Basic Overnight Oatmeal Slow Cooker Recipe

We've hit September, which means school is back in session and it's early mornings and kids who need to be fed something (hopefully) substantial before leaving the house.

I've gotten a few emails about overnight oatmeal, and I've been experimenting. 

Because of the way the Internet is, I've figured out a VERY BASIC overnight oatmeal --- the oats can be either regular rolled OR "fancy" steel cut, and the oats are cooked in water, not milk.

If you want to change-up the water for cow's milk, or almond milk, or hemp, soy, coconut, lactaid, fairy, or unicorn milk: go for it! 

but water works, too!

The Ingredients:

serves 4-6

Rolled Oat Overnight Slow Cooker Recipe

For "Regular" Oatmeal, the ratio in a slow cooker to cook is 1:2 -- one part oatmeal, 2 parts cooking liquid. I add a bit more liquid (an extra 1/2 cup) for moisture because that is what I like.

  • 2 cups rolled old-fashioned oats (NOT quick cook) (I use certified gluten free oats)
  • 4 cups water or milk (or liquid equivalent)
  • (1/2 cup of cream, milk, etc. to stir in after cooking)

Steel Cut Oats Overnight Slow Cooker Recipe

For "Steel Cut" Oatmeal, the ratio in a slow cooker to cook is 1:3 -- one part oatmeal, 3 parts cooking liquid. 

  • 1 cup steel cut oatmeal (I use certified gluten free)
  • 3 cups water or milk
  • (1/2 cup of cream, milk, etc. to stir in after cooking)

The Directions.

Use a 4 or a 6 quart slow cooker and an OVEN-SAFE dish (pyrex, corningware, anything you'd toss into the oven or dishwasher without thinking twice).

Put a cup or so of water into the bottom of your crockpot.

Smear a tiny bit of butter (or use cooking spray) on the oven-safe dish.

Combine the oats and cooking liquid.

Place the dish into the crockpot with the water.

Cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. (this is when you sleep!!)

Creamy, bland, tasteless oatmeal. You can add stuff at the table: honey, sliced fruit, brown sugar, etc.

OR, you can get fancy and do mixing and cook overnight with the mixings. 

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Kid Friendly Overnight Oatmeal

(this is how my three children like their oatmeal)
    2 cups rolled oats
    4 1/2 cups water (many times I mix half milk, half water)
    2 tablespoons honey
    1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix (1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 nutmeg, 1/8 cloves)
    2 small granny smith apples, diced (I leave on the skin because I'm terribly lazy)

    In the morning they sprinkle on a bit more cinnamon and they like sliced bananas, too. What they'd REALLY like is for me to let them add brown sugar, but I don't.

    because I'm terribly mean, too.

Do you love this recipe?

Please share it with your friends!

Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at October 23, 2022

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What they say about this recipe

  1. This is a great idea! I'm always looking for easy ways to prepare breakfast ahead of time for my husband and me -- and I've moved away from packets of oatmeal because they're not exactly healthy (but oh so convenient!). This will get me back on the Oat Train. ;) Thanks!

  2. My kids may eat this and so will I. I'm going to try it out next week and see if it's too mushy or if it gets eaten!

  3. You can also do the slow cooker with steel cut oats, and get the added benefits of them without the 45 minute cooking time. That will give you a little bit more texture as well.

  4. Why not use GF steel cut oats? For 1-2 people, I a personal sized crock pot. I love oatmeal :) My suggestion is to play with it for ratio of water to steel cut oats. My sweet spot is 1 C of water to 1/4 C of Steel cut oats.

  5. If you freeze the leftovers, what's the best way to thaw them?

  6. Yes, steel cut work well, too! Some of my readers and the children I've been in contact with don't like the "soft grape nuts" texture, though. ;-)

    Min, I've had success thawing individual bags of cooked oatmeal in a cup of hot water, and then microwaving a bit or thawing overnight in the fridge and then microwaving.

    If I have a bunch left over, I plop it in a plastic tupperware-type container and then thaw overnight in the fridge and microwave in the morning.

    I hope this helps a bit!

  7. I like bite to my porridge, as well as fancy steel-cut oats. I use 1 cup steel cut oats to 3.5 cups water. I like to add raisins and cinnamon. I cook the night before on high for about 3 hours and leave them in the pot until morning. I then nuke what I want to eat and put the rest in the fridge.

  8. Tried this last night. 1 out of 3 kids liked it. The apple skins bothered them and they wanted it sweeter. It was good with some extra maple syrup or brown sugar. Next time I'll peel, or use sweeter apples. Or maybe apple juice for the liquid. Or may try a pumpkin twist. I'm glad you posted this. I've been wanting to try this for a long time and it got me over my fear. Now I'm excited to try different possibilities.

  9. Oh, yes, steel cut oats are the only way to go! Mine weren't like soft Grape Nuts at all! It was just perfectly cooked oatmeal. They don't get mushy and they taste SO, SO MUCH BETTER! The difference must be in the crock pots. Mine is a Cuisinart. I love its 4 heat settings, and after the initial cooking, it will automatically go to warm for up to 8 hours.

  10. Thank you, Stephanie! I'm starting back to school full-time (doctoral programme at the age of almost 40, so I'm thinking something like this would be GREAT for breakfasts!

    While I've got you, I LIVE on your recipes during the summer! I love using my Crock Pot (tm) during the summer so I don't have to warm up my kitchen with the stove/oven. I can't wait for your cookbook! Thank you!

  11. I recall Alton Brown doing Steel Cut oats in a slow cooker on Good Eats. He added dried fruit to his (raisins, apricots, etc) but some in the household don't care much for cooked fruit. Based on that we've experimented with a 2.5 Qt slow cooker. 1 cup steel cut oats to 4 cups liquid. We generally do half water and half milk or non-dairy alternative. Set a timer to cook on low for 6 hours, set to finish around when we expect to wake up. In the morning, stir in 1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste). This makes 4 adult-sized servings that can be individually topped, the leftovers of which refrigerate or freeze well, and are usually eaten the next morning.

    The soaking prior to cooking and the 6 hour cook does really well in getting the oats nice and soft, and we get the steel cut oats in the bulk section at the store, so it works good.

  12. I've found it works really well to cook on 'warm' overnight. Low is too hot, and it gets overcooked.

  13. We do oatmeal in the crockpot a LOT during the colder months. I used steel-cut to maintain a little texture, but one thing I do that hasn't been mentioned yet, is dry-toasting the oats in a stainless steel skillet before putting them in the crockpot. Because it's DRY-toasted, it's easy to clean/rinse the skillet when it cools. This method gives a yummy toasted flavor that works very well if you're adding nuts or (real) maple syrup.

  14. Mine was a major flop! I am so bummed! I used a 6 QT pot and increased by 50% as suggested, but it turned into complete mush with areas of clumps. Perhaps reducing the cook time would help. I will give it another try but will use steel cut oats instead.

  15. I'd even add in some ground flax. They won't know it's in there and it will actually level blood sugar so won't get hungry as quickly.

  16. This has become a weekly breakfast in our house! We love it with coconut milk, water, dried fruit and cinnamon. I find it is done after 6.5 hours in my crockpot. Anyone who finds it too mushy should try cooking it during the day, then see how long until it's done to your liking. It always comes down the individual slow cooker. We love this!

  17. your measurements were on spot, using half teaspoon of oil inside of crock pot gave me no stick, I was afraid to put on low overnight, I put on warm setting instead and it was PERFECT

  18. I just mixed all my ingredients in my slow cooker, I am excited to try this out in the morning! Thank you for the recipe, I did have to double the recipe because I only have a 6 Quart programable slow cooker. Oh btw I tried the Pumpkin Oatmeal and it came out really good, the downside was the edges got burned so I wasn't able to save a lot of the burned portion, I didn't have the right slow cooker that recipe called for so Im sure that is the reason why,I will try that recipe again another day.

  19. I made this using double the recipe (6 qt slow cooker) and the "warm" setting for 14+ hours (breakfast program at a school) and it was perfect. Probably would have been fine with anything over 10 hours, but I don't know that for sure.

  20. Unicorn milk works the best!

  21. I use an outlet timer, like what you'd use for your Christmas lights, since my slow cooker is pretty old. It works great for overnight stuff and for shorter time period stuff when I won't be home at the right time to turn it on!

  22. willsve@aol.com6/28/2017

    I picked up this recipe, I can't remember where or when but it works very well for 2 fairly large servings:
    1/2 cup steel cut oats, 1/2 teaspoon salt, Lots of ground cinnamon, abt 2 tablespoons butter, 1 apple(any kind, but Granny Smith gives a bit more taste), abt. 1 cup of water or a bit more depending on your preferred texture. I add abt. 1 tbs. chiaseeds and abt. 1 tbs. flax seeds. Small Crockpot (I think abt. 3 quarts) Water up to abt. 1/2 up the side of the bowl with the ingredients. Slow cook overnight. For us it is usually about 9-10 hours. This is a basic cooker with no timer/no warm setting, so we just let it work its magic until we get up.(We're pensioners!)

  23. I made this last night and what??? It worked great! I can't believe I have been a slow cooker fanatic for so many years and have never tried the pot-in-pot method before now. I used old fashioned oats, half 1% milk and half water and I dumped in some brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice before cooking. I don't know how much of either - I just put what seemed like enough. I also added a pinch of salt. I have a Cuisinart 6.5 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. I put it on the timer on low for 7 hours at around 10:30 pm and the kids had breakfast at 7am, so it was on warm for around an hour and a half and was fine. The kids added some craisins and mini-m&m's to their bowls (because I caved when they begged) and gobbled it up and asked for seconds. This is going to be a regular! Oh - and I didn't smear a tiny bit of butter around in the casserole dish. I generously buttered it. And it cleaned up very easily. <3 you Stephanie!