Steel-cut oats are a minimally processed product created by passing whole oat groats between steel chopping blades. The end result is small, irregular nubs of oat. Rolled oats are steamed, then rolled into varying thicknesses. The steaming softens the oats and partially precooks them. Steel-cut oats take longer to cook, and have a nuttier flavor and more defined texture than rolled oats.
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Step 1: Boil Water
Boil 3 or 4 parts water to 1 part steel-cut oats, depending on how textured you like your oatmeal. Use less water to produce a more distinct texture and more water for a smoother consistency.
Step 2: Stir in Oats and Salt
When the water comes to a full boil, add the oats and a pinch of salt. Stir to break up any lumps, then cover and lower the heat.
Step 3: Simmer for 30 Minutes
Keep the pot at a bare simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until the oatmeal reaches a consistency you like. Shorter cook times result in firmer, chewier oatmeal.
Top oatmeal with a splash of milk or cream for a simple breakfast or add your favorite flavor combinations such as:
Maple syrup and chopped pecans
Brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped apples
Honey, fresh or canned peaches and powdered ginger
Raisins, dates, figs or other dried fruits
Steel-cut oatmeal reheats well in the microwave so you can make a large batch on weekends and save it in single-serving containers. It will last for several days in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer.
Steel-cut oats take longer to prepare than rolled oats, but there you can streamline the process.