Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal | Breakfasts

Slow cooker steel cut oatmeal with apples and almonds

We haven’t done a whole lot of breakfasts on our site, and I need to fix this because breakfast is a pretty important part of the day. I also know it’s one of the toughest to truly cook something for. You’re bleary-eyed, fumbling for coffee, and making sure your socks match is about all your brain can handle in the morning (at least that’s how I operate). That’s why it’s best if breakfast is already pre-made and just needs a quick warming up. Making a big batch of steel cut oatmeal in a slow cooker is one of my favorite simple and easy pre-made breakfast solutions.

I love the fiber in oatmeal (c’mon admit it, your digestive system could use a little fibrous “push” too, right?), but I’ve never enjoyed oatmeal made out of rolled oats. The texture was just not for me, but I absolutely love oatmeal made of steel cut oats though. The only downside of steel cut oats are they take a lot longer to cook, which is why it’s a perfect candidate for slow cooking. On a Sunday night, I’ll dump everything in the pot, turn it on low, and let it go overnight for a fresh breakfast in the morning. The rest gets packaged away for the week.

I like to keep the base simple and then mix it up throughout the week. Some days I’ll add nuts and cinnamon. I also love stirring in yogurt for some extra morning protein. And of course, you can never go wrong with any fresh fruit – bananas, apples, and berries all make great toppings. I’ll even add preservers or shaved coconut to make it a sweeter treat. Drizzle with maple syrup and this breakfast almost seems like a healthy dessert.

Helpful tools: 1) Slow cooker

Smarts to learn:

  1. Steel cut oats use a 4:1 liquid to oats ratio. You can use any combination with the liquid – water, soy milk, almond milk, normal milk – all work
  2. If you don’t have a slow cooker, bring the ingredients to boil and then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring here and there to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan

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4.8 from 4 reviews

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal
 
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Most of us are too busy to make breakfast in the morning, so a big pot of steel cut oatmeal made in a slow cooker is the perfect solution to make sure you always have a healthy meal to start the day
Author:
Recipe type: Make Ahead Breakfast
Serves: 10-12

Ingredients
  • Steel cut oats – 2 cups
  • Water – 6 cups
  • Milk (any type) – 2 cups
  • Butter – 2 tbs.
  • Apples, peeled & chopped (optional) – 2 to 3
  • Brown sugar – ¼ cup
  • Kosher salt – 2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon – 1 tbs.
  • Star anise (optional) – 2 to 3

  1. Optional: Give the slow cooker a quick spray of cooking oil or brush with cooking oil to prevent sticking of ingredients
  2. Put all ingredients in a slow cooker
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or 4 hours on high
  4. Top with nuts, yogurt, fruit, jams, coconut shavings!
  5. Steel cut oats use a 4:1 liquid to oats ratio. You can use any combination with the liquid – water, soy milk, almond milk, milk all work
  6. If you don’t have a slow cooker, bring the ingredients to boil and then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring here and there to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan

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Comments

  1. Taylor Ahlgren says

    I love this oats-for-the-week concept – I’ve recently experimented by adding protein powder and almond butter to mine. Jess – what are the differences you notice between cooking in slow cooker for 8 hours vs over the stove in 45min?

    • says

      @Taylor Yes, almond butter and protein powder would be good additions. I haven’t noticed really any difference between the two cooking methods. Slow cooker is just a lot more low maintenance for me. I’m sure we’ve all burned oatmeal before on the stovetop, which doesn’t really happen in a slow cooker

  2. scrivener says

    I love steel-cut oats in my slow-cooker, and after several attempts here’s what I’ve learned.

    1. Smaller batches, if you live by yourself, work best. Make a cup at a time.

    2. For these smaller batches, use a smaller slow-cooker. You can get a one-quart slow-cooker for less than $20, usually. And if you’re buying a new one anyway, you might as well buy one with a “warm” setting, because

    3. My best oatmeal is made like this: put a cup of steel-cut oats in a slow-cooker. Boil a quart of water. Pour the boiling water over the oats. Cover the slow-cooker, and leave it on WARM overnight.

    4. Yum.

    • says

      @scrivener When you say 1 cup at a time, do you mean 1 cup dried or finished? I’m sure your oatmeal is delicious! And I agree with you on the smaller slow cooker if you’re mostly cooking for 1. I’ve definitely made smaller batches of oatmeal in our large 6 quart and it’s not as great

    • says

      I followed these instructions for my first try with steel cut oats in the crock. I used 3 cups water & 1 cup milk, but will use all water next time. 1 Cup up Steel Cut Oats was enough for me to share with my baby and my teenager. It was SO nice to wake up to warm breakfast whenever I was ready!

      Oh, and I used a regular sized Crock. AND I saw this size at the store today for $20!

      • says

        Momma Jorje, Thanks so much for stopping by and so glad this steel cut oats recipe worked for you. You can make it different every single time with different fruits and nuts.

  3. says

    Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is collecting links to posts about breakfast dishes. I do hope you link this in. This is the link . Please do check out some of the other links – there are a lot of good ones already. Cheers

  4. Courtney says

    This looks amazing! You say you ‘package’ it away for the week – how long do you find it lasts, and how best to store it?

    • says

      @Courtney, thx for the question! So, for us, it lasts almost the entire work week M-F. You can always freeze too if you don’t think you’ll get through it within 5 days. Just store it properly – whether fridge or freezer – in airtight containers and use the reheat setting in a microwave. This will get it to safe heating temps but not re-cook your oatmeal.

  5. says

    Made this today – my second attempt at crock pot oatmeal. First time was a horrible, disgusting disaster! LOL This time I cooked it during the day so that I could keep an eye on it. After 5 hours it was perfect. So, no overnight for me but I can easily double the recipe in my 6 quart cooker and make plenty to freeze for later on a weekend.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    PS – Don’t forget to spray the pot with non-stick cooking spray. It saves tons of time during clean up.

    • Sam says

      non-stick cooking spray. I can testify that something like that would have been smart. I just made my first batch and I’m afraid I’ve lost a significant amount of the valuable steel cut oats to them sticking to the walls of the pot.

  6. Vinnie says

    Made this overnight and it came out as described. My wife LOOOOVED them. I personally did not. I don’t think this is due to the recipe though. I’m used to the instant packets with all that yummy sugar!

    Would you suggest adding some fruit to add some sweetness to them?

    • says

      Hi Vinnie, so sorry you didn’t love this but glad your wife enjoyed it. Did you put the apples in? Next time, try adding a few tablespoons of jam or preserves to add sweetness and then fresh fruit at the end. I personally love adding strawberries, shaved coconut, and some sliced almonds

  7. Lori says

    If you are making a single serving, you can eliminate the mess completely by mixing the oatmeal in a heat-proof dish and then putting the dish in your slow cooker and then filling your slow cooker with a few inches of water. In the morning, just use an oven mitt to take the bowl out of the slow cooker and let it cool a bit before eating.

  8. Alyssa says

    I made this last night, for our breakfast this week…and I have to say- I am impressed. This is my first experience with steel cut oats, so I was not sure what to expect. I did 2 cups of oats and 8 cups of water (instead of milk- I read on another site it keeps better with no milk?), plus 2 T butter, 1 t salt, and 2 apples. My husband is not a fan of cinnamon, so I didn’t want to take the chance of “ruining” a whole pot of oatmeal for him. I wish that you had posted some pictures of what it looked like in the crock pot- I found that mine never “thickened” as much as rolled oats seem to- although I can see on your picture, under the nuts and stuff, that it does look about the same in the bowl. I will make this again :) Thank you for posting!

  9. Roshni says

    hi,

    Thank you for all the post.

    I have a question, about the ratio of liquid. In the Quaker box, of Steel Cut Oats, it seems to recommend 1 cup of dry oats for 2 cups liquid to yield 4 servings.

    If I am using the Quaker brand , what do I do?, What about other brands ?

    Thanks

    • says

      Hi Roshni, typically it’s a 1:4 ratio, and I’ve never used the Quaker brand. However, if that’s what the box says, I’d follow those directions.

  10. Tracy says

    Made this recipe last night. Just threw everything into my crockpot and turned it on at 11pm. The oatmeal was absolutely perfect at 7am. I will probably never make stovetop oatmeal again. Absolutely delicious! Thank you!

  11. cora says

    I cut up 1 apple, and 3 small peaches. For my liquid I used 6 cups apple juice and 2 cups vanilla soy milk. I used 1/8 cup of brown sugar because of the juice. I also added to the spice mix, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 6 whole cloves, a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger and 1 teaspoon of orange extract as well as 2 tablespoon coconut oil since I don’t eat butter. It came out AMAZING!!! Thank you so much. :)

  12. Caitlin says

    This was AMAZING!!! I have tried crock pot steel cut oats before with little success. Even my daughter, who INSISTED that she hates oatmeal, polished off her bowl! Thank you for a recipe that is delicious, easy, and pleases the whole family!

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