Overnight Steel Cut Oats

5 from 364 votes

Overnight steel cut oats is perfect for make ahead breakfasts. Choose from four topping ideas and meal prep a batch of oatmeal for the week!

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Did you know you can make overnight oatmeal using steel cut oats? My overnight oats recipe is so popular and one that I make for breakfast often by soaking rolled oats with milk. The same principle can be applied here for the steel cut oat version with a few differences that I’ll share below, plus many topping possibilities!

4 bowls of overnight steel cut oats with different toppings

What is steel cut oats?

Steel cut oats are less processed compared to rolled oats. The oat groat (or whole oat) is cut into pieces rather than being pressed and rolled. They have a chewier and nuttier texture and hold their shape once cooked. They don’t get mushy after being cooked, making them ideal for make-ahead breakfasts.

Collage of two images showing steel cut oats before and after cooking


How to make overnight steel cut oats

  • Stir the oats into boiling milk and water.
  • Turn off the heat and cover with a tight fitting lid and leave the pot at room temperature overnight. It’s ready for serving the next morning at room temperature or heated again.
Pot of steel cut oats with milk before and after stirring

Oatmeal topping ideas

Peanut Butter Banana: In this version, slice some bananas, top it with off with creamy peanut butter and then add crushed peanuts (to enforce that peanut taste). Finish it off with a dash of cinnamon to add some warmth.

Bananas and peanut butter over oatmeal in yellow bowl

Strawberry Nutella: Slice some fresh strawberries to place on top of your oatmeal and add some Nutella and chopped hazelnuts. Finish it off with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey.

Sliced strawberries, nutella and hazelnut over oatmeal

Caramel Apple: Slice a green apple to add to the steel cut oatmeal, add some chopped pecans for texture and drizzle with caramel sauce. If you don’t have caramel sauce, maple syrup works well. Finish it off with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.

Sliced green apples, caramel sauce and pecans over oatmeal

Chocolate Almond Butter: Add some chopped chocolate, a couple of tablespoons of almond butter and a couple of pitted chopped dates. Finish with a drizzle of honey and coconut flakes if you’d like. When you stir this one together, it looks like chocolate steel cut oatmeal – my kids’ favorite!

Almond butter, chocolate, dates and coconut over oatmeal

Tips for making overnight steel cut oats

  1. Heat water and milk before adding oats. There are methods of making overnight steel cut oatmeal where no heat is applied and the oats just soak the liquid. However, in my experience, the consistency is more creamy and thick when the liquid is heated first.
  2. Don’t skip the salt. Just a little really does make all the difference. It brings out the natural sweetness and nuttiness of the oats and it can taste quite bland if you don’t use it.
  3. Use a mixture of water and milk. I find that this creates that wonderfully creamy texture without adding too many calories or fat. You can use all milk or all water if you prefer.
  4. Heat for a thicker consistency. When you first take a peak in the pot the next morning, you might notice some liquid still in the pot. Stirring it will allow the oats to absorb more of that liquid. But reheating is will help most. Plus it’s already in a pot, so it’s a quick convenience step.

Frequently asked questions

How long should steel cut oats sit overnight to soften?

Steel oats are much tougher than rolled oats, so you need to let them sit in the liquid for at least 8 hours.

Is it safe to leave the oats with milk overnight like that?

Yes, as long as your kitchen temperature is not too hot, it’s completely safe to leave the oats soaking overnight at room temperature, especially since they are covered in a pot with a lid.

How long does it keep?

Steel cut oatmeal will keep well for up to a week in the fridge. In the morning, place the cooled oatmeal into an airtight container and you can reheat portions of it throughout the week. It’s great to batch cook for easy and quick breakfasts.

4 varieties of overnight steel cut oatmeal in 4 bowls with different toppings

Try this method of soaking steel cut oats with hot liquid overnight and you will probably never find yourself cooking steel cut oats on the stove top again!

More oatmeal recipes:

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Overnight Steel Cut Oats recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Overnight steel cut oats is perfect for make ahead breakfasts. Choose from four topping ideas and meal prep a batch of oatmeal for the week!
5 from 364 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Breakfast
Calories 258
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 5 mins


Base Recipe

Peanut Butter Banana

Strawberry Nutella

  • 4-5 strawberries sliced
  • 2 tablespoons nutella
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnuts chopped
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Caramel Apple

  • 1/2 green apple sliced
  • 2 tablespoons caramel sauce
  • 1 tablespoon pecans chopped
  • Dash of cinnamon

Chocolate Almond Butter


  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring the water, milk and salt to a boil.
  • Stir in the oats and continue mixing with the liquid for 2-3 minutes to warm up the oats.
  • Turn off the heat, cover the pot with a lid and leave overnight at room temperature.
  • In the morning, remove the lid, heat for a couple minutes while stirring the mixture, and serve with your favorite topping combinations.



Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about up to 7 days in the fridge.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However you can use all milk or all water in the recipe instead of doing half milk/half water. You can also use any type of milk you’d like.
* Please note the nutrition label does not include any toppings.


Calories: 258kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 543mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 1g, Calcium: 260mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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4 bowls of overnight steel cut oats with different toppings

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    1. Thank you, Edward! I am so glad you like the overnight oats! Which would you say is your favorite variation? Strawberry Nutella? 😉

      1. Hahahaha. Well, to be honest, I’ve just made the base recipe, and then in the morning I’ve been trying different add-ins when I reheat: dried fruit (raisins, cranberries) and a little bit of brown sugar. Delicious, healthy and so easy.

  1. I loved this! It come out sooo lovely!! It stayed on the stove overnight and in the morning was sooo yummy. I just added whatever toppings I could find, some honey, and some fruit and nuts

  2. This is a great recipe, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving it out overnight if you live in a warmer climate. I made this in September in Texas and it was rancid by morning. If you live in a warm climate, I would place it in the fridge overnight instead.

    1. Thank you! If you live in a warmer climate, definitely leave it in the fridge overnight. Or in any case, leave it in the fridge overnight to be on the safer side.

  3. I suggest people be risk-aware. Be very careful to cook cleanly and avoid cross-contamination. I made overnight oatmeal like this for months, leaving it out overnight, and was fine until I had a bad batch and was sick for a week with food poisoning. I never did it again and couldn’t stomach oatmeal for nearly a year. All it takes is one bad batch.

      1. “Symptoms of food poisoning can appear anywhere between four hours and one week after ingesting a contaminated food item, and can persist for as short a time as 24 hours or as long as a week. This variability in both onset and duration of symptoms is another reason food poisoning so often goes unidentified.” -usda.gov, https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/08/28/are-you-sure-it-wasnt-food-poisoning#:~:text=Symptoms%20of%20food%20poisoning%20can,poisoning%20so%20often%20goes%20unidentified.

        I can’t be 100% sure it was the oatmeal, but this was the only food I ate at the time that didn’t follow food handing requirements, 41-135 degrees (I’m ServSafe Manager Certified and have this stuff drilled in). I just want people to be aware. I did this just fine for months, and then one bad batch made me sick.

  4. I have to ask…. is this not a food safety hazard? There is a “danger zone” for food temp, and it seems that leaving this mix out of the refrigerator for several hours would pose a risk for bacterial growth.
    Dont get me wrong, the idea of just boiling the milk/water, cooking for 3 mins and then just leaving it alone until morning sounds awesome, but it makes me wonder…..

    1. As long as your kitchen temperature is not too hot, it should be safe to leave the oats soaking overnight at room temperature, especially since they are covered in a pot with a lid. However, to be safer, you can keep it in the fridge overnight too.

  5. Made half a recipe. Added 1 Tbsp. Of currents to the boiling water and milk to “sweeten the pot.” Current bushes grow wild all over northern Europe. Raisins, as we know them today, were not available until the 1870’s when Mr Thompson, a Scottish immigrant, developed the first seedless grapes. Before that raisins were “crunchy” due to the seeds. Currents are seedless, low glycemic and natural secret sweetening ingredient for diabetics.

  6. I havent tried it yet, but I love the idea. I would probably use a microwave rather than stove for a smaller quantity. I was wondering if I could add some of the “toppings” to the mix before setting it out for the evening, namely the sweetener, vanilla, and say canned apricots and pine nuts? Of course fresh fruits are usually best to add later.

  7. Thank you so much for this recipe! Though it is very simple I was at ease to find someone who had already done it. I used a can of coconut milk and 4+ cups of water (to make up the rest of the liquid) and it was the perfect consistency in the morning. We added chopped dried mango and just ate it as is (the kids added honey to theirs).

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