Make-Ahead Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Maple-Stewed Berries

This past week offered the opportunity to actually get outside and tromp around the homestead a bit. Hello Spring!

Among my discoveries, I noticed that the snow melted from the raised beds and small scarlet nubs of rhubarb are pushing through the mulch. The oregano patch is starting to show some green underneath the tangle of brambles and the raspberry canes are finally free of ice. Life is returning.

We’ve ordered our pullet hens from the farm and next weekend we’ll make repairs on the coop. Small brown eggs are synonymous with spring around here and in a few weeks production will start.

Say, if you haven’t toured our homestead yet, why not take a peek? And of course, find the expanded version, with recipes, stories and urban homesteading tips in my recent cookbook.

I’m holding out for local berries and our homegrown raspberries and (so far) have not been tempted by the imports from Mexico. Thankfully I still have a stash of Quebec strawberries and blueberries in the freezer from last summer. Gently stewed with some of this-season’s maple syrup, they make a delicious topping for nutty oatmeal.

Speaking of oatmeal, my favourite variety just became a lot more easily available, thanks to a new do-ahead method that I have been playing with for weeks.

Make-Ahead Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Maple-Stewed Berries :: Simple Bites

A while back I started experimenting with a sort of hot-soaked overnight oatmeal and played around with it enough to perfect the method for our weekday mornings. It’s as simple as boiling water, and in fact, begins with a large pot of the stuff. Five and a half cups, to be exact.

I boil the water just before I head to bed, and then stir in one and a half cups of steel cut oats. A dash of salt and a splash of vanilla finish off the ‘work’. I give the oats a stir, cover the pot with a lid and turn off the stove.

In the morning (roughly 8 hours later) the oatmeal is thick like a risotto, with perfectly cooked, individual steel-cut grains. I add a cup of milk (dairy, almond, anything) and bring it up to a simmer. It takes just a few minutes and the results are every bit as good as just-made steel-cut oats.

Since steel-cut oats can take up to 40 minutes to simmer from scratch, we often left them for the weekend. Not any more! It’s been four years since my last overnight oats solution, and I am happy to report, today’s method is far better.

Make-Ahead Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Maple-Stewed Berries :: Simple Bites

By the way, it’s worth mentioning that this recipe for Overnight Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal is still very popular around my breakfast table, but it does take a solid 30 minutes in the oven…

I love today’s method for make-ahead steel-cut oatmeal because I can literally roll out of bed and have hot, nourishing cereal on the table before the coffee is even ready. I don’t know what it is like in your house, but my boys wake up ravenous and ready to sink a spoon into breakfast even before they are fully awake.

Do give it a try and let me know how it works. A nourishing breakfast is right around the corner.

Make-Ahead Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Maple-Stewed Berries

A nourishing, make-ahead breakfast of pure comfort. Use fresh or frozen berries for this breakfast.
4.34 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast & Brunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten-free
Essential Ingredient: Oatmeal
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 180kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 5 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup milk regular, almond or soy
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries


  • In a large pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the salt and vanilla.
  • Tip in the oats, stirring constantly. Cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Let oatmeal stand overnight.
  • In the morning, stir the milk into the oatmeal to loosen it and make it a more spoonable texture. Bring the oatmeal up to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • In a small pot, warm the maple syrup over medium heat. Tip the berries into the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are bubbling in the center of the pot.
  • Ladle steel-cut oats into bowls and spoon the berries over the top. Serve hot.


This dish can be made with 'quick cooking' steel cut oats (I buy Bob's Red Mill); just reduce the water by 1/2 cup or so.
You can refrigerate any leftover oatmeal and reheat it for another day. Cereal will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.


Calories: 180kcal

empty bowl-1

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. What a lovely way to start a Monday! (gosh that bowl is perfect for serving oatmeal!) Your boys are so lucky 🙂 Yum!

  2. Such a game changer! Steel cut oats are my fav, but I hate how long they take!

  3. Oh I’m eager to try this method! And those stewed berries look incredible! The flowers are starting to come up here, but this weekend we got surprised with a little snow fall. So I’m hoping they all survive. Eeek!

  4. This looks fantastic! I’m definitely keeping this in my back pocket for when baby boy arrives this summer. I know I’ll need quick and easy breakfasts to get my day started right, and things as nutritious as this will be great for breastfeeding (which always left me hungry with Clara).

  5. 5 stars
    hey girl love the post! yummy!

  6. Lisa Noble says

    Definitely going on the “to try” list. Thanks for the make-ahead tips. A quick correction (I think): “I boil with water” should be “I boil the water”.

  7. I tried this recipe last night and this morning the oats had mold in them. Any suggestions I how to avoid this in the future?

    • Hey Amanda,

      I am extremely surprised to hear of mold forming, as it generally takes much longer for mold to form. Much longer than overnight. How long did it sit? And can you describe the mold? Is it more of a pale green slime, or really something growing and fermenting? I wonder, did you use tap water?

      I recommend using filtered water as tap water can have too much alkaine in it thus causing a greenish slime to occur on the oats.  The oats are totally safe to eat (just scrape it off and bring the oats back to a boil) but it’s not very appealing.

      This method also doesn’t just work for me, but many others, too! A version of it was published in Cook’s Illustrated and on The Kitchen, with great results from readers!
      ( )

      A few questions. Did you add the milk or any sweetener before letting it sit overnight? Both dairy and sugar speed up the fermenting process. Which is why I add them the next morning! 🙂

      Also, do you live somewhere very hot and humid? What is your estimated kitchen temperature?

      My final guess is that your oats may have been mouldy to being with. It is not always visible to the naked eye, but takes some warmth and moisture to begin fermenting.

      I hope that helps!

      • Thank you for your in depth response and explanation. I live in a cold climate and I did not add any milk or sugar to the oats while they soaked. I’m inclined to agree with your assessment that it was the tap water that caused the green slime and not mold. I’m very thankful for your explanation. I will use filtered water in the future. I love your blog and I knew that your recipes always work, which is why I posted the question. I figured there was something I was missing. I will try again tonight and see if I can get it right.

  8. This oatmeal is gorgeous! So simple yet so tasty!

  9. this is genius, i can’t wait to try it. i love steel cut oats, but not a fan of the cooking time. and they it looks uber creamy. i’m also making homemade yogurt for the first time and can just image how good the two would be combined. xo

  10. LakeLady says

    1 star
    While this recipe is super easy and makes oats that are great in the morning, this is not a safe way to cook food. The US Department of Agriculture specifically warns against leaving food out more than two hours. In the article in this link, I think the “Danger Zone” section and the “Storing Leftovers” section both apply to the way the oats are prepared using this method. Not trying to be critical, but food safety is important.

    • This was my concern as well. I’m all for easy meals, but all my food safety flags were going up at the idea of leaving the oatmeal on the stove all night.

  11. Berries look amazing on the beautiful oatmeal recipe!

  12. Yeah for Spring! What a hearty and yummy breakfast! The stewed berries look particularly delicious!

  13. I learned recently that the timer and porridge setting on my rice cooker make a great steel cut oat with minimal effort. As long as the set amount feeds my family of four, I am a happy girl. When we outgrown it, I’ll have to give this method a try.

    • Your baked oatmeal — in about half a dozen varieties — is a favorite for us. We are currently working our way through some blueberry peach leftovers. My baby LOVES them.

  14. Super technique – thanks! I made it last night, and this morning, it was enjoyed by all : )

  15. 5 stars
    Love this. Great recipe for school mornings! Tried it twice now both with rave reviews! We like to Add a little cinnamon too….

  16. 5 stars
    My kids and I have had this for breakfast almost every morning since you posted it. Berries are my absolute favorite food. I will take a bowl of them instead of chocolate any time!

  17. 5 stars
    I remade this recipe using filtered water as stated and it turned out perfect. My 5 year old said it was the best oatmeal ever and my 2 year old had seconds. Thanks for another great recipe.

  18. I love love love overnight oats! Lately, my daughter has been making oatmeal that we pour into jars that she can heat in the morning and eat in the car on the way to the bus. It’s delicious and portable! It’s the start of berry season here, so I’ll try making a compote to stir into breakfast for a special treat. Thanks for the inspiration! xo M.

  19. I have been using this method, I make a big batch on Sunday then individually portion it for my week and heat it up with a splash of cream and berries or cinnamon. Makes a lovely quick breakfast for a week of working. (My daughter hates oatmeal?, even peanut butter banana chocolate chip baked oatmeal!)

  20. 5 stars
    A family favorite! Very easy and so good.

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