Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal

baked steel cut oatmeal with almonds

Yesterday, while three movers packed away our lives into boxes, I snuck one last dish into the oven, a mixture of steel cut oats, cinnamon, maple syrup, and coarsely chopped almonds, a dish I have been addicted to in some form or another since March.

For months, I made this baked oatmeal using rolled oats and, as suggested, always mixed up the dry ingredients the night before baking, which allowed for easy preparations in the morning. But about a month ago I discovered that when steel cut oats replace the rolled oats, the morning effort disappears altogether: the entire dish — egg, milk, melted butter, baking powder and all — can be assembled the night before baking. 


I love this oatmeal. When it bakes, the mixture separates into distinct layers, the nuts forming a crisp-like topping, the berries bobbing underneath, the creamy oats and custard forming the foundation. The steel cut oats, flavored with cinnamon and maple, remain firm and chewy, which along with the nuts offer the loveliest texture throughout. I could eat the whole pan in one sitting.  

I love these oats with berries. I love them without. I love them freshly baked. I love them cold, straight from the fridge. I like them with walnuts. I love them with almonds. I could eat them at every meal. I like them so much that when Ben tells me he can’t make it home for dinner, I think, “Yes, I get to eat my oats!” And while these oats are the perfect kind of thing to make for a crowd, at the moment I’m not at all upset that my children don’t like them. This is the kind of dish I hope so very much you will all whisk up tonight before hitting the hay, so you, too, have something to savor, with friends or without, all Saturday morning long.

baked steel cut oatmeal with almonds

baked steel cut oats

You can make these oats with or without berries:
ingredients

components

mixing

mixing

ready for the oven

By mid morning the pan usually looks like this:
half eaten

By noon:
three-quarters eaten

By early afternoon:
all gone

Baked Oatmeal

Inspired by Heidi Swanson’s recipe in Super Natural Every Day via Orangette
Yield = 1 8×8-inch pan (or something similar); or 6 individual servings (6 6-oz ramekins)

Notes: As I noted, I like these baked oats both with berries and without, so don’t hesitate to make them if you don’t have any berries on hand — they are so good on their own. I have used both almonds and walnuts. I do toast the walnuts. I don’t toast the almonds — it doesn’t seem to matter.

The mixture can be assembled the night before, though it doesn’t have to be.

Molly notes in her post that you could use any berry, including frozen ones, and says not to worry about thawing them first. I am so looking forward to adding diced apple to this recipe in the fall.

3/4 cup steel cut oatmeal
½ cup (60 g) almonds or walnuts halves, toasted and chopped
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¾ to 1 ½ cups (90 to 185 g) blueberries
2 cups (475 ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) maple syrup
1 large egg
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. In a small bowl, mix together the oats, the nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, egg, butter, and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Store mixture in fridge (if desired) overnight. If you are making individual portions, I think the easiest method is this: mix dry ingredients as instructed in step 1; spoon about three tablespoon of the dry ingredients into each ramekin; then pour liquid overtop. The liquid will reach the top of each ramekin. I was worried it was going to overflow, but it didn’t. To prevent a catastrophe, I suggest lining a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper and placing the filled ramekins in the dish to bake.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the top third of the oven. Note: I have baked this both in the top third and in the middle and don’t seem to notice much of a difference. Give mixture a good stir. Scatter berries (if using) into an 8-inch square baking dish. Pour milk-oat mixture over the berries.

4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes (Note: Several commenters have had issues with browning too quickly, so I advise checking after 30 minutes, and if it looks as though it is browning quickly, turn oven down to 350 and check periodically for doneness), or until the top is golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Yield: about 6 servings

Individual bowls of steel cut oats:
individual baked steel cut oatmeals

bowl of oats

127 Comments

  1. I’ve made this several times for work meetings or breakfast at home and it’s a favorite! I prefer to have it soak overnight for more of a custard texture. I cooked it once the same day and it was more chewy and not as moist. I’ve made it just like you said, but I’ve also used 2% milk, subbed brown sugar for syrup, added over ripe banana, and used dried cranberries. All turned out great! Want to try with chopped apples next or my frozen berry mix. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply
    • Yay, so wonderful to hear this! Chopped apples are delicious. I usually peel the apples and small dice them. So good this time of year. I made a batch on Saturday — my husband and I ate the whole thing. I find it irresistible.

      Reply
  2. Made your recipe this morning and it turned out great! Just made a few alterations and that was cooking the dish at 350 degrees for 55 minutes (perfect, for my oven;) and baked it in a small oval corelle baking dish (could not find my square dish). You are right, the house smells amazing! If possible, it tastes even better than it smells. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Wonderful to hear this, Marcy! I have baked this recipe in various vessels, too, and it always seems to turn out with a few adjustments to the timing. So happy you were able to adapt the timing/temperature for your oven. Happy Holidays!

      Reply
  3. I made it with blueberry and walnuts amd it turned out AMAZING! I don’t normally eat oatmeal but this was delicious. I am making it again today with apples and walnuts. Thank you for the recipe.

    Reply
  4. First, I’ve got to mention the gratifying comments on your site, particularly your near-immediate responses. With others contributing their experiences with a recipe and detailing how they changed or adapted it – well, I like that.
    As happens, my adjustment crashed. My oven is on its way out, I think, as half was near burnt-crisp, but I had tried diluting heavy cream with water as I had no milk and that didn’t work out so well. There was no custard layer. I still ate the good parts! So I’m trying it again tonite/morning, using honey&brown sugar, with blonde raisins. I’m anxious to try the pb&j.

    I make 3c. steel-cut oatmeal twice a week and eat it for bkfst, salad or snacking. No measurements, just a big pot of water and oatmeal (Flanagans or Bobs) til it crunches gently. Then I rinse it, so am left with delectable grains – reheated, it’s good for topping with fruit, crushed flax, coconut flakes, etc. My morning bowl is decadently finished off with ‘some’ heavy cream. In the summer, it’s topped with tomatoes, cukes, mozzarella, tofu and anything else around – 1/2 sherry vinegar & 1/2 hon tsuyu (udon base). Oatmeal is so good for everyone and much more versatile than for breakfast.
    Thanks much for this recipe and many others.

    Reply
    • Oh Su, bummer to hear this. I hope it comes out better today. When it comes out well, it is truly irresistible. I have a hard time not eating the entire pan. Love the sound of your savory steel cut recipe. I need to try that. Happy 2014!

      Reply
  5. As an alternative to the sugary donuts and heavy, useless carbs of bagels which our church offers before and after service (while asking for a contribution equal to the predictable cost of the food), I have started taking other healthier fare to put out. I could see doing this dish in paper muffin cups (baked in muffin tins the moring of service) to make it “finger food” eaten right out of the paper liner! To firm up the “bottom” for that kind of consumption, maybe I’ll add a layer of crushed graham cracker for the oat-custard to rest on. It would still be far healthier than the other choices. I’ve occasionally taken sliced oranges, sliced apples, chunks of grilled pineapple, oven roasted persimmon chunks, etc. and a supply of toothpicks to make the non-citrus fruit easy to eat with clean fingers afterward. And I’ve done stradas and provided a fork. This would be a whole new “thing”. Such fun!

    Reply
    • That is brilliant! I love this idea. I might have to try it myself. I have made individual servings in custard cups, but I love the idea of using a muffin tin. A graham crack crust would be a wonderful/practical addition. Good luck with it! Report back if you make any discoveries. How nice of you to bring some healthier fare to your church.

      Reply
  6. Alexandra, we love this recipe for steel cut oats. I made it for my husband and I this week and we devored it! It lasted for 3 breakfasts and we found it to be very filling and tummy satisfying! I made it with blueberries and sliced almonds. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I love coming to your site for inspiration! ♥

    Reply
  7. Oh my goodness! This is fabulous! I made it this morning. Diced a ripe banana in pan, used chopped pecans in mix (did not toast first). Baked 55 minutes. This will be a regular Saturday morning meal. I’m looking forward to making it work a variety of fruits and nuts. Absolutely delicious! Thank you for this recipe.

    Reply
    • Wonderful to hear this Laurie! Isn’t it nice that it is so adaptable? I have made it without fruit and cinnamon, and it is still delicious, and I love it with diced apple or banana, too. I seriously have the hardest time not eating the entire pan over the course of the day. Thanks for writing in!

      Reply
  8. I thought I hated steel cut oatmeal until I tried this recipe. I made it with toasted walnuts and 2 cups of olallieberries and it was delicious! Tasted almost as good as olallieberry pie (but much healthier!) Thank you for sharing the recipe :)

    Reply
  9. Hi Alexandra, We are loving this recipe and wonder do you have the nutrional information on this recipe (fiber and calorie count)? Thank you!

    Reply
  10. I can’t wait to try this…so versatile with the fruits and nuts to choose from, plus this is the perfect vessel to add some chia and hemp seeds.

    Reply
    • I will know tomorrow…I had no fruit to add but added lemon zest & ginger, along with some peppered maple bacon. Odd, I know, but that was what was staring at me from the fridge :) I also added hemp & chia seeds, not for flavor, but for overall health.

      Reply
  11. O.M.G!!! This was so good! It’s definitely going into my breakfast rotation. I used 1/4 cup honey instead of maple syrup and I replaced butter with equal amount of no sugar added applesauce. I also added more almonds and used oat milk instead of cow’s milk.

    I decided I am going to try it topped with warm mangoes, but I didn’t add that during the baking process.

    I am on the phone with a friend now telling her about this recipe. So good! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  12. The baked steel cut oatmeal was awesome! I put nectarine slices on the bottom and top. Added nutmeg and set up an oatmeal sundae bar with nuts, fruit, chocolate chips, maple syryp, milk and whipped cream so my friend could create their own concoction. I will make it again! Much easier than crockpot oatmeal………….

    Thanks for the recipe, inonly had steel cut !

    Reply
    • oh my gosh, so much fun! You are so creative. I love this idea. So happy you like this, and I will definitely be trying nectarine slices on the bottom this summer. Yum!

      Reply
  13. I tried this yesterday with raisins instead of fresh fruit and it was delicious!! My only question is about substituting a nondairy ingredient instead of milk – like soy milk or almond milk – I am lactose intolerant and would like to modify accounting for that. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!!

    Reply
    • Nikki, so sorry for the delay here! I was out of town over the weekend. Just catching up. OK, I still have not tried almond or soy or coconut milk, but I know several of the other commenters have with success. Hope that helps somewhat!

      Reply
  14. I just read the other comment (maybe should have done that before asking lol) and saw that these substitutions could be made :) one other question – my attempt yesterday wasn’t very custardy … Maybe my square Pyrex dish was too big and spread out?

    Reply

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