Steel-cut oats are already a fantastic and filling breakfast, but with one extra and extremely simple step, you can exponentially increase their flavor. Here’s why you should always toast them.
Toasting, roasting, and otherwise applying heat to things brings out such a wonderful flavor profile thanks to the Maillard reaction—the chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that gives everything from toasted marshmallows to baked bread their unique and complex flavors.
You can harness that little bit of culinary science to give your steel-cut oats a much richer flavor profile by simply toasting them on your stovetop. Simply take a generous pat of butter and toss it in a pan (you want enough butter to coat the pan surface), and heat over medium heat until the butter is completely melted.
Pour in your steel-cut oats, give the pan a shake to spread them out, and then wait for a pleasant baking bread/popcorn scent. At that point, begin stirring the oats gently to toss them about and ensure even browning. Once your oats have a nice medium-brown toasted appearance, remove them from the heat, and prepare them as you normally would.
If you prefer, you can toast them right in the pot you make your oats in or even use the saute function on your Instant Pot to toast them in place. While that’s certainly a time-saver, in that you don’t have a frying pan to clean up after preparing your oats, I’ve always preferred to use a pan to more easily spread out and monitor the oats.
Either way, the extra burst of flavor in the final product is worth it and anyone who regularly eats steel-cut oats for breakfast will be well served to incorporate toasting into their routine.