Savory Steel Cut Oats

Updated: June 16, 2024, By Swasthi

This Savory Steel Cuts Oats makes for an amazing protein packed and wholesome nutritious meal. Steel cut oats are cooked with lentils, vegetables, spices and herbs for a delicious one pot meal. It tastes good on its own but a veggie salad, raita, pickle or plain yogurt makes a complete satisfying meal. In this post I share how to make the savory steel cut oats in a pot and in a pressure cooker.

Savory Steel Cut Oats

If you are trying to eat healthy vegetarian foods, give this a try. It is vegan and gluten-free if you cook it in oil in place of ghee or butter. You can have this any time of the day, but I make this often for a quick one pot dinner. It actually makes for a great breakfast, keeps you full longer and keeps the hunger pangs away till noon.

Many years ago when we were learning to cook with different kinds of oats, we researched and found the whole oat groats and the steel cut variety are the least processed. While all kinds have nearly the same nutritional values, steel cut oats and oat groats have extra fiber.

This extra fiber helped us keep full for longer hours as it digests slowly. So this dish is one of the staples in our kitchen. The recipe is very adaptable and you can use different kinds of lentils, vegetables and even leafy greens. You can also make this savory steel cut oats ahead and store for 2 days in the refrigerator. Reheat until bubbling hot. Here are some details about ingredients and substitutes.

Ingredients & Substitutes

  • Oats: Use steel cut oats. You can also use rolled oats and I have a separate post for that here – Oats Khichdi
  • Lentils: I use moong dal aka split skinned yellow lentils. You can also use red lentils if you want. But yellow lentils give a thicker consistency to this dish.
  • Spices: You need spices like cumin, red chili powder, ginger and hing/asafetida which is optional. I have not used spices like garam masala or curry powder. But feel free to add a little if you want extra flavor.
  • Vegetables : You can use carrots, potatoes, green peas, tomatoes and even leafy green like spinach.

Expert Tip : If you intend to cook the steel oats in a pot, soak them for 1 to 2 hours. This cuts down the cook time and saves your fuel. On occasions I have cooked them without soaking and always felt they take very long compared to the soaked oats. The dish is much smoother.

More Oats Recipes
Oats Upma
Oats Dosa
Easy Oats Chilla

Photo Guide

Step by Step Photo Instructions

1. Add steel cut oats and lentils/dal to a bowl.

oats and dal for savory steel cut oats recipe

2. Wash a few times and drain. Soak in water till the veggies are chopped.

rinsing steel cut oats and soaking

3. Heat oil or ghee in a pot or cooker. Add bay leaf (optional or use curry leaves) and cumin seeds. If you don’t have seeds you may use ground cumin later along with chili powder.

tempering spices in ghee for savory steel cut oats

4. When the cumin splutters, add hing. Add onions and saute until they turn pink or golden. Add grated ginger and saute for a minute.

frying onions

5. Add tomatoes, turmeric and salt.

adding tomatoes and salt to make saovry oats

6. Saute until tomatoes turn soft & mushy. Add red chili powder and garam masala if using. Saute for another 1 minute.

adding spice powder

7. Add chopped veggies like carrot, peas, bell pepper.

adding veggies to make savory steel cut oats

8. Drain the water from oats and dal. Add them here and saute for 2 mins.

9. Pour water and stir well.

10. Cover the cooker. Pressure cook on a medium heat for 2 to 3 whistles. If cooking in a pot, bring the water to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and let cook until lentils and oats are tender. If it becomes too thick, add some hot water as you cook.

11. When the pressure drops, open the lid and give a good stir.

Serve savory steel cut oats with pickle, papad or salad.

Savory Steel Cut Oats Recipe

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

Savory steel cut oats

Savory Steel Cut Oats

5 from 12 votes
Savory steel cut oats made with lentils, spices, mixed veggies & steel cut oats. Serve this with some yogurt, pickle or papad. Instructions for regular pot, Instant pot & traditional cooker included.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings1 to 2

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • ¼ cup steel cut oats
  • ¼ cup moong dal (skinned split mung lentils or use red lentils)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 small bay leaf (or curry leaves, optional, Indian tej patta)
  • ¾ teaspoon ginger chopped finely (or grated)
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder (or black pepper or green chili)
  • 2 tablespoon onions (chopped)
  • 1 medium tomato (chopped finely)
  • ¼ cup mix vegetables (carrots, beans)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pinch hing (or asafoetida) (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala or curry powder (optional)


  • Rinse steel cut oats and lentils thrice and soak them until you chop and prep up the ingredients.

Stovetop savory steel cut oats

  • Heat ghee in a pressure cooker or pot. Add cumin and bay leaf. When the cumin splutters, add hing. Add onions and saute until pink, stir in ginger and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add tomatoes, veggies, turmeric and salt. Saute until the tomatoes turn mushy. Stir in the red chili powder, garam masala, oats and lentils.
  • Saute for 2 mins and pour water. Give a good mix and pressure cook on a medium heat for 2 to 3 whistles. To cook in a pot without cooker, bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the lentils and oats are tender. Add some hot water if it is to thick.
  • Open the lid when the pressure drops and give a good mix. Taste test and adjust salt. Serve steel cut oats hot or warm topped with a tsp of ghee or lemon juice

Instant pot savory steel cut oats

  • Press saute button on the IP. When it displays hot add ghee or oil. Add cumin and bay leaf. Saute for 30 seconds and quickly add onions.
  • Saute for 2 mins and then add hing, ginger, tomatoes and salt. Saute until the tomatoes break down and turn soft.
  • Saute veggies, turmeric and chili powder for a minute. Then add dal, steel cut oats and pour water. Mix well.
  • Secure the insta pot lid and set the steam release handle to sealing.
  • Press the porridge button. It is set to 20 mins. You can also pressure cook on high for 10 mins.
  • Wait for the natural pressure release. When the pin drops, open and stir the steel cut oats. Taste test and adjust salt to taste. Add little ghee and lemon juice.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Savory Steel Cut Oats
Amount Per Serving
Calories 516 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 38mg13%
Sodium 1229mg53%
Potassium 678mg19%
Carbohydrates 67g22%
Fiber 21g88%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 2770IU55%
Vitamin C 12.5mg15%
Calcium 73mg7%
Iron 7.4mg41%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Hi Swasthi, I have tried many of your recipes and they always turn out so good. I appreciate all the little extra details you add to your recipes, they make a lot of difference.
About this recipe, I wanted to ask, if you changed the steel cut to rolled oats would any thing change in the recipe, like timing, or water to be added?

5 stars
Very good. Thanks.

5 stars
Hi Swasthi,

Tried this today for the first time and it was so delicious. We haven’t tried the oats before but certainly will do it more often.

I just love your recipes.


Hi Swasthi,

Thank you so much for your lovely recipes! Can we use toor dal in place of moong dal here?

5 stars
Hello Swathi,
I made this today and I must say it was so delicious! I did a mustard seed too because I like it. When id was done cooking I topped it with fresh cilantro and a sprinkle of Garam Marsala.
Outstanding! Will be trying many more of your recipes, Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into this site.