Wondering if steel cut oats are gluten-free? It depends! Find out everything you need to know in this post.

PLUS our very favorite recipe for creamy coconut gluten-free steel cut oats – made in the instant pot or slow cook

An overhead view of steel cut oats in a bowl


 
Table of Contents

Are Steel Cut Oats Gluten-Free?

Sometimes, but not always!

Steel cut oats are only gluten-free if they are made with certified gluten-free oats. Pure oats are naturally gluten-free, but they also have a high risk of cross-contamination with gluten during the manufacturing/packing process.

For this reason, regular steel cut oats are not safe for people on a gluten-free diet. Only certified gluten free steel cut oats are tested to ensure they contain less than 20 ppm gluten.

Learn more in these articles on is farro gluten-free, is quinoa gluten-free and are oats gluten-free.

What Is the Difference Between Steel Cut Oats and Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats?

Regular steel cut oats could contain gluten, whereas gluten-free oats have been tested to make sure they meet the FDA standards for gluten-free products. Since regular steel cut oats are often transported, manufactured, and packaged in factories with wheat, rye, and barley, there’s a chance they have been contaminated with gluten.

On the other hand, gluten free steel cut oats are made in a separate facility so that they cannot cross-contaminate with gluten products.

If you need to make gluten free steel-cut oats, make sure your oats are certified gluten-free.

You also might like these articles on how to make oat flour, substitute for oat flour, is oat milk gluten-free and is oatmeal gluten-free.

Recipes using oat flour

Steel cut oats in a bowl with a spoon

Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oat Brands

Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to find gluten-free oats these days. You can usually find them in most grocery stores, or buy them online. Here are some of the most popular brands!

bowl of oats topped with coconut and chocolate chips

Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats Recipe

Steel cut oats make up the delicious bowl of oatmeal you’ve ever tried! As a less refined version of whole oat groats, steel cut oats cook up extra creamy and flavorful.

Unlike rolled oats, they’re never mushy or soupy. If you know how to cook them right, they come out with the perfect fluffy, slightly chewy texture that warms you from the inside out!

Yes, this steel-cut oats recipe takes a little longer to cook. But trust me—the final result is well worth the effort! Most of it is hands-off cooking time, so you can get it going and move on with your morning. When you come back, you’ll have the tastiest bowl of oats waiting for you!

I love making steel cut oats in an Instant Pot or slow-cooker to simplify and speed up the cooking process. Once you try this method, you won’t go back to the stovetop!

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Easy make-ahead breakfast
  • Endless ways to customize
  • Simple ingredients
  • Perfect for busy mornings
  • Enjoy it on the go

Ingredients You’ll Need

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

Ingredients for steel cut oats on a counter top
  • Gluten-free steel cut oats: Be sure to use gluten-free steel cut oats if you want to keep this recipe gluten-free. Regular oat products may cross-contaminate with gluten ingredients during the milling and packaging process, so they are not safe for people who have Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. 
  • Coconut milk: You can use light or regular coconut milk for this recipe. Light coconut has less fat, but full-fat coconut milk will give you creamier steel-cut oats!
  • Water: The amount of water you need to add depends on the cooking method. Check out my instructions below for specific amounts.
  • Salt: I like to add a dash of fine sea salt to enhance the flavor and balance out the sweetness of my oats.
  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar is my favorite way to sweeten steel-cut oats, but you could also use honey or maple syrup. If you go this route, you may want to slightly cut back on other liquids.
  • Vanilla extract: I love adding real vanilla extract to round out the recipe and give my oats a more delicious flavor profile.
  • Toppings: Feel free to get creative here! I like to add milk, coconut flakes, chopped almonds, and mini chocolate chips. But you could also top your oatmeal with classic additions like berries, a bit of Greek yogurt, honey, peanut butter, dice apple, chia seeds, etc.

How to Make Them

FOR THE INSTANT POT:

  • Spray the insert of the instant pot with cooking spray. 
A hand pouring water into a measuring cup, and a sauce pan with water
  • Pour the can of coconut milk into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Add water to reach 4 cups of liquid.
Oats in a sauce pan with milk and sugar, and cooking oats in the sauce pan
  • Pour the milk mixture into the Instant Pot. Stir in the oats and salt. Secure the lid and make sure the valve is sealed. Set to MANUAL or Pressure Cook button for 5 minutes. 
  • When finished cooking, let the pressure naturally release for 15-20 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure. 
  • Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla, and almond extract if using. 
  • Serve steel cut oatmeal with additional milk and your favorite toppings!

FOR THE SLOW-COOKER: 

  • Spray the insert of a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. 
  • Pour the can of coconut milk into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Add water to reach 4 cups of liquid.
  • Pour the milk mixture into the Instant Pot. Add an additional 2 cups of water (for a total of 6 cups liquid). Stir in the oats and salt.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract if using. 
  • Serve with additional milk and your favorite toppings!

Storage Instructions

Store steel cut oats in the fridge for up to five days. Leftover steel cut oats reheat well in the microwave, but you may need to add a bit of water or milk to thin them out.

Instant Pot Creamy Pumpkin Maple Oats
You also might like this recipe for pumpkin maple steel cut oats. They're a cozy fall favorite!
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FAQs

Can you get gluten free steel cut oats?

Yes, lots of brands sell gluten-free steel cut oats, including Bob’s Red Mill, Nature’s Path, Sprout’s, and Arrowhead Mills. Note: regular steel-cut oats are not gluten-free, so be sure to look for the gluten-free label.

Are Quaker Oats steel cut oats gluten-free?

No, Quaker Oats steel cut oats are not gluten-free. They are made in a facility where they come in contact with gluten products, so there is a high risk of cross-contamination. For gluten-free steel cut oats, try Bob’s Red Mill or Nature’s Path brands.

Are bob’s mill steel cut oats gluten-free?

Bob’s Red Mill makes both gluten-free steel cut oats and non-gluten-free steel cut oats. If you want them to be gluten-free, make sure you’re buying the oats with a gluten-free label.

Can you eat steel cut oats with celiac disease?

Yes, you can eat steel cut oats if you have Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance—you’ll just need to make sure you buy oats with a gluten-free label. Regular steel-cut oats are not gluten-free, since they have a high risk of cross-contaminating with gluten-products in the manufacturing process.

Expert Tips & Tricks

  • These oats can either be made in the instant pot or slow cooker—whichever you prefer!
  • For the instant pot, the oats will need to naturally release for 15-20 minutes after cooking. Plan for 45 minutes (hands-off cooking!) for the instant pot to come to temperature, cook, then natural release. 
  • Be sure to use certified gluten-free steel-cut oats. This is my favorite brand. 
A bowl of steel cut oats, and a hand scooping up a bite with a spoon

MORE RECIPES USING OATMEAL

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you try these gluten-free steel cut oats, be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. I’d love to hear from you! 

A bowl of steel cut oats with toppings and a spoon dipping into the oats
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Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats (Creamy Coconut!)

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Natural Release 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
These creamy coconut steel cut oats are one of our favorite weekday breakfasts! I love making them in the instant pot because I can start them and walk away. They'll need to natural release for 20 minutes (plus the cook time)so plan accordingly. These gluten-free oats absolutely delicious topped with coconut, almonds and chocolate chips!

Ingredients

  • 1 13.5-ounce can light or regular coconut milk
  • Water specific amount in directions below
  • 2 cups gluten-free steel cut oats
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼-½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract optional
  • For serving: milk coconut flakes, chopped almonds, mini chocolate chips

Instructions 

FOR THE INSTANT POT:

  • Spray the insert of the instant pot with cooking spray.
  • Pour the can of coconut milk into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Add water to reach 4 cups of liquid.
  • Pour the milk mixture into the Instant Pot. Stir in the oats and salt. Secure the lid and make sure the valve is sealed. Set to MANUAL or Pressure Cook button for 5 minutes.
  • When finished cooking, let the pressure naturally release for 15-20 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure.
  • Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract if using.
  • Serve with additional milk and your favorite toppings!

FOR THE SLOW-COOKER:

  • Spray the insert of a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • Pour the can of coconut milk into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Add water to reach 4 cups of liquid.
  • Pour the milk mixture into the Instant Pot. Add an additional 2 cups of water (for a total of 6 cups liquid). Stir in the oats and salt.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract if using.
  • Serve with additional milk and your favorite toppings!

Notes

RECIPE NOTES
  • These oats can either be made in the instant pot or slow cooker—whichever you prefer!
  • For the instant pot, the oats will need to naturally release for 15-20 minutes after cooking. Plan for 45 minutes (hands-off cooking!) for the instant pot to come to temperature, cook, then natural release. 
  • Be sure to use certified gluten-free steel-cut oats. This is my favorite brand. 

Nutrition

Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 13mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg

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Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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