Steel Cut Oats with Cinnamon, Dates and Sheep’s Milk Yogurt

It’s healthy, it’s delicious, and with the littlest bit of planning, it can be made conveniently enough for the busiest lifestyle. I know, because I live that lifestyle. And until now, breakfast was a coffee and a muffin from the truck on the way to work. No longer.

Once or twice a week, here’s what I do – while we’re cleaning up the dinner dishes, I start the oatmeal cooking. When it’s done, I take the pot off the stove and put it in the fridge. In the morning I will take out a quarter of the original batch, put it in a glass jar and heat it in the microwave. (I’m avoiding plastic when I can.) I then take the jar and put in in a bag with a small container of yogurt, a bowl and a spoon. On the way to work, I stop for coffee at the truck, and by the time I reach my desk, the oatmeal is still warm (I only love 5 blocks from work). I spoon the oatmeal into the bowl with the yogurt, and sink into my morning heaven. If I’ve gotten to bed early, I’ve also gotten up early, and beaten my first patient to the office by at least a half hour, so I can take my time and really enjoy it. If not, I just start in on office hours, nursing my oatmeal between patients throughout the morning. Either way, I’m happy.

My long term goal it to get up really early and exercise, and to eat before I get to work, but for now, this is working for me. And its a heck of a lot healthier than a muffin.

Sheep’s milk Yogurt?… Really?

OMG once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never go back to the cow. It’s got a tangy freshness that is just so special.

From a health perspective, sheep milk has a higher calcium and  nutritional content than cows milk, and while it also has more fat, 25% of that fat is medium chain triglycerides, which may benefit weight loss. Plus I find it that much more satisfying than low fat yogurt, so I only need a few ounces to feel satisfied. With Old Chatham brand, the one I’m using now, you can skim the cream off the top for a lighter fat version.

Sheep’s milk is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid, and may have favorable effects on cholesterol and heart disease risk. In one study, switching from cow to sheep’s milk lowered total cholesterol among folks who ate a dairy-rich diet.  In another, sheep’s milk cheese consumption led to favorable changes in inflammatory and atherogenic markers.

The best tasting brand I’ve eaten so far is from Bellwether Farms in California (maybe because it was my first…), but the yogurt from Three Corner Field Farm is a very close second. Old Chatham makes a sheep yogurt that is more akin to the greek yogurt, and has wonderful flavors like maple and ginger.

Oatmeal with dates, Cinnamon & Sheep’s Milk Yogurt

This batch will make 4 servings. Bob’s Red Mill oats, which I am using now, calls for 3 cups of water to 1 cup of oats and a 20 minute cook time, but I’m happier with 3 1/2 cups water and a longer cooking time. You should experiment with the brand you use to find the amount of liquid and the cook that works best for you. I also like Whole Foods 365 and Trader Joes Brands. Dates have the wonderful quality of melting into the oatmeal as it cooks, dispersing their sweetness throughout, obviating the need for maple syrup or brown sugar, and, along with the cinnamon, giving it a wonderfully nutty brown color.

  • 1 cup Steel Cut Oats
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 dates (Medjool if you can find them) pitted and cut into small pieces
  • 2- 6 oz containers of sheep’s milk yogurt (you’ll eat 3 oz each day)

Combine water, salt, oatmeal, cinnamon stick and chopped dates in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat as far as possible, cover and cook 30 minutes, stirring several times to keep it from sticking, and removing the lid for the last 10 minutes if it seems too liquidy.  Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick, cool and store in fridge. To serve, remove 1/4 of the oatmeal, reheat for 1-2 mins in microwave. Serve with a side of sheep’s milk yogurt. Enjoy!

Nutritional info (calculated at

More Make-Ahead Steel-Cut Oats Recipes from Around the Web

  • Pinch My Salt uses McCann’s, makes 8 servings at a time and refrigerates each serving separately in small containers
  • Mark Bittman cuts morning cooking time to 7-10 mins by making Overnight Steel Cut Oats (and tops w/ almonds and dried cranberries)
  • The Novice Chef tries her hand at overnight oats
  • Two Peas and  a Pod top their oatmeal with brown sugar and then torch it, creme brulee style. Definitely a weekend recipe.
  • Ohsheglows makes hers ahead, and has 5 different recipes on her blog, some using almond milk
  • Side of Sneakers makes her overnight in a crock pot and also uses almond milk
  • Apartment therapy uses little jars like mine.

Do you have a favorite steel cut oats recipe?

Tips for steel cut make-ahead success? A favorite brand of sheeps milk yogurt? Feel free to post it in the comments section below.

7 Responses to Steel Cut Oats with Cinnamon, Dates and Sheep’s Milk Yogurt

    • Way more $$. IMHO worth every penny. When I buy cow’s milk yogurt, it sits in the fridge uneaten. This stuff I eat, so it doesn’t go to waste. But as I said, I don’t eat it in large amounts. So in the end I think I spend about the same. But I get better health benefits since I actually eat it every day.

  1. Sounds good 🙂

    I use steel cut oats at home, but I do them very simply, just fix a batch and eat them over the next couple of days, adding some raisins and milk (or half and half, for real luxury) and some whey protein (so it sticks with me til lunch). I like the texture. (I also eat regular oatmeal if I haven’t had time to fix a batch of the other.)

    I wonder if they’ll have sheeps yoghurt where I live when I get back, and I just haven’t noticed it before?

  2. Thanks for the recipe! It’s been my hearty breakfast for the past 5 days and counting… perfect for the weather and my intentions to eat a little healthier. I hypothesize that the oats would be good with chopped almonds on top but have not yet tried this.

    My favorite steel cut oats recipe prior to yours is from Alton Brown:
    Toasting the oats beforehand makes for a nice nutty taste. I usually don’t have buttermilk around, which when present adds a nice tang, but skim milk will work. And sometimes, like Bardiac, I add raisins. Yum!

    I also haven’t seen sheep’s milk yogurt around, but goat’s milk was fun. Mostly I’ve been using Fage.

    • SDW –

      I am going to check out Alton’s recipe – I love him! I like the idea of toasting the oats, and buttermilk is great tasting stuff.

      I use raisins when there are not dates around.

      Agree tre the almonds.

      Also lately adding some sunflower seeds (toasted, shelled, from Whole Foods)

      Thanks for reading!

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