastic bags in the freezer for a couple of months. When hungry, just heat a portion with dairy free milk beverage, mashing it back into creamy oatmeal (takes just minutes!) or add just a touch of oil or buttery spread to a pan and quickly pan fry them up as griddle cakes …
365 Dairy-Free Recipe Challenge Update
With the 365 New Dairy-Free Recipe Challenge, my goal is to trial at least 365 new-to-me recipes this year, and that doesn’t even count all of the retesting to perfect many of those dishes. I’ll be using the hashtag #365dairyfree here and on social media for updates. Almost two weeks of travel put me way behind on my recipe goals, so I’ll be having fun in the kitchen during the month ahead to make up for lost time and to complete more recipes for my upcoming books! This past week I trialed all of the following dairy-free recipes for the first time:
- PB & J Smoothie (loving many versions of this, recipe here)
- Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Primavera (very good, light meal)
- Pizza Dip (a new version from Go Dairy Free – loved!)
- Moussakka (worked out surprisingly well with my dairy-free adaptations, but still tweaking)
- Chicken & Mushroom Bake (awesome! Will be perfecting to share)
- Steel Cut Oat Milk (I tested all of those “awesome” recipes, but have yet to find my holy grail)
- Plantain Tortillas (I modified this very cool recipe from Wicked Spatula)
- Sneaky Italian Cabbage Rolls (Tony liked them, but I think there’s room for improvement)
- Overnight No-Cook Steel Cut Oats (a no go for us)
- Maple & Brown Sugar Steel Cut Oatmeal (success! recipe below …)
- Steel Cut Oatmeal Griddle Cakes (success! recipe below …)
Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill for inspiring these steel cut oatmeal recipes for my #365dairyfree challenge and for sponsoring this week’s update. I love working with this brand, as they’ve been my go-to for pantry stocking over the years – from wheat-based and gluten-free grains, flours, and starches to dried fruits, nuts and sweeteners.
Special Diet Notes: Maple & Brown Sugar Steel Cut Oatmeal
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, vegetarian, and generally top food allergy-friendly. If you need strictly gluten free, be sure to use certified gluten free steel cut oats.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (can substitute dairy-free buttery spread)
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar or coconut sugar (can omit, if lower sugar is desired)
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅝ teaspoon salt
- Dairy-free milk beverage and toppings, for serving (optional)
- Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the oats and cook while stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes.*
- Add the water; it should quickly come to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low (or low if your burners tend to run hot, like mine), cover, and simmer, checking in to stir every 5 minutes, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the oats are quite thick, but still creamy, and almost all of the liquid is absorbed.
- Stir in the maple, sugar, vanilla, and salt until well combined.
- Divide into bowls and serve with your favorite dairy-free milk beverage and toppings, or follow the Make Ahead instructions.**
- Pour the cooked oats into a greased 9x9-inch baking dish (you can use an 8x8-inch dish, the steel cut oatmeal griddle cakes will just be thicker, if making), and level out.
- Let the oats cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, cut the steel cut oatmeal into portions. These portions will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, or they can be frozen!
- To eat a bowl of steel cut oatmeal, heat a portion in a pan, adding as much dairy-free milk beverage as desired, while mashing the oats. In just a few minutes, you should have a creamy, hot bowl of maple & brown sugar steel cut oatmeal.
- To enjoy some griddle cakes, heat a little coconut oil or dairy-free buttery spread in a skillet over medium heat. Add a steel cut oatmeal portion or two and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve topped with nut butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit ... whatever you're in the mood for.
**Double down with leftovers. If you are enjoying a bowl of freshly cooked steel cut oatmeal, but can't finish it all, just follow the make ahead directions to preserve your leftovers for enjoyment throughout the week. You can use an 8x8-inch or smaller dish based on how much you have left.
Key Ingredients: Maple & Brown Sugar Steel Cut Oatmeal