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overnight oatmeal

Author’s Note: In honor of the Family Breakfast Project, I am sharing seven days of easy family breakfast recipes. At the end of the week, I’ll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide here. {Disclaimer: I am not being paid for sharing the program; I am mentioning it because I think it’s a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}

Yesterday I told you that roughly half our breakfasts are yogurt. Well, I’d wager another good 40% of our breakfasts are oatmeal. Sometimes I just make rolled oats in the microwave, and other times I’ll make Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal (also a favorite for bran muffins: carrot raisin and cranberry orange).

Hot cereal is a favorite of our whole family, and we call it “porridge” to distinguish from grits and microwave oatmeal. I love steel cut oatmeal, but I used to lament that 30 minutes is just too long to spend on a breakfast that’s so similar to one that can be accomplished in less than 10. Then my Uncle Ronnie told me about how you can get around that lengthy cooking time, which brought steel cut oats back into our weekly repertoire. You just boil oats and water for a minute, cover the pot, and let it sit overnight on the stove. In the morning, a quick zap in the microwave or a few minutes on the cooktop gives you a meal in the same amount of time as the quick stuff but with fantastic texture.

This is not so much a recipe as a trick, is it? But it’s a great trick, and if you’ve been making steel cut oats the long route, I guarantee you’ll gain 28 minutes to your day if you try oatmeal this way. You can mix it up and add dried fruit (chopped apricots and cherries are delicious), diced apple, or mashed bananas. You can swap some of the oats for quinoa, flax seeds, or chia seeds. And you can also trade some of the water for almond, rice, or coconut milk. There are many variations to keep it interesting.

As I said, this meal hardly seems worthy of “recipe” status, but I’ll give you the amounts that I use.

overnight steel cut oatmeal
serves 3-4

4 c. water
1 c. steel cut oats
pinch of salt


  1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan with a lid. 
  2. Add oats, reduce the temperature a bit, and boil for one minute while stirring (note: if you don’t watch and stir it, it will boil over).
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in any additional ingredients desired, and cover. Let it sit overnight for at least 8 hours.