These steel cut overnight oats are thickened with tahini, flavored with cinnamon and lightly sweetened with honey. By boiling the oats for a few minutes in dairy-free milk, they loose some of their bite and create a rich, creamy gluten-free porridge. It’s a fiber-forward breakfast, and the perfect make-ahead healthy oatmeal recipe. You can substitute maple syrup to make it vegan and low FODMAP!
Since I’ve been doing so much research for my new healthy carb cookbook, CARBIVORE, it’s made me even more mindful of making sure that my breakfast is low sugar and full of fiber.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to do this without grains at all, but if you like me have a soft spot for soft bowls of porridge in the morning, then you may be similarly inspired to make your morning oats a little healthier.
One simple step in the right direction is swapping normal oats for steel cut oats, which have a much better impact on your blood sugar. The trade-off is of course convenience: steel cut oats often take double the amount of time to become soft when you cook them stovetop.
And until I discovered the trick to making steel cut overnight oats rich and creamy, another downside was that they didn’t thicken and soften in the same way that normal overnight oats do. Luckily, this make-ahead technique is still available to you with one added step, which I’ll get to.
But first, let’s talk about the health benefits.
What is the difference between steel cut oats and rolled oats?
Oats are often referred to as a whole grain, even in more processed forms, because the husk and germ almost always remain intact. Compared to other grains, oats are extremely nutritionally well-balanced: high in protein, lower in carbohydrates and containing a healthy amount of both fat and fiber.
Because of this, oats have the potential to improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar levels when prepared properly, and not in a quick-cooking microwavable packet rife with added sugar.
Though you can buy whole oat groats (the entire kernel), the more common variety is steel cut, which is exactly what it sounds like: pieces of the whole groats cut into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Cutting the oats themselves also cuts the cooking time in half, but maintains all the integrity of the whole grain—the bran, germ, and endosperm—which makes them the best type of oat for your blood sugar.
You can use steel cut oats in most of the same preparations as their pre-cooked cousins, rolled oats, they just require more time.
Unlike steel cut oats, “rolled” or “old fashioned” oats are pre-steamed, softening the groats enough to be flattened between steel rollers. These tiny oat pancakes (like oat toastones!) with a line of bran in the center is what most people picture when they think of oats.
“Quick cooking” or “instant oats” are pressed even thinner to reduce cooking time. As with all grains (and plants, in general), the trade-off for more processing and convenience, is that your body doesn’t have to work as hard to breakdown your food into usable energy (which can lead to blood sugar spikes).
For this reason, I try to use more steel-cut oats these days and try to add some seeds, nuts, and whole fruit or vegetables to each recipe.
How do you make steel cut overnight oats?
Since steel cut oats aren’t pre-cooked they don’t soften overnight in the same way that old fashioned oats do in this gluten-free overnight oat recipe.
I discovered from this recipe, that one quick remedy is to simply start your overnight oats with boiling liquid. It is one extra step, but only takes 5 minutes.
All you have to do is combine your steel cut oats with dairy-free milk and bring it to a simmer. Cook for one minute, then remove from the heat to cool. The hot liquid makes it even easier to whisk in your other ingredients.
I’ve added chia seeds and tahini to give even more body to these gluten and dairy free overnight oats. Together with the nut milk, the steel cut oats become velvety and creamy – not all that different to the texture of a stovetop porridge, but with only 5 minutes of hands on time!
Are steel cut oats gluten-free?
All oats are naturally gluten-free, but are often processed in a plant with other wheat products. Make sure to purchase certified gluten-free steel cut oats if you are celiac or have a gluten sensitivity.
How can I make these vegan overnight oats?
This gluten and dairy free overnight oats recipe can also be made vegan if you substitute the honey for maple syrup. This will also make the oats low FODMAP if you stick to the serving size.
What can I serve with these gluten-free overnight oats?
The recipe below is a blank canvas. In the images pictures, I topped my steel cut overnight oats with another dollop of tahini, a sprinkle of cinnamon, sesame seeds and a drizzle of honey. There is minimal sweetener in the recipe, and you can make these sugar-free by omitting it and instead topping the steel cut overnight oats with sliced berries or bananas.
Other recipes for gluten-free overnight oats and make ahead steel cut oats:
Read on for how to make steel cut overnight oats, and if you love gluten-free oatmeal recipes, check out these others from the archives:
- Blueberry Low FODMAP Overnight Oats
- Gluten-Free Almond Butter Overnight Oats
- Banana Bread Baked Steel Cut Oats
With health and hedonism,
Rich & Creamy Steel Cut Overnight Oats
- In a small saucepan, combine the oats, almond or oat milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once it starts bubbling, cook for one minute, then remove entirely from the heat.
- Off the heat, whisk in the tahini and honey until dissolved—the tahini will thicken the oat mixture slightly. Add the chia seeds and whisk to incorporate.
- Transfer the oat mixture to a large glass Tupperware, two quart-sized mason jars or 4 smaller resealable pint-sized glass jars. Allow to cool slightly before covering and transferring to the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 5 days.
- Serve cold or reheated in the microwave with some of the suggested garnishes!