The Best Bowl of Oatmeal Recipe
How To Cook Perfect Oatmeal - How To Cook Steel-Cut Oatmeal

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This perfect recipe for making the perfect bowl of oatmeal is by Maryellen Driscoll, Consulting Editor for Cook's Illustrated magazine. Article and recipe published in the Cook's Illustrated magazine, March/April 2000.

Maryellen says, "After making 50 batches of oatmeal, we make porridge worth eating again by using steel-cut oats and a simple toasting method that greatly enhances flavor . . . Making hot oatmeal from steel-cut oats took considerably longer than with regular rolled oats (about 25 to 30 minutes total), but the outcome was very much worth the wait."

Bowl of Perfect Cooked Oatmeal

The Best Bowl of Oatmeal - Perfect Steel-Cut Oatmeal Recipe:

Recipe Type: Brunch and Breakfast, Oatmeal
Yields: 3 to 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes


3 cups water
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup steel-cut oats*
1/4 teaspoon salt
Toppings (see below)

* Also known as Scotch oats, Irish oatmeal, and pinhead oats. Steel-cut oats are whole oats that are cut into thirds instead of being rolled and flattened into flakes, Many supermarkets sell pre-packaged steel-cut oats.


In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, bring water and milk to a simmer; let mixture simmer on medium-low to low heat until you are ready to add the oatmeal. Remember, simmer and do not boil!

Meanwhile, in a medium-size frying pan, heat butter until just beginning to foam; add oats and toast, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until golden and fragrant with butterscotch-like aroma, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Melting butter

Adding oatmeal to melted butter

Stirring and toasting oatmeal in melted butter

Add and stir toasted oats into the simmering water/milk liquid; simmer gently until oatmeal mixture thickens and resembles gravy, approximately 20 minutes. Add salt and stir lightly. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until oats absorb almost all liquid and oatmeal is thick and creamy, with a pudding-like consistency, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Adding oatmeal to simmering milk/water

Stirring Oatmeal until mixture thickens and resembles gravy.

Simmering and stirring until oats absorb almost all liquid.

Bowl of Perfect Cooked OatmealOff heat, let oatmeal stand, uncovered, 5 minutes. NOTE: If you cover the pot during this rest period, moisture condenses on the lid and drips back down on the hot cereal - so don't do it!

Serve immediately with milk or cream and your favorite toppings (such as brown sugar, maple syrup, raisins, dried fruit, etc).

NOTE: To double the recipe, increase the cooking time to 10 to 15 minutes once the salt has been added.

Optional Toppings:
Apple Juice
Raisins or Dried Cherries
Milk or Cream
Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup
Dried Fruits
Chopped Nuts
Sliced Banana
Peanut Butter

Makes 3 to 4 servings.


Related Oatmeal Recipe:

Steel-Cut Oats with Caramelized Sugar



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