Creamy Coconut Milk Steel Cut Oatmeal with Clementines

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This creamy coconut milk steel cut oatmeal recipe with citrus proves that oats can taste amazing. It’s low in calories, great for meal prep and vegan!

Is there anything better than a warm and hearty bowl of oatmeal on a cold morning? Maybe chewy steel cut oats with creamy coconut milk, maple syrup and a hint of citrus!

This steel cut oatmeal recipe is completely vegan and so easy to prep ahead of time that you will even have time for a luxurious breakfast before an early morning workout or running out the door for work. 

What are the healthiest types of oats?

Take a walk down the cereal aisle, and you’ll likely end up staring confusedly at all the different types of oats. Between steel cut oats, instant oats, old fashioned oats and quick cook oats, the amount of choices can be overwhelming. 

Something I’m always asked is, “Which type of oat is the healthiest?”. This is actually a trick question because they are really all the same!

The only difference in the types of oats is the processing method, which results in different cooking times and textures. All oats are 100% whole grain, a good source of fiber and have the same calories, fiber and protein per serving.

Different types of oats

There are four main types of oats. Each has the same nutrition properties, but a different texture and cooking time. Here’s a breakdown of each: 

  1. Old Fashioned Oats: These are also called rolled oats because they are made by flattening and rolling the groat. They cook in about 5-10 minutes on the stove top or microwave and have a soft but slightly chewy texture. Old fashioned oats are often used in energy bites, cookies, pancakes and granola bars. 
  2. Quick Cook Oats : These oats are rolled oats that have been chopped into smaller pieces, so they cook in just one minute. They are smooth and soft, and you can make them in the microwave. 
  3. Instant Oats: These are individually packed quick cook oats that just need water to be ready to eat. Many versions of instant oats come packed with added sugar, so make sure you read the label and look for other ingredients. 
  4. Steel Cut Oats: These are made by chopping the groat into smaller pieces, but not flattening them. They are the least processed, so they take 30+ minutes to cook and have a chewy texture.  

The nutrition of oats

One cup of oatmeal contains about 150 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. In addition to fiber, oatmeal is rich in thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iron.

The fiber in whole grain oats makes them a really nutritious way to start your morning. First, fiber helps control blood sugar and hunger levels throughout the morning, meaning that a bowl of oatmeal will keep you full for hours. 

Oats also have a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan, which is associated with lowering cholesterol levels. And fiber is most known for its role in digestive health. Starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal is a fantastic way to stay regular and avoid constipation.

What are the best oats for oatmeal? 

You can use any oats you like for oatmeal, but I generally use rolled oats or steel cut oats because I like the texture. To cook oatmeal, you’ll need a liquid. You can use dairy milk, a plant-based milk or water. Making oatmeal is also a great opportunity to get creative with toppings and seasonings. There really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to topping your oatmeal, so switch it up every time to keep things interesting. 

Are instant oatmeal packets healthy?

Instant oatmeal can be a real lifesaver for those busy mornings when you need to be out the door in minutes. And here’s a little secret… all types of oats have the exact same nutrition profile. That means rolled oats are exactly the same as instant oats. The only difference is how they are cut.

So yes, plain instant oatmeal packets are absolutely healthy! But while I am a major advocate for quick and easy breakfast ideas, read the ingredients on the packets to make sure they aren’t loaded with added sugar! You can always sweeten up your oatmeal with maple syrup, honey or fruit if you prefer you need just a little extra flavor boost. 

How to make steel cut oats

Steel cut oats require more water and a longer cook time than other types of oats. Use a 3:1 water to steel cut oat ratio.

Bring the water to a boil and add the oats. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

Is coconut milk good for you?

Although coconut milk is super creamy, tasty and luxurious, it’s also high in saturated fat. A diet rich in saturated fat has been linked to heart disease and obesity. So why would I ever include coconut milk in one of my recipes? Because everything in moderation!

The health benefits of oats and citrus far outweigh the risks of having a little bit of coconut milk. I personally like coconut milk because of the creaminess, taste and texture. And if you’re really opposed to coconut milk, feel free to use any other type of milk for an added creaminess. 

What are the health benefits of clementines?

Not only are clementines super delicious and tasty, but they contain so many incredible nutrients. Clementines are a Vitamin C powerhouse, helping to keep your immune system strong. They are also rich in antioxidants, which play an important role in promoting skin health and appearance, reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of serious chronic diseases. 

Ingredients to make Creamy Coconut Milk Steel Cut Oatmeal

You may think that this recipe calls for complicated ingredients… but that’s definitely not the case. I’m pretty sure you’ll have most of these simple ingredients in your pantry already!

To make this, you’ll need:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup oats
  • 4 clementines peeled
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup chia seeds

How to make Creamy Coconut Milk Steel Cut Oatmeal

Making my creamy coconut milk steel cut oatmeal could not be easier. Just whip up a batch of steel cut oats and add all the delicious toppings. 

Here’s how to make them:

  1. Bring water to a bowl and add oats. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Divide the oatmeal among four bowls and top each with clementine, coconut milk, maple syrup, shredded coconut and chia seeds.

Can I make substitutions to this recipe?

My answer to this question is almost always YES! 

  • If you would prefer almond or dairy milk to coconut milk, go for it. 
  • If you think blood oranges will taste better than clementines, be my guest.
  • If you prefer chopped nuts instead of chia seeds, by all means. 
  • And if you want to use a different type of oat because it’s just easier, follow your heart! 

Serving Suggestions

Do you want to make these steel cut oats outside of citrus season? No problem! I have heaps of topping ideas for you.

How can I store oatmeal?

You can make a big batch of steel cut oats and eat them for multiple days in a row. I recommend storing steel cut oatmeal in an air tight container in the fridge for no more than a week. When you’re ready to serve, just pop them in the microwave with a tablespoon of water, microwave on high for 1 minute and then stir. Add the toppings and enjoy! 

Creamy Coconut Milk Steel Cut Oatmeal with Clementines

This creamy coconut milk steel cut oatmeal recipe with citrus proves that oats can taste amazing. It's low in calories, great for meal prep and vegan!

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 284 kcal
Author Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup oats
  • 4 clementines peeled
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup chia seeds


  1. Bring water to a bowl and add oats. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
  2. Divide the oatmeal among four bowls and top each with 1 clementine, 1 tablespoon of coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds.
Nutrition Facts
Creamy Coconut Milk Steel Cut Oatmeal with Clementines
Amount Per Serving
Calories 284 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Sodium 22mg1%
Potassium 355mg10%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 19g21%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin C 36mg44%
Calcium 132mg13%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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I’m Natalie Rizzo, an NYC-based Registered Dietitian.

My mission is to help everyday athletes fuel their fitness with plants.

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