Come to find out the best way to make steel cut oatmeal is to use your crock pot. Learn my foolproof method to make overnight slow cooker steel cut oats and have your warm bowl of healthy goodness as soon as you wake up.
This post is sponsored by Zone Perfect Bars. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Since the day we found out that we are moving to Vermont, every morning as soon as I wake up I check the temperature in our new hometown. It is cold there, really cold. Since I believe that food is the best medicine, I know that we will need all the heartwarming food we can get our hands on to warm ourselves up. And what is better than a cup of warm oatmeal to start the day? Imagine as soon as you wake up, you have a bowl of creamy steel cut oats waiting for you in your slow cooker when it is 1 °F outside. So today, I come to you with this Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats, a recipe that I have been working on for a while now. For me, no breakfast beats a bowl of creamy and freshly cooked steel cut oats topped off with fresh fruits. Therefore, for the last few weeks, I have been on a quest to find the best way to cook steel cut oats.
Ways to Cook Steel Cut Oatmeal:
If you were to search for “how to make steel cut oats?” in Google, you would see everyone has their own favorite way of cooking steel cut oats. Some cook it on the stove-top, some cook in their slow cooker, and some even do it in microwave. I already knew how to cook steel cut oats on the stove-top. Although as much as I loved cooking it on the stove-top, a 30-minute cooking time didn’t make it an ideal way for me, especially because I was looking for a quick and healthy breakfast on a weekday morning. I did try the microwave, but I was not happy that I had to keep stirring it in every 2 minutes until it cooked. Plus, it wasn’t as creamy as I would have liked.
How to Make Steel Cut Oatmeal in a Slow Cooker:
In the end, I decided to try cooking it in my slow cooker. It sounded great, because I would set it up at night and would have it ready in the morning when I woke up. I followed the directions on the box and mixed together a cup of steel cut oats with 4 cups of liquid. In my case, since we are a small 2-people family, I used 2 cups of water and 2 cups of almond milk. After cooking it for 8 hours in low heat, I woke up to creamy but overcooked and somewhat mushy steel cut oats. It was definitely not what I was aiming for. Plus, the cleaning after was a nightmare. I had to soak the bowl overnight to get the remainings out.
I knew that the timing was not right. It would have to be shorter. However, regardless of how long I cooked it in there, the cleaning would still be an issue. Then I found this recipe and saw that some people cooked it in a bowl placed in the bowl of the slow cooker. They would fill the bowl halfway through with water and let it cook slowly with the help of the residual heat provided by the water and the steam, similar to a water-bath. It made so much sense. I found a medium-size and heat-resistant casserole dish (the white one you see in the photos) and gave it try. Since it was smaller, I made a half a batch of the recipe. Also, this time I knew that I needed to cook it for a shorter amount of time. I set it to 4 hours in low-heat setting.
When I woke up in the morning, it was fully cooked (as seen in the photo), still warm and literally the creamiest oatmeal I have ever made in my life. After the 4-hour cooking time was over, it continued to set in the bowl of the slow cooker leaving me with creamy oatmeal at perfect temperature in the morning. Plus, I was able to put away the slow cooker in no time, because this method required no cleaning of the bowl.
Here, I think I should mention that the timing may change based on the brand of the slow cooker you use. So I recommend experimenting with your crock pot for the best timing and consistency of your liking. If you are wondering, I use Crock-Pot 6.5-Quart, Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker, Silver, SCVT650-PS and it gives me perfect results every time.
How To Sweeten The Steel Cut Oats:
Since steel cut oats are super healthy, I wanted to stay away from adding any additional processed sugars. However, it needed a little bit of a sweetener. As you will see in the recipe below, I added a few tablespoons of my homemade unsweetened applesauce into the recipe at the beginning with all the other ingredients. Here, if you do not have applesauce, you can always substitute it with a mashed, ripe banana, or a few tablespoons of honey or maple syrup.
The Best Toppings For Steel Cut Oats:
When it comes to toppings, I always find fresh fruit and nuts to be the best option. I also like homemade granola, but let’s face it; I do not always have granola on hand. Instead, I cut a nutrition bar into small pieces and use it as a topping. And when it comes to protein bars, my husband and I are big fans of ZonePerfect Nutrition Bar. They have so many flavors (my favorite being salted caramel brownies) to choose from and they all taste SO good. I also love that when you put chunks of nutrition bar in hot oatmeal, it slightly melts creating a silky and chocolate-y breakfast bowl. Plus, one ZonePerfect bar containes 17-19 vitamins and minerals with 170-210 calories and 10-15 grams of protein per serving, depending on the flavor. This, in my book, means guilt-free eating.
How to Store The Leftovers:
The recipe below yields 3-4 cups of steel cut oats. This easily feeds a family of 4, but if you are a small family like us, you can always refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, warm it up in microwave for 1 minute, top it off with your favorite toppings and enjoy.
Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
- Yield: 4 cups
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- For the Steel Cut Oats:
- ½ cup steel cut oats, make sure that they are gluten-free certified
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk* (or any of your favorite plant-based milk)
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce or ½ ripe and mashed banana
- pinch of salt
- For the Toppings:
- 1 cup seasonal fresh fruits, chopped
- 1 ZonePerfect Nutrition Bar (I used Salted Caramel Brownie), cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
- Mix together the steel cut oats, water, almond milk, applesauce (or a 1/2 ripe and mashed banana), and salt in a heat-resistant bowl (or a small casserole dish) that will fit in your slow cooker.
- Fill the bowl of the slow cooker halfway through with water.
- Put the lid on and cook for 4 hours in low-heat setting. 4 hours will create a very creamy consistency. If you want it to be thicker, you can let it cook up to 5 hours in low heat setting.
- When ready to serve, divide it in between 4 bowls and top each cup off with fresh fruit, chunks of nutrition bar, and sesame seeds.
- Serve while it is still warm.
• If your bowl is larger and you want to make a bigger batch, feel free to double the recipe. Alternatively, you can skip cooking it in a casserole dish and directly cook it in the bowl of your slow cooker. For more information on this, please read the blog post.
• If you prefer, you can substitute almond milk with water or regular milk.
• As long as it is kept in an airtight container, it will keep fresh up to 3 days. When ready to eat, warm it up in the microwave for 1 minute or so.
**** Calorie value listed below do not include the nutrition bar.****
- Serving Size: 4 servings
Editor’s Note: This post is sponsored by ZonePerfect Bars. The compensation received in exchange for placement on Foolproof Living is used to purchase ingredients and props, write blog posts, take and edit photos and maintain this website in general.
However, though compensation was received in exchange for coverage, the thoughts and opinions mentioned in this post are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Foolproof Living!