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I bought a can of Irish Oats-now what?

  • m

I love oatmeal, even though it can get a little gluey. But I've heard great things about Irish oatmeal, so I bought a can this afternoon. Is there a trick to making oatmeal that doesn't have the consistency of wallpaper paste, or have I wasted my money ($7.99!!!) on the stuff? any advice? Recipes? Instructions?


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  1. You'll never go back. The only possible drawback is the time it takes to cook them. Here's how I do it:

    Heat a smallish saucepan over medium heat. Put half a cup of oats. Toast them, stirring constantly, until the color starts to change and they become aromatic. Off heat, add a cup and a half of water and a big pinch of salt. Lower heat and simmer slowly for half an hour. Serve with your favorite accompaniments (I'll have the butter, maple syrup, raisins, and cinnamon, please).

    It's hard to go broke buying oatmeal, but $8 strikes me as a little on the high side. If you have Trader Joe's near you, they have store-brand steel-cut oats. Places that have lots of bulk bins sometimes sell them by the pound, too. Once you've used up what's in your tin, you have plenty of options for refilling it at a better price.

    5 Replies
    1. re: alanbarnes

      Trader Joe's has a brand called Country Choice for $2.99 for 30 oz.
      Just bought a cardboard container of Imported McCann's for $2.99 for 30 oz. at the Costco Business Center.

      1. re: alanbarnes

        Dry pan-roasting oats, before cooking them?? I HAVE to try this now! How much a difference does doing it make in the end product? Thanks for the tip!

        1. re: Honeychan

          It's like the difference between toast and plain bread. You're not completely transforming the flavor, but definitely adding significantly to it.

        2. re: alanbarnes

          This recipe has hit the nail on the head. That little bit of roasting really kicks up the flavor.

          1. re: alanbarnes

            I'd skip the salt until the end, from what I've heard and experienced, you get a creamier oatmeal this way.

          2. Irish oats steel cut oats are killer in bread.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Fritter

              Agreed, I add at least a half a cup to a 4 cups of flour bread recipe like the Pepin one-pot technique.

              I also sub them, straight out of the can, for half the rolled oats in oatmeal cookies. They add a nutty crunch. They can go into fruit crisp topping mixture as well.

            2. I get mine in the bulk section of Whole Foods for less than $2 per pound, and I just kept the packaging from my first bunch to refill, like alanbarnes suggested.

              I have two tricks: the first is to make a great big batch on the weekend and then reheat what I need during the week. The stuff reheats like a champ! I do this a lot during the school year (I'm a teacher), or anytime I need a no-brainer 2 minute breakfast for the whole week.

              The second trick is to measure out the water and oats AT NIGHT, bring them to a boil, turn the heat off, cover and let them sit on the stove. The next morning it takes about 60 seconds to bring them back to a boil and voila! Breakfast!

              I'll never be able to eat even regular rolled oatmeal again. Yuck. Steel cut oats have a kind of flavor and personality that rolled oats just do not have, and they're WAY less finicky too -- the likelihood of ending up with wallpaper paste is quite small.


              10 Replies
              1. re: LauraGrace

                I can do it just boiling the oats at night? Very cool, I'm going to try that.

                i also like to cook up a batch for the week, but I will also eat them cold.

                If I cook them with fruit juice, I find that I don't need to add any sugar. If I cook them with cranberry juice they look pretty funky, though!

                1. re: BeaN

                  Definitely! I tried it once out of desperation and it worked! A friend of mine soaks his overnight in cold water but it still took too long in the morning for my rushed and half-asleep scheduling.

                2. re: LauraGrace

                  how do you store/reheat them? I've never made them in advance & would like to try.

                  1. re: pamd

                    store them in the fridge in a sealed container, and when you're ready to eat, scoop out a portion into a bowl and zap in the MW for a couple of minutes.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      How do you keep them from blowing like Mount Vesuvius?

                      1. re: kleine mocha

                        oh, come on, you don't like scraping gluey oatmeal mess off the floor & walls of the microwave? where's your sense of adventure? ;)

                        i use a deep bowl, and the "stop & stir" method - once every 30 seconds or so.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Wow, I toasted them first, so yummy! I made a large batch to try for the reheating as a time saver. Thanks for the tips!

                          1. re: pamd

                            glad it was a success! toasting them does, indeed, make a difference. when you reheat, be sure to use method i mentioned above, otherwise you may end up with an oatmeal volcano erupting in your microwave...and those are NO fun to clean up. a deep bowl is best, and stop the MW every 20-30 seconds to give the oats a quick stir and let them deflate/settle as some of the steam escapes.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              I do the same make-ahead method for the whole week, but never have had a problem with them inflating. When I zap them in MW, I add frozen berries, so that extra liquid and mass from those may help with the inflating issue. It also makes them super delicious.

                  2. re: LauraGrace

                    I use an even easier overnight method. For a single serving, I put the oats in an insulated coffee travel mug (about 12 oz.), fill with the boiling water and close the lid. The next morning, drain off any remaining water (through the slide top), pour the oats into a bowl, add brown sugar and dried fruit, heat in the micro and eat. I take this to work a lot in the winter.

                  3. I follow a combination of Alton Brown's recipe and Cooks Illustrated. Similar to alanbarnes but I toast in a little butter :) and then add water and milk. Cooks Illustrated recommends adding salt after about 20 minutes to avoid toughening the oats. I add honey, vanilla, cinnamon, raisins and fruit.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mobirose

                      Thanks to your post and alanbarnes, i'm going to be on an oatmeal making kick this weekend! I just bought a huge box of raisins and it sounds like it's meant to be with that oatmeal goodness.

                      Even IF it's 110 degrees here in Las Vegas. It just sounds too good not to eat!

                    2. I've had steel cut oats but so long ago now I don't remember.

                      What accounts for the difference between steel cut and regular? Why does the steel cut taste better?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: karykat

                        It's about the texture and taste.
                        Regular quick rolled oats can be like wall paper paste

                        1. re: monku

                          Thank you all so much for your replies! I'm really looking forward to trying these oats. I'm not much of a breakfast eater, but something tells me I might just change my tune once I try the oatmeal!


                        2. re: karykat


                          Basicly, rolled oats are steamed twice durring the processing, which blanches out a lot of the flavor, and develops some of the gluten.

                          Steel-cut oats are just chopped up to expose the inner kernel for cooking.

                          Minimum processing = maximum flavor, as always.

                        3. Here's a fabulous no fat 'cheese' made with steel cut oats -

                          3/4 c. pimento,
                          1-1/4 c. water,
                          3/4 c. cooked steel cut oats
                          1/2 c. nutritional yeast flakes,
                          1/4. lemon juice,
                          1-1/4 t. salt,
                          2 t. onion powder,
                          1 t. garlic powder,

                          Blend til very smooth for 1-2 minutes. Cook over medium heat til thick ~ add more water for thinner sauce.

                          ~ Can add liquid smoke, chipotle peppers, worchestershire sauce, toasted ground sesame seeds or other seasonings ~

                          ~Use good quality onion and garlic powder or use more for full bodied flavor ~

                          1. I make mine in a crock pot - 1 cup steel cut oats, 4 cups liquid (I usually do 1 cup coconut milk + 3 cups rice milk), 1/4 cup brown sugar. I give it a really good stir right before I go to bed, and when I wake up they are perfect every time! It's especially great for when I have overnight company.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: windycityvegan

                              I am also a fan of the crockpot oatmeal. I found that it actually taste better this way. Much creamier. 1 c. oats and 5 c. milks.

                              I do it Sunday night and then reheat the leftovers with a bit more milk in the microwave.

                              I'm a bit of a purist--brown sugar and strawberries with almonds. Sooo good!

                              But I'm going to try toasting them first. That sounds genius!

                              1. re: MissDottie19

                                Doing it in the crock pot with milk sounds like a great idea esp. with guests... any issues with the milk souring?

                            2. pan toasting is essential. i cook mine in a combination of soy milk and water (1-2). then i add some grated ginger. most times i'll serve it with come greek yogurt, fruits and nuts.

                              another alternative: when the oat mixture cools, it solidifies so it can be shaped into patties (adding some chocolate chunks is nice), dredged in a bit of flour then fried in butter.

                              steel cut oats are also good as a savory dish. substitute chicken broth for the soy milk and water.

                              1. Toasting is key. Nice additional texture is grating in some sweet potato. I do the overnight plan, then usually add some cinammon and fruit (bananas/raisins/apricots are standards but during season peaches and cherries are good). Also I separately toast some walnuts or pecans to top it.

                                1. I will definitely have to try toasting the oats! I also make mine overnight. I make this following recipe alot, it's a keeper.

                                  Quick steel cut oats with blueberry compote
                                  Bring 4c water and pinch of salt to a boil
                                  Stir in 1 cup steel cut oats (Irish oats) and large pinch of cinnamon
                                  Turn off heat. Cover and let sit overnight
                                  Next morning, stir well and bring to simmer over medium heat
                                  Cover and cook over low heat until oats are tender (about 5 minutes)

                                  Blueberry compote - place 1 cup blueberries, 1/4c maple syrup and 1 cinnamon stick in a small pot
                                  Bring to simmer and cook over low heat until berries break down (about 5 minutes).

                                  Spoon a little (or alot) compote over a bowl of oatmeal and enjoy!

                                  1. I make mine with skim milk-- you can use any milk. I follow the directions 1 cup oats to 4 cups milk. I don't let mine soak, I put both in cold then microwave on high x 20min, and then another 15min @ a level 5 - 6 so it does not boil over. Put in container, cool off and refrig. there is enough for 5 breakfast servings. sometimes I add vanilla or almond extract before refrig. I use Maple syrup or some fruit in the morning and a little milk to moisten. . The milk makes it creamier and taste better. And you get your serving of Vit D! I agree with everyone, once you start with steel cut, there is no going back.

                                    1. I agree, toasting changes the flavor. I recommend that you try a batch per the instructions on the box, then toasting them and decide how you like it best. The biggest issue for me is the "hassle factor" in that I can't spend half an hour making a weekday breakfast. But I really like the taste, the health factor and the "instant" breakfast I get when I make up a batch on weekends and nuke a portion during the week. Here's how I do it: I buy the Trader Joe's steel cut oats and make 4-5 servings at a time. I find I have to stir it every few minutes, starting at 8 minutes, and increasing the frequency as it thickens. I use a little salt towards the end of cooking. Then I chop into fine dice (about split pea size) two dried apricots per serving and fold that into the finished, hot oatmeal. Store in individual ramekins with plastic wrap. When you're ready for breakfast, 2 minutes in the microwave gives you a wonderful product, and it's not gluey. I've tried reheating in different ways, nothing gives you the right texture like a microwave. I'm the only person in my family who likes oatmeal, so the single serving method works for me. I agree with alanbarnes, you'll never eat a different oatmeal again. Enjoy!

                                      1. I love (!) oatmeal, and make this recipe three or four times a week: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/277051 . Hope you enjoy.

                                        1. I've never toasted mine, though I will try it now, but I do make them in my rice cooker. It works really great, and as someone else said, you can than pop a couple of servings into baggies or plastic containers and use them up during the week.

                                          1. Like everyone else said, I buy from the bulk bin and just put it in my old McCann's container. If you're up for something new, I make a savory version:

                                            1 cup oats
                                            4 cups water
                                            healthy pinch of salt

                                            Cook it as you normally do, and then spoon into bowls. Swirl a glug or two of good olive oil, chop up some scallions to throw in, and then some soy sauce or fish sauce. I also liked chopped up salted duck egg in it too. Or just a regular poached egg on top.

                                            1. I have been eating steel cut oats for years using the 30 minute simmer method but recently found an easier method which preserves the nuttiness quality of the oats.
                                              Since I like to make extra oats which I refrigerate and then microwave with a little water as needed, I put 2 cups of the oats from Trader Joe (Country Choice) into a pot, add water about an inch above the oats and then bring to a boil with a tight fittin lid. As soon as the boil is reached I lower the heat to produc a simmer and set my clock timer for 8 minutes.
                                              I don't use salt for health reasons and usually top a single serving of the oats with the mixed jumbo raisins from Trader Joe along with a handfull of walnuts, a light sprinkling of sunflower seeds and a tablespoon of flaxseed, all of which can be obtained at Trader Joe.
                                              The above recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman's book Food Matters, A Guide to Conscious Eating which is filled with good information about nutrition.

                                              1. Here's a variation I tried this week.

                                                ITALIAN-IRISH ALMOND OATS
                                                (Italian-Irish also applies to me, not just to my oatmeal variation, HA HA).

                                                Per 1/4 cup of oats, I add:
                                                1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
                                                1 teaspoon of brown sugar
                                                a dash of salt
                                                a pat of butter
                                                1/4 cup of sliced almonds at the end

                                                Pretty tasty for something good for you! :) Dried tart cherries are tasty in it, too...as will be apricots, which are next on my list.

                                                1. I dunno if the Irish stuff in the fabulous tin is any better than $2 fiddy worth of Bulk steel cut.. Mostly they shipped it from Ireland.

                                                  IF they are steel cut you can make a Haggis... And if you have a bottle of Whiskey you can make Atholl Brose. IT almost sounds like you managed to make Atholl Brose without the Uisge.

                                                  1. Try riffing risotto using steel cut oats instead of arborio/carnaroli.