Today’s recipe, Crockpot steel cut oatmeal, is the ultimate grab-and-go breakfast. It only takes five minutes to put together, and you can flavor your oats with dozens of delectable add-ins.

Plus, unlike other crockpot oatmeal you’ll find on the internet, my simple recipe uses a water bath and a small casserole dish or mason jars to eliminate the hassle of cleanup—perfect for a busy morning or to make for a crowd. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a morning person or not, you’ll love the chewy texture of these steel cut crock pot oats.

A bowl of slow cooker steel cut oatmeal garnished with fruit and nuts.

Ingredients

To make this recipe for steel-cut oats in a crock pot, you only need a handful of pantry-ready ingredients: 

  • Steel-Cut Oats: When selecting types of oats for this oatmeal recipe, I recommend using steel cut oats—sometimes called “Irish oats.” As mentioned in this article on Steel Cut Oats vs. Rolled Oats, steel cut oats are less processed and have a lower glycemic index than any of the different kinds of oats in the market. Also, rolled oats have a softer texture and don’t do well in slow cookers. Bob’s Red Mill (affiliate link) is one of my favorite steel-cut oats brands and is available in most grocery stores.
  • Liquid: You can use water, plant-based or regular milk, or a combination of the two when you slow cook steel cut oats. Any other natural plant milk will work if you don’t want to use dairy milk. My favorite is unsweetened almond milk, which you can make at home using my easy recipe for DIY Almond Milk. I also like unsweetened coconut milk and oat milk.
  • Sweetener: To give your crockpot steel cut oats natural, low-calorie sweetness, I recommend adding in a mashed ripe banana or applesauce (hello, Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce!). Or better yet, make a batch of my Breakfast Fruit Salad and use it as a healthy unsweetened option for topping. These tasty ingredients will satisfy your sweet tooth without the added sugar. 
  • Salt: A pinch of salt is the key to brightening up the sweet, creamy flavor of your slow cooker overnight oats.
  • Toppings (optional): Garnish your steel-cut oats with fresh berries, homemade chunky granola, or unsweetened coconut flakes for a light, sweet take on this classic dish. Or, give your breakfast extra protein by adding peanut butter (or any other nut butter), a handful of nuts, or your favorite granola.
  • Add-ins: Who says you have to eat slow cooker steel cut oats plain? Adding a dash of spices, like cardamom, cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice, is an easy way to give your oats a warm, fragrant flavor. Or, mix in a teaspoon of vanilla extract to give each bite sweet undertones. You can even add protein powders to your overnight crockpot steel cut oats for extra nutrition.
Ingredients to make this recipe from the top view on a marble backdrop.

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Variations

  • Apple cinnamon: If you like apple pie, you’ll love apple cinnamon steel cut oats from the crockpot. You can use either sauteed apples, as I did in my Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal, or shredded apples, as I did in my Overnight Muesli. Finish your bowl with a pinch of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick, and voila! Delicious and healthy slow cooker oatmeal.
  • Blueberry: Nothing brightens a weekday morning like a bowl of oatmeal flavored with Pureed Blueberries or Homemade Blueberry Sauce. These ingredients transform your hot breakfast into a fruity delight full of antioxidants.
  • Cranberry sauce: Adding a dollop of my naturally sweetened Cranberry Sauce is a festive, vegan way to give your slow cook oatmeal irresistible tartness. Plus, it’s an excellent use of holiday leftovers!
  • Other sweeteners: For those who love pancakes and syrup, maple steel cut oats will be your new favorite weekday breakfast. Top your crockpot steel cut oats with maple brown sugar, pure maple syrup, or honey, and enjoy.

Equipment You’ll Need

If desired, you can make this steel cut oatmeal recipe directly in the insert of the slow cooker. Spraying the insert with cooking spray or using a crockpot liner (affiliate link) will help make cleaning easier.

However, I recommend cooking your oatmeal in an additional heat-resistant, waterproof bowl—such as a casserole dish, mason jar (I use the widely available 16 oz. jars – affiliate link), or ramekin. The key is to find a container that will fit in the bowl of your slow cooker.

This extra layer ensures easy portioning and mess-free cleanup.

How to Cook Steel Cut Oats in a Crock Pot?

My slow cooker steel cut oats recipe takes the hassle out of overnight oatmeal. Once you combine your ingredients, you can set it and forget it with this effortless breakfast.

Steps showing how to assemble the oats and milk in a crock pot using a casserole dish or mason jars.
  1. Combine the ingredients: Select a heat-resistant bowl, mason jar, or small casserole dish that will fit in your slow cooker. Mix the steel cut oats, water, almond milk, mashed banana, and salt inside the selected bowl.
A collage of photos showing how to make steel cut oatmeal in a crockpot using the two methods mentioned in the article.
  1. Prepare the slow cooker: Place your oat-filled dish inside your crockpot, and fill the insert halfway with water.
  2. Cook the oatmeal: Put on the lid and cook the steel cut oats in the crockpot for four hours in a low-heat setting. For a thicker consistency, let the oatmeal cook for up to five hours at low heat.
A collage of photos showing how to assemble and store crock-pot oatmeal.
  1. Serve: Divide the overnight oats among four bowls. Top each off with fresh fruit, nut butter, or other favorite toppings. If you made your slow-cooking oats in mason jars, serve them in the jars with your toppings of choice.

How to Store, Reheat, Freeze, and Thaw?

Making steel cut oatmeal in a slow cooker is a fantastic way to relieve morning meal prep stress. With these storage tips, you’ll never have to worry about preparing breakfast again.

  • Storage: To store crock-pot steel cut oats, let the mixture reach room temperature. Then, store in an airtight container and place in the fridge. If you prepared your oats in mason jars, screw on the jars’ lids for an airtight seal.
  • Reheat: When reheating your slow-cooked oatmeal recipe, place the oats in a microwaveable bowl and add a splash of water or milk. Then, microwave the mixture for about 1½ minutes, stirring the oats every thirty seconds.
  • Freeze: To freeze, divide your overnight slow cooker oatmeal into a 12-cup muffin tin and freeze for 4-5 hours. Then, transfer the frozen oatmeal cups into a Ziploc bag, remove as much air as possible, and store them in the freezer. You can reheat the frozen oatmeal by placing it in a microwaveable bowl with a little water or milk and microwaving it for 1-2 minutes. 
  • Thaw: If you’d prefer not to microwave your steel-cut oats straight from the freezer, you can thaw them overnight in the fridge. Just be sure to eat them the next day to ensure freshness.

Expert Tips

Preparing steel cut oats in a crockpot is one of the easiest ways to start your morning with nutritious, hearty eats. Even beginners can make irresistibly creamy oatmeal with these pro instructions.

  • Warm heat setting for overnight: Slow-cooked oatmeal begins to dry out after 4-5 hours in the crockpot. To maintain your oats’ creamy texture, I suggest turning your slow cooker to a warm heat setting after 4 hours and keeping it on “warm” until you’re ready to eat.
  • Stir your oatmeal before serving: Because slow cookers don’t mix their ingredients during the cooking process, stirring your slow cooker oats is essential for creamy, lump-free oatmeal.
  • Halve or multiply the recipe: You can make this crockpot oatmeal for a crowd or a single serving with my water bath method. Simply halve the recipe (ideal if you want to make a mini crockpot oatmeal) and cook it in a smaller dish, or multiply it and use a larger dish. The water bath will ensure your oatmeal comes out perfectly chewy no matter how many servings you prepare.
  • Cooking times may vary: The amount of time it takes to cook overnight oatmeal in a crockpot may change depending on your specific slow cooker. Use this recipe as a base and adjust your cooking time depending on how quickly or slowly your oats cook.
Slow cooker oatmeal with steel cut oats cooked in mason jars from the top view.

FAQs

You don’t need to stress over this easy steel cut oats in slow cooker recipe. Whether you’re looking for the perfect oat-to-liquid ratio or ideal cook times, this simple guide has everything you need.

What is the water-to-steel cut oats ratio?

For the best slow cooker steel cut oats, I recommend using a 1:4 ratio of oats to liquid. In other words, for every cup of steel cut oats, you will need 4 cups of liquid (water, milk or a combination of the two.)

How long does it take to cook steel cut oats in a slow cooker?

I recommend cooking your steel cut oats in a slow cooker for 4-5 hours on a low-heat setting. After that time, switch your slow cooker to a warm heat setting to keep your oatmeal from drying out.

Other Oatmeal Recipes You Might Like

Once you taste the creamy decadence of steel cut oatmeal in a crock pot, you’ll crave oatmeal every day of the week. These healthy oat recipes will help you start each day well.

If you try this Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It is a great help to others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe

5 from 10 votes
Yields4 cups
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
Total Time4 hours 5 minutes
Who knew that the best way to make steel cut oatmeal is to use your crock pot and cook the oats in a bowl in hot bath? Read through the post and recipe below to learn my foolproof method to make the best overnight slow cooker steel cut oats only to wake up to a bowl of warm steel cuts oats in the morning.

Ingredients 

For The Steel Cut Oats:

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, or any of your favorite plant based or cow’s milk
  • 1 cup mashed banana from one small banana, or ½ cup of applesauce
  • Pinch Salt

Optional Toppings:

  • 1 cup seasonal fruit, chopped
  • Nuts or nut butters, as garnish

Instructions 

  • Mix together the steel cut oats, water, almond milk, mashed banana and salt in a heat-resistant bowl (or a small casserole dish) that will fit in your slow cooker*. Alternatively, you can divide the ingredients (¼ cup steel-cut oats and 1 cup of liquid per jar) among four mason jars. Be sure to stir it well.
  • Place the casserole dish (or mason jars) in the bowl of your crock pot. Fill the bowl halfway through with water.
  • Put the lid on and cook for 4 hours in a low-heat setting for a super creamy consistency. If you want it to be thicker, you can let it cook for up to 5 hours in a low heat setting*.
  • When ready to serve, divide it between 4 bowls and top each cup off with fresh fruit, nut butter, or any other one of your favorite toppings. If you cooked them in mason jars, serve them in the jars with your toppings of choice.

Notes

  • Serving size: Each serving of this recipe is between 2/3 cup to a cup.
  • Crockpot size: The size of my slow cooker is 6 1/2 quarts (a model that is no longer produced.) 
  • Warm heat setting: To maintain the creamy texture of your steel cut oatmeal, I suggest turning your slow cooker to a warm heat setting after 4 hours and keeping it on “warm” until you’re ready to eat. This is especially necessary if you are cooking it overnight.
  • Prefer not to use the water bath method? If you prefer to cook your steel-cut oats in the bowl of your slow cooker instead, you can put all the ingredients in the bowl. I recommend using cooking spray before adding everything in. Alternatively, you can use a slow cooker liner to make cleaning easier. The timing would not change.
  • Cook times may vary: It is no secret that every brand of the slow cooker is different, so the timing might change slightly. My recommendation is to use this basic recipe as a starting point and alter the cooking time according to your own crock pot.
  • Storage: To store leftover oatmeal, let it come to room temperature. Then, store in an airtight container and place in the fridge. If you prepared your oats in mason jars, screw on the jars’ lids for an airtight seal.
  • Reheat: When reheating, place the oats in a microwaveable bowl and add a splash of water or milk. Then, microwave the mixture for about 1½ minutes, making sure to stir the oats every thirty seconds.
  • Freeze: To freeze, divide your overnight slow cooker oatmeal into a 12-cup muffin tin and freeze for 4-5 hours. Then, transfer the frozen oatmeal cups into a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, seal them, and store them in the freezer. You can reheat the frozen oatmeal by placing it in a microwaveable bowl with a little water or milk and microwaving it for 1-2 minutes. 
  • The nutritional information below does not include the optional toppings.

Nutrition

Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 168mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 0.1g | Calcium: 174mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @foolproofliving or tag #foolproofeats!

About Aysegul Sanford

Hello Friend! I'm Aysegul but you can call me “Ice." I’m the cook/recipe-tester/photographer behind this site.

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5 from 10 votes (1 rating without comment)

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40 Comments

  1. Can I cook this on high in the crockpot? I would use the mason jars but would don’t have 4 hours on low to do this.

  2. 5 stars
    So glad I found this. The previous recipe I tried called for rolled oats and 8 hours cook time on low and it was just mush. These came out great at 4,5 hours on low with steel cut (I added half an hour because I took the lid of at one point to smell it).

    Used a whole banana since it wasn’t that ripe and threw in some frozen blueberries a few minutes before serving since I didn’t have fresh fruit.

    Thanks!

    1. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe Ivar. I agree, 8 hours would be too long. I usually set it to 4 hours before i go to bed and then in the morning, it is nice and creamy. I like the addition of fresh blueberries too.
      Thanks for coming by!