I am looking for a way to prepare fast steel-cut oats.
I do not have a microwave, and I would like to have them for breakfast but I can not cook for ~40 mins to prepare them in the morning.
I have tried to cook them by simmering them ~10 mins till the water is gone but they did not taste good (were actually uncooked).
I have also tried leaving them overnight in a bowl of milk but they were not easy to eat either (was like chewing gum)
Note1: yes I know about instant oats etc but these are less nutritious than steel-cut oats so I am looking for a way to prepare them fast.

Note2: I don't care if the fast method suggested is for a warm or cold recipe. Either warm or cold are fine by me.

  • This is like asking if there's a way to make rice in under 20 minutes... Do you have a rice cooker with a timer?
    – Catija
    Oct 31, 2015 at 23:10
  • 2
    Are you open to going the opposite direction and doing some prep the night before? Recipes for slow-cooker steel cut oats aren't too unusual...
    – logophobe
    Oct 31, 2015 at 23:49
  • 2
    I cook a large batch on Sunday night and then simply put servings of it in the microwave every morning. Steel cut oats are sturdy enough that they can be eaten days later and still taste pretty much the same.
    – Erica
    Nov 1, 2015 at 0:26
  • 1. I think you missed the word "cook" from the title. I was wondering how you cut oats with a microwave. 2. Exactly how much flexibility do you have in terms of acceptable end products? Must it be something porridge-like, or can it be e.g. flapjack? Nov 1, 2015 at 7:44
  • @logophobe:Yes I don't mind doing something the night before
    – Jim
    Nov 1, 2015 at 8:40

4 Answers 4


I usually leave mine overnight. Bring the water to a boil, throw the oats in, stir, cover, and remove from heat. In the morning they just need a quick reheat.


My low-effort steel cut is to set the bowl of steel-cut and water in a steamer and let it go about 20 minutes (or longer) - unlike (my experience of) cooking them in a pot, there's no stirring, boilovers, or other drama. IME the drama fully applies in the microwave and no time is saved by it. But you are not going to cook them in 10 minutes time (2 minutes active work, yes, 10 minutes time, no.) On the other hand, I don't see why you'd be cooking for 40 minutes in any case.

Edit: I begin to suspect from the comments that @Jim is not familiar with the concept of steaming. So, steaming, the short explanation: A small amount of water in a large enough pot. A rack set on the bottom of the pot to elevate the bowl. A bowl contianing food (in this case, steel cut oats and water in a ratio of 1:2) is set on the rack above the water. The lid is put on the pot, the water is boiled, the steam in the pot cooks the food.

Other method I haven't used in years but which worked then and should work now, is to put the oats and boiling water into a wide-mouthed thermos flask the night before. Given that the main reason I haven't done it in years was that I dropped and broke the glass on my wide mouth thermos flask, I would suggest a stainless-steel version rather than a glass version (my stainless steel narrow-mouthed flask is old and dented and still going strong, more than 3 decades after it was new. But I wouldn't want to put anything other than a liquid in it due to the size of the mouth.)

  • There's actually a style of cooking in vacuum flasks ... you can find rather large ones sold as 'thermal cookers'
    – Joe
    Nov 1, 2015 at 2:24
  • @Ecnerwal: In your answer you already mention 20 mins (or longer). I have never been able to cook it for under 30 because usually the water was not gone.
    – Jim
    Nov 1, 2015 at 8:45
  • @Ecnerwal: The suggestion with the termos flask is interesting. Just boil the water and let it overnight and it does the job? Closed Iid I assume
    – Jim
    Nov 1, 2015 at 8:47
  • 1
    @Jim what do you mean"because the water was usually not gone"? You cook oats until they're through, and if the water isn't gone by then, you can throw it out or start with less water next time.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 1, 2015 at 9:22
  • @rumtscho:But I was under the impression that the oats are done when the water is evaporated. I use 1 cup oats 4 cups water
    – Jim
    Nov 1, 2015 at 11:46

One way to prepare oats which allows them to be stored and eaten cold and which avoids excessive chewiness is to make flapjack. I sometimes do this at the weekend to eat it as breakfast over the course of the week. In the absolute minimal form you just need butter and oats (I've tried roasting oats by themselves, but it's too easy to burn them). Without any sugar to bind them the result is very crumbly but perfectly edible. You can add sugar, fruit, etc. before baking or search for more elaborate recipes as desired. If you care about the calcium from the dairy then you can eat them with yoghurt.

  • Interesting approach. But is there a way to avoid butter? E.g. non-stick pan? In what temperature do you cook them?
    – Jim
    Nov 1, 2015 at 11:48
  • I've tried without butter once - essentially just roasting the oats in a tin - and they burnt. It might work if you're willing to babysit the oven, but I'm not planning to repeat the experiment. I cook them at 180C, but there's going to be some flexibility there. Nov 1, 2015 at 18:52

Try soaking the oats in cold water overnight- they will absorb some of the water, but faster, according to "The Joy of Cooking"

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