Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind

Overnight Steel-cut Oatmeal


Oatmeal porridgeOne of Us was talking about steel-cut oatmeal the other day – I forget where, I think in a comment on a blog that wasn’t hers which is why I can’t find it. Anyway, I started hunting for recipes and found this one. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks yummy!

Now that the weather is getting cooler, hot oatmeal for breakfast is sounding better and better. Hmmm, I’ve been known to eat it for dinner, actually. The steel-cut variety takes longer to cook but is miles better than the kind that comes in the regular cardboard cannister and is worth the extra trouble. It also keeps in the fridge and can even be frozen so you can make ahead and reheat. That comes in handy when you’re running late the way I do on dark winter mornings.

This version makes the oatmeal in the crockpot overnight while you’re sleeping so you wake up to a hot yummy breakfast.

Overnight Oatmeal

8 cups water
2 cups steel-cut oats
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Combine water, oats, dried cranberries, dried apricots and salt in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Turn heat to low. Put the lid on and cook until the oats are tender and the porridge is creamy, 7 to 8 hours.

Makes 8 servings, 1 cup each. 4 points each.

To reheat, simply add a little hot water or milk to thin out the porridge and then place in the microwave.

25 thoughts on “Overnight Steel-cut Oatmeal

  1. Pick me! Pick me! I commented at angryfatgirlz about overnight crockpot steel-cut oats. The recipe you found looks good. I’m guessing throwing a fresh apple in the pot wouldn’t work as well as dried, and dried wouldn’t taste as good as fresh. I have raisins and currants on hand, though, and the temperature is going to be more fall-like tomorrow. Guess what the shrinking knitter is having for breakfast?

  2. Yayy! Yes, it WAS you! Thanks so much for speaking up – I wanted to track you down to share the recipe but wasn’t positive who had asked about it or where. I sort of lose track in reading so many blogs and the comments from people cross over from place to place.

    In any case, do let me know how it worked out. Will keep hunting for a variation with apple. My guess is that adding fresh would almost make it mushy and the flavors would really swirl through the oatmeal, but maybe someone else will actually KNOW πŸ™‚

  3. I’m wondering how we can add cinnamon to it. As for the apples, I have to concur with all of your opinions. But I’m wondering something else. If we got the Splenda Brown Sugar (or am I imagining a new product that doesn’t exist), could we add that to the finished product?

    Brown sugar, cinnamon…mmmmm (insert Homer Simpson’s voice)

  4. What I use for “fake” brown sugar has Splenda with regular brown sugar for 1/2 the calories and it sweetens to twice the measured amount. If that makes sense. It’s granular like regular brown sugar and melts nicely into hot oatmeal (I did it this morning). I usually add both cinnamon and brown sugar after cooking but I haven’t tried this crockpot version and it would probably be very different if the cinnamon, at least, cooked along with everything else. More things to try πŸ™‚

  5. If you’re really really lazy, like, too lazy even for a crockpot (sigh!), Trader Joes has microwavable single-serve steel-cut oatmeal packs! Just pop ’em in a bowl, zap ’em, and mmmm… Probably not as good as this, but when you have limited freezer space and you’re only one person, they are really good to have around. You can add whatever dried fruit and spices you like or just eat them as is (they are slightly sweetened w/maple, I think–they must be sweetened or I wouldn’t like it out of the box, I know that for a fact). Mmmmm.

  6. Oops, meant to say that the Trader Joes packets are pre-cooked and frozen, not dried. That’s what makes them so delish. Ok, I’ll shut up until I’m sufficiently caffienated.

  7. OK. Here’s an interesting link from epicurious about McCann’s steel cut oats.


    Also, there’s a book on amazon called “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker” cookbook. They have a recipe for steel cut oats.

  8. Lori – I have that cookbook! (I originally bought it for my mother for Christmas, but my grandmother died the week before Thanksgiving . . . so the title kept me from giving it to her: “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker”.)

    The recipe mentions that “The Scottish eat the oatmeal with a glass of cold ale or stout or drizzled with single-malt Scotch and brown sugar”.

    Cold ale Mmmmmm I wish I were Scottish.

  9. Another good sweetener idea for oatmeal (any kind, not just steel-cut) is sugar-free pancake syrup. You guys are making me hungry, and I didn’t set the crockpot up last night for breakfast. (grin)

  10. I made this last night and woke up to a yummy breakfast. It was divine πŸ™‚ I added a little bit of Almond milk and some light brown sugar, but just a tad, and a dash of cinnamon. The dried fruit which didn’t look like a whole lot in a pot of water and oatmeal really did plump up nicely. It did burn a little around the edges so next time I think I’ll make sure I check on it earlier than this time; it probably was ready at 7 hours or a bit earlier.

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  12. I like this idea. I usually use milk, so I’m wondering how the milk would hold up in the crock pot.

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  14. Hi All – I also love milk in my oatmeal. Can someone please explain why you cannot use milk in the overnnight slow cooker recipe?

  15. The difference between steel-cut oats and instant oats cannot be overstated. As I stand in the breakfast aisle, with a 100 Quaker Oats faces staring back at me, I think — villain. You stole from me one of the best breakfast options out there. Steel-cut oats taste great (even w/o sugar), they don’t turn into wood glue as soon as they cool, and they keep in the fridge for many days.

  16. It’s pretty interesting to me that there is so much discussion on this topic; guess we all REALLY love our steel cut oats and are either too busy to make the time to cook on the stovetop each morning or prefer to spend our time in other ways. Here are some of my comments:

    I own the 2.5 quart crockpot and use a ratio of 6 cups water to 1.5 cups steel cut oats. Works great.

    I’ve been known to toss in a stick of cinnamon during cooking process.

    I’d guess that the milk issue may have to do with the low temp used in crockpot cooking.

    Cooking on high is possible and cuts the cooking time. I’ve only done it this way when I’m in a real hurry and am hanging around to keep an eye on things.

    I read this somewhere and have found it true. NEWLY purchased crockpots will cook faster than older ones. This is something to remember for sure. I had to replace my crockpot recently (with the least expensive Rival). Cooking time on low takes less than five hours and so the overnight/unmonitored thing is a little risky for me.

    Although I love dried raisin or cranberries and other dried fruit in my oatmeal, if one is watching sugar intake (or sweetness in any form) and perhaps trying to increase antioxidant intake, there are other options. Stock your freezer when fresh cranberries or blueberries come on the market. Later you can cook them up, with a bit of Splenda, Stevia or sugar if desired. This way, you are able to control the level of sweetness. Keep the cooked fruit refrigerated and spoon a bit onto your oatmeal in the mornings before or after zapping it in the microwave.

    Splenda sweeted maple flavor syrup is also a good sweetner and again, if you are trying to wean yourself from the sweetness addiction, you can control the amount. I’ve added syrup at the start of the crockpot cooking process, or after.

    Thanks for all the information here. WHO KNEW!?

  17. Hi
    I love steel cut oats and I have done them in the crockpot. I cut up an apple really fine and I also put 1 can of fat free evaporated milk and then add water to 8 1/2 cups of water. I spray the crockpot with Pam first to prevent sticking. I have sweetened it with sugar free Cinnamon Dolce syrup from Starbuck’s. Just put on a pot now for the morning but think I’ll wait until 11 p.m. to turn it on. Last time I cooked it with half the amount and the 7 hours worked fine.


  18. This is a recipe I can’t wait to try! This regarding why milk can’t be used in the crockpot: dairy products like milk, cream, and sour cream break down with long cooking times. Have you ever noticed how many recipes have you wait until the end to add these types of ingredients? Using the canned milk is an option, since it lasts much longer. I’m going to the kitchen to try this right now!

  19. so its 1:30 am and I was hungry so I just tried my first steelcut oatmeal (frozen pack from trader joes) and I am SOLD! So thanks for posting this recipe! I am a crockpot freak so this is perfect! Can’t wait to cook up a big patch and freeze into servings. I am so exited to try it tomorrow! YUM

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  21. I love steel cut oats! I usually cook them in my rice cooker and throw in whatever fruit/berries I have available. I have substituted juice for 1/2 the water for more flavor and even made muffins with the leftovers. Yum!

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  24. Will this recipe work in a 6-quart crock pot? I’d love to try it, but I’m worried it might not burn instead.

  25. I use stevia (herbal sweetener) and cinnamon on my oatmeal. It’s natural and has no chemicals or calories.

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