Two Quick Ways to Cook Steel-Cut Oats

I love oatmeal. As a whole grain, it’s the perfect vehicle for any flavor, sweet or savory. Plus, it’s so affordable. In the past, I’ve pushed for quick-minute oats, but I’ve learned that all the extra processing can strip so much of the nutrients out of them (gasp)! Convert yourselves to steel-cut oats because they are less processed which helps to keep as many nutrients intact as possible. Additionally, steel-cut oats have a great bite to them: they’re chewy with a wonderful nutty flavor.

There is one downside: they take FOREVER to cook. Who wants to stand in front of the stove for 20-30 minutes for a bowl of oatmeal? Not me. PASS!

But there are a couple of ways of easy ways to cook your steel-cut oats without the long wait time. I cannot take credit for either idea because they belong to my awesome friends! Here are two ideas of how to make a wonderful Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal that is sure to beat any instant package version.

Will Kivinski's Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Will Kivinski’s Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Cooking Idea #1: Cook them in a crock pot/slow cooker. My friend, Will Kivinski, shared this great idea with me.

1 slow cooker
non-stick spray
2 large apples, chopped, preferably Pink Ladies or Gala (Don’t use Fuji. They’re too crunchy)
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
2 cups steel-cut oats
4 cups of water
1/3 cup of brown sugar (adjust amount to taste. or you can substitute honey or agave nectar)

You should prepare this before you go to bed. Spray your slow cooker with non-stick oil spray. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Stir. Set on LOW. Enjoy it once you wake up. It’s such a simple idea because all you have to do is toss it in a pot and wake up to have a freaking delicious breakfast. What’s not to love?!

If you don’t have a slow cooker, no worries! Here’s another quick way to prepare your steel-cut oatmeal.

Cooking Idea #2: Pre-soak them overnight. I personally follow this great tip from my classmate, Andrea Wolf, who suggested that I pre-soak them before I cook them. What I do is soak a single serving of oatmeal so that all I have to do is nuke it in the microwave for 2 minutes in the morning before I enjoy a hot steaming bowl of steel-cut deliciousness.

1 large glass container with a lid
1/3 cup of steel-cut oats
1 large apple, chopped
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2/3 cup of water

Toss all the ingredients into your large bowl and seal it with the lid. You want to choose a large bowl because when you heat it in the morning, it won’t overflow. Trust me, I learned that the hard way. When you wake up, put the bowl in the microwave (without the lid) and heat the mixture on high for 2 minutes. I actually like my oatmeal a little more moist so I add about 1/3 cup more of water. You can add more water to match your preferred consistency after you heat it.

You can modify the flavors of the oatmeal anyway you want. Add other fresh or dried fruit. Toss in some crunchy almonds. Use soy or almond milk instead full water.

Thomas Ngo
Dietetic Intern
NASM Certified Personal Trainer


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