I’ve been cleaning house this week.  And by cleaning I mean purging.  And by purging I mean emptying out closets, drawers and cabinets.  This has resulted in a trunk load of trash bags that are on their way to donation.  It has felt so good to lighten the load around our house, and has made me think twice about my purchasing habits.  Now I’ll be thinking twice the next time I’m out shopping and really take the time to consider if I need said item (new shirt, sweater, dish) before purchasing it.

overnight steel cut oats

This sudden purge has brought to my attention a few things around the house that I wasn’t quite aware of before…

My seven year old keeps everything.  EVERYTHING…

I have an affinity for sweaters that are gray…and scarves…

There are holes in the knees of almost every pair of pants my six year old has ever owned…

I have a lot of mason jars. Need a quart or pint jar?  I’m your girl…

overnight steel cut oats

Now, granted most of them are used for canning, but this time of year we have eaten through most of what we put up from last year’s growing season.  So now, all these jars are taking up shelf space in my pantry.  A few are filled with oats, popcorn, lentils and dried beans, but quite a few are empty.  After discovering this recipe for overnight steel-cut oats I’ve now got a new use for those that remain empty.  The best part about this recipe is that it is so simple.  Mix, pour into jars and put in the fridge.  No cooking necessary.  If you want to change up the spices go right ahead, change the toppings too.  I can’t wait to have these with some of the delicious blueberries that have been cropping up in the produce aisle.

***Please read the comments regarding this recipe before trying.  Results have been quite varied and different for each person, especially regarding opinions on texture.  I appreciate all the feedback and input on this recipe. ****

Overnight Chai Steel-Cut Oats

makes 2 servings

adapted from Vegetarian Times 

1 cup steel-cut oats

1 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons ground flax

1/4 teaspoon cardamon

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Optional toppings–shredded coconut, pecans, almonds, toasted hazelnuts,

overnight steel cut oats

In a medium bowl combine oats, almond milk, flax, cardamon, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup.  Divide, in equal portions, into two 8 ounce glass jars.  Close the lid and refrigerate overnight.

Open lid, stir and sprinkle with toppings of your choice.

overnight steel cut oats

Have a great weekend!


93 Responses to Overnight Chai Steel-Cut Oats

  1. Erin says:

    I love this idea (and can’t believe I’ve never tried overnight oats before!) The chai flavoring sounds perfect for the oats!

    • Alison says:

      Erin–I hope you enjoy them. I’m looking forward to trying your amaranth cereal. Looks divine with the blueberries!

  2. Aly H. says:

    Wow! What a great idea for a nice cool breakfast :) Just wondering, what was the texture of this like? Chewy? Thick? Creamy? I only ask because texture is kind of a thing for me (as in, I love it :)

    • Alison says:

      Aly–They are thicker because they absorb the milk. I would say their texture is softer, not too chewy. I tend to like oats with more texture, not mush.

      • Nicole says:

        I love this idea and it would help so much, me and my other half do nothing but work and most of the time we don’t have time for me to cook a meal. this would make it so much simpler to just grab and go. but is it mushy? i agree I like texture i can’t do anything slimy or mushy.

  3. Awesome! I had no idea you could use steel cut oats for overnight oats. Definitely trying this in the warmer months when I don’t want to cook a pot of oats for half an hour in the mornings 😀 I especially love the chai flavors in yours!

  4. Christina says:

    Alison- Have you tried these yet? I make overnight oats a lot, and I make steel cut oats so I am very curious how these turned out. I can’t imagine that the steel cut oats work without any cooking. My recipe calls for cooking them @5m, then sealing it in the jars.
    Please let us know how they turned out… I would love to try this : )

    • Alison says:

      Christina–I have tried them and was surprised to find that it really does work. The oats absorb the milk and makes for the softer texture. I didn’t think it was too much different than the steel cut oats I’ve cooked before. But I also tend to like chewier oats, I’m not a mushy oatmeal girl. I’ll be interested to see what you think.

  5. ileana says:

    Chai and oats – two things I love! Can’t wait to try this.

  6. I had no idea you could do the overnight oat thing with steel cut… definitely trying this out!

  7. Betty says:

    That sounds lovely! I have a hard time imagining that the oats will be soft enough as I’ve done overnight oatmeal before, but only in a slow cooker… but if you say so, I’ll trust you.
    Does it have to be almond milk or could I just use normal cow milk as well?

    • Alison says:

      Betty–I was very skeptical too, but it worked. Not quite the same texture as cooked. You can absolutely use cow’s milk.

  8. Megan says:

    Super excited to try this, because I love steel cut oats but hate the time (and am admittedly wary of using a slow cooker… I feel like I don’t have enough control over something that I completely ignore for hours on end). One question though: how long will these keep? Can I make a week’s worth at once, or will they disintegrate into mush after a couple days? Thanks!

    • Alison says:

      Megan–I had mine in the fridge for about 5 days and they were still good, nice texture, but not mush. I am not a fan of mushy oats either!

  9. Tracy says:

    So – you eat these cold?? I can’t imagine, but it’s worth a try. I have to oatmeal lovin’ toddlers. I bet they’d love this, and it would save me some prep time in the morning! Thanks for the idea. :)

    • Alison says:

      Tracy–You don’t have to eat them cold, probably be even better a little heated up. It would enhance the cinnamon and other seasonings more.

  10. Liza says:

    Can you make these with old fashioned oats?

    • Alison says:

      Liza–I’m not sure about old fashioned oats, haven’t’ tried them before.

    • Trish says:

      I’ve done it before and it works.

    • virginia says:

      YES, I’ve only used old fashioned oats. I use high pulp orange juice, Sometimes soy milk, sometimes diced canned peach’s with juice. chocolate almond milk. I think any kind of liquid would work. It needs to be refrigerated at least 8 hrs but most of the time I leave them over night, I usually make 2 or 3 jars pint jars at time & leave them in fridge for 2 or 3 days if need to. You do not have to use the entire jar at one time.The longer they stay in fridge the softer they get also if you take’m out & stir them they get softer & musher. I enjoy them cold especially when its hot, altho it took a few times to get use to.

  11. Tracy B. says:

    I’m another Tracy with the same question. Do you heat these up before eating them? It all sounds good except the concept of cold oats. Perhaps it is a bit like rice pudding?

    • Alison says:

      Tracy B–I think it would be fine to heat them before eating them.

    • Iris says:

      Tracy B, I make these all the time with rolled oats. I use organic cow’s milk Plus Greek style yogurt. This makes for a creamy type of oat pudding. If you refrigerate them overnight or at least 8 hours, they turn out great. In addition, I alternate between real maple syrup and raw honey. In addition to the chia seeds I will mix in some coconut.

  12. Angela says:

    Do you have to divide into two containers? I only have one larger container – do you think that will cause problems for the oats soaking up the milk?

    • Alison says:

      Angela–I can’t think it would make a big difference, but I haven’t tried it that way before.

    • Iris says:

      Angela, I make mine by the quart and shake it a couple of times before it thickens. I just make sure it is mixed good before I spoon it out, so I get a little of everything in each bowl.

  13. Everywhere I look these days I see recipes for steel cut oats…I must try them and this looks like the perfect introduction for me :)

  14. KelleeMove says:

    Oh my goodness, this looks delicious. I love steel cut oats. Can’t wait to try it!

  15. Lacey says:

    ok, so I made this last night for breakfast this morning. While the oats were softer, they still seemed like eating half cooked steel cut oats. I don’t like my cereal mushy, I like it chewy but I am wondering if I did something wrong… Could the milk to grain ratio be off? You have it listed as a 1:1. When you cook them it’s a 3:1 ratio (3 parts liquid). I didn’t throw it out I still have it in the fridge because I believe this could work with some tweeking. Any advice?

    • Alison says:

      Lacey–I definitely think it is a matter of opinion on texture. I am not a fan of mushy oats either. The original recipe, that I adapted from, called for a 1:1 ratio. Maybe, if there was more liquid, the oats would have more to absorb and be softer? I will give this a try again too and see if maybe it needs to be adjusted. When I’ve made them I got along okay with the 1:1 ratio, but again I like my oats with a bit more texture. Thanks for letting me know your feedback, I really appreciate it.

  16. christie says:

    I am trying this out with some different spices (just what I have on hand)- cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and brown sugar. and peanut butter ^_^

  17. Ann says:

    Several of my friends had pinned this, and it sounded good to me so I gave it a try.
    Since steel cut oats are more dense than regular oatmeal, a serving is only 1/4 cup dry instead of a 1/2 cup like regular oatmeal. So in this recipe you are actually getting 2 servings of the steel cut oats, hence doubling the calories compared to cooked steel oatmeal. For those on a WW program, that makes each serving of this recipe 8 points+. WOW!!
    I love the flavor of it though, so I plan to use the spices and almond milk when I make regular cooked steel cut oatmeal.
    Thanks for the idea!!

    • Alison says:

      You are welcome Ann! The great thing about recipes is how you can alter them to work for you…enjoy!

  18. I love that you can make the oatmeal the night before and it is ready to go in the morning. I love the flavors.

  19. Jennifer says:

    I made this recipe for 1 serving – cutting everything in half. I used honey instead of maple sugar. Although i’ve never had steel cut oats – the consistancy of the oats the next morning were gritty – like barely cooked pecan bits. So I heated it and it helped the consistancy a bit. I might add in more almond milk next time and add in a stevia packet (with the honey or agave). I really want this recipe to work since its convienant for working girls on the run. THanks!

  20. Lauren says:

    I tried these, and had similar experiences as others above. My oats were very gritty and I had to heat them for about 6-8 minutes in the morning (adding milk about every 2 minutes) to get them just barely soft. I think pre-cooking the night before might help…

  21. Corina says:

    Has anyone tried this with rolled or quick oats?

  22. Margaret says:

    Is it necessary to use cardamom? I don’t have it at home and don’t have time to get any! Any substitutes you recommend?

    • Alison says:

      Margaret, you could leave out the cardamom and slightly increase (very little) another spice or just leave them the same.

  23. Trisha says:

    YES. You can do this with rolled oats. Google overnight oatmeal. You will find about 100 hits immediately. And wonderful flavor suggestions. This one is awesome by the way. Good combo even w/o the ginger. I am with the folks who say it’s still 1/2 hard. I will also do it again though and try more milk, as I really like it. so, too hard for some people as stated above, but honestly. I am fine with it. I would prefer it feel more cooked, but could eat it like this w/o problem. I would probably heat it, but I could eat it cold too with these spices.

  24. Kate says:

    I tried the rolled oats versions and those work quite well. Haven’t yet tried this one, but I plan on it just to mix things up. I loathe the length of time required to cook steel cut oats, but I I love the flavor, so I experimented a little. You can actually do them overnight in a wide mouth thermos: the kind with the shiny/metal interior. Use the same ratios from the package for measuring out oats and water. Put oats in the thermos. Then add salt and/or other seasonings to taste. Lastly, pour the boiling water over the oats and close the thermos. Let them sit all night. I wake up in the AM, pour them into a bowl, and zap them them in the microwave for about 2 minutes and they are done! Much, much easier this way.

  25. sher says:

    omg, i am in love with these! thank you for sharing this recipe. i make it without cardamom since i don’t have any, and it is still wonderful. i made it with chocolate unsweetened almond breeze one time and it was also yummy. thank you for improving my breakfast!

    • Alison says:

      Sher, I’m so glad you enjoyed them! The response on this has been a bit mixed. Thanks for sharing your version.

  26. David Brown says:

    Any idea what kind of calories would be in something like this?

    • Alison says:

      David, I’m not sure on the calorie count. In the past I’ve had good luck with the Spark People site that allows you to put all the ingredients in and it will tally the calories/serving.

  27. Dawn says:

    This looks divine, but where is the chia in the “Overnight Chai Steel-Cut Oats?” You even have a stunning label saying Chia Oats. I just mixed up a batch substituting the flax for chia to see how it turns out. Wish me luck!

    • LM says:

      it says “chai” not “chia” chai is like the tea – the spices cardamom, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon make the chai seasoning

  28. Katherine says:

    Dawn, chai is a blend of spices whereas chia are those little seeds that absorb moisture. I am a bit unsure of using steel cut oats in cold overnight oats for fear they wouldn’t soften enough. But, based on the positive reviews I will try it. Old fashioned oats work wonderfully in overnight oat recipes… Thanks for the recipe! I’ll let you know how I like it

  29. Katherine says:

    So I made 2 batches as I was skeptical. One with steel cut oats and one with old fashioned. I like the steel cut much better but have to add more than one cup liquid, even two days later there was too much crunch. To cook then it is a 4 to 1 ratio. I’ll try them again maybe 2to1. Very tasty though :)

  30. Diane Jean says:

    I’m going with 1 1/2 cups of rice milk and topping tomorrow with 1/2 cup of cranraisins.

  31. vicky says:

    Tried this last night, woke up to hard oatmeal still. Put them back in the fridge, I’ll check them tomorrow. Today was a busy day and I was really looking forward to having an already done breakfast for the toddler.

  32. Brianna says:

    I tried this and absolutely loved it! I used just a little over a cup of almond milk and that was perfect! It lasted for a few days too…will definitely be trying again and again!

  33. Charmaine says:

    Usually, when I make overnight oats with rolled oats, I use a ratio of 2 (milk) : 1 (oats). I tried the 1:1 suggested in this recipe, but, like some others, I felt that the steel cuts oats were a little gritty. So then I tried doubling the milk and the oats were perfect: still a nice, chewy texture but a little more “cooked” tasting. I just love the spice combination here. Didn’t have any ground cardamon, so I sprinkled in some allspice.

  34. Melissa says:

    Does this get cooked at all before going into the fridge??

  35. Catherine says:

    hey there, this recipe sounds amazing!! Just one questions though – do you think I can substitute the almond milk for coconut milk?

    • Naomi says:

      My husband and I use a recipe similar to this with a 2:1 ratio of milk to oats, and we use Almond Milk every time!

  36. Nanci says:

    I’ve been thinking of making these & since I am waiting around for my bread dough to rise, I am going to put some together now. I think I’m going to try them using some of my homemade dry chai mix (found, of course, on Pinterest)! Looking forward to breakfast tomorrow!

  37. I tried this last night and had it this morning and it’s outrageously delicious. This is so cool that we can eat raw oatmeal and it’s perfect for summer.

    I really enjoyed it. I didn’t add the spices to make it Chai, but I did have nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon on hand.

    I topped it with more almost mill, coconut and almonds!


    Thanks for sharing.

  38. Amanda says:

    I am eating these right now! I made a single serving but kept a 2:1 ratio of almond milk to oats. They are definitely chewy, but that’s ok. I threw some shredded coconut, dates, and dollop of my homemade almond butter on top. WOW is it delicious!

  39. Erin says:

    Hi Allison
    I was so excited to try this and put it all together yesterday around 2:00pm and when I woke up nothing had happened? The milk is still settled on top and oats still crunchy. I used the organic steel cut oats from trader joes. Do you have any suggestions for me as to why mine wouldn’t work? I used glass jars, followed recipe except forgot flax but did everything else. Thanks so much I really would love to make this work!!

  40. Alyssa says:

    I just whipped up a batch of these and can’t wait to try them in the morning! I added a dash of allspice, and some chia seeds (which I’ve found to help thicken the oatmeal). I also added a little bit less maple syrup than called for. I think I’ll heat it up a little bit, because of the warm spices, and add a few pecans for crunch. Yum! Can’t wait for breakfast :)

  41. Deb says:

    I have to confess I like mushy oatmeal and I also like chai tea. I used the seasoings in the recipe and then cooked my organic oats with 1 cup almond milk and two cups of water. It took just five minutes and smelled so good, everyone was crowded into the kitchen. Tasted even better than its smelled.

  42. judith faulkner says:

    I do this with old fashioned oats all the time. I add chia seeds, peanut butter, and sometimes banana with cinnamon. Going to try the steel cut oats as I love the chewy-ness of them!

  43. Emma says:

    I recently seen a pin for this, so I made with apple sauce, cinnamon, and apple slices… heaven !

  44. Jay Burnett says:

    The spices in this as well as the toppings are the ultimate & healthy breakfast . I use vanilla almond milk which has only 30 calories a serving, so the only added calories would be easy to figure out : oats, sweetener, and toppings…all of which would be easily counted. I cannot wait to get to the store and get the ingredients.

  45. Joanne says:

    How much chai seed do I put in

  46. Katie says:

    I turned this recipe into a granola recipe with some modifications. Check it out! http://amateuraglow.blogspot.ca/2014/02/chai-winter-y-granola-recipe.html

  47. vicki says:

    Do I have to add the flax seeds?

  48. Kim says:

    I get McCann’s quick oats & put 1/2 c in with about 3/4 c hot water (we have a hot water tap at work & one at home), along with 1/8 c low-sugar Craisins & 1/8 c any kind of nuts, preferably small pieces (i make a whole bag by putting a bunch in a ziploc bag & rolling with a rolling pin) & 1 packet of Splenda. Stir & cover tightly for at least 5 minutes. I just tried McCanns steel cut quick-cooking oats for the first time today. Completely different texture. Taste kind of nutty too. If you put everything but the water in a jar, you can just add the water, cover & let sit 5 minutes or longer & you have a great, filling breakfast. Love it!

  49. Jenny says:

    I just tried this recipe last night and was so excited to wake up to a ready-made breakfast. I was a bit worried when both my husband and daughter indicated that they did not like these oats at all. I think it was the cardamom that did it for them. As for me, I find that I am addicted to both the flavor and the texture. So much so that I ate one serving for breakfast and had the second serving as a snack when I got home from work. As it has been very hot around here lately, I really appreciated that this was cool, refreshing, and filling.

    I didn’t have almond milk, so I just subbed in low-fat milk and added a little bit of half-and-half before serving. I’m so excited to have a breakfast that I really love. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!!!! (I’m going to try adding a little peanut butter next time, as someone else said they’ve done–cinnamon and peanut butter is an amazing combination!)

  50. These are great. I do it just a bit differently though. I add extra almond milk. Then the next morning I add even more and blend it into a smoothie for breakfast. Works PERFECT! I also add hemp hearts, chia, and flax. YUMMY!

  51. Stephanie says:

    I had apple cinnamon syrup I substituted for the syrup and didn’t have flax seeds, so added a little wheat germ, will report back later.

  52. Sandra says:

    What are steel-cut oats? I’ve been seeing them in recipes. Do most grocery stores sell them?

  53. Elisa Dore says:

    Hi, I’m a writer for the University of Tennessee’s Spoon University chapter and I was wondering if I could feature your recipe and use your photo in my article about chai recipes. I’ll credit you and link back to your recipe if you grant me permission.

  54. Christina says:

    This was my first try at overnight oatmeal and I enjoyed this! I use 1/2 cup steel cut oats and 1 cup of milk but next time I will probably only use 3/4 cup of milk. I used chia seeds instead of flax, added pineapple and heated it up a bit in the morning. The texture reminded me of ground nuts which was perfect for me since I greatly dislike soft and mushy oatmeal. Thanks for the recipe.

  55. Kristi says:

    Hey Alison, this sounds delicious! Have you ever tried this idea with just chai concentrate & oats instead of milk & spices? I’m wondering if it’d work the same way or be more or less flavorful.. Maybe I’ll give it a shot with Bhakti Chai. Thanks for the idea!

  56. Winter says:

    Great recipe for those who like a lot of texture and spiciness! I also tried it with rolled oats and got a softer, more pleasing texture for my taste. I also reduced the nutmeg & cardamom to scant amounts, as I just felt they were too overwhelming for me. But I thought the recipe was very creative. Good job!

  57. Natalie Jackson says:

    Can I use old fashioned oats and if I did would the measurements change?

  58. V says:

    I made this last night and ate it a few minutes ago.
    I was apprehensive after reading the comments, worrying if I’d like the texture or not. I love the idea of overnight oats but the typical recipes which use rolled oats are just too mushy for me.
    But this… this was perfect! It was very chewy, but I really enjoyed the chewiness. It made the meal very hearty! The chai flavour was very nice, I had no idea that combination of spices was so good together. I’m going to have fun experimenting with different flavours, now that I know steel cut oats are great for overnight oatmeal.

  59. Really creative recipe!

    I included your recipe in a list of 33 different healthy breakfast recipes. I hope you don’t mind the link back to your website :). If you are not ok with it, just let me know and I will take it down: http://hbhcoaching.com/33-healthy-breakfast-ideas-to-kickstart-your-day/

    Be well & Be Happy,

    Cameron Hooper

  60. Caitlin says:

    I love these Chai oats!! I used regular milk since I didn’t have any almond milk, and it still tastes great. I also like to mix in some fresh diced peaches in this as well : )

  61. August says:

    I live alone and this makes 2 portions. Can the second one be eaten the following day? It will it go bad? Thank you.

  62. Sherwood says:

    Had the first serving of this today, topped with coconut and chopped pecans. Tasted fantastic. :) A very comforting flavor. I’m looking forward to trying the second serving tomorrow, after it’s been sitting longer. I might even try heating it up! Boy was it a pain, though, to find ground cardamom that wasn’t insanely expensive.

    • Sherwood says:

      Had the second serving today, heated up. While it’s quite tasty cold, I think I prefer it warm! I’m used to chai stuff being hot. :) Highly recommended either way!

  63. Jessica says:

    You have a 1 to 1 ratio for oats to liquid…is that because it is overnight? Or what your oats say on the packaging. The one I have calls for a 4 to 1 ratio of milk to oats, so I’m curious.

  64. MsNicky67 says:

    I’m giving these a try tonight. I didnt have cardamon either so I will try with Allspice as well. I hope they are good. I love Chai and I like my overnight cooked steel cut oats so not cooking will be a first. Thanks for the share!

  65. Liz says:

    Costco carries cracked steel cut oats called Coaches Oats. It faster that regular steel cut oats, and I love the texture. It may change the texture for those who didn’t feel they were “done”. I’m giving it a try:)

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