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Tangerine and Cherry Oatmeal (Easy Overnight Steel Cut Oats)

This recipe for Cherry Oatmeal is full of great flavors like cinnamon and vanilla with tart dried cherries and almonds, and is super simple to make thanks to soaking the steel cut oats overnight! With a few minutes of prep work the night before, you can have a delicious bowl of overnight steel cut oats in less than 10 minutes for your morning breakfast.

overhead photo of a bowl of tangerine and cherry oatmeal

Making this Recipe for Cherry Oatmeal

It’s funny how I consider this recipe for Cherry and Tangerine Oatmeal to be one of my favorite breakfast recipes, but the recipe hasn’t yet made it onto my blog after a year of blogging. And I think I’ve only had it once the past year.

That happens sometimes when you love trying and creating new recipes, but it’s fun to remember old favorites and get them back into the rotation.

I always love breakfast recipes that almost taste too good to be breakfast, but are really good for you, and these oats are another one of those kind of recipes. My only problem is remembering to mix it up the night before. Last night, that’s all I could remember.

I went downstairs to grab a prescription I had just picked up, but while down there I saw this recipe sitting out on the counter. I decided I’d throw it together really quick while I had a minute. After cleaning up, I went back upstairs wondering why I had originally gone downstairs in the first place.

This morning I was so glad I had gotten sidetracked from my original task just long enough to do the prep work for this delicious Cherry Oatmeal.

I can’t promise that it’s this recipe, but I’ve been feeling energetic and full of positivity all day. I’m convinced that starting the morning with a hearty breakfast is a contributing factor.

What are Steel Cut Oats

This recipe was my first introduction to steel cut oats, also known as Irish Oats. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of them until this recipe, but now I’m a huge fan of the chewy texture!

To explain what steel cut oats are, I first need to explain what oat groats are. Oat groats are the whole kernel with the inedible husk removed.

To make steel cut oats, the oat groats are cut with a steel blade into smaller pieces

“Steel cut” refers to the literal process of cutting the oat groats. Oat groats are the whole kernel that is removed from the husk or hull. Steel-cut oats are the whole oat groats that have been cut into two or three pieces.

Steel Cut Oats vs Rolled

Steel cut oats are very filling, much more textured than regular oatmeal, and have a bit of a chewy bite to them. Because of their hearty texture, steel cut oats require soaking and longer cooking times. The thicker texture makes steel cut oats the perfect choice for overnight oat recipes, like this Cherry Oatmeal.

Rolled oats, also called old-fashioned oats, are much more mild in flavor and softer texture than steel cut oats. They, too, start out as oat groats. Groats are then steamed and flattened. The reason they are faster to prepare is because they’ve already been partially cooked during the steaming and flattening process.

Are Steel Cut Oats Gluten-Free?

Technically, oats do not contain gluten. However, if you have a celiac allergy, you’ll want to purchase steel cut oatmeal that is labeled as gluten-free to avoid any risk of cross-contamination with other gluten containing products during production.

Why this Cherry Oatmeal is the Best Steel Cut Oats Recipe

Readers weigh in with their 5 star reviews of this delicious cherry oatmeal recipe:

After making this for the last 3 years- I thought I would let you know this is my FAVORITE way to eat steel cut oats! I think it deserves a shout out.” -Rachel

“My first attempt at steel cut oatmeal . . . It was delicious. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it another way! Ok, I’ll try the apple pie recipe next.” -Sharon

“Yummy! Mixed it last night and ate this morning. Everyone in my family loved it. Was skeptical that it would cook up that fast, but it did! We will be making this again.” -Dawn

Ok, you’ve made me an addict. I made this for Saturday’s breakfast and my hubs and I both loved it. I am soaking a batch now for the morning. I’m CRAVING it!” -Stephanie

What You Need to Make Cherry Overnight Oats

You’ll need the following ingredients to prepare this cherry oatmeal. Find answers to questions about ingredient substitutions later on in the article.

  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Dried Tart Cherries
  • Fresh Tangerine or Orange Zest
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Raw Cane Sugar or Maple Syrup
  • Almonds

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

overhead photo of a bowl of tangerine and cherry oatmeal

How to Make these Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Here’s a quick overview of the instructions to prepare this super easy recipe for overnight cherry oatmeal.

The night before you plan to eat your cherry overnight oats, combine the steel cut oats, cherries, tangerine zest, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, vanilla, and milk in a medium bowl. Then, you will cover the mixing bowl and let the oats soak in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours.

After the steel cut oats have soaked overnight, transfer the oat mixture to a medium saucepan. Heat the cherry oatmeal until boiling. Then, reduce the heat and simmer the overnight steel cut oats for about 5 minutes.

Before serving, stir in the butter and extra milk if desired. To serve, top the cherry oatmeal with chopped almonds, cane sugar, and a splash of milk.

The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

Food Allergies and Ingredient Substitutions

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about ingredients in this cherry oatmeal recipe:

Can I Make this Cherry Oatmeal Recipe Dairy-Free?

Yes! You can easily adapt this recipe for cherry overnight steel cut oats to be dairy-free. Here’s how:

Substitute your preferred dairy-free milk in place of the cow’s milk.

  • I recommend unsweetened and unflavored oat milk or almond milk as the best type to pair with this cherry oatmeal recipe.

Substitute your preferred dairy-free butter alternative in place of the dairy butter.

  • Vegan butter would probably have the best neutral flavor for someone who is allergic to dairy.
  • Coconut oil could be used so long as you don’t mind a slight coconut flavor.
  • If you simply have a dairy intolerance or lactose intolerance, you can likely use ghee. It is not dairy-free, but it has very little lactose and casein (a milk protein) due to the method that it is prepared.

What is a Good Substitute for Dried Cherries?

If you don’t have dried cherries or are unable to find them in your grocery store, you can substitute frozen cherries. However, I recommend rinsing and thawing them and waiting to add them until the cooking starts so it doesn’t change the color of the cherry oatmeal too much.

You might also like to try fresh cherries during cherry season. Don’t forget to pit them, though. I recommend adding them just before you start cooking the oatmeal.

Alternatively, you can substitute another dried fruit in place of the cherries in this overnight steel cut oats recipe. Try dried blueberries or dried cranberries for the best flavor pairing.

What to Serve with Cherry Oatmeal

I think you’ll find this overnight cherry oatmeal recipe plenty filling on its own, but if you’re looking for some other recipes to serve along side your morning oatmeal, here’s what I recommend:

Green Apple, Kiwi, and Spinach Juice is a tasty and nutrient-rich spinach juice blend to start your morning with. This green juice isn’t bitter at all thanks to the addition of green apples and kiwi. 

Bacon is one of the quintessential Saturday morning foods. Learn how to bake bacon; it will yield perfectly crispy, mess-free bacon with your Saturday morning breakfast.

Soft and fluffy scrambled eggs are easy to make so long as you use the right method; learn how to cook scrambled eggs perfectly every time.

This recipe for easy peel hard-boiled eggs breaks down the best way to boil eggs so they’re easy to peel every single time.

Don’t see what you’re looking for here? You can always head over to check out the recipe index to look for more recipes.

How to Store Leftover Cherry Oatmeal

Leftovers of this cherry oatmeal is best stored in an airtight container. This cherry oatmeal will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. As a great option for meal prep, divide the oatmeal into individual servings to use throughout the week; small mason jars work great!

Leftover steel cut oatmeal does thicken as it cools, so when you reheat your portions you’ll likely want to add some fresh milk on top to thin in out a bit.

Toss any leftovers after 5 days, or sooner if they smell bad, have mold growing, or an otherwise odd look or texture to them.

Can You Freeze Cooked Overnight Steel Cut Oats?

Yes! This Cherry Oatmeal is a great recipe to stock your freezer with. Freezing already prepared cherry steel cut oatmeal is a great way to save time in the mornings and still enjoy a delicious, healthy breakfast.

Freezing steel cut oatmeal works best when you portion individual servings out into single size storage containers. Frozen cooked steel cut oats will last for about 6 months in the freezer. Don’t forget to date and label your containers

To reheat the frozen oatmeal: take the container out of the freezer the night before and transfer it to the fridge. Then, reheat these overnight steel cut oats in 30 second intervals in the microwave before eating. Stir in between each 30 seconds. Serve topped with fresh milk, a pinch of sugar (if desired) and almonds.

Try these Easy Cherry Overnight Oats!

Next time you’re looking for a recipe for overnight steel cut oats, give this Cherry Oatmeal a try! Did you think it was the best overnight steel cut oats recipe? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this delicious breakfast treat.

On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of this homemade cherry oatmeal!

More Oatmeal Recipes for Breakfast

Looking for more hot cereals to try? Here are a few more:

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal is a great make-ahead oatmeal recipe for fall and winter. It has all the delicious flavors of pumpkin pie while still providing great nutritional value to start your morning off right.

Spend 5 minutes prepping this Slow Cooker Chai Oatmeal the night before, and wake up to a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal that is full of fall flavor!

This recipe for Overnight Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats is flavored with the apple pie flavors, has chunks of real honeycrisp apples, and is super simple to make thanks to soaking overnight!

This Oatmeal Pumpkin Smoothie isn’t a hot cereal, but it does have oatmeal in it and it is an easy breakfast to prepare, super healthy and full of all your favorite fall spices. What isn’t to love about a smoothie recipe that tastes like pumpkin pie?

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photo of tangerine cherry oatmeal

Tangerine and Cherry Oatmeal

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

This recipe for Cherry Oatmeal is flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, has tart dried cherries and almonds, and is super simple to make thanks to soaking the steel cut oats overnight! With a few minutes of prep work the night before, you can have a delicious bowl of overnight steel cut oats in less than 10 minutes for your morning breakfast.

Ingredients

For the Oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 2 tsp finely shredded tangerine peel or orange peel
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp. butter

For Garnish

  • Milk (optional)
  • 4 tsp raw cane sugar or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

Instructions

To Make the Cherry Oatmeal

  1. The night before you plan to eat your cherry overnight oats, combine the steel cut oats, cherries, tangerine zest, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, vanilla, and milk in a non-metal bowl.
  2. Then, cover the bowl and let the oats soak in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours.
  3. After the steel cut oats have soaked overnight, transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan. 
  4. Heat the cherry oatmeal until boiling. Then, reduce the heat and simmer the overnight steel cut oats for about 5 minutes, or until done and desired texture is reached.
  5. Stir in the butter until melted. Add extra milk if desired, until preferred consistency is reached.

Serving the Oatmeal

  1. To serve, divide the oatmeal between 4 bowls.
  2. Then, top the cherry oatmeal with chopped almonds and a sprinkle of cane sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup. Serve the oatmeal with extra milk, if desired.

Notes

How to Store Leftover Cherry Oatmeal

Leftovers of this cherry oatmeal is best stored in an airtight container. This cherry oatmeal will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can portion it out into individual servings to use throughout the week, or store it in one large container.

Leftover steel cut oatmeal does thicken as it cools, so when you reheat your portions you'll likely want to add some fresh milk on top to thin in out a bit.

How to Freeze Cooked Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Freezing steel cut oatmeal works best when you portion individual servings out into single size storage containers. Frozen cooked steel cut oats will last for about 6 months in the freezer.

To reheat the frozen oatmeal: take the container out of the freezer the night before and transfer it to the fridge. Then, reheat these overnight steel cut oats in 30 second intervals in the microwave before eating. Stir in between each 30 seconds. Serve topped with fresh milk, a pinch of sugar (if desired) and almonds.

adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

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Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 387Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 30mgSodium 258mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 6gSugar 8gProtein 14g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

Rachel J.

Tuesday 4th of June 2013

After making this for the last 3 years- I thought I would let you know this is my FAVORITE way to eat steel cut oats! I think it deserves a shout out.

Sharon

Saturday 13th of August 2011

My first attempt at steel cut oatmeal . . . It was delicious. I don't know if I'll ever make it another way! Ok, I'll try the apple pie recipe next.

DawnK

Wednesday 14th of July 2010

Yummy! Mixed it last night and ate this morning. Everyone in my family loved it. Was skeptical that it would cook up that fast, but it did! We will be making this again and might try it with Craisins in the future, too.

DawnK

Wednesday 14th of July 2010

It's in the fridge now! Can't wait to try it in the morning. Just used orange zest, since it's summer and I don't think we'd find a tangerine. It'll be something hearty to eat, in the morning, before we head out to the farmer's market.

jenna

Thursday 11th of March 2010

love this! bookmarking it so i have it handy for next year's tangerine harvest. always looking for ways to get all the antioxidants in the tangerine peel into my body and not the trash! if you'd like me to link this to my what to do with whole orange puree post let me know.

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