Follow these basic steel cut oatmeal crock-pot directions and have a healthy breakfast waiting for you in the morning. It all happens overnight in a slow cooker while you're sleeping in your cozy bed.
My typical morning breakfast: steel cut oats topped with flax seed, blueberries and a sprinkling of walnuts. Sometimes I make up batches of Overnight Oatmeal in a Jar and occasionally I grab a Banana Oatmeal Cookie on the run. But, one way or another oatmeal is usually involved.
On the stove-top, it takes about 20 minutes to cook steel cut oats (a.k.a. Irish oatmeal.) In the morning, when you're in a hurry, minutes can seem like hours. But, this breakfast is totally worth it. These heartier oats stick to your insides and keep you going strong all morning long (at least, according to my mom!)
Solution: You can have this hearty breakfast and still have time for an extra cup of coffee because these oats cook beautifully overnight in a crock-pot. 🙂
What are steel cut oats?
Oats get a different name depending upon how they are processed. They all start as oat groats (unprocessed grains) and are usually roasted. Steel cut oats are chopped into small pieces with a steel blade and have the least amount of processing of the different varieties. In comparison, rolled oats are steamed and flattened.
As you probably guessed, the minimal processing means that steel cut oats are widely considered the most nutritious and healthy of the different types.
Their flavor is nutty and slightly chewy. The liquid they absorb as they cook is what softens them.
You'll also find quick cooking steel cut oats on the market. These are processed the same way but are chopped more finely than the regular variety. As a result, they cook more quickly!
Warning: Don't use quick cooking steel cut oats in this overnight slow cooker recipe!
Ingredients and Variations
I use a cute little 2 quart crock-pot to make 4 servings of oatmeal. (A larger appliance could be used to double or triple this recipe.)
Four servings works out nicely at our house. Hopefully, my daughters or hubby will enjoy one. Otherwise, I make ahead breakfast bowls for the rest of the week to reheat in the microwave.
For four servings, mix 1 cup of steel cut oats with 4 cups of water. The stove-top directions are right there on the package and I don't vary a thing. I just add everything to the crock.
I use water because I have family members with food allergies. However, other liquids, such as almond milk, could be used instead.
This simple recipe calls for vanilla and cinnamon, which enables you to cut down on the amount of sweetener needed (in my humble opinion.) You can sweeten with a ¼ cup of brown sugar while it is cooking too. (I didn't.) Instead, I've been adding a dropper of stevia sweetener. (Yes!)
How long do you cook steel cut oats in a crockpot?
Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. I often cook it for 8 hours (to make it through the night.) If you don't like oatmeal on the firm side or find that it sticks to the sides of the crock-pot, then add a little extra liquid at the start. Or, stir in some water or milk after they are cooked.
At 8 hours, you'll likely start to experience browning around the edges. I use a spoon to scrape it off.
TIP: Use a slow cooker liner to make clean-up a breeze.
Topping Ideas for Oatmeal
Oatmeal doesn't have to be boring! Cover it with a variety of toppings. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Flax seed
- Chia seeds
- Maple syrup
- Nut butters
- Date paste
- Fresh fruit, such as apples or berries
- Dried Fruit
- Fruit jams (such as blueberry compote or apple butter)
- Chopped Nuts
- Chocolate Chips
How long can you keep oats in the fridge?
5-7 days is a good rule of thumb for keeping oats in the refrigerator. Toppings that will stay fresh (i.e., flax seed, chia seeds, dried fruit) can be added beforehand. Or, top it off when you are ready to eat.
TIP: It's easier to stir in toppings, like flaxseed and nut butters, when it's warm!
How to Reheat Steel Cut Oats in the Microwave
Stir in a little water or milk (about 1 Tablespoon) if you don't like your oats firm. Microwave the container on high in 30 second increments until the steel cut oatmeal reaches the desired temperature and consistency. Add any topping as you normally would and enjoy!
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Steel Cut Oatmeal Crock-Pot Directions
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Sweetener We used 1 dropper of a stevia sweetener
- Mix first 4 ingredients in a small crock-pot.
- Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours.
- Stir and serve with toppings and sweetener of choice.
This post was originally published on February 26, 2013 and has been updated with new pictures and nutritional information.