Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats

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.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe: Learn how to best way to make steel cut oats in a slow cooker. Simply turn it on at night and wake up to a creamy and healthy breakfast.

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.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe: Learn how to best way to make steel cut oats in a slow cooker. Simply turn it on at night and wake up to a creamy and healthy breakfast.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe: Learn how to best way to make steel cut oats in a slow cooker. Simply turn it on at night and wake up to a creamy and healthy breakfast.

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.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe: Learn how to best way to make steel cut oats in a slow cooker. Simply turn it on at night and wake up to a creamy and healthy breakfast.

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.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe: Learn how to best way to make steel cut oats in a slow cooker. Simply turn it on at night and wake up to a creamy and healthy breakfast.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe: Learn how to best way to make steel cut oats in a slow cooker. Simply turn it on at night and wake up to a creamy and healthy breakfast.

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.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe: Learn how to best way to make steel cut oats in a slow cooker. Simply turn it on at night and wake up to a creamy and healthy breakfast.

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

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe: Learn how to best way to make steel cut oats in a slow cooker. Simply turn it on at night and wake up to a creamy and healthy breakfast.

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  • Author: Aysegul Sanford
  • 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)


  1. 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.
  2. Fill the bowl of the slow cooker halfway through with water.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe: Learn how to best way to make steel cut oats in a slow cooker. Simply turn it on at night and wake up to a creamy and healthy breakfast.
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  • Aimee | Wallflower Kitchen - I got a bag of steel cut oats that I’ve been meaning to use, since it’s the best time of year for cosy breakfasts like this! Gorgeous as everReplyCancel

  • Amisha - I love your detailed your recipe is wndchow you talk about your experiments too ! I love steel cut oats and you are right – it takes so long to cook it on the stove top! I might have to invest in a crock pot !! Your pictures are mega delicious !!,????ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Aww thank you Amisha. I do my best to be as helpful as I can be. Yes, you should try the crockpot method. If you are a lover of steel cut oats, you will love it. Much love and thanks again my friend. <3ReplyCancel

  • Gena - I love making steel cut oats in the crockpot! It’s so easy and such a time saver; I like to do big batches for freezing and leftovers. This is a lovely recipe, Aysegul (I love the thought to add mashed fruit). Happy new year to you 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Hi Gena! This is my new favorite way of starting the day. Like you said, it is such a time saver. Plus, it is super healthy. 🙂
      Happy new year to you too.
      PS: It makes me so happy every time you stop by my friend. <3ReplyCancel

  • Lynn | The Road to Honey - First off, welcome (back) to New England.  It’s definitely cold here in Boston . . .but even more brutal the further North you get so warm and comforting foods are a definite must.  
    Slow cooker steel cut oats are a regular way to warm up in our household.  But I have to admit that I have not had problems with a difficult to clean insert.  Perhaps I just got lucky and bought a brand/model that is ideal for this type of food.  That said, it’s just the Mr. and I, so I like the idea of using the bowl to reduce the number of servings.  Also, as much as I like honey on my oatmeal. . .my blood sugar does not and I find that I will spend all day trying to recover from blood sugar lows.  I generally go with no sweetener by love the idea of using applesauce to sweeten it. . .definitely giving this a try next time.  I also love the idea of topping it with nutritional bars especially since the Mr. is addicted to them.  ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Oh that is good to know. It must have been because of your slow cooker. Mine was a nightmare to clean.
      Thanks for your kind wishes. I wish we can meet sometime and enjoy a bowl of this together. 🙂
      PS: I love your Insta stories. Your tips on photography are so SO helpful.ReplyCancel

  • Traci | Vanilla And Bean - Your moving to Vermont?!  Oh my! I’ve never been but would love to visit some day… how are you feeling about it?  I adore overnight oats in any form. But I’m with you on steel cut.. they require a different kind of attention than rolled. Thank you for sharing your tips to make mornings easier! I’ll have to get these back on my rotation..  (that bowl is gorgeous!!).  Thank you for sharing Aysegul.ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Yes!! I know, right? It is hard to believe, but we are moving again. I so wish you could come and visit me. Hopefully very very soon. <3
      I, too, love a good warm bowl of steel cut oats. This turned out to be a really good one that exceeded my expectations. Thanks for stopping by Traci. <3ReplyCancel

  • Ruby & Cake - I love the detail you put into your recipes and that you give advice for leftovers! I never know what to do with my leftover oats they usually congeal and end up in the bin. I hope you enjoy your time in Vermont!ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Thank you so much for your kind words. I try to do my best to answer all questions with the hopes that it will be helpful to my readers 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ Heart of a Baker - Ohh how I have not thought about making steel cut oats in the slow cooker before?! This is such a good way to get them in without waiting around for them to be done!ReplyCancel

  • Tessa | Salted Plains - Vermont! How exciting. I think I would wake up and check the weather there every morning too! This steel cut oatmeal method sound fantastic – I would have never thought to use a dish inside the crockpot. Your fruit in these photos look like gems! So pretty, Aysegul! xoReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - It was a surprise to me too, but it worked beautifully. Thank you for your kind words my friend. <3ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - I have cooked steel cut oats in the slow cooker before, but I never would have thought of cooking it with the water bath method! It’s funny, before the new year, I was trying to develop a recipe for slow cooker oats with millet. I cooked it for 8 hours on low, like you did and it definitely wasn’t as creamy as i would have liked. I should really try this method when I retest the recipe later this month! Thanks for this.

    P.S. You’re moving to Vermont?!! I’ve visited twice and always loved the beauty of Vermont. It is definitely way too cold for a California girl like me though 😉ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Hey Lisa.. Yes, I have been there. 8 hours is just too long for steel cut oats. Who knew, right? 🙂
      PS: I know, but we are looking forward to the change. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Sara @ Cake Over Steak - I just had some steel cut oats last weekend when it was FREEZING COLD. It sounds like you’re going to be all set for your move to Vermont. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Willow | Will Cook For Friends - I love steel cut oats! I always just cook mine on the stove, but I love the idea of throwing them in the slow cooker and waking up to warm oats in the morning. I actually have a steel cut oat recipe coming up, and will have to link to this post in the recipe notes as an alternative way to make it. And those toppings! Oatmeal is all about toppings, IMO. I wouldn’t have thought to cut up an energy bar, though — pure genius. I’ve never tried the ZonePerfect bars, but they sound super yummy. Will definitely be keeping my eye out for them from now on. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Thank you Willow. I think the idea of having breakfast ready when you wake up is the best part about this recipe. A warm bowl of goodness topped off with all kinds of toppings. Who can say no to that? :))
      I can’t wait to see your post and what you topped it off with. Cheers my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - How did I miss that you were moving to Vermont?!  I really am so behind on my reading!  That’s so exciting!  I’ve always wanted to visit vermont, so maybe someday we can connect there.  🙂  These photos are stunning- so vibrant and colorful.  Love the way you dressed up a simple bowl of oats.  I always make mine in the rice cooker with a timer, similar to how you do it here.  It’s such a great thing to wake up to!ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Oh Emily.. I would love to you to visit me in Vermont.. That would be a dream come true.
      Rice cooker is such a great idea. I used to have one, long time ago, but I see that it would be perfect for this recipe. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Pam - I cook my steel cut oats in my rice cooker. You can leave them on warm for hours and the consistency doesn’t change! It’s also way faster than cooking on the stove and the pot is easy to clean!ReplyCancel

Hi There!

I am so glad you stopped by and I hope you are enjoying my adventures in cooking, photography, and life. 
I am Aysegul: the photographer, writer, designer, recipe creator, and dishwasher behind this blog. This website is a journal of my favorite seasonal and healthy recipes. Click around and let me know if I can help in any way. 
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