It's 15°F this morning. Time for oatmeal!
January 18, 2016 11:47 PM   Subscribe

Everyone on Game of Thrones was reminding me, winter is coming. Now it's here, it's bloody cold out, and I'll actually eat breakfast rather than just shooting down a glass of OJ. What are some of you're favorite recipes for steel cut oatmeal? I'm not a fan of groats, and the steamed or instant seem like paste.

I usually go with 4 cups of liquid, pinch of salt, one cup of oats. Bring it to a boil, then down to a very low heat for about an hour, stirring every twenty minutes or so, toss some raisins in near the end. One cup for me, three for the future.

I've made a few variations like half apple cider, half water with apples and cinnamon, or half OJ, half water with dried cranberrys.

I tried chocolate covered raisins once, that didn't fly.

I like bananas and I like coconut, but haven't figured out how they'd go.

Any other ideas?
posted by Marky to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
I like adding a dollop of peanut butter, particularly with the raisins. Or I'll do maple syrup and salted butter.

FWIW, if you want to avoid some of the stirring and cooking time in the morning you can leave the oats to soak in the cooking water the night before. They'll cook in much less time.
posted by veggieboy at 11:51 PM on January 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

I like adding pumpkin pie spices in my oatmeal. I don't eat a ton of oatmeal though. Pumpkin pie spice mix is not very sweet on its own. Generally cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice. I bought a cheap premixed one. I'd also check pinterest for this, because there's about a million oatmeal recipes on there.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:58 PM on January 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't cook them for an entire hour but I like putting whole coffee beans in the water at the very beginning and then chopped dates at the end.
posted by XMLicious at 12:08 AM on January 19, 2016

I like to toast the oats in salted butter as a first step--just enough butter to coat the pan, and then toast the oats over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they're dark and smell toasted. (Degree of darkness is a thing on which reasonable people can disagree, but golden brown is a good starting point.) Then cook and top as normal--the toasting adds a great flavor, tho.

For bananas, try roasting them until they're caramelised, then mashing that with a little brown sugar and vanilla extract. (And milk, if you want.) I'd imagine you could do the same thing on the stovetop. It makes an unattractive but delicious lumpy goop that goes well atop oats.

Seconding Crystalline about the pumpkin pie spices, but would suggest that you add canned pumpkin to the oats, too--extra vitamins and more flavor.

I'm a savory breakfast person, so I often eat mine with soy sauce, butter, and green onions, or with tiny pieces of ham and cheese. Or caramelised onions and parmesan.
posted by MeghanC at 12:09 AM on January 19, 2016

Oh! Also, coconut milk can be used as all or part of the liquid, or poured over the top the way that some people do with cream. It adds a mild coconut flavor that you might like.
posted by MeghanC at 12:11 AM on January 19, 2016

Applesauce and a splash of raspberry jam. Or apricot jam and some corn bran cereal on top.

The easiest way to cook them I heard on here a while ago. It goes like this: The night before, bring 3 1/3 c water to a boil. Add 1 c steel cut oats. Immediately turn off the heat and put a lid on. That's all. In the morning they will be perfectly cooked. This makes enough for a week of servings.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 12:25 AM on January 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

Ah, porridge. veggieboy is right - soak your oats the night before for faster cooking and easier digestion.

Check out the porridge recipes on the Rude Health website (you have to click the "select food and drink" menu then select porridge): Spelt, coconut, papaya and mango porridge, maple bacon blueberry porridge, manna-life porridge, mushroom and caramelised onion porridge, mango and avocado porridge, autumnal forage porridge, etc. etc. etc.
posted by ZipRibbons at 12:42 AM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I make mine in a rice cooker instead of on the stovetop so I can leave them completely unattended while I go shower, get dressed, etc. without worrying about the house burning down. They cook pretty quickly that way.

Add some fat if you want to feel full longer. I use a tablespoon of canola oil.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:42 AM on January 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I can't eat it without a good amount of salt, golden raisins, and milk or cream over the top. With the raisins cooked in it so they're swollen rather than added at the end and still super-chewy.
posted by kmennie at 3:23 AM on January 19, 2016

I cook mine in the oven with milk & frozen blueberries. I also really like savory oatmeal with spinach & parmesan.
posted by judith at 3:33 AM on January 19, 2016

I do mine overnight in the slow cooker with some cinnamon and vanilla. Then I stir in fig marmalade to eat. Delicious.
posted by Jacob G at 3:46 AM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I use McCann's Instant Irish Oatmeal. It isn't sloshy like most instants, and it has a good flavor. I cook it with raisins and cinnamon, sometimes walnuts. Once cooked, I add whatever fresh fruit I have. I prefer blueberries and strawberries. And then I top it all off with Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips.

Sometimes I just do the chips and it tastes like a warm cookie.
posted by myselfasme at 4:07 AM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Add an egg towards the end. It blends right in and adds richness (and protein)! Toss in some smashed banana right before you turn off the heat. Season with a dash of vanilla extract, cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Serve with a small pat of butter, drizzled of honey and a sprinkle of sea salt.
posted by KMoney at 4:53 AM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I set mine up the night before in a programmable rice cooker! 1 c oats, 3 c water, porridge setting on the rice cooker. Set to be done when I'm out of the shower.
posted by leahwrenn at 5:31 AM on January 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Perfect porridge, add cold milk, maple syrup, cacao nibs, chia seeds.
posted by fmnr at 5:58 AM on January 19, 2016

My favorite variations:

"Carrot cake" steel cut oats: toast oats in butter, toss in some grated carrots (zucchini, spinach) and sweetened flaked coconuts and cook those in butter for 30 seconds or so before adding liquid and some brown sugar. I like to use half milk, half water for the liquid.

"Hot chocolate" steel cut oats: Make oats normally, but while they're still hot add unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, and a small handful of chocolate chips. Walnuts are also great in this. You can make a big batch of oats but just give the chocolate treatment to one serving, since you cook the oats first before adding anything.

"Rice pudding" steel cut oats: Raisins, sliced almonds, and cardamom, added just before liquid.
posted by chickenmagazine at 6:14 AM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Savory Oatmeal has changed our lives.
posted by padraigin at 6:25 AM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

My formula for oatmeal is to mix in at the end: any nut, any chopped dried fruit, and a few high quality dark chocolate chips. It's like getting to eat an oatmeal chip cookie for breakfast. I'd think your bananas and coconut version would work well -- what's to figure out? I can also recommend bacon-maple-peanut butter.

After this comment from headnsouth the other day, I adapted that approach for quinoa, keeping the nut and fruit elements but leaving out the chocolate and adding some cinnamon and a little maple syrup instead. Good for a little variety!
posted by daisyace at 6:30 AM on January 19, 2016

You can get rolled oats with texture if instead of boiling them in water you saute them in fat until toasty and then add just a little bit of broth, say two heaping spoonfuls per 100g of dry oats. It's a variant on skirlie, although I think traditionally skirlie is cooked to something much more like the mushiness you dislike about boiled rolled oats.
posted by d. z. wang at 6:40 AM on January 19, 2016

+ 1 for padraigin's suggestion for a savory recipe, especially Mark Bittman's dish (that's one of the sub-links behind padraigin's link).
posted by dlwr300 at 6:58 AM on January 19, 2016

Steel cut oats with brown sugar, honey, and cream. (a dash of salt in the boil)
posted by samsara at 7:16 AM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Mmm. I like mine with a Tbsp of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and a handful of pecan pieces.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:17 AM on January 19, 2016

All you people mentioning savory oatmeal recipes are blowing my mind! I make oatmeal every morning but literally never thought to eat it that way, despite enjoying savory congee all the time. How did I never think of this before?!

Anyhow, I like stirring in some cold Greek yogurt and sprinkling with fresh or dried fruit (depending on the season; I did raspberries when it was warmer, then switched to dried cranberries and now raisins) -- I have trouble eating very hot oatmeal first thing in the morning and mixing in the yogurt adds some protein, makes it creamy but not too liquid-y, and cools down the oatmeal to my preferred temperature.
posted by andrewesque at 7:32 AM on January 19, 2016

Pumpkin pie spice.
diced banana added at the beginning of cooking so it partially melts in.
Finely diced apple if I'm feeling it.
Raisins, added at the beginning to they plump, my favorite.
Vanilla makes a huge difference and makes everything taste sweeter even without much sugar.
Salt to balance - very important - doesn't taste right without salt.
Milk to loosen at the end sometimes.
Drizzle of real maple syrup on top.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:51 AM on January 19, 2016

Trader Joe's: Quick Barley, dried tomatoes, boil a bit, little chicken paste, grilled chicken strips, rolled oats, now stir in a single egg and some grated cheddar and let it steep a bit. Last you all day.
posted by effluvia at 7:58 AM on January 19, 2016

I toast mine dry, add 3x water and a quite generous pinch of salt, simmer covered until the oats are soft, remove the lid and cook on high to desired consistency, then fold in a knob of butter at the very end. Probably not too different from what you're doing. I like it more salty than sweet, and feel this makes it go particularly well alongside a kippered herring or two. On the sweet side, just yesterday I swirled in a spoonful of dulce de leche at the end and found that quite nice.
posted by slkinsey at 8:27 AM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I toast just under one cup of steel-cut oats in butter in a cast-iron pan while I'm heating three cups water plus one cup milk to a simmer on the next burner. Once the milk/water is nice and steamy, I transfer the toasted oats to the pot, set an alarm for 20 minutes, and go work on the New York Times crossword. After 20 minutes, it's back to the pot for a good four to six minutes of stirring. That's when I chuck in a good pinch of salt. Once it's right, I serve with honey, cinnamon, and maybe a couple drops of vanilla stirred in at the table.

My savory version is done the same way, but with chopped-up bacon and green onions on stand-by for adding to the pot at the very end. I'll also temper an egg into the pot during the four-to-six-minute stirring phase, which adds a really nice taste and texture if you do it correctly. (If you rush it, you just get little egg bits floating around in your oatmeal, which isn't the worst thing that could happen to your Sunday morning.) Serve that with a little maple syrup and it tends to knock people's socks off.

I've tried the rice-cooker thing for oatmeal but the resulting porridge doesn't have the nice, toothsome consistency I get on the stovetop and as it turns out I'm a little fussy when it comes to oatmeal. I mean, I would love to have oatmeal ready to eat in the morning but it doesn't seem to be in the cards for me.
posted by Mothlight at 8:39 AM on January 19, 2016

I just consider the oats a binder for as much good stuff as I can cram in. I add cinnamon and honey to the pot while cooking. Then I slice some fruit in the bottom of my bowl (bananas, apples, pears, berries.) Add a tablespoon or two of nuts, some black chia seeds, and whatever else tastes good or is the healthy additive of the week. Bowl of goodness!
posted by raisingsand at 8:49 AM on January 19, 2016

My current favorite way is to make traditional British porridge. Half steel cut oats, half rolled oats. Mix with 3x as much milk/water as oats (1 cup total oats+3 cups water). Bring to a boil, then cook on a simmer, stirring constantly, for about 20-30 minutes. The rolled oats cook down, but the steel cut oats still retain some toothiness, and it's super creamy without being gummy. Serve with honey and milk, NOM.
posted by suelac at 9:47 AM on January 19, 2016

ideas that tend toward sweet: oatmeal
ideas that tend toward savory: porridge
posted by aniola at 12:42 PM on January 19, 2016

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