Easy overnight steel-cut oatmeal.

So, today is rainyrainyrainy … this kind of morning needs to start with a nice, satisfying bowl of oatmeal. Good thing I’d prepped some up the night before.

In a pinch, if I’m feeling oatmeal-y on a morning, I’ll do a batch of quick-cooking oats. But if you want that real, hearty, flavorful bowl of oatmeal, then steel-cut oats are best. It’s just, who has that kind of time in the morning to kill 20 minutes waiting for your breakfast to cook?

This easy technique for overnight “cooking” steel-cut oats is totally the best. Of course, you can top your oatmeal as you like — I dig these caramelized bananas, but really, a big spoonful of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon make lovely toppers. Fresh fruit, toasted pecans or slivered almonds, dried raisins or cranberries. Or go savory, and top your bowl with a softly fried egg.

Start this tonight, and you’ll have a welcome day-starter tomorrow.

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.

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