Everyday Food Blog

make-ahead oatmeal trick

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overnight_oatsNothing compares to the taste and texture of steel-cut oats, but they take a solid 25 minutes to cook, a luxury I don't always have in the morning. So now I use this time-saving method: combine your oats with water, per package instructions (I use 1 part oats to 4 parts water), season with a pinch of salt and cinnamon, or any other spice you like. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pan, remove from heat, and let sit overnight. The oats will absorb the hot cooking liquid while you sleep, and in the morning all you have to do is bring your perfectly-cooked cereal up to a simmer and serve. It never gets gooey or sticks to the bottom, and works amazingly well for larger batches of oatmeal, too.

This method is very versatile, and has basically guaranteed that I eat a decent breakfast every day. These days I'm mixing the oats 50/50 with quinoa and adding a handful of almonds or walnuts. The quinoa adds nutty flavor and some protein, and the nuts get plump and creamy from soaking. I had this this very morning with a big scoop of rhubarb compote. Yum! How do you like your oats?

Comments (11)

  • avatar

    I will try this tonight! I have been wanting oatmeal for breakfast, but have not made the time in the morning to cook a pot. Thanks for the tip

  • avatar

    I make my steel-cut oats in the slow cooker...4 parts water to one part oats, plus a little milk and some dried fruit. presto, they're done the next morning! I eat oatmeal every single day and can't imagine ever going back to the non-steel cut version!

  • avatar

    Can't wait to try this trick. We like our's with sliced almonds and dried apricots

  • avatar

    The night before I soak three cups oats with three cups water and three teaspoons apple vinegar. In the morning I bring three more cups water, three handfull raisins and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a boil. Once the water is boiling, I add the soaked oats and bring everything to a boil. Turn off the heat and let it sit for just a minute. It is perfect.

  • avatar

    Uh, you mean let the oatmeal sit overnight in the fridge right? You wouldn't leave a pot filled with the perfect starter culture for bacteria (who love the the sugars and starches in grains, the moistness, and heat) out on the counter would you?

  • avatar

    If you leave the oatmeal covered on the counter overnight, there shouldn't be any problem with bacteria. The boiling water will have killed organisms already in the oatmeal or water, and covering the pot with a tight lid will minimize the chances that others will be introduced to the pot. Shouldn't be a problem

  • avatar

    Chris R- I think boiling and covering wold be the equivalent of canning. That is, the oatmeal is sterilized and sealed.

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    Another option is to put the oatmeal in a jar with half of the liquid called for, plus a tablespoon of plain yogurt or apple cider vinegar. Cover, and let sit on the counter overnight. It really does reduce the cooktime by half. When it's time to cook, just put the oatmeal and the rest of the liquid into a pot and cook as usual.

    Not only does this reduce the cooking time, but it also aids in digestion.

  • avatar

    I've tried making steel cut oatmeal in a crockpot overnight and it gets gluey. I'll try it this way so I can have fast oatmeal in the am.

  • avatar

    I'm going to make this right now with the quinoa. Thanks for that great tip

  • avatar

    This sounds like a good idea. How do you reheat it in the morning?

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