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!
Did you make this recipe?
Please leave a rating and tell us how you liked it!
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.
Can the water be substituted with milk in the crock-pot? I don't like oatmeal with water, when I make it on the stove top I always use milk but, I have to stand over it so it does not boil over.
I have read that it can...but, I have never tried it. Let me know how it turns out!
Yes you can use half water and half milk, that is the way that I make mine adding cut up apples also.
Yes -- but to improve this recipe to Olympic fantasticalness, substitute Apple Juice for water: add only cinnamon, and you don't even need extra sweetness or even apples. unless you like the crunch.
Instead, make this into "Gourmet oatmeal" by adding raisins, dried blueberries, dried cranberries ("Raisins") and chopped dried apricots. Cook in crockpot overnight, and in the morning only add a pinch of salt and maybe butter and if you are absolutely decadent, a little scotch whisky over the butter; so that you get a little whisky with every spoonful.
This is called "Scotch Porrage" and will make your day. Remember, you can only use steel-cut (Irish) oats in a crockpot and have the right texture; otherwise it has the texture of library paste goo.
Can this recipe be used in a larger crockpot? Mine is about 6 quarts and I know some recipes adapt better than others. Thanks!
For a larger crock pot, I think you will need to double the recipe. You can store in the fridge and reheat though!
Tried this, this morning! Turned out exactly as promised, except I chose to add the sugar when I woke up in the morning (My personal preference is a bit sweeter oatmeal) Even my 3 year old liked it! Win win! Crock pot oatmeal has been added to our winter breakfast list! Thank you for sharing it!
Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I'm glad your family liked it!
I don't know what went wrong. Tried this twice and both times end up with a goey, mushy, mess. I followed the recipe exactly.
I'm so sorry to hear of the problem. It's hard to diagnose a problem from afar. However, I did use a small-sized crock pot. Also, you may want to adjust to a smaller amount of liquid if you try it again. Thanks for your feedback!
Did you use Quick Oats, perhaps? Quick Oats are the 1-minute stove top style where the oats are chopped for speedier cooking. Good luck next go-round. It’s absolutely delish!!!
"I used a cute little 2 quart crock-pot for my 4 servings of oatmeal. Yes, 4 servings. "
that looks more like a 16 oz. (2 cup) rather than a 2 quart (64 0z) crock.
It must be 2 quart or she wouldn’t be able to add 4 cups water.
I am also one of those people who can't start their day without a good breakfast and while I tend to have diverse breakfast sometimes I am after recipes like this - that don't take so much time to prepare!
Amy|The Cook Report
What a great, healthy breakfast. Never thought about doing it in the crock pot but sounds fab!
Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry
Oatmeal is so good for your heart and fills you up for ages. Love that you can add your choice of nuts, seeds and fruit to make a healthy breakfast
I'm trying this tonight. I added nutmeg rather
than cinnamon, and raisins and dried cherries. Anxious to try it in the morning .
I hope you enjoyed it! Sounds like a delicious combination!
I TRIED this while driving truck. So much better than truck stop breakfast. But I didn't cook it for 8 hours- 4 tops. Gives the oats mor texture than mush, something in which to sink teeth.
So glad it was helpful! Thanks for tip!
K Ann Guinn
Thanks for this simple recipe. I was looking for one that I can make for my hubbie, who is currently on a diet in which he cannot have any added sugars (even the "healthy" ones we would normally choose), so I am happy that you included your dropperful of stevia idea! (I just happen to have some vanilla, so I'll try that. I'm also hoping to add some frozen, cut up apples, so I believe I'll have to reduce the liquid a little. Here's hoping this works for some yummy apple cinnamon (diet-approved) oatmeal!
I'm so glad you found it helpful! The apples and cinnamon will be fantastic!
I just mixed all the ingredients and am going to try it for the first time in the morning. I also added a little Grape Nuts Cereal to it because I can't seem to eat Grape-Nuts unless they are soft soft. We will see if I should leave them out after I taste it in the morning LOL However, I was wondering if I can freeze leftovers and if so for how long
Yes! All types of oatmeal, including steel cut oatmeal, can be frozen. I'd freeze it in freezer/microwave safe containers that you can pop in the microwave to reheat. Or, you can lift out to defrost overnight. You can also freeze in muffin tins and then pop the frozen oatmeal out and store the portions in a freezer bag. Grape Nut addition sounds fantastic!
Can you use regular old-fashioned oats or does it have to be steel-cut?
Yes. The process would work the same for old-fashioned rolled oats.
This is SO yummy! Husband loves it. Much better than the regular oitmeal. However, I do have two questions. 1) How do you prevent the hard-to-remove baked-on crust that forms on the sides and along the bottom of the Crock Pot during the cooking process? I try to pre-grease the CP well, but this is still a problem. I find it necessary to soak it for several hours, changing the water/soap out a couple times during the process. I also use very hot water. Finally, after all this soaking, scraping, and scrubbing, the caked-on residue finally comes off and the CP is then ready to use for the following day's breakfast. Any tips or suggestion most welcome! 2) the recipe says 7-8 hours on low, but that means the CP cannot even be turned on til around midnight if you are aiming for an 8AM breakfast or later. What to do if you go to bed around 10 or 10:30?
Hi! I am familiar with this problem although it's usually not terribly bad if I immediately scrape the sides of the slow cooker at serving time. Maybe a liner would help?! I often make it during the day and portion it out in serving bowls to refrigerate. The recipe can be doubled and made in a larger slow cooker to get several days of oatmeal. There are programmable slow cookers out there...most are larger in size though. You'll find me setting a note by my bed to hit start at the very just before the lights go out and popping up to unplug the crock-pot first thing in the morning when I make it at night! 🙂
I rubbed the inside of the pot with a good coating of coconut oil and nothing stuck. I used the slow cooker function on my instant pot which has a stainless steel rather than crock/stoneware lining.
Love the tip!!! Thank you.
Use crockpot liners. Reynolds makes them. They make cleanup so easy.
Could I double this recipe in the 2 quart crockpot or will it overflow?
It would overflow! You would need to use a larger crock-pot.
I’ve made oats this way in the past but never added anything but the sc oats and water. Now I’m anxious to make it using your recipe! I have a ski weekend coming up with a group and I’m responsible for breakfast one morning for 14 people. Could I double (or triple?) this recipe in a 3.5 quart crock pot? Recommendations for making this for a crowd (away from home) would be appreciated. Thanks!
Definitely double or triple the recipe and use a large slow cooker. Fill the slow cooker at least halfway full (and up to 2/3 full)! It's a great way to feed a crowd because you can put out a toppings bar with fresh and/or dried options for everyone to add.
Try using apple juice instead of water, and add all kinds of chopped dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blue berries, apricots) and cinnamon and/or nutmeg if you cook it slow overnight, the house smells wonderful in the morning. At the table only add a little salt and a pat of butter (+ a dash of Scotch whiskey for "Scotch Porridge"). You will be addicted to this "Gourmet Oatmeal".
Can you use steel cut oaks in the overnight mason jar oatmeal recipe?
Yes! You'll want to be sure that they soak in the liquid for about 10 hours...and can even go for a couple of days. They will continue to absorb liquid becoming firmer on the 2nd and 3rd day.
Thank you Marjory for this lovely oats recipe.
I followed your recipe and added walnuts, coconut oil instead of butter & coconut nectar instead of sugar to cook. And serve with dried mixed berries toppings. 👍👍👍
Never eaten not made before. Followed recipe exactly and used my Mini IP. Came out creamy and very tasty. Topped with fresh blueberries & sliced almonds and served with touch of brown sugar and while milk. Taste: #9/10. Will be a regular in my recipe repertoire.
Mine did not come out right again. I used this recipe but it produced a thick coat of oats in the crockpot liner that was inedible. It also had too much liquid because in the morning there was an inch of "soup" on the top. I have tried two different crockpots and I always get burned oats on the bottom and soup on the top. What am I doing wrong?
I'm so sorry the oats didn't cook properly. A few things to consider while trouble shooting. First, the crock-pot should be small unless you're doing a much larger batch. Second, be sure the steel cut oats have not expired. Third, be sure to stir them in the pot before putting the lid on. Fourth, you may want to use less liquid. Start by using about 1/4 cup less. Fifth, it sounds like the cook time could be a little long. I have 2 slow cookers and one definitely cooks faster than the other. I do get a little crust at the bottom, particularly if I let I let it go overnight which ends up being more like 8-9 hours of cook time. Some people grease the pot to make clean-up easier. I've never experienced an inch of liquid at the top. Does that remain after you stir the oatmeal? I realize all of these issues don't apply, but thought I would give as much info as possible. I hope it helps.
Hi, I’m wondering if I could cook the recipe which I’ve halved for just myself on high in the small crockpot for 2 hours? I’ve cooked half a batch on low for 3-4 hours and it comes out perfect. Just trying to see what works when I have less time and want to use the crockpot. Thank you
I've never tried that, but cooking on high should definitely shorten the time. And, cooking on high often cuts the cook time in half, so definitely worth a try! I'd love to know how it works out.
Thanks for sharing the recipe. Will definitely try with True Elements steel cut oats as they are really good and a clean label food brand. You can also give it a try!
Love it. It needed a little less than 7 or 8 hrs. I'm trying for 6 & 1/2 hrs. this time.
Instead of 4 cups of water, I use 2 cups of water and 2 cups of almond milk, add a 1/4 cup of butter cut up in cubes, and substitute 1/4 cup of brown sugar instead of sweetener and sprinkle a little of ground cloves and nutmeg and use all of other ingredients as shown and place in the crock pot, stir good and cook overnight on low. TIP** Use the slow cook liners for the crockpot as it cuts down on the cleanup.