This creamy baked steel cut oatmeal is heaven! Slow-baked in the oven until thick and creamy, this Irish oatmeal gets topped with a mix of chopped nuts and sugar, then broiled until crisp.

Slow mornings call for this baked Irish oatmeal recipe—it’s mostly hands off and packs major cozy vibes from a brief toasting of the oats and a handful of warm spices.

cream being poured over oatmeal in a small white bowl

Less than 10 ingredients needed:

How to make baked steel cut oatmeal (almost completely hands-off!)

Step 1: toast the oats and spices:

A brief sauté in a non-skillet adds toasty, nutty flavor to the oats. Stir in the spices and briefly cook to unlock their flavor.

step-by-step grid of images showing how to toast steel cut oats and prepare for baking

Step 2: bake the oatmeal

Combine the toasted oats and spices with milk and water in a shallow baking dish. Bake until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally. 

Step 3: brûlée the top

Sprinkle cubed butter, pecans and sugar over cooked steel cut oats. Broil until caramelized and crisp. 

step-by-step grid of images showing how to bake steel cut oatmeal

What are steel cut oats? Are they interchangeable with rolled or instant oats?

Steel cut oats come from the same grain as rolled and instant oats. The difference between these three types of oats is how they are processed, which results in oats varying in texture and cook time. 

Steel cut oats, also often referred to as Irish oats, are processed by cutting the whole oat groat into small pieces using a steel mill. Steel cut oats have a chunky, chewy texture and are the least processed of all. Not surprisingly, they take the longest to cook due to the less processing.

Rolled oats, also called old-fashioned or whole oats, are steamed and rolled flat during processing. In addition to cooking quicker, rolled oats absorb a lot of liquid and hold their shape relatively well during cooking. Rolled oats are ideal for quick stove top oatmeal, overnight oats, quick breads, cookies, muffins, granola bars, granola, and pancakes

Instant oats, which are also called quick oats, are the most processed of all. They’re partially cooked, dried, and thinly rolled (thinner than old-fashioned). Instant oats offer very little when it comes to texture and should be used as a last resort for morning oatmeal. Avoid using instant or quick-cooking oats in baked goods, but feel free to use them in granola bars.

All three oat types off the same nutritional value because they’re made from whole oat groats. All oats are relatively high in fiber, half of which is soluble fiber.

baking dish filled with a sugary baked oatmeal with a red handled spoon set in the dish and oatmeal in a small white bowl off to the side

How to reheat

Baked steel cut oatmeal reheats beautifully! The only thing to keep in mind if reheating leftovers—the sugary brûléed top will not be crunchy after storing in the refrigerator. 

Reheat baked steel cut oatmeal in a 350ºF (177ºC) oven for 20 minutes, or until warmed through. Give it a stir and add additional milk as needed to reach desired consistency. 

Alternatively, you can scrape the chilled oats into a saucepan with a little bit of water or milk and reheat, stirring frequently, over medium heat until creamy and steaming.

Tips for making ahead

Although much of the cooking is hands-off, these steel cut oats do take some time to bake. To jumpstart the cooking process, you can partially bake the oats a day or two ahead of time. Bake the steel cut oatmeal for 1 hour (as directed in the recipe), then remove from the oven and let cool completely before covering and transferring to the refrigerator. 

Add about ½ cup milk or water to the oats and cook in the oven at 350ºF (177ºC) until bubbling, thick and creamy. Top oats with butter, sugar and nuts and broil as directed. 

oatmeal, nuts and cream in a small white bowl

Variations: 

  • Make this vegan by using non-dairy milk and vegan butter.
  • Mix up the spices—try nutmeg, cloves, or allspice. 
  • Skip the brûléed topping and instead serve with whipped cream.
  • Add chopped dried fruit such as apricots, raisins, plums, dates or figs. 
  • Increase the fiber content by adding chia seeds.

If you give this baked steel cut oatmeal recipe a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!

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baking dish filled with a sugary baked oatmeal with a red handled spoon set in the dish and oatmeal in a small white bowl off to the side

Baked Irish Oatmeal with Warm Spices

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 ½ hours
  • Total Time: 1 ½ hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Irish
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Creamy slow-baked steel cut oats flavored with warm spices and finished with a nutty sweet brûléed topping. Serve with cream, whipped cream or maple syrup for a great weekend brunch!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 ½ cups steel cut oats
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups whole milk (or milk of choice), warmed
  • 1 ½ cups water, warmed
  • ⅓ cup chopped raw pecans
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar
  • cream, maple syrup and flaky sea salt for serving, optional

Instructions

Heat oven to 350ºF (177ºC) with rack set in middle position. Coat a 2-quart shallow baking dish with nonstick spray.

In a large nonstick skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add oats and sauté until fragrant and toasted, about 4 minutes. 

Stir in cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape oats into prepared baking dish; stir in milk and water.

Bake oatmeal for 1 hour, stirring halfway through. Stir oatmeal, and continue to bake until thick and creamy, about 20 minutes more, stirring every 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice remaining 2 tablespoons butter and chill. 

Stir oatmeal, then evenly sprinkle diced butter, pecans and sugar over top. Turn oven to broil and broil until browned, 3–5 minutes. 

Serve oatmeal with additional cream (or milk), maple syrup and flaky sea salt, if desired.



Notes

VEGAN: use non-dairy milk, such as almond milk, instead of the whole milk. Use vegan butter in place of the regular butter.

Keep an eye on the oatmeal as it broils. Depending on your oven, you may need a few minute less, or a few minutes more broiling time to achieve ideal caramelization. Keep the oatmeal on the middle rack for broiling, do not move it up to the top rack or you’ll risk burning the sugar.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: ⅙ of the recipe
  • Calories: 217
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Sodium: 244mg
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 32mg

Keywords: baked oatmeal, steel cut oatmeal, baked steel cut oatmeal, irish oatmeal, baked irish oatmeal

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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