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Steel-Cut-Oatmeal Bars

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection
Serves 8


If you’re a steel-cut-oatmeal lover who doesn’t always find time to prepare your oats, this recipe — and a microwave — can help. You make the oatmeal on Sunday, chill it in a baking pan, and cut bars to eat throughout the week. The recipe is based on one from Cooking Light magazine, which recommended serving the oatmeal chilled.


3 cups water
1 cup milk, preferably whole milk
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
cups steel-cut oats
½ cup chopped dried cherries or other dried fruits (raisins work well)
~ Vegetable oil or butter for coating the pan
½ cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds
2 Tbsp. unsalted sunflower seeds


  1. In a large saucepan, bring the water, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat; watch it closely to prevent it suddenly boiling over. Stir in the oats and dried fruit; as soon as it begins to simmer, reduce the heat and cook it, stirring occasionally, until it thickens, about 20 minutes.
  2. While the oats cook, lightly coat an 11-inch-by-7-inch baking dish with oil or butter.
  3. When the oatmeal is ready, stir in the nuts and seeds. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and let it cool a bit. Cover and chill.
  4. To serve, cut the oatmeal into squares. Place one or two squares in a bowl, and heat in the microwave until it’s just warm; serve topped with more milk or a splash of cream if you wish.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

There are 11 comments on this item
Add a comment
Average Rating 5
36% recommend this recipe
1. by healthgal on Mar 3, 2010 at 12:14 PM PST

Hello. Love this idea. I wonder if I can use a sugar substitute. I’m not eating sugar at this time. What would you suggest?

Thank you.

2. by Trisha Coffman on Mar 3, 2010 at 12:20 PM PST

Love this idea. Even better: my girls will love this either for breakfast or post-soccer practice.

3. by Kathy Ray on Mar 3, 2010 at 1:55 PM PST

I have been cooking the steel cut oats, without all the extras except for spices and dried fruit, then refrigerating them, taking a couple tbsp. daily, mixing with berries, microwaving for a minute, then adding a tbsp. of yogurt. This is a complete breakfast in one bowl. I like the bar idea tho, and will try that.

4. by Kim on Mar 3, 2010 at 9:45 PM PST

Healthgal, I’m not going to be much help in the sugar-substitute department, but I’ll bet you could just leave the brown sugar out and rely on the fruit for a little sweet. Have you tried agave nectar — a drop on top? Maybe someone else has ideas?

Trisha: My kids love these cold for afternoon snacks. They actually ask for them!

Kathy: The oats keep well in the fridge, no? Such a good idea.

5. by Paige at The Spice House on Mar 4, 2010 at 1:40 PM PST

A good substitute for sugar is to stir in a ripe banana or a roasted sweet potato. They’re natually sweet and give oatmeal a great creamy flavor.

6. by Maria on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:19 AM PST
Rating: five

This recipe is great! next time I will cut down on the brown sugar, you don’t need that much w/ the sweet of the dried fruit. Also, I wouldn’t necessarily call them a “bar.”

7. by llopez on Mar 13, 2010 at 7:36 PM PST

I’m a believer! I agree on cutting back the brown sugar a little and maybe adding more cinnamon. I didn’t have cherries so I did raisins and I didn’t have sunflower seeds so I did hazelnuts (filberts if you are an Oregonian) and almond slivers. YUM!

8. by Kate on Jul 17, 2010 at 7:46 PM PDT

Oh I’ve made “steel cut oat loaf” for years by pouring the cooked oats into a loaf dish and cooling in the fridge. Each morning, a slice is microwaved and quickly turns loose and then is topped as usual, but, I never thought to make all the mix-ins in advance and then cut into bars. I’ll try it this way next time!

9. by Jeanne Burns on Nov 13, 2010 at 11:32 AM PST

What a brilliant recipe. I can’t wait to try this. The reason I don’t eat steal cut oats more is how long they take to cook!

10. by Sarah on Sep 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM PDT
Rating: five

THANK YOU for this recipe... I’ve made it several times now and it’s my “Commuter Breakfast” - make the bars Sunday night, keep in the fridge and cut a square each morning. Here’s a few notes I’ve made:

1 - bars stay moist all week (I’ve frozen them too - no problems there) They hold their shape well.

2 - I leave out sugar completely and don’t miss it. I usually add a dollop of yogurt and/or fresh fruit.

3 - Since the milk bubbles up, use a big pan OR add the oats right at the start (takes longer but no boiling-over problems.)

4 - Flexible recipe - I always vary the fruit, add flax seed, etc...

Thank you again.

11. by Amanda W on Jul 3, 2013 at 12:28 PM PDT

I just made these with chocolate soy milk instead of regular milk & no brown sugar, substituted with stevia. I also added chocolate chips, coconut, and chopped almonds. AMAZE! Thanks for the recipe.

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