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Savory Steel Cut Oats with Mushrooms and Thyme

Savory Steel Cut Oats paired perfectly with mushrooms and thyme is an easy and delicious dish packed with nutrients.

This easy recipe can be served as a comforting entree or satisfying side dish.

Savory Steel Cut Oats on a white plate with thyme sprig on the right and a silver fork on the left.

Who says oats must be served sweet?

These savory steel-cut oats are rich, creamy, and make a nutrient-dense alternative to risotto!

Packed with protein and fiber, steel-cut oats are a great addition to a well-balanced diet.

I sauteed some extra mushrooms to add to the finished dish to improve the presentation, but the added mushrooms are totally optional. However, I love how rustic and beautiful the sauteed mushrooms make this meal look, especially when serving to guests.

Either way, do not skip the thyme.

Steel-Cut Oats Versus Regular Rolled Oats

The main difference between steel-cut oats (aka Irish oats) and regular rolled oats is how they are processed.

Steel-cut oats are cut into two or three pieces, while regular oatmeal (aka rolled or quick oats) are chopped smaller for faster cooking. Steel-cut oats, in turn, have a firmer, chewier texture and nuttier flavor than regular oatmeal.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are four reasons to try this easy recipe:

  • This steel cut oatmeal is a protein-packed and filling vegan/plant-based entree or side dish.
  • These simple savory oats are a great whole-grain alternative to risotto or polenta.
  • This hearty dish is great served at breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner!
  • This savory steel cut oats recipe is easy to customize with your favorite herbs, spices, and toppings.

Close-up side view of a bunch of thyme in a jar standing on a kitchen towel.

Ingredient Notes

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Dried Porcini Mushrooms & Boiling Water – Dried porcini mushrooms add bold umami flavor to this dish. The boiling water is used to dehydrate them. Feel free to use dried shiitake mushrooms or a combination of both.
  • Olive Oil – is used to coat the pot to prevent sticking and sautee the mushrooms.
  • Brown Mushrooms – add another layer of savory-umami flavor.
  • Fresh Thyme – adds plenty of herby-peppery-citrusy fresh flavor.
  • Garlic Cloves – add comforting aromas and incredible flavor.
  • Low Sodium Vegetable Broth – is used to loosen up any bits of oats that may stick to the pot.
  • Steel Cut Oats – have a hearty, rich, and nutty taste.
  • Salt – highlights and enhances the flavor.

How To Make Savory Steel Cut Oats

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make this recipe:

  1. Prep the dried mushrooms: Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover and let rehydrate for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the mushrooms are rehydrated, strain the liquid through cheesecloth. Do not discard the liquid! Rinse the rehydrated mushrooms thoroughly and then chop them into smaller pieces.
  2. Sautee the mushrooms: In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced brown mushrooms and chopped porcinis. Saute until mushrooms begin to soften and are almost cooked through.
  3. Add the thyme: Remove the leaves from 3 of the thyme sprigs (about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of leaves). Chop the leaves and add them to the pot along with the stems.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients: Add the chopped garlic, vegetable broth, reserved mushroom liquid, and steel-cut oats. Stir. Season with salt (to taste).
  5. Cook the steel-cut oats: Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower heat, cover, and cook (stirring occasionally) for 20 to 25 minutes adding splashes of vegetable stock (or water) a few times during cooking to help scrape away any oat bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Taste for texture: If the oats are still chewy or the dish seems too thick, add a splash of liquid and let the oats sit on a warm stove for another 10 to 20 minutes.
  7. Finish and serve: Remove the thyme stems from the pot. Discard. Sprinkle thyme leaves from the remaining sprigs over the steel-cut oats before serving hot!

Close-up side view of the Savory Steel Cut Oats with Mushrooms and Thyme on a white plate placed on a kitchen towel.

Recipe Tips

Steel-cut oats are larger and firmer than regular rolled oats and take longer to cook. While you can use rolled oats in this recipe, be sure to reduce the cooking time and keep in mind that the flavor and texture are similar but not exactly the same.

To shorten the cooking time of steel-cut oats, they can be soaked in water overnight and cooked to the desired texture and consistency the next day.

Steel-cut oats tend to stick to the bottom of the pot, so be sure to keep a watchful eye while they’re cooking. Use splashes of vegetable broth or water to loosen up any bits stuck to the pot.


These oats can be flavored and topped with all sorts of things. Here are a few yummy variations:

  • Make a savory brunch bowl by topping cooked savory oats with a poached or fried egg, sliced avocado, chopped red onion, and your favorite breakfast meat.
  • Add veggies. Stir a handful of baby spinach leaves into hot cooked steel-cut oats until soft and wilted. Top with diced tomato, and don’t forget the freshly cracked black or red pepper.
  • Make it cheese-y. Stir freshly grated parmesan cheese and/or nutritional yeast into freshly cooked oats. Sprinkle more on top!
  • Add more fresh herbs such as cilantro, dill, parsley, basil, chives, or green onions.

Storing & Freezing

  • Storing Leftovers: Cooked steel-cut oats should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
  • Freezing: The best way to freeze cooked oats is to store them as individual servings in freezer-safe containers in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
  • Reheating: To reheat, either plop leftovers in the microwave for a couple of minutes or heat on the stove. Add splashes of broth or water to loosen it up a bit if it’s too thick.

A close-up side view of the savory steel cut oats with mushrooms and thyme on a white plate with a silver fork on the left.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Eat Steel Cut Oats for Dinner?

Absolutely! Savory steel-cut oatmeal is perfect for dinner.

What’s the best way to cook steel-cut oats?

There are a few ways to cook steel-cut oats with great tasting results. They can be cooked to perfection on the stovetop, soaked overnight, cooked in a slow cooker, and even in an Instant Pot.

Do you need to soak steel-cut oats overnight?

Its’ not necessary but doing so does shorten the cooking time.

Can I use instant oats?

I don’t recommend instant oats for this recipe.

More Oatmeal Recipes:

Here are a few recipes  with rolled and steel cut oats for you to try:

Savory Steel Cut Oats

Savory Steel Cut Oats with Mushrooms and Thyme

Yield: 4 portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

These savory steel cut oats with mushrooms and thyme are creamy, delicious, filling, and comforting. They can be served as a main or side dish and are very easy to make.


  • 0.5 oz / 14 gr dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 to 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • salt to taste


  1. Place the dried porcini mushrooms into a bowl and pour hot water over them. Cover and let them re-hydrate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Strain the mushroom liquid through a cheesecloth and set aside. Rinse the mushrooms in a colander (dried mushrooms can sometimes be sandy). Chop the rehydrated mushrooms.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the brown and porcini mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally until almost cooked through.
  4. Remove the leaves from 3 thyme sprigs. This should yield about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon of leaves. Chop the leaves and add them to the mushrooms together with the stems (you will remove the stems once the dish is done).
  5. Add the garlic, vegetable broth, mushroom liquid, and the steel cut oats. Stir and season with salt if needed.
  6. Bring to simmer, lower the heat, cover, and cook stirring occasionally for 20 to 25 minutes. Steel cut oats stick easily to the bottom of the pan so make sure to add a little bit of vegetable stock or water 2 to 3 times during cooking and scrape the bits that stick to the bottom of the pan. If the oats are still chewy at the end of cooking or become too thick or dry, add some liquid and leave it to sit on a warm stove for another 10 to 20 minutes to allow the oats to swell.
  7. Remove the thyme stems from the cooked oats.
  8. Before serving, remove the leaves from the fresh thyme sprigs and sprinkle them over the steel cut oats.
Nutrition Information
Yield 4 portions Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 368Total Fat 11.5gSaturated Fat 1.7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9.8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 146.5mgCarbohydrates 55gFiber 8.1gSugar 4.2gProtein 13.7g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

Did you make this recipe?

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Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Hi, can I use shiitake mushrooms instead?

Maria Ushakova

Wednesday 18th of December 2019

Yes, I think it should be fine.


Monday 6th of November 2017

This is absolutely delicious.10/10! I sadly didn't have enough mushrooms but I can only imagine it would only make it better.

Maria Ushakova

Wednesday 8th of November 2017

Hi Stephanie, I am so glad you like the recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to write the comment :)

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