This hearty and delicious cinnamon apple oatmeal is an easy breakfast recipe for busy mornings that evokes all the cozy feelings–and flavors–of fall.
Whew! Halloween is over, and we’re up to our eyeballs in candy around here. If you–like us–could use a really healthy breakfast option to counter all the Halloween candy lurking in your house, I’ve got the perfect recipe for you today:
Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal!
With three school-age boys in the house, I’m always looking for hearty breakfasts that will keep them full until lunchtime. We definitely have mornings where we just survive on cold cereal straight from the box, but at least a few times a week I try to make a hot breakfast.
But mornings can get a little crazy, and I’m working on simplification.
This cinnamon apple oatmeal is the perfect school day breakfast.
- It’s full of fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals.
- It’s warm and filling.
- It’s customizable to appeal to the tastes of different family members.
- It’s a simple, set-it-and-forget-it recipe that requires minimal prep work and only one dish.
We have a winner!
In this recipe, I used steel cut oats because I like the chewier (rather than mushy) texture they give. Even my normally oatmeal-hating son admitted that he actually liked the steel cut oats, too, so I consider that a huge success.
What is the difference between steel cut oats and regular old-fashioned rolled oats?
Confession: until I made this recipe, I had never cooked steel cut oats. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten them either. And if you’re anything like me, you might be wondering…what IS the difference between steel cut and regular rolled oats?
The jist…nutritionally speaking, they are the same. They are just processed differently.
Rolled oats are steamed and then pressed by rolling to make them flat. When flattened, they cook faster and with less liquid. Once cooked, they tend to have a softer texture and milder flavor.
Steel cut oats are cut into pieces using large steel blades. The have a chewier texture and slightly nutty flavor. They also take longer to cook…unless you use a pressure cooker, like an Instant Pot. Then it’s no big deal! (Learn more here)
Note: While you CANNOT substitute rolled oats for steel cut oats in recipes (and vice a versa), I have included instructions for BOTH below.
- 1 cup steel cut oats*
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup milk, any kind
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 apple, or more to taste, chopped (peeled or unpeeled)
- Craisins, raisins, maple syrup & chopped nuts (optional, but delicious)
- Add oats, water, salt, cinnamon, and chopped apples to the Instant Pot.
- Cook on manual setting (high) for 5 minutes. Allow 10 minute natural release, then quick release any remaining pressure.
- If it seems like there is too much liquid when you first open the lid, stir it up a bit, and let it rest uncovered for a few minutes. The oats will continue to absorb the liquid as it cools.
- Scoop into individual bowls and add desired toppings: milk, pecans, maple syrup, raisins, etc.
Oats: To make this recipe with rolled oats instead of steel cut oats, simply decrease liquid to 2 cups total (1 cup milk, 1 cup water), and change the cooking time to 3 minutes. That's it!
Liquid: How much liquid to use really depends on personal preference. If you want your oatmeal a little more soft and wet, add a splash of milk at serving time (this also helps cool it down enough to eat).
Looking for more weekday breakfasts? Try these:
- Healthy breakfast banana split: a fun way to start the day
- Caramel Apple German Pancake
- Healthier banana chocolate chip muffins