Ultimate Steel Cut Oatmeal

Ultimate Steel Cut Oatmeal is a healthier recipe for oatmeal that is creamy and delicious, with apple, cranberries, cinnamon and brown sugar. Naturally gluten free!

Steel Cut Oatmeal in a bowl with dried cranberries on top

My sister and brother-in-law share my love for cooking and recipes. They have made several recipes from the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, and it’s something I had been wanting for a while. My mom and dad got it for me for Christmas several years ago, so I was so excited to find new recipes inside.

First off, I LOVE that it’s a metal-ring binder style cookbook. My Mom’s 1970’s Betty Crocker Cookbook is in this format, and I always wanted a cookbook like this. Browsing through this book makes me want to cook non-stop for a month – there are so many recipes I would like to try! One that caught my eye right away was this recipe for Steel Cut Oats. I had a container of them in my pantry and had every other ingredient on hand, (which never happens!).

I am not a traditional oatmeal lover. In fact, I had a very bad experience with oatmeal as a child. I begged my mom to let me have an oatmeal with red gummy bears (gag) for dinner one night instead of tuna casserole (double gag). Why we even had this in the house I will never know. It turned into a slimy, soggy, pink slop and I did not want to eat it. I remember trying to bribe my dad to eat it (he quickly shot me down). This was the last time I ate oatmeal until college, when my roommate Kathleen showed me how to make it in a way that is not soggy or slimy – she uses about 1/4 the amount of water recommended. I continued to enjoy my oatmeal this way, and even made a similarly-textured Baked Oatmeal.

Steel Cut Oatmeal in a bowl with dried cranberries on top

Recipe Details

This dish takes some time to make, but the result is a creamy, but not soggy, oatmeal that can be tailored to your specific tastes. I decided to add in grated apple, dried cranberries, cinnamon, and some brown sugar, but ATK suggests a number of different variations, including maple syrup, honey, figs, walnuts, and/or bananas.

The recipe calls for 1% milk but not skim. You may use 2% or whole if you don’t have 1%.

The second time I made this, I doubled the recipe and we reheated the leftovers each morning. For a double batch, I have indicated in the recipe to increase the cooking time.

Gluten Free Steel Cut Oatmeal

This recipe is naturally gluten free. Be sure to check the packaging on your steel cut oats for possible cross contamination.

Looking for More Breakfast Recipes?

Check out this delicious Baked Oatmeal recipe and the other following categories of Breakfast recipes:

Skinny Chocolate Chip Scones
Classic Cream Scones
Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Babka
Blueberry Boy Bait
Cranberry Christmas Cake
Pineapple Carrot Bread
Poppy Seed Bread
Zucchini Bread
Ultimate Banana Bread
Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Allspice Crumb Muffins
Best Blueberry Muffins
Healthy Chocolate Banana Muffins

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes
Blue Cornmeal Pancakes
Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Waffles

Perfect Crispy Potatoes and Breakfast Skillets
Quiche Lorraine Florentine
Breakfast Chicken Sausage Patties

Steel Cut Oatmeal in a bowl with dried cranberries on top

Ultimate Steel Cut Oatmeal

Ultimate Steel Cut Oatmeal is a healthier recipe for oatmeal that is creamy and delicious. Gluten free.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup lowfat milk (1% or 2%, not skim)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional Add Ins:

  • 1/2 large peeled and grated sweet apple (such as Fuji)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Bring the water and milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add the oats and toast, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
  • Stir the oats into the simmering liquid, reduce the heat,to medium-low, and simmer gently until the mixture is very thick, about 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the salt and the optional add-ins and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed and the oatmeal is creamy, about 10 minutes. If doubling the recipe, increase this to 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Source: Adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
You’re Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword breakfast, gluten free

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