I love homemade granola (see here and here and here), and I’m also fond of its warmth-in-a-bowl cousin, oatmeal. Usually, I’ll throw together a pan of old-fashioned oats in the morning, but I recently came across a method of cooking steel-cut oats—those tiny, whole grain marvels that cook into what’s called porridge in the UK—overnight. Easy! Delicious!
The method is simple: toast your steel-cut oats in a knob of sweet butter, which makes your kitchen smell like you’re baking oatmeal cookies. (For that matter, you can and should butter-toast regular old-fashioned or quick oats before cooking them in water.) Add water and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pan, take it off the heat, and let it sit on the stove overnight. In the morning? Perfectly cooked, super-quick, deliciously warming oatmeal to start your day.
I’ve enhanced the technique with some flavor additions and a topping of easy caramelized banana, which comes together in about 5 minutes as you’re reheating your oatmeal the next morning. You could sauté some apple slices in butter and sugar, as well. You could also skip the flavoring and use this overnight oatmeal recipe as a basis for a savory lunch: a big bowlful of oatmeal topped with a lightly fried egg, a smidgen of shredded cheese and lots of pepper.
I’m enjoying this overnight oatmeal so much I might start sprouting oat shoots from my ears!
creamy overnight oatmeal recipe with caramelized banana topping
(makes 4 servings)
for the overnight oatmeal:
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
3 cups water
generous pinch salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)
1 cup almond or regular milk for serving
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat; add the oats and stir to coat them with butter. Toast the oats, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes (they'll smell wonderfully toasty, like baking oatmeal cookies). Add the water, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and leave the oatmeal to sit overnight. The oats will absorb the water and take on a perfectly toothy texture. The next morning, stir in the extracts, if using.
This recipe makes 4 (3/4-cup) servings. The oatmeal keeps well in the refrigerator. To serve, measure your cooked oatmeal into a pan and add 1/4 cup of milk. (I like almond milk for its nutty flavor that complements the oatmeal.) Heat for 5 minutes until warm and creamy.
For the caramelized bananas:
1/2 banana, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. brown sugar
In a small skillet, melt the butter and brown sugar. Add the banana slices. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, flipping the bananas once, until they're soft and golden brown. Spoon the bananas and sugar syrup over a serving of oatmeal.