Date Nut Overnight Oats

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Healthy Date Nut Overnight Oats made with steel cut oats

Date Nut Overnight Oats is the best way to jump start a frosty morning — the oats soak to the perfect creamy texture while you sleep, and chopped dates, walnuts, and brown sugar add just the right amount of decadence, am style.

Healthy Date Nut Overnight Oats made with steel cut oats

A beautiful hot bowl of oatmeal is one of the perks of winter, and it’s as seasonal right now in February as a ripe peach is in August.  I’m eating as much of it as I can get lately, because before we know it spring will have sprung and delicious healthy oats will be shoved to the back of the cupboard. If you follow this easy (life-changing) overnight method, you won’t have to lift a finger in the morning to get it ready.

different types of oats

This overnight method is particularly great for steel cut oats, the healthiest, least processed type of oat.  There are basically three types of oats you’ll find at your supermarket, here’s the lowdown if you’re confused —

  • STEEL CUT (aka pinhead, on the left) are the whole oat groats (groats are the whole grain) that have been chopped into a few pieces.  This is the most traditional form of oats for oatmeal.  They take the longest to cook, but have the best texture and flavor of them all.  Steel cut oats have a slight edge over old fashioned rolled oats in terms of nutrition.  They’re both high in fiber and protein, but steel cut oats rank lower on the glycemic index, (that’s good!) because they take longer to digest, and so they are slower to convert to sugar.
  • ROLLED, or OLD FASHIONED (center) oats have been steam softened and flattened, or rolled.  They can be eaten as is, or cooked.  You can use rolled oats to make granola and muesli as well as oatmeal.
  • INSTANT or QUICK COOKING (right) oats are flattened even more, so they cook even faster, but lack the character of the other two.

Steel cut are my favorite because they have a wonderful chewy nutty texture — they never get ‘gloppy’ — the technical term for yucky oatmeal 😉  You can buy American steel cut oats from Bob’s Red Mill and even Quaker nowadays, but my favorite is McCanns, they come straight from Scotland in a beautiful tin.

Date Nut Overnight Oatmeal

Here’s how I do it — just before bed I put three and a half cups of water and a pinch of salt in a pot, and bring it to a boil.  I stir in 1 cup of good steel cut oats, and then turn off the heat.   I put the lid on the pot and leave it on the stove overnight.  In the morning the oatmeal is perfect.  All I do is reheat it, ladle it into bowls, and add my toppings.  Sometimes for a special treat I’ll throw an old vanilla bean into the pan with the water (I hope you reuse your vanilla bean pods, they’re the gift that keeps on giving!)

Healthy Date Nut Overnight Oats made with steel cut oats
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3.63 from 8 votes

Date Nut Overnight Oats

Author Sue Moran


  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla paste optional
  • brown sugar
  • walnuts chopped
  • pitted dates chopped
  • milk or half and half


  • Bring 3 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a pot. Stir in the oats. Turn OFF the heat, and cover the pan. Let the pan sit on the stove overnight.
  • In the morning, simply reheat the oatmeal and ladle into bowls. Top with a little brown sugar, and the chopped dates and walnuts. Add cream, milk, or half and half as you like.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


  • Any leftover oatmeal can be stored in the fridge and reheated the next day.

Overnight Date Nut Oatmeal

The beauty of this method is that not only do you get perfect steel cut oatmeal in the morning without the work, but the texture is even better than when you slave over the stove to cook it.  The overnight soaking doesn’t pull out the gluey starch like cooking on the stove does, so the oats are much more appealing.  I can’t say enough about this — hope you give it a try 🙂


Don’t forget to PIN IT!

My favorite overnight method for making healthy steel cut oats --- all the work is done while you sleep!


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  • Reply
    Kirsten Petersen
    February 3, 2020 at 8:37 am

    You’re gonna get laugh out of this: Glancing at the title of above recipe, I thought “What?” My take: Overnight Date Night Oats” When the date stays overnight. LOL!! Well maybe?

    • Reply
      February 3, 2020 at 9:52 am

      Haha, could be used that way too!

  • Reply
    Lori Weisberg
    January 3, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Steel cut oatmeal is the best, I’ve been making it for a few years now. I throw in a cinnamon stick instead of the vanilla bean but do enjoy it with dates! Delicious breakfast!

    • Reply
      January 3, 2019 at 6:36 pm

      I love cinnamon sticks, I reuse them over and over again!

  • Reply
    January 16, 2018 at 7:28 am

    So I was very excited to have the oats ready when I woke up. Well I found a pot of water with oats sitting on the bottom of the pot. Very disappointed, had to turn on heat and cook them as before.
    Yes I did follow the instructions exactly, but I added a cinnamon stick.

    • Reply
      January 16, 2018 at 7:39 am

      I’m so sorry this didn’t work for you Wendy ~ I hate to be disappointed when I’m expecting something delicious, especially first thing in the morning. A couple of things come to mind…it’s important to get the oats to a good boil the night before, you might even let it go for a minute or so before turning off the heat and covering. And maybe you had a little extra water in your pot this time, next time use a little less. The oats should be good to go with this method, hope you try again!

  • Reply
    March 4, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    I’ve hated oatmeal my whole life like you said due to the goopy texture thing. Don’t get me wrong I love granola, granola bars & oatmeal cookies but not plain oatmeal. I decided to try your recipe, well you converted me I love steel cut oatmeal! I love the nutty, firmer texture. I also added some cardamom & cinnamon, coconut milk, drizzled w/some buckwheat honey. Wonderful recipe.

    • Reply
      March 5, 2016 at 7:45 am

      I’m so excited, one of the biggest satisfactions I get from doing this blog, Yvonne is hearing from readers like you who’ve had life changing experiences with these recipes. And I was like you, oatmeal seemed a little ‘gloppy’ to me until I found this method. Thanks for letting me know <3

    • Reply
      Kirsten Petersen
      February 3, 2020 at 8:40 am

      I add sunflower seeds giving a little crunch. Also Mission figs are very nutritious and tasty!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    What a delicious way to start the day! We just returned from the Southern California desert where I was surprised to learn how many kinds of date trees there are and had fun tasting some CA dates too 🙂 I love them and oatmeal – great combo!

  • Reply
    Priscilla | ShesCookin
    February 28, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Wish I had done this last night so I could be eating it now!

    • Reply
      February 28, 2016 at 10:13 am

      You don’t know how many mornings I felt that!!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    February 23, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Dates and nuts are some of my favorite adds-ins for just about anything so I know it would make me love oats more! Beautiful!

    • Reply
      February 23, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      Dried cranberries are the default oatmeal add in here, I’m so glad I got everybody here to make a change!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    February 23, 2016 at 11:29 am

    This is a GREAT meal to kick start the day!

  • Reply
    Diane {Created by Diane}
    February 23, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I need to make this because I know for sure my day would be great if it started off with this deliciousness.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    February 23, 2016 at 5:17 am

    Love the dates (and nuts!) in this oatmeal and overnight is always good 🙂

  • Reply
    February 23, 2016 at 12:58 am

    Sounds delicious and the fact that it can be left overnight is good, I normally don’t have the time or the patience to cook oats in the morning.

  • Reply
    Tandy | Lavender and Lime
    February 22, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    This winter I will try overnight oats with my left over steel cut oats that I used to make haggis 🙂

  • Reply
    February 22, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    This looks amazing. What a great way to start your day or anytime of the day. I love dates too!


  • Reply
    Gerlinde in Washington
    February 22, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I love the easy stuff; can’t wait to try this. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Sue, oatmeal is something I have for breakfast 3 to 4 days a week, love your recipe on the preparation and the addition of dates and walnuts. 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    February 22, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Dates and nuts are a match made in heaven and this looks to me like a very heavenly breakfast!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    February 22, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Love these overnight oats! What a scrumptious breakfast to wake up to!

  • Reply
    Melanie @ Melanie Cooks
    February 22, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    I would love to have these yummy oats waiting for me in the morning! Love the addition of dates and walnuts!

  • Reply
    Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners
    February 22, 2016 at 9:30 am

    I need something quick and easy for the morning especially when it’s colder these days. I love that this is waiting for me when I wake up! I’ll be dreaming about dates, walnuts and brown sugar! Great recipe, Sue 🙂

    • Reply
      February 22, 2016 at 9:59 am

      I feel like I’ve harped a bit on this method but truly it results in the best oatmeal I’ve ever had 🙂 Thanks Robyn!

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