Slow Cooker Oatmeal (or the Best Oatmeal Ever)

I’ve always heard great things about steel-cut oatmeal. It’s less processed than rolled oats so it’s healthier, has great texture and a nuttier taste than your typical Quaker oats. But the first time I tried it, it was awful. I cooked it on the stove for 10 or 15 minutes and the oatmeal was tough and hard. The bag has since sat in my fridge untouched, until I recalled that a lot of the people raving about steel-cut oatmeal used a slow cooker. Duh. Time to try it again!

Most cook it overnight, but I actually set it in the afternoon for 3 hours and had it for dinner (“brinner” is one of my favorite meals and I will have post about it sometime!). Walking into the house filled with the aroma of warm cinnamon is a special treat, and waking up to it in the morning would be amazing, especially on a dark, cold winter morning.

Cooked in a slow cooker, steel-cut oatmeal is soft, creamy, and a very filling and satisfying meal. If you want to add in dried fruit, put it in at the beginning of cooking time with all the other ingredients. Otherwise, stir in fresh or frozen fruit when you’re ready to eat. Add a handful of chopped nuts and you’ll have a very healthy meal any time of the day!

What are your favorite oatmeal toppings?


Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Makes 3-4 servings

  • 1 C steel-cut oatmeal
  • 4 C water
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • Optional additions: chopped nuts, fresh/frozen/dried fruit, honey, milk

Lightly coat the interior of your slow cooker with non-stick spray. Combine all ingredients inside, stirring to combine. Cook on low for at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours overnight.

31 Comments on Slow Cooker Oatmeal (or the Best Oatmeal Ever)

  1. Joy
    February 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm (11 years ago)

    The blueberries on top of the oatmeal is just delectable. I got away from eating oatmeal because my slow cooker is such a pain to clean and the stovetop just isn’t the same. You have given me some inspiration! I love having mine with a touch of maple syrup and raisins.
    Joy recently posted A sort-of Monkey Bread

    • Sherry Megumi Imamura-Ryan
      January 15, 2018 at 9:11 am (4 years ago)

      Use slow cooker liners (it looks like a large oven bag but fits in your slow cooker) for no mess!

  2. Belinda @zomppa
    February 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm (11 years ago)

    I do steel cut every morning. It takes me about 20 minutes to get really hungry, so it’s perfect timing. So much you can do with it – and you’re right about it being so creamy.
    Belinda @zomppa recently posted Photo of the Day- Dreaming

  3. Wheels
    February 8, 2011 at 9:58 am (11 years ago)

    Steel-cut oatmeal sounds scary but this looks good!

  4. Cakewhiz
    February 8, 2011 at 10:32 pm (11 years ago)

    Time to bring out the slow cooker coz i am not not going to miss out on making this. I think i might even add some strawberries and rasberries….hehe
    Cakewhiz recently posted Valentine Cupcakes with fancy toppers

  5. Tiffany
    February 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm (11 years ago)

    Oh you have no idea how excited I was to see this oatmeal recipe! I HEART oatmeal. The other day, I made it with earl grey tea! YUM!!!!
    Tiffany recently posted Ribollita

  6. Yudith
    February 11, 2011 at 5:56 am (11 years ago)

    I loooove oatmeal, yes I know–crazy right? Absolutely love them! Great breakfast that makes my belly happy. I love that your recipe allows overnight cooking so that it’s ready for me in the morning. My fave toppings are mashed bananas w/ cinnamon and a bit of honey; or bluberries with a bit of cinnamon. Thanks for visiting my blog–I’d be visiting yours as well 🙂
    Yudith recently posted Simply Sinful Cinnamon Muffins

  7. Brandie@thecountrycook
    February 12, 2011 at 10:00 am (11 years ago)

    Anything made in the slow cooker has my vote. I love this recipe!!

  8. Rosie
    January 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm (10 years ago)

    We love steelcut oats. We make them, then put them in refrigerator; take about 1/2 cup, add a little milk, dried raisens or craisens, nuts and brown sugar. Microwave. What a healthy, scrumptious breakfast!

  9. Perry
    January 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm (10 years ago)

    I make steel cut oatmeal on the stove and do a batch that lasts about 4 days then I just ‘wave it in the morning.
    I love it! I usually use some golden raisins and cinnamon in mine but I’ve also used cranberries, crushed, raw almonds and other seasonal berries on top.
    I usually will either use some honey or agave nectar on top. Lately I’ve been doing honey.
    The slow cooker idea sounds great but my stupid slow cooker seems to cook really hot on one side. I don’t think overnight would work 🙁
    I’ll have to do a test run during the day.
    Perry recently posted Vegan Meyer Lemon Cupcakes

    • Stephanie
      January 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm (10 years ago)

      @Perry – yum, I love the sound of all your oatmeal toppings. I usually sweeten mine with maple syrup. That’s too bad about your slow cooker – try a test run and maybe it will work.

  10. Becky
    January 23, 2012 at 3:45 am (10 years ago)

    I eat oatmeal almost every day, so I need to get out my slow cooker and make it in there. Great idea and I love the blueberries on top.
    Becky recently posted Turkey, Kale, and Brown Rice Soup

    • Stephanie
      January 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm (10 years ago)

      @Becky – definitely try it in the slow cooker. It’ll save you a little time in the morning. Enjoy!

  11. Bonnie
    April 20, 2012 at 4:25 am (10 years ago)

    I buy the plastic covers they sell now to go inside your crockpot….makes clean-up a breeze. I use my crockpot a lot more now.

  12. randy
    April 24, 2012 at 2:33 am (10 years ago)

    This was the first time I have ever tried Steel Rolled Oats. And definitely will be the last. That was a TERRIBLE recipe, in my opinion. I thru the rest of the can away..

    • Stephanie
      April 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm (10 years ago)

      @randy – I’m so hear that! What was terrible about it? If you’ve never had steel cut oats before, the texture is VERY different from regular oats, so I can understand why you wouldn’t like it.

  13. Cindy
    June 24, 2012 at 6:28 am (10 years ago)

    will rolled oats work

  14. Mike
    July 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm (10 years ago)

    Found this post following a link in my newsletter from All Free Slow Cooker Recipes.

    I found out I was diabetic a few years ago and discovered my breakfast options were limited; at the very least I couldn’t eat the unhealthy things I used to have in the mornings. I started buying cases of McCann’s Quick and Easy from Amazon and fell in love with it. I don’t “cook” it, but rather boil some water and pour some in a bowl to pre-warm it, toss in a handful of blueberries, drain, then put in a quarter cup of oatmeal (one serving) and add the boiling water. I put a saucer or small plate on top to hold in the heat, then put on the coffee and then go about my morning routine – shave, shower, dress, etc. When I get done, the oats are done. I sometimes add strawberries and almost always a cut up banana, a dash of Splenda and some good, “real” cinnamon.

    The oats are done good enough for me; not sure if the regular slow-cooking kind would work, but the fiber and other nutrition is the same as the faster cooking kind. I really have to watch my carbs, but the fiber helps with that, plus the oatmeal is fairly slow to digest.

    I had a little bit of regular oatmeal I found a couple of months after starting with the steel-cut and didn’t want to waste it, so I had a bowl as a late night snack. Yuck. I much prefer the texture of the steel-cut now, the other tasted “slimy” in comparison and rocketed up my blood sugar.

    Think I’ll subscribe to your site, even though I doubt I’ll be able to eat many of the recipes. For some odd reason, reading about the food I can’t (or not supposed to) have quells the cravings. You’d think it would be the opposite, huh?

    • Stephanie
      July 3, 2012 at 11:17 pm (10 years ago)

      @Mike – welcome to 52 Kitchen Adventures! I hope my recipes quell your cravings and you enjoy them with your eyes 🙂

  15. Susie
    September 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm (10 years ago)

    started making this last week..pleasantly surprised to find out my kids actually loved to eat oatmeal in the mornings. this weekend, I have to get some cooking spray, as I found a lot of my oats would get wasted as they dried up on side of crockpot..I have a small tall pot!

    • Stephanie
      September 20, 2012 at 8:50 pm (10 years ago)

      @Susie – what a great discovery! This is such a healthy breakfast, so it’s wonderful that your kids are enjoying it.

  16. Sharon
    November 17, 2012 at 11:30 am (10 years ago)

    I plan to try this recipe but I will use a slow cooker liner to minimize cleanup. I love to use my slow cooker now that someone came out with the liners and having breakfast ready when I get up will be a nice change to cooking in the mornings!

  17. Audrey
    January 20, 2013 at 2:45 am (9 years ago)

    For easy clean up, fill the crock pot with water and put on low heat for a half hour or more, then scrub. Cleans up much easier!

  18. Lauri
    July 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm (9 years ago)

    Another option is a rice cooker. I throw my oats in (I actually do mine in stock with spinach, green onions, mushrooms, and soy sauce as a savory option) and let it cook away without the lid on (it will boil over and make a huge mess if you leave it on). 40-ish minutes later, I have perfectly cooked oats!

    • Stephanie Saunders
      November 23, 2014 at 5:09 pm (8 years ago)

      Jane, I made this in a 3.5 quart slow cooker.

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