How to CookBreakfast

The Rushed, Tired Cook's Key to Steel-Cut Oats

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Steel-cut oats are not for those who wake up famished. While not difficult to make, they do take 20 to 30 minutes of patience. (Hopefully, you're sipping coffee.)

Until now!

If you want to a bowl of steel-cut oats on a particularly hungry (or rushed morning), Laura Wright's method for "Lazy Steel-Cut Oatmeal," from her new book, The First Mess Cookbook, is the answer. All it takes is a tiny bit of forward-thinking.

Photo by James Ransom

Instead of cooking the steel-cut oats from start to finish, she lets time do the work. In the evening, toast the oats in coconut oil or butter, then add dried cherries, spices of your choosing, non-dairy milk or water, and bring the mixture to a boil. (You'll want to use water or non-dairy milk when you make steel-cut oats ahead of time, to avoid spoilage. You can always thin the mixture out with cow's milk in the morning.) Once it boils, take the pot off the heat, cover it with a lid, and then leave it out overnight.

Then, in the morning, just turn the heat to medium and bring the oats back to a boil. Add more milk (or water) to thin it out, if you'd like, then top with maple syrup, chopped fruit, or any of your favorite accoutrements.

Waiting for YOU.
Waiting for YOU. Photo by James Ransom

Laura's recipe makes one serving—she uses 1/4 cup of steel-cut oats and 1 cup of almond milk as the base—but this make-ahead method can also be applied for oats for the week.

On The Kitchn, Faith Durand recommends the same technique using 1 cup of steel-cut oats and 3 cups of water to make 4 servings of oats.

Heat the big pot of oats all at once, then refrigerate the leftovers and reheat those in the same way (or, for a faster reheating process, portion out individual servings and warm them separately each morning).

What's your favorite way to get ahead in anticipation of a rushed morning? Tell us in the comments below.

Tags: Make Ahead, Tips & Techniques, Books