Overnight Apple-Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal

The mornings have been delightfully cool for the past few weeks and they’ve left me craving oatmeal for breakfast in place of my usual Greek yogurt, fruit and granola. I’ve already confessed a love of the little packets of flavored oatmeal. I know, they’re full of sugar, but let’s be honest – that’s probably why I like them so much :) The problem is they never keep me full for long, I’m always looking for a snack at 10 am, or am tempted to eat lunch way too early.

I’ve tried making oatmeal from scratch at home many times, but haven’t found one I love enough to repeat daily. This recipe for apple-cinnamon steel-cut oatmeal caught my eye in a recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated, and though I’ve never had steel-cut oats (I think I’m probably the last person to jump on the bandwagon), I decided to give it a chance. Some of my favorite recipes are from CI so I was hopeful.

Overnight Apple-Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Steel-cut oats take longer to cook than rolled oats so to ensure this is still a quick and easy breakfast, the oats are soaked overnight. In the morning, you just stir in the remaining ingredients and cook for a few minutes – it’s only slightly more work than opening the packets :) In this fall-inspired recipe, apple cider, grated apple, brown sugar and cinnamon are added. The oatmeal was warm, comforting and flavorful, though I will confess to adding just a bit of maple syrup for extra sweetness. I’m used to mushy oatmeal, so it took me a few bites to get accustomed to the slightly chewy texture of the steel-cut oats, but I was a fan. Best of all, this breakfast was hearty and kept me satisfied for hours!

Overnight Apple-Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal
from Cook’s Illustrated, September/October 2012

{Note: The recipe halves nicely if you’re feeding fewer people.}

3 cups water
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup peeled and grated apple (I used Gala, you want something with a little sweetness)
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped coarse

Add the water to a large saucepan set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and add the oats and salt. Stir to combine, then cover the pan and let stand overnight.

In the morning, add the cider, milk, apple, brown sugar and cinnamon to the pan and stir to combine. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-6 minutes – the oatmeal should have a pudding-like consistency and the oats should be soft, but still a little chewy. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. (The oatmeal will thicken as it cools – if you want to thin it, use a little boiling water.) Serve, garnished with the nuts. I also drizzled maple syrup over the top of mine.

Serves 4