If you’re looking for a stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast for fall, this Apple Chai Steel Cut Oats recipe fits the bill. It’s hearty, cozy, and full of warming chai spices.
Steel cut oats are an entirely different way to experience oatmeal. The chewy grains are infinitely more satisfying than rolled oats, especially on a chilly fall day, and they have a slightly nutty flavor, which makes steel cut oats perfect for pairing with apples and chai spices. This Apple Chai Steel Cut Oats recipe is like the breakfast equivalent of a warm, fuzzy blanket. (It also makes your kitchen smell like fall baking, which is an added bonus.)
Once you’ve got the basic recipe for steel cut oats down pat, you can switch things up with your favorite milks, seasonal fruits, nuts, seeds, spices, and other add-ins. Or, if you’re more comfortable sticking to recipes, you can try my Pumpkin Cranberry Apple Steel Cut Oats next!
What You’ll Need
Here’s everything you’ll need to make Apple Chai Steel Cut Oats:
- Coconut or almond milk – Or, really, you can use any milk you like, whether dairy or non-dairy.
- Applesauce – This adds sweetness to the recipe without adding sugar.
- Chai spice – You can make your own chai spices if you can’t find them at the grocery store, or use strongly brewed chai tea instead of the milk.
- Steel cut oats – Sometimes you’ll find steel cut oats readymade in the freezer section, but that’s not what you want here. Use the kind sold with the oatmeal in the cereal aisle.
Topping Ideas for Steel Cut Oats
When it comes to topping your Apple Chai Steel Cut Oats, the world is your oyster! Here are some options to try. Mix and match a few or come up with your own!
- Ground cinnamon
- Shredded coconut
- Maple syrup
- Date syrup
- Chopped almonds
- Chopped walnuts
- Almond butter
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Dried cranberries
How to Make Apple Chai Steel Cut Oats
Steel cut oats are totally doable for a weekday breakfast. They need to simmer for 30 minutes, so get them started, then get yourself ready for the day, returning to the kitchen once in a while to give them a stir. Here’s how to make them:
Start the oats. Bring the milk, applesauce, salt, chai spices, and steel cut oats to a boil in a large saucepan.
Simmer. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the saucepan. Cook the oats for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Let sit. Once the oats are tender, remove the saucepan from the stovetop and let it sit, covered, for about 10 minutes.
Serve. Stir in the chopped apple, then divide the steel cut oats into bowls. Garnish as desired.
Tips for Success
Steel cut oats are easy to master, but there are a few tricks to making sure they turn out just right.
- Play with the texture. If you like a chewy oat, keep the recipe as-is. If you prefer more of a creamy porridge texture, add more liquid just before removing the saucepan from the heat. Want super thick oatmeal? Then boil the oats for longer than 30 minutes, but keep a careful eye on them! They’ll burn once all the liquid is absorbed.
- Amp up the nuttiness. Have some extra time on your hands? You can bring out the nutty flavor of the oats by toasting them in the pan before adding the other ingredients.
- Process the oats first. You can reduce the cooking time a bit if you put the steel cut oats in your food processor and pulse them a few times to break them up. Depending on how much you process them, it can shave off 5 minutes or more. This is best for those who like a porridge-y bowl of steel cut oats.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store Apple Chai Steel Cut Oats in airtight storage containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, use the microwave or transfer the oats to a small saucepan and warm them up over low heat, adding more liquid if needed.
Can You Freeze Leftover Steel Cut Oats?
Yes, you can freeze steel cut oats for up to 3 months. Any airtight container will do, but I like freezing them in small freezer bags because they’re perfect for individual portions and they can be frozen flat and stacked to save space. Let them thaw in the fridge, then heat them in the microwave or on the stovetop with a bit of additional liquid.