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Steel cut oatmeal

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I was raised on instant Quaker and have heard people rave about this stuff. I bought a tin of McCann's at Trader Joes and followed the instructions on the can this morning. Are they supposed to be sort of nutty in texture or did I undercook them? Sort of like brown rice I guess. Totally different flavor than the Quaker kind. I added some brown sugar and cinnamon.

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  1. I have it every morning in the winter; I make it in a pressure cooker using the pan in pan method. It chould have a slightly chewing texture.

    12 Replies
    1. re: howboy

      Please explain the pan in pan method. I tried to make stell cut oats in the pressure cooker but was overrun by foam. how do you do it?

      1. re: jono37

        2 c. water in pc, put in steam rack. put oats and water (for oats) (and raisins, butter, brown sugar or whatever you like) in small metal bowl on rack. 25 mins @ 15psi. See Miss Vickie's Pressure Cooker Recipes for great pc hints. I use cold water release method. Comes out perfect.

        1. re: howboy

          I'll try it, but that doesn't save much time.... my stovetop steel-cut oats are done in 25-30 mins.

          1. re: jono37

            Maybe not much of a time saver, but I don't have to watch it at all, or stir it, so it allows me to shave and shower without worrying about what's on the stove.
            btw, stell cut oats also make a great addition to soups.

            1. re: howboy

              Same here. I get up, turn on the coffee maker, turn on the pot on the stove at the same time, feed the dogs and let them out. By the time I let them back in, the pot is boiling and I put the oats in and turn them down to simmer. I go enjoy my coffee and read the news and my email and by the time I'm done with that, my oatmeal is ready. Never touch it once I put the oats in.

              1. re: howboy

                Thanks for the soup tip. I've never thought of that. Any particular soups you use them in?

                1. re: debbiel

                  I usually make either a chicken or beef stock, then remove the bones and put in vegetables, some barley or rice or another grain and about a quarter cup of steel cut oats. You can also add any good multi-grain hot cereal---just a small amount.This week I made some vegetable soup and I added about one eigth cup 10-grain cereal to it. This is to about 4 quarts of liquid, so it acts like a textural element in the soup, but isn't like a bowl of cereal (of course).

                  1. re: howboy

                    Thanks howboy. I like putting barley in my soups but have never tried adding the oats. I'll try this soon (temps in the teens make it perfect hearty soup time!).

                    1. re: debbiel

                      Next time I'm out of barley, this is a great idea! (I'm never out of oatmeal) Wonder how grits would be, I have a big container.

                      1. re: coll

                        Delicious, I've used grits too.

                        1. re: howboy

                          I love when I can make a meal out of food I have laying around!

                2. re: howboy

                  Funny, I don't bother to stir my steel cut oats and they seem to come out just fine. I boil water - once boiled, throw in the oats, lower heat to a simmer and take the dog for a 30 minute walk. When I return, breakfast is done. I know it says to stir, but I don't bother.

        2. if it's hard then it's undercooked, but it should definitely be chewy. i make it almost every day... i use rice milk instead of water, often throwing in some dried currants, cranberries or cherries and topping it off with a little maple syrup or honey. Sometimes I do sliced bananas and maple syrup at the end and it turns out tasting like banana bread. yum.

          2 Replies
          1. re: annimal

            Do you add dried fruits and nuts while you are cooking the oatmeal or serve on top. Do the nuts stay crisp?

            1. re: jmax

              i add the dried fruit while cooking, they get softer and retain some of the liquid. I sometimes cut up bigger ones like cherries. I haven't done nuts but I'd do them on top.

          2. It IS nutty and chewy and tastes entirely unlike Quaker, so you probably did it right.

            1. Steel cut oats are wonderful. As howboy and annimal mentioned, they should be slightly chewy but not crunchy. My current supply is also McCanns and I've been cooking them several minutes longer than the can directions.I also like mine to be porridgy (thick, even slightly "gloppy").

              I like to cook my oats using milk or a milk/water mix. My recent mix-ins have been adding cinnamon and chopped apples in at the beginning of the cooking and adding chopped toasted walnuts at the end. Last fall I was adding butternut squash or pumpkin puree in at the beginning of the cooking.

              I find steel cut oats make a heartier, more comforting and satisfying breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) than rolled oats.

              3 Replies
              1. re: debbiel

                I read here that it's good to put it in a crock pot when you go to bed and then it's ready as soon as you get up. Once I'm done with my "instant" stuff I'm going to give it a try, last time I cooked for half an hour on the stove, and I thought the texture was weird myself.

                1. re: coll

                  I do this sometimes, with both my oats and my cornmeal. I sometimes have a problem with it getting dried out on the edges. Last autumn there were some posts about that problem, and several folks described how they set up their crockpots to avoid that problem. Here's one description of the water bath in crockpot method:


                  1. re: debbiel

                    Thanks for the refresher course, I remembered there were some warnings, now I'm ready!

              2. I should HOPE that they taste different than instant oats. I think the instant ones shouldn't even be called oats, as they are processed down to something almost unrecognizable as nutritionally acceptable.

                1. They're even better if you toast them in a hot dry skillet for a couple of minutes before you cook them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: heatherkay

                    im so glad to see homebakers/cooks doing this. this longtime restaurant secret (dry roasting or skillet-toasting any grain prior to the real cooking part) brings a wonderful nutty unctuosness (sp?) to the plate. wonderful. really seems to work well with quinoa btw.

                  2. My sister in law does a oven baked steel cut oat cassarole that was amazing on christmas morning. She puts it together the night before, and from standing in the kitchen chatting while she assembled it it seemed to involve just oats, milk, sugar, cinnamon and butter. It sits in the fridge covered to soak overnight and then goes in the oven the next morning. It came out delicous...nice and soft and almost creamy on the inside, but still with individual grains (almost risotto-esque) but with a slight crunch on top. She served it with cream splashed over top. Yummy.

                    That being said...she made some on the stovetop later in the week and indeed it was what I would call nutty. Very chewy, but not crunchy at all.

                    1. Steel cut oats are kind of nutty in texture. We really prefer chewy oatmea. My favorite is Scottish cut oats. They're cut thicker than Irish oats. I got a brand called Bob's Red Mill at Whole Foods.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chicgail

                        I use the Bob's Red Mill as well, and I'd agree that they're nutty. I add 1 c boiling water to 1/3 c oats in a really big bowl and microwave for 3 minutes. Then I add a handful of trail mix (raw nuts and dried fruit) and a few shakes of cinnamon, stir, and microwave for three more minutes. With the dried fruit, it's sweet enough that I don't need to add sugar.

                      2. I get mine from WF too, but I just get the unbranded bulk oats - they're currently $1.09/lb. Not as uniform in cooking as McCann's, to be sure, but I can fill up both of my old McCann's tins for a bit over $3!

                        My cooking method has been to put two rounded cups of oats and a bit less than eight cups of water in the top of my double boiler, along with a tablespoon of salt, and leave it on the hot tray (set on Medium) overnight. In the morning I boil water in the bottom pan and put the top pan on that, then let it finish cooking, stirring occasionally. That takes about twenty minutes and yields eight cups, or enough for four days' breakfast for the two of us. I usually measure it out into four two-cup plastic refrigerator containers and stir some golden raisins into each portion, then I just nuke each day's batch. Lately I've been doing a whole week's worth in the crock-pot, but the oats have been coming out mushier than I like, so I think I'll go back to the old way.

                        1. I cook mine using my rice cooker. My rice cooker has an auto-timer on it so I set it to finish right before I wake up in the morning

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: peachblossom

                            I saw your post about cooking steel cut oats in your rice cooker. Are you using the rice cooker's "porridge" setting? If not - can one set a non-porridge rice cooker to cook oatmeal. Either way - can one set how mushy or grainy the oatmeal comes out? This last is very important to me. Thanks.

                            1. re: TwoCats

                              I used the porridge setting on my rice cooker. If you want to use a non-porridge rice cooker I suppose you could do that, although I have never tried it. I'd imagine that you might not be able to leave it by itself and might need to repeatedly push the cook button since cooking porridge takes a lot more time than cooking rice. The "mushiness" of the rice depends on how much water you use

                          2. I grew up eating (OK, doing my best to avoid eating) rolled oats oatmeal, and the texture always made me gag. Now I feed it exclusively to my dogs, who love it ... I much prefer the steel-cut ... I like them with some combination of butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, blueberries, blanched almonds ... this really makes a meal, so I have it for dinner rather than breakfast (when I don't have a big appetite).

                            1. I eat it everday. Steal Cut offers many digetive and cholesterol lowering benefits. TJ's also has a different brand that is absolutly the same called Country Choice, it is a little less expensive. I add blueberries to mine too. Sometimes I make it the night before.

                              Try different techniques. If you like it really nutty and on the crunchier side, try toasting the oats for a few minutes in a pan.

                              I had very high cholesterol and I succesfully lowered it, I credit Steal-Cut oatmeal for the lower numbers.

                              Good luck and good health.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                Speaking of alternatives to McCann's, my local supermarket stocks Quaker Steel-cut Oats(!) It's a little cheaper than the boxed steel-cut McCann's oats, which are not easy to find. I'm tired of paying for those tins, already!

                                I've made them 2x. The first time we were disappointed -- I think the recipe on the box calls for too much water, with mushy results. This past weekend I made them with McCann's directions, and they were quite good, appropriately chewy.

                              2. I like the Silver Palate oatmeal. It takes about 10 minutes to make and is so much better than Quaker Oats.

                                1. I eat McCann's Steel cut every morning. It's got a great chewy texture and isn't just slimy glop, like instant oatmeal. I love McCann's steel cut, but I absolutely cannot choke down the instant stuff.

                                  1. I make it overnight in my Zojirushi rice cooker (fuzzy logic type) - it's easy and delicious!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: jcanncuk

                                      What settings do you use on the Zojirushi for steel cut oats?

                                      1. re: expatCanuck

                                        Did you have success with the Zojirushi? If so, what setting?

                                        I just purchased the 3 cup model and tried making steel cut oats using the porridge setting and the amount of water prescribed for porridge on the bowl. I made overnight, so the oats soaked for about 7 hours prior to cooking. Result was much too watery. No surprise as the amount of water to match the bowl setting is 1.5 times what is typical. Planning to reduce water to 3 cups to one (proportions on package), but concerned that the fuzzy logic will want to keep the consistency too thin if set on porridge setting.

                                    2. I make it overnight without using a rice cooker, crockpot or any other special equipment. Bring three cups of water to boil in a heavy saucepan. Stir in one cup of the oats and return to a boil. Turn off, cover and leave until morning. In the morning, add milk or water (as much as you like) and cook until it's the way you like it--thick or thin, chewy or porridgy, about 10-20 minutes, depending on how cooked you want it.

                                      There have been several threads on this board recently about what to put in it once it's made. I like some flaxmeal, toasted sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and a little brown sugar.

                                      1. We eat these several times a week in the winter. They do take a while to cook, which can be an issue on rushed mornings. I've had good results parcooking them before going to bed them the night before--saves precious morning time. Just bring one part oats to 3 parts water and a pinch of salt to boil, let cook a minute or two, then turn off heat and cover. Next morning, add more water as needed (or milk, if you prefer) and finish cooking to desired texture.

                                        1. Just made my first steel cut oats in the crockpot last night to enjoy this morning before a grueling day at work...WOW! I totally love them! Mixed it with raisins towards the end of cooking time and then added organic Vanilla Yogurt, I did not add milk & sugar or honey, the Vanilla Yogurt & raisins added enough sweetness to it for me... total heaven! I WILL try pan roasting those little bastards before making my next batch...pan-roasting anything improves flavor...pecans, walnuts, you name it! Thanks, chow-buds!

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Val


                                            Did you follow directions from one of the Chowhound posts or did you use your own method? I'd like to try this in the crockpot, too, so am interested in doing whatever will promote success.

                                            1. re: LAWoman

                                              Yes, the directions were from a post here on Chowhound...1 cup of steel cut oats (next time I'm going to pan toast them first!), 1 cup of milk, 3 cups water (I used about 2 1/4 cups water) and a little salt...cook on LOW in crockpot for 6 or 7 hours. I put mine on at 11 p.m. and turned it off at 6:30 a.m. I have a very old Rival crockpot that I received as a wedding gift in 1978 and I've read that the newer ones "run hot" so you may need to watch your cooking time, I don't know. I also sprayed my crockpot interior with vegetable oil spray to alleviate sticking; worked fine!

                                            2. re: Val

                                              did i miss something...are you gonna pan-roast the oats?

                                              1. re: nibbles

                                                Yes, I'll pan roast the oats next time before cooking them...sounds like they'll be even better that way.

                                            3. I like my SCO's a bit on the creamy side, so I use a bit more liquid and cook them a bit longer. I make a large batch (1c SCO's to 4c liquid) in a Dutch oven the evening before I indent to consume them, cooking them for about an hour. I put the whole batch in the fridge before I go to bed. The next morning, I scoop out the portion I want for breakfast, add some cream, brown sugar, raisins, pecans, etc, and microwave until hot and thick (minute or two). The full recipe lasts about 3 or 4 days, depending on how many people in the house partake.

                                              1. I like old fashioned rolled oats. I don't like steel cut oats - they taste like nothing, just the texture. That's probably the reason most people enhance it with other things like fruits etc.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: welle

                                                  Interesting, I find the steel cut oats have more flavor than old fashioned oats. I think a lot of people add fruits, nuts, and other things into old fashioned oats as well.

                                                2. Wow, i really don't do any of these complicated cooking methods. I wake up, put 1/3 cup of oats and 1 cup of liquid (rice milk is my fav.) in a pot, add some currants, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. It's done in 15 minutes.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: annimal

                                                    I don't think you can do that with steel cut oats - the cooking time is at least 30 min, I believe...

                                                    1. re: welle

                                                      i don't know, i've never had a problem with it. they never feel undercooked or anything. i only cook very small amounts at a time though.

                                                      1. re: annimal

                                                        I've never had to cook them that long, either.

                                                  2. I love steel cut oats. As far as saving time-- I soak them overnight in twice as much water as oats, which cuts the cooking time. (I also add whey.) Then, when I'm ready to cook I add 1.5 times the amount of oats, some cinnamon & nutmeg and some sweetener (maple syrup, brown sugar, something like that). They take about 10 minutes to cook, and I add a pinch of sea salt half way through.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: bruce

                                                      Umm. I'm afraid my measurements are off in the message above. When I'm ready to cook the oats, I add 3x the amount of water, rather than 1.5 times. Sorry to anyone who might have tried this....

                                                    2. I just tried those Bob's red mill ones (found them at Wegman's), and was really happy with how fresh they are. Sometimes the McCanns aren't so fresh tasting.

                                                      1. Steel cut oats are the bomb. Can't go back. I eat them with all sorts of stuff, but the dark, sweet cherries that come frzen are a nice addition.

                                                        1. I always make mine the night before. All I do is pour about 1/4 cup in a bowl and pour soymilk or reg. milk over it and let it soak overnight. In the morning I just add more soymilk or yogurt and some fruit and its ready to eat. And it will be chewy. For some reason I can't stand the taste of hot cooked oats, steel or rolled.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: kristyn

                                                            I make "overnight oatmeal" using regular rolled oats, it's so nice to have pre-made breakfast. I add dried fruit and nuts and let that soak overnight too. I'll defnitely try this with steelcut!

                                                          2. What about savory versions? I make a pilaf-type side dish using steel cut oats. I usually saute some onion, celery, mushrooms then brown the oats and add water or broth. Any other ideas for savory dishes?

                                                            1. Wow, finally tried these, they were great. I got the other brand at Trader Joe's, the cheaper one in the paper carton, not the metal can. I couldn't cook them the full half hour, all the water was absorbed, so it was about 20 minutes. I cooked enough for three servings the night before, and microwaved them each morning with soy milk, brown sugar and dried cranberries. I never realized there was such a difference!

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Chowpatty

                                                                I had the same for breakfast too. In fact I have that one almost every day. Try lowering the heat a touch it might cook for the full 30 minutes.

                                                                1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                                                  I use the McCanns. The night before, in the crockpot. 1/2 cup of the steel cut oats, 2 cups water, pinch of salt. Put it on LOW. Perfect.