The Perfect Oatmeal

18 Nov

the perfect oatmeal

As the weather gets colder, I find myself craving a nice hot bowl of oatmeal in the mornings. Texture in food is important to me, so I prefer using steel cut oats which have a chewier texture (and nuttier taste). Although they take longer to cook, I typically cook up a double batch of this recipe on Sunday afternoon and package it up for breakfasts throughout the coming week. Then it’s only a matter of throwing it in the microwave for a couple of minutes in the morning (I also add a splash of milk when reheating as it tends to firm up in the refrigerator). I love playing around with different flavor combinations in my oatmeal; my default is bananas, brown sugar, and cinnamon (pictured), but all kinds of fruits and sweeteners work, and I’ve even played around with some savory flavors by adding cheese, spices, and umami-heavy ingredients. The result is a versatile, healthy, and delicious breakfast!

The Perfect Oatmeal (adapted from Good Eats)
Yield: 3 – 4 servings


  • 1 Tbsp butter*
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • mix-ins of choice (see below)

*If you have a little extra time, I highly recommend browning the butter – the flavor complements the nuttiness of the oats very well.


  1. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 cup steel cut oats and toast, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  2. Add 3 cups boiling water and 1/4 tsp kosher salt, lower heat, and let simmer gently for 25 minutes without stirring.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup milk, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve warm with your mix-ins of choice.


Suggested Mix-ins
I’ve provided recommendations for both sweet and savory mix-ins. Each option is divided into three main categories, and I like to use one ingredient from each category.


  • sweetener (brown sugar, honey, caramel sauce, maple syrup)
  • spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla extract)
  • fruit (banana, apple, pear, berries)


  • cheese (cheddar, gouda, gruyere, parmesan)
  • spices (black pepper, oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme)
  • umami (sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, bacon, ham)

Related Posts:

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Pumpkin Puree | sel et sucre - November 21, 2011

    […] When I was growing up, we never carved jack-o-lanterns; instead my parents would buy sugar pie pumpkins, and we’d draw on them with glow in the dark fabric paint. This way, after Halloween, my mom could roast the pumpkins to make puree. It almost feels a little silly to bother posting a recipe for pumpkin puree because it’s so easy, but since it’s a key ingredient in many recipes, here it is. You can really use any size pumpkin here – I roasted a 12-lb monster the other day and it gave me nearly 10 cups of puree. Most of the time, I’m sure that the canned puree suffices just fine, but I love going the extra step and making my own. It might all be in my head, but I feel like the fresh stuff has more flavor to it and tastes more squash-like – though this probably also depends on the variety of pumpkin you use. This puree is not only good for traditional pumpkin pies; I’ll be posting some less traditional recipes using it in the next couple weeks, and you can also stir it into yogurt or oatmeal. […]

  2. Kimchi Omelet | sel et sucre - May 23, 2012

    […] wake up to the sound of my stomach growling. I need to eat as quickly as possible so often opt for oatmeal (cooked the night before) or yogurt. But sometimes I need a change of pace, and this kimchi omelet […]

  3. Coconut Breakfast Quinoa | sel et sucre - February 4, 2013

    […] which is similar to oatmeal in this preparation (not that I’ve given up on my favorite steel-cut oats), but with the added boost of quinoa’s higher fiber and protein – even more so if you […]

Leave a Reply