Perfect Morning Oatmeal

"From the March, 2000 issue of Cook's Illustrated, my favorite way to do oatmeal. Serve it with maple syrup or (fattening but delicious) butter and cream or honeyed fig topping (posted separately) or Rita's wonderful Lavender Infused Honey."
photo by AcadiaTwo photo by AcadiaTwo
photo by AcadiaTwo
photo by Outta Here photo by Outta Here
Ready In:




  • Bring water and milk to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, heat butter in medium skillet over medium heat until just beginning to foam; add oats and toast, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until golden and fragrant with butterscotch-like aroma, 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
  • Stir toasted oats into the simmering liquid, reduce heat to medium-low; simmer gently, until mixture thickens and resembles gravy, about 20 minutes.
  • Add salt and stir lightly with spoon handle. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon handle, until oats absorb almost all liquid and oatmeal is thick and creamy, with a pudding-like consistency, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Off heat, let oatmeal stand uncovered 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I got this recipe from the source, years ago, but needed to look it up to remind me of the quantities. I think the toasting of the oats takes longer than 2 minutes-- you want them well toasted. Took closer to five minutes, and that was on high heat in a large cast iron frying pan. I wonder if shifting to all milk would change the outcome much? Probably have to stir more to avoid scorching on the bottom of the saucepan. The times were, for me, just about right: 21 minutes til I needed to start stirring, and total in-pot time 30 minutes and some seconds. This makes enough for two people, but not really more unless they're small or children or not very hungry. I usually eat 2/3 of one batch, and save the rest for a smaller bowl the next day. A great winter/weekend way to start the day. Note that most of that first 20 minutes doesn't require constant attention-- just check in every few minutes.
  2. WOW! These were delicious! I ate them with a teaspoon of sugar and a pat of butter! So perfectly yummy! Love the toasting of the oats, as it really enhances the flavor. Thanks for posting! Made for Veg 'n Swap tag.
  3. I have made steel cut oats several times and always found them to be a bit lacking in taste (although I love the texture). This method sure makes up for that! Love the toasty flavor. I halved the recipe for one large serving. Served with a dab of butter and honey. Thanks, Kate. Made for Spring 2011 PAC.
  4. Fantastic. Ate it for breakfast this morning with 5 spice sugar (recipe #101898). I have to agree with LonghornMama - who knew toasting the oats could make such a difference? I'll never go back to plain old steel cut oats again.
  5. Who knew that toasting steel cut oats could make such a difference? This oatmeal was delicious, in fact my son has already asked me to make it again. Takes a little extra time to prepare, but it's worth it. I eat mine with some soymilk and a little honey. My son adds dried cranberries and brown sugar. No one else in out family eats oatmeal, so we were the lucky ones who had oatmeal waiting in the fridge to heat up for breakfast the next day. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


<p>I have always loved to cook. When I was little, I cooked with my Grandmother who had endless patience and extraordinary skill as a baker. And I cooked with my Mother, who had a set repertoire, but taught me many basics. Then I spent a summer with a French cousin who opened up a whole new world of cooking. And I grew up in New York City, which meant that I was surrounded by all varieties of wonderful food, from great bagels and white fish to all the wonders of Chinatown and Little Italy, from German to Spanish to Mexican to Puerto Rican to Cuban, not to mention Cuban-Chinese. And my parents loved good food, so I grew up eating things like roasted peppers, anchovies, cheeses, charcuterie, as well as burgers and the like. In my own cooking I try to use organics as much as possible; I never use canned soup or cake mix and, other than a cheese steak if I'm in Philly or pizza by the slice in New York, I don't eat fast food. So, while I think I eat and cook just about everything, I do have friends who think I'm picky--just because the only thing I've ever had from McDonald's is a diet Coke (and maybe a frie or two). I have collected literally hundreds of recipes, clipped from the Times or magazines, copied down from friends, cajoled out of restaurant chefs. Little by little, I am pulling out the ones I've made and loved and posting them here. Maybe someday, every drawer in my apartment won't crammed with recipes. (Of course, I'll always have those shelves crammed with cookbooks.) I'm still amazed and delighted by the friendliness and the incredible knowledge of the people here. 'Zaar has been a wonderful discovery for me.</p>
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