The Best 2-minute Instant Oatmeal Hack: Soaked Steel-Cut Oats


Raise your hand if breakfast is hard for you. *Raises my hand*

Here’s the deal: time is not my friend in the morning. Maybe I press the “snooze” button a little too frequently because I’m stupidly ambitious about the time I will actually wake up. I’m often rushing out the door to catch my BART train on time, so I’m lucky to even have a tiny piece of toast beforehand. I really need something heartier to fuel my mornings and is easy to prepare.

That’s why I eat oatmeal every single morning at work. I know many gravitate to the instant/quick-oats version, but I highly recommend the steel cut oat ones. Sure, it’ll save you some empty calories from avoiding the added sugar in the instant packets blah blah blah. And sure, steel cut oats will provide you with a minimally processed (and naturally gluten-free) whole grain yada yada yada. But the main reason why you should eat steel-cut oats is that the texture is the bomb dot com. It has a nice chew to it that rolled oats or instant oats just doesn’t have. The only problem is that it usually takes 20-30 minutes of stovetop cooking to get them done correctly.

Luckily, I have one of the best hacks for your morning oatmeal that allows you to have steel-cut oats in a snap: overnight-soaked steel cut oats. Soak your oats in water overnight and it allows you to nuke your oats the next morning within 2 minutes. Yuuuuup! It’s a healthier (and more importantly) heartier “instant” oatmeal than the quick rolled oats packet. I like to prepare a few for the week so I can just grab them in the morning! This is a great recipe because it also resolves a common problem of oatmeal: the watery separation of the oats and the water which is majorly yuck-tastic. The magic ingredient that emulsifies everything perfectly? Peanut butter.


  • a 12-ish oz mason jar & lid
  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats (measured dry)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 tbsp of peanut butter (or your favorite nut butters)
  • a handful of fruit


  • In the mason jar, add the steel cut oats and water. Soak overnight. A larger 12-ish oz jar is recommended because the mixture will expand in the cooking process. Plus you want room for your toppings, yo!
  • In the morning, remove the lid and add the peanut butter. Microwave the mixture for 1 min and 30 secs
  • Remove of the microwave and stir until the peanut butter is thoroughly mixed in
  • Place back into the microwave and heat for another 20-30 seconds. Watch it so it doesn’t overflow. That’s it. No more cooking. Done. Your oats are cooked perfectly. Feel free to add water to meet your consistency preferences. As it sits, it will thicken even more!
  • Top with your favorite fruit 🙂 I usually add a banana because it tastes like banana-nut bread. Also, I let it sit for a minute otherwise it’s like eating fresh lava.

With this breakfast you’ve got your bases covered: whole grain, fiber, healthy fat, protein, natural sugar, and deliciousness.

For the love of carbs, please enjoy 🙂

Thomas Ngo, RD


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Nidhi says:

    I use this all the time now! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Thomas says:


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