Overnight Steel Cut Oats are a delicious make-ahead breakfast for people who love oatmeal with hearty texture. Spend just 5 minutes the night before mixing it together, then enjoy it straight from the fridge in the morning. This recipe is endlessly customizable and convenient for busy schedules! 

Overnight Steel Cut Oats - In a bowl with Slices of Banana and Pecans

I posted my go-to recipe for Overnight Oats a month ago and promised to do a version using steel cut oats, so here it is! If I had to pick, I actually prefer this heartier oat to the old-fashioned rolled oats that are normally used. The main reason being that I like the texture a lot more. Old-fashioned rolled oats can get soggy if they sit much longer than overnight, whereas I can make a big batch of this and keep leftovers for several days.

Making overnight oats of any sort is very little work to begin with, but it’s nice that with these heartier oats, you can have breakfast done for several days at a time.

Tips for Best Results

Use fresh, quality oats – If the oats you’re using have been sitting in your pantry for a while, give them a smell before using. Oats can go rancid fairly quickly, and ruin the taste of your overnight oats. Use fresh, quality oats. My two favorite brands are Bob’s Red Mill and McCann’s Irish Oatmeal.

Consider customizations ahead of time – While you can always add ingredients in the morning when you’re ready to eat, some flavorings are better to add the night before, when you’re making it. For example, if you’re using cinnamon, incorporating it at the beginning will allow the flavor to soak better into the oats.

Adjust consistency as needed – There is a range of acceptable amounts of liquid to use here for soaking, and you get to decide if you want a thicker or milkier bowl of oats. You can always thin out the consistency in the morning by adding more milk, but remember that you can’t thicken it. Make sure to note your preferences and make adjustments over time when you make the recipe again.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats Recipe Served in a Brown Bowl with Banana Slices and Pecans

Step by Step Overview:

In a large mixing bowl, combine honey, peanut butter, cinnamon, and salt:

Honey, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon, and Salt in a Glass Bowl

Pretty much all of these ingredients are optional and just used as flavorings, so feel free to change them as you see fit.

Suggested Flavor Additions

If you want an unflavored and unsweetened bowl of overnight steel cut oats, simply combine the oats, milk, and salt in a bowl and let sit overnight. Otherwise, here are some additional ingredients to consider adding:

  • Sweeteners – In this recipe I use honey, but maple syrup is also a fantastic flavoring that adds a nice aroma as well. You could also add granulated or brown sugar, or coconut sugar.
  • Nut butters – I love peanut butter with the sliced banana topping, but you may use pretty much any nut butter here. Also try almond butter, sunflower butter, cashew butter, walnut butter, or pecan butter.
  • Spices – My favorite is cinnamon, but feel free to also try ground cloves, allspice, cardamom, ginger, or nutmeg. Pumpkin pie spice is great in the fall!
  • Extracts – Experiment with adding 1 tsp of vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp almond extract.

Whatever flavorings you pick, stir it all together well to combine, so the flavors can disperse evenly:

Fully Mixed Honey, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon, and Salt in a Glass Bowl

Next add the oats and your milk of choice:

Steel Cut Oats Added To Bowl with Almond Milk Pouring In

What Milk to Use

You may use any milk that you like, but whole cow’s milk is undoubtedly the tastiest. However, feel free to use almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, rice milk, etc.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let the oats soak in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Soaking Steel Cut Oats Overnight with Plastic Wrap Around Bowl

I actually find that my sweet spot is more like a day and a half, but you can continue to keep the oats for 3-4 days. It will simply get a little softer each day, though trust me, the oats will continue to retain some level of texture even after several days.

Personally, I like a generous amount of milk with my overnight oats, so it’s more like a cereal. However, feel free to adjust the amount of milk you use, as you learn your preferences.

Soaking Steel Cut Oats Overnight Gives Thickened Texture like Shown with Spoon

Now, make sure to add some toppings when you serve it in the morning, as that’s half the fun!

One of my go-to combinations here with the peanut butter is sliced banana, toasted coconut, and chopped pecans:

Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal - in Bowl with Coconut, Banana, and Pecans

Ideas for Mix-Ins

If you’d like to add some extra ingredients on top for serving, here are some of my favorite ideas.

Fresh fruits – Chopped mango, sliced strawberries, fresh raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries, sliced bananas, soft cooked apples.

Dried fruits – Raisins, currants, chopped apricots, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, and dried cherries.

Nuts and seeds – Toasted cashews, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios. Or try hemp seeds, flax seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, or chia seeds. Toasted coconut is great too!

Crepes are another recipe I love for breakfast, and you can make the batter ahead of time. This Sausage Breakfast Casserole is also make-ahead, assembled the night before and simply baked in the morning. Enjoy!

More Favorite Breakfast Recipes:

Recipe FAQ and Tips

How do you store leftover Overnight Steel Cut Oats?

Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Note that the oats will soften more and more each day.

Can you freeze Overnight Steel Cut Oats?

Yes, store in an airtight container for up to 2 months. To thaw, defrost in the fridge overnight.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats In a bowl with Slices of Banana and Pecans

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Overnight Steel Cut Oats are endlessly customizable and convenient for busy mornings! 
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups milk of your choice *

Instructions 

  • Combine the peanut butter, honey, ground cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. If necessary, microwave for 15-30 seconds to loosen the peanut butter and honey (the raw honey I use is solid at room temperature).
  • Add the oats and milk, and stir well to distribute the ingredients.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and for up to 5 days. The oats will continue to soften as they soak. 
  • Serve with desired toppings (see blog post for suggestions), and enjoy!

Notes

*Whole cow’s milk is undoubtedly the tastiest option, but feel free to use almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, rice milk, etc.
Storing leftovers: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Note that the oats will soften more and more each day.
Freezing: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months. To thaw, defrost in the fridge overnight.
See blog post for recommendations for flavorings, toppings, and mix-ins.

Nutrition

Calories: 307kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 253mg, Potassium: 69mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 6g, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 2.4mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.