Perfect Oatmeal with Honey Fig Topping

valleyfiggrowers@alkalyne.solutionsBreakfast, Recipes

A bowl of creamy oats with honey fig topping

When it’s cold outside, a warm breakfast makes all the difference and top of the list: a bowl of homey, creamy oats. Here’s how to make perfect oatmeal with honey figs.

A napkin tucked in beside a bowl of perfect oatmeal with honey fig topping

Why Use Steel Cut Oats

These modifiers really describe the cut of the oats. Whole oat groats take more time to cook, but also are chewier. Steel cut oats are one step removed—they’re whole oat groats that have been chopped into several pieces, meaning you’ve got more surface area of the oats to interact with the cooking liquid, and believe us they are your crucial step in how to make perfect oatmeal because the result is creamy oats, plumped from the cooking process. The recipe below takes it a step further, really dialing in a luxurious bowl of oats by cooking the steel cut oats in water bolstered with whole milk, while the oats get toasted in butter before being cooked.

A bowl of creamy oats with honey fig topping

For the Honey Fig Topping

We opt for Orchard Choice Golden Figs or Sun-Maid Golden Figs since they bring a slightly nutty, tangy, and delicately sweet flavor that marries so well with honey. You will want to put the honey fig topping on so much more than oats—try them in yogurt, on ice cream, or as mix-ins for salad, or to top grilled protein too. You can always use Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission Figs for the topping for a jammy flavor reminiscent of your favorite nostalgic cookie from childhood.

Cooking the Oats

First, bring the water and milk to a simmer. Then, you’ll stir in the steel cut oats, cooking for about 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked through and tender. You’ll find the mixture in the saucepan will really look creamy and thick like gravy. Stir occasionally in the beginning and keep an eye on the saucepan as you get closer to the oats being done.

How to Make Perfect Oatmeal with Honey Fig Topping

The best bowl of creamy oats includes a dollop of honey fig topping. Here's how to make perfect oatmeal using steel cut oats.
A napkin tucked in beside a bowl of perfect oatmeal with honey fig topping
Servings 4 people


Perfect Oatmeal

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Honeyed Fig Topping with Vanilla and Cinnamon


Perfect Oatmeal with Honey Fig Topping with Vanilla and Cinnamon

  • Bring the water and milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until just beginning to foam; add the oats and toast, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until golden and fragrant with a butterscotch-like aroma, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
  • Stir the toasted oats into the simmering liquid, and reduce the heat to medium-low; simmer gently, until the mixture thickens and resembles gravy, about 20 minutes. Add the salt and stir lightly with a wooden spoon handle. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally with the spoon handle, until the oats absorb almost all the liquid and the oatmeal is thick and creamy, with a pudding-like consistency, 7 to 10 minutes. Off heat, let the oatmeal stand uncovered for 5 minutes. Serve immediately, with topping if desired.

Honeyed Fig Topping with Vanilla and Cinnamon

  • Bring the figs, honey, water, vanilla, and cinnamon to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until the liquid reduces to a glaze, about 4 minutes. Spoon a portion over the individual bowls of hot oatmeal; serve immediately.


NOTES: Many supermarkets sell prepackaged steel-cut oats, but we found they were often stale and always expensive. A better option is to buy them in bulk at a natural foods store. To double the recipe, use a large skillet to toast the oats; increase the cooking time to 10 to 15 minutes once the salt has been added. If desired, pass maple syrup or brown sugar separately when serving, or try the topping at right.
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This recipe is reprinted with permission of Cook’s Illustrated.
Recipe source: America’s Test Kitchen. Valley Fig is a proud sponsor of the America’s Test Kitchen.

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