Steel Cut Oat Porridge

by Marsie

Time, always moving, always slipping away.

There are two ends of time’s swinging pendulum. 1) Cherished, quality time,  moving swiftly – I grasp the open air and wonder if the time passed was merely a mirage. 2) Stagnant, sluggish time, moving painstakingly slow, usually in conjunction with an undesired task or endeavor.

My pendulum has not been still for while. These past couple of months oscillate between a blur of excitement and moments of stress or boredom. Mostly, time escapes, and I am left with a list of incomplete to-do’s to put off for another day. The list is mounting and becoming a bit daunting. Dread fills my mind as I think of the time necessary to complete all the items on my list. And though I have some procrastinating tendencies, this time I truly have had few moments to myself and the list.

The stagnant, sluggish time likes to appear when it is inconvenient or impossible to accomplish the to-do’s tasks. I cannot tackle my to-do’s when I have other responsibilities like work or meetings. Excuse me, do you mind having the meeting at my house so I can organize my closet or balance my check book?

These past couple of months have been filled with wonderful adventures, moments, and transitions. Starting a new full-time job, traveling out to California to visit my sister and celebrate my mom’s 50th birthday, starting a leadership training program through my church, going through family health issues, a roommate moving out to start her new job, two roommates moving in to her room.

In the last few weeks, I have shared a few meals with friends and had the opportunity to enjoy the peace and comfort only cooking over a stove top and oven provides for me. Excluding my short time in California with my family, my cooking ventures have been extremely limited and far-spread. In between, I have been consuming quick, easy, and/or packable meals. Salads have become my go-to for packed lunches, as they are easy to pack the night before and do not require heating (since I like going to a local park during my lunch break, the option for heated meals is eliminated).

For the first time in weeks, I have had a Saturday off: no traveling, no working, no obligations. The absence of a nagging alarm made waking up early a choice and not a chore. After lying in bed, enjoying the sunshine, and stretching my limbs, I rolled out of bed and headed to the kitchen to reacquaint myself with the stove top. After a few minutes, the smell of melted butter and toasted steel cut oats greeted my nostrils and began melting away my stress.

Steel cut oats have more texture and flavor than rolled oats (not to mention they are more nutritious too). The downside to steel cut oats is they take at least two to three times longer to cook than normal oatmeal. And aeons in comparison to instant oatmeal.

But quality is worth a little time.

I was slow in exploring the different oats options. My grandmother always raves about steel cut oats, but the quickness of instant and quick cooking oats kept me stubbornly away from steel cut oats. Then I was forced to purchase rolled oats when the instant oats were out of stock at the local grocery store. The transition from instant to rolled oats blew my world apart. Excited by the new texture, I was content with staying with rolled oats until my curiosity got the best of me. If I like rolled oats so much better than instant or quick, how much better could steel cut oats taste?

I might never go back to instant or quick oats, except for baked goods. The difference is noteworthy, especially when the oats are partially prepared with milk into a porridge. The milk gives the oats a creaminess, complementing the slightly buttered-toasted oats. Pair with brown sugar, cinnamon, and/or top with fruit and time will pause every so slightly as you eat this warm bowl of oats. Make a double batch and you will not have to make breakfast for the week.

Sure, a warm breakfast is the summer sounds strange – but I never tire of eating these oats. I actually do not mind eating them cold; but, I like a lot of things chilled, like peanut butter.

Steel Cut Oat Porridge

Modified from the food network

Serves Four


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cups milk (the original recipe calls for whole milk, I use whatever is on hand, usually 1%)
  • optional: add 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • optional: a little buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Start to boil water, I like using my tea kettle.

In a large sauce pot, melt butter and add oats. Stir for two minutes to toast oats.

Add boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes WITHOUT STIRRING.

After 25 minutes, add milk (and optionally vanilla extract) and gently stir to combine. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Spoon servings, top with sugar and cinnamon. Optionally, add a little cold buttermilk and/or fruit.