Friday, February 11, 2011


If you're a Clydesdale, what would you eat for breakfast?  Oats, of course.

One of the new food trends is steel cut oats.  Most of the oats we ate growing up were rolled oats.  Old-fashioned rolled oats took a while to cook, while quick or instant oats were partially cooked and only needed brief exposure to boiling water to finish the cooking process.

Steel cut oats are not rolled flat.  They are cut by blades. They look like whole grains that have been cut by a blade, which is what they are.

I have not found any evidence that steel cut oats have any nutrional advantages over rolled oats.  However, there is certainly a difference in taste and texture.  They also take a bit longer to cook.  Being a food trend, I have also found wild disparities in price.  At Dierberg's (local St. Louis grocery chain), Quaker steel cut oats were $6.29 for a 24 oz. can.  In the bulk aisle, they were $1.29/lb.  I bought two pounds of the bulk and found that I had gotten an additional discount when I check out, lowering the price to $1.00/lb.

I have tried two different cooking methods for the steel cut oats, both of which have turned out well.

Stovetop:  Bring 1-1/2 cups water to a boil with 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Stir in 1/2 cup of oats, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve with brown sugar and half & half.

Crock pot:  Fill crock pot with 10 cups water and 2 cups oats.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt and a half a stick of butter.  Turn the crock pot to low and cook for 8 hours.  Note that slow cookers differ greatly on heat output.  I have found that our big crock pot works well for oats, but only when cooking on "keep warm".  The oats burn on low or high.  You might need to experiment with cooking times and enlist the use of an automatic timer.

With either recipe, you can add dried fruit to the beginning of the cook.  I have found that dried cherries and blueberries work well.  You can also stir in frozen fruit at the end of the cook.  Just allow a little extra time for the fruit to come up to temperature.

Two cups of cooked oats with cream fuels me for a 10 mile training run or a 40 mile ride.  Note that your mileage may vary.


  1. You're a connoisseur, I'm all about the speed. I make my oats (shop'n'save store brand) in the microwave. 1/2 cup dry (which is what, 1 cup cooked? I don't know), 3/4 cup of water, and throw in frozen cranberries. Microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds, add almonds or walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon. It's wonderful.

  2. I've always been a fan of oatmeal. I think I ate it every day when I was growing up. These were always the traditional rolled oats.

    The steel cut oats have the same flavor, but definitely have a different texture and mouth feel. It also seems like you're eating real food instead of gruel. Try it sometime.