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Creamy Steel Cut Oats

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5 from 1 vote

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I make this oatmeal all the time. Creamy Irish Steel Cut Oats with Agave can be topped with fresh fruit, nuts, ground flax, graham cracker crumbles, jam… my son likes to put animal cookies in his oatmeal! I’ve been making this for him since he was a toddler.

There’s nothing quite like a creamy, piping-hot bowl of oatmeal in the morning—or for an after-school snack, or a very easy breakfast-for-dinner. In cold weather especially, I find oats to be a nutritious, warming, welcoming meal that really fills me up and gives me a sense of well-being. And they are so versatile! You can flavor a bowl of oatmeal with just about anything. Some friends of mine enjoy their oatmeal with just butter and salt. More typically, oatmeal is sweetened, which is how I like mine. I use agave nectar instead of sugar for a healthier bowl.

What is Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal?

Irish oatmeal is my favorite kind! It’s essentially steel-cut oats, rather than old-fashioned or instant oats. Steel-cut oatmeal is made from the whole grain (whole oat groats), cut by steel blades into smaller pieces. Prepared this way, oats take about 20-30 minutes to cook, and have a richly textured consistency. Old-fashioned oats, on the other hand, are flattened oat groats. They are quicker to cook, and have less texture when done. Instant oats are pre-cooked, and then dried and rolled very thin, which is why they cook very quickly and have little texture.

Tips for Success

  • Time Equals Texture: Irish oats can be cooked to a chewier, crunchier texture by using a shorter cook time, around 20-25 minutes. They can also be cooked to a softer, creamier consistency by cooking longer, around 25-30 minutes. It’s up to you!
  • Try Them Toasted: For a boost in nutty, full flavor, you can try briefly toasting your oats in the oil or butter of your choice before simmering.
  • Make Them Ahead: Unlike most other oats, Irish oats reheat very well. This makes them ideal for a make-ahead breakfast. Simply cook the oats ahead of time and store in the refrigerator, reheating portions with a little milk as desired.

Topping Ideas & Serving Suggestions

Truly, the options are almost limitless!

  • Fruits: Try fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, apples, and bananas. For dried fruits, raisins, dried cranberries, and dates.
  • Jams & Fruit Butters: This homemade blueberry sauce is delightful swirled into the oatmeal. You can also use jam or fruit butters.
  • Nuts and Nut Butters: Walnuts, pecans, cashews, peanut butter, almond butter, and more!
  • Cereals: All kinds of granola make yummy toppings for oatmeal, but did you know you can also top a bowl of Irish oatmeal with crushed breakfast cereal, like Cheerios?
  • Spices: Add a pinch of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, allspice, cloves…whatever strikes your fancy.
  • Etc: Cookies, graham crackers, wheat germ, ground flaxseed, any kind of jam, applesauce, cookie butter, poppy seeds… the sky’s the limit!

On the side, this steel cut oatmeal goes well with homemade popovers or cinnamon sugar toast.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • To refrigerate: Store the oats in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. Steel-cut oats will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • To freeze: Place oats in a freezer-safe, airtight containers, OR spoon individual portions into a muffin tin, freeze and then unmold them, and store in freezer bags. Frozen oats will keep for 3-4 months.
  • How to Reheat: Place the desired portion of oats in a saucepan with 3-4 tablespoons of water or milk. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until just heated through, about 3-5 minutes. You can also reheat your steel cut oats in the microwave. Simply spoon the desired amount into a bowl, add a splash of milk, then heat. Stop halfway through the reheating time to give the oats a good stir.

Creamy Steel Cut Oats

5 from 1 vote
Creamy, delicious steel-cut oats, made from scratch and topped with your favorite mix-ins.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Yield: 8


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk, or unsweetened soy or oat milk
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats, not quick cooking
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons agave nectar, to taste
  • Toppings of your choice: toasted wheat germ, blueberries, strawberries, crushed cheerios, etc.


  • In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the water, milk, salt and oats. Bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the butter and agave nectar to taste. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently until the mixture is creamy and the oats are soft.
  • Turn off the heat, stir, then cover the pot again and let the oats sit for 15-20 minutes so that they can absorb any extra liquid. (And also cool off.)
  • You can serve immediately topped with a sprinkle of toasted wheat germ and a handful of blueberries or other fresh fruit.
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To make ahead: Pour cooked oats into an airtight container after they have come to room temperature. Store in the fridge. To reheat, scoop the amount of oatmeal you want into a bowl and pour milk into the bowl (I usually add about 3-4 tablespoons). Stir then heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or on the stovetop for 5-6 minutes until heated through, stirring constantly.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 114IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as a courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
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