Steel Cut Oatmeal- What Did I Do Wrong?

In the past I’ve bought Trader Joe’s frozen steel cut oatmeal, and enjoyed it. But then I thought I’d be thrifty, make my own and freeze it.

So, I got some McCann’s Steel Cut Oats, and, following instructions in our many threads, put 1 cup oats with 4 cups liquid in my slow cooker, on low, from midnight - 9am.

Trader Joe’s version has chewy bits of oat, but mine is completely mush. It has all the texture (and appeal) of wheat paste. It is so overcooked, that it resembles overcooked instant oatmeal.

What did I do wrong?

You over cooked it. I did that once following some recipe with an overnight crockpot dealio and it was mush with the edges firmed up to dried out library paste. I found its just better to cook in the morning (takes about 40 minutes to do it right) I toast the oats in a little butter then add the pre heated water and salt, cover and cook at simmer for half hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with preserves and cream.

Yep. Overcooked. It happens every time I use the overnight method.

But overcooked steel-cut oats is still better than quick oats, and I don’t have to think about it or keep an eye on it.

Actually, the overnight method makes too much oatmeal. I usually just put 1/4 cup into one cup of boiling water. I have to watch it, since my oatmeal pan is smaller than I’d like and it will boil over if I don’t modulate the heat in time.

Isn’t a 4-1 ratio of water too much liquid? I use maybe 2 1/2 to 3 parts water to oats.

Not for steel-cut oats. Are you cooking steel-cut?

I make mine in a rice cooker in volume, takes about half an hour- and keep the leftovers in the fridge to nuke up later.

I tried brown rice in the slow cooker this week- same result, mush that managed to lose its taste in the process. Ungood

Ok, it sounds like others have gotten similar results and it’s an inherent problem with how it comes out using a slow cooker. In other threads people were rhapsodizing over the results using the slow cooker but I guess its a case of, there’s no arguing with preference. (Johnny LA I would dispute that what I have is better than quick oats. It’s just barely food.)

I do have a rice cooker but it’s a supersimple one - it basically has on, off, and warm. No fuzzy logic or brown rice setting. I will try that next. The results can hardly be worse than what I have done so far.

In the meantime, my desire to not eat oat paste for breakfast is warring with my displeasure with waste. Should I chuck it and try again or eat while thinking of England, for my own good? Maybe I’ll add some chopped almonds for texture? Or would that be a waste of perfectly good almonds?

I eat a lot of quick oats, and I prefer even overcooked steel-cut. They just taste better. (Of course, I cook those with dried cranberries in; quick-oats get a shot of imitation maple syrup or a spoonful of strawberry jam.)

When I use the overnight method and I don’t oversleep (OK, it’s not overcooked ‘every time’ I make it), then it’s wonderful.

How many hours is right for not overcooking?

Six seems about right. If i sleep eight hours, it’s overdone.

I’m using an old Hamilton Beach slow-cooker my dad gave me in the mid-80s. It’s an oblong metal pot with a glass lid that doesn’t fit well because the pot’s become a little deformed over the years. I put a cast-iron skillet on top to make it fit. The temperature control is a little tentative. It doesn’t have the range it used to. So those all may be factors. YMMV.

I’ve made oatmeal in the oven, but we had an oven then that was programmable. I would put the oats and water in an ovenproof dish, cover, then place it in the oven. I would set the timer to cook at 350 for 1/2 an hour.

It worked great, and avoided the horrible foamy slime that I always get using the stovetop.

This also works fo grits.

That’s all I have too.

I’ve done it in a slow cooker too, and it came out ok, but I think I had it on as low as possible. Also, if I get up in the night anyhow I can go check it and if it seems done, pull the plug.

I’ve done it in the slow cooker, but unless I give it about 8 hours on the warm setting (not even low), it does the mush thing. Generally, I’d rather make up a pot on the stove and freeze the extra.

Overnight for me means 5-6 hours, so I’ll agree with the overcooking theory.

I can’t see why adding some chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds would be a bad thing to try and redeem what you’ve got, maybe some chopped fruit as well. I generally include dried fruit, nuts and a little cinnamon or vanilla extract when slow-cooking mine, so it seems like a good idea to me.

Use the mushy oatmeal to make muffins or some other baked good. Sorry I don’t have a recipe handy but I had looked for one a while ago searching for “cooked oatmeal muffin recipes”.

For the oatmeal, I’ve seen several recommendations to soak tge oatmeal overnight then cook it in the morning and it cooks a little quicker. Sorry again, no links handy but you can search for “oatmeal soaked overnight”.

I just enjoyed some McCann’s earlier today. I’d rather simmer them in a big pot for 30 minutes (One thing I’m good at is reading the directions) like the directions say on the can.

As soon as the 30 minutes are up, I turn off the burner and wait until they’re cool enough to put into those throwaway glad containers. The next morning I nuke them in the microwave for a couple of minutes, add some raisins and I’m all set for for a quick tasty breakfast.

Here’s how I make it:

• Preheat oven to 350. Lay 1/4 cup of steel cut oats and 1/4 cup of pecans or walnuts out on a cookie sheet. Toast oats and nuts for 10-12 minutes until just beginning to brown.

• Toss toasted oats and nuts into a pan. Add about 1 cup of lowfat milk and a smidge (maybe a tablespoon) of heavy cream or half-and-half. Do not bring to a boil! Allow to simmer slowly.

• Add 1 Tbs. of brown sugar, 1/2 Tbs. of honey, 1/2 tsp. cardomom, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and a teeny tiny pinch of salt. 1/2 tsp of vanilla won’t hurt either. A handful of dried berries, cranberries, blueberries, raisins, whatever, which were reconstituted in dark rum + cinnamon, also adds a nice flavor.

• Simmer on very very low flame for about 30 minutes, stirring every five minutes, and add more milk if it gets too dry before the oats are cooked to your preference. I like mine a bit al dente – too much mushy puts me off my oats.

I buy steel cut oats in bulk so I can’t specifically comment on McCann’s, but that’s more water than I use. 3 1/2 cups of water works for me.

I have a tin of McCann’s, but I also buy steel-cut oats in bulk.

If I have breakfast, it’s usually oatmeal. On commuting days it’s quick oats. I’m telecommuting today, so I had some of the bulk steel-cut oats. Into 1-1/3 of boiling water, I added 1/4 cup of oats and 20 g dried cranberries. I reduced the heat to about half to avoid boiling over and let it go for about three minutes. Then I reduced the heat to minimum, covered, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Perfect.

(FWIW, I don’t add milk or sugar to my oats. I’ll cook in the dried cranberries if I’m making steal-cut, or use imitation maple syrup or a spoonful of jam for the quick oats. (I save my real Grade B maple syrup for pancakes. :wink: ))

This is exactly what I do. I make a big pot on the weekend, bring it to work in a large ziplock bag, and my husband and I nuke it every morning. I use four cups of oats and 16 cups of water and make it in the stockpot.

I tried freezing it once and it was terrible. Tasteless and yucky. I will say that it’ll keep for a week or more in the fridge, so I don’t see any reason to freeze.