Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Ground Flax Seed

I’ve made this oatmeal twice, but I thought I wasn’t going to blog about it.


Well, because it is ugly. Sorry, but it is! I know beauty isn’t skin deep, however, I still didn’t think this would make the cut. Then I mentioned on Facebook that I had it for breakfast. I was bombarded (in the best way possible, of course!) with requests for the recipe. Ask and you shall receive!  So I dished up a bowl, and gave it the best little makeover that I could. And it was ready for its close-up. The magazine lying next to it is the Journal of Physical Therapy. It is what I read every day while I eat my breakfast. I’m quite the studious one.

Not true at all. I read food blogs while I eat breakfast! Duh. Goes better with my coffee. 

Getting back to the point, this oatmeal is great because you wake up to a hot bowl of oatmeal. What could be better than that? No half-awake breakfast making. No standing by the stove stirring a pot while you listen to your stomach growl. Just open lid, spoon it into bowl, top with toppings, and eat! Granted, oatmeal doesn’t take too long to whip up in the morning, but if you use steel-cut oats it does. They have about a 35 minute cooking time.

I like to top mine with some brown sugar, dried cherries, toasted pecans and a little milk. If I have fresh fruit I go for that. When I made it this time, I cooked some blueberries in with it all night. I’d rather throw them in fresh after it is done cooking, but all I had were frozen blueberries. I also really like to cook the dried cherries in with the oatmeal because they plump up and get extra delicious, but my husband doesn’t like them.

Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Ground Flax Seed
Adapted from Alton Brown

1 cup steel-cut oats
1-2 cups of dried or fresh fruit (optional: try blueberries, apples, dates, raisins, cherries, cranberries…whatever your heart desires!)
4 cups water
1 cup skim milk (original recipe called for half & half, but I just had skim–still tasted great)
1/2 cup ground flax-seed (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients in a slow-cooker.
2. Cook on low, covered, for 8-9 hours.
3. Stir and serve!

Verdict: Love it! I just love not having to cook breakfast in the morning. This is good leftover too. I doubled the batch. Really wasn’t necessary, there are a lot of leftovers!
Husband’s take: He also loves this!
Changes I would make: None, but I do love to experiment with different fruits! If my hubby wasn’t eating it, I would like to try it with some dates. That sounds bad. I’m talking about fruit…
Difficulty: Really, really easy. The original recipe recommends that you start this before you go to bed, but I didn’t mention that because I’d like to think all my lovely readers are smart enough to figure that one out on their own.

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  1. I don’t think it’s ugly! Your pictures are gorgeous!

  2. Beautiful and so tempting! Wow, I am loving this oatmeal. Perfect for when it starts to actually feel like fall!

  3. I love making oatmeal in the slow cooker, so great to know that while you sleep it’s being cooked all on it’s own!

  4. This is a great idea Rachel. I’m going to try this when I go back to work next week. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  5. Looks delicious. Will have to try this when it gets a bit cooler outside. I laughed about the PT journal!

  6. You did a great job making oatmeal look delicious! I love steelcut oats more than regular oats. I think it’s the texture, I don’t know. Can’t wait for it to cool off to start eating them again! Because I don’t have a slow cooker (I know – shame on me! 🙂 ) I let mine soak overnight so I don’t have to cook them so long the next day. Probably should get a slow cooker. 🙂 Lovely breakfast!

  7. This is a great idea! I am featuring this on my blog today along with breakfast recipes from other food bloggers! Stop by if you want to see! Thanks.

  8. Delicious! I love this no-make breakfast idea!!!!

  9. This sounds great! I recently made overnight oatmeal in the fridge, but now I’ll have to try the slow cooker!

  10. Maybe not the prettiest dish but I’ll take your word for how good it is. I saw a really good pumpkin oatmeal recipe somewhere that I am going to try to replicate because I love anything and all things pumpkin!

  11. How healthy and fantastic! I agree with Lesa,it doesn’t look ugly at all. I love your fruity additions as well. I know what you mean though about making ugly-ish dishes look photo worthy. I made a delicious cream of mushroom soup but photographing it and making it look delicious was a whole other story.

  12. I love oatmeal and eat it most mornings with fresh or frozen blueberries and mangoes when I have them along with lots of cinnamon. Cinnamon is good for your blood pressure among other things.

    However I have to say I’ve never tried steel cut oats but hear they are the best. I also have never owned a slow cooker but you have me convinced to try them. I guess I can cook them while I walk my dogs in the morning. Is there a particular
    Brand you recommend?

    • This was my first time buying steel cut oats, so I can’t necessarily recommend the best brand, but these are what I bought and I don’t have any complaints about them: Country Choice Organic Irish Style Oats-Steel Cut. If I remember correctly, I got them from Trader Joes. It does say to stir occasionally, so I’m not sure about cooking them while you’re out walking your dogs.

      • If you put them in a slow cooker you wouldn’t have stirred them either. Right? I’m guessing if I put them on the simmer mode then it might be ok. I’ll have to check the label on the package I buy. I’ll check out Trader Joe’s. I was just there yesterday too! Thanks for the reply. Have a great holiday weekend!

  13. Great idea! I always stay away from steel cut oats because I don’t feel like standing over the stove forever. This is so much better!

  14. I love the idea of waking up to hot oatmeal without all the work 🙂 This looks delicious!

  15. That really does look appetizing. You did a great job of dressing it up! Fantastic pictures and recipe!

  16. I don’t know how I still have not tried this – looks like an amazing and hearty breakfast; perfect for the chilly fall mornings creeping up.

  17. Topping it with brown sugar, dried cherries, toasted pecans and milk sounds like an tasty combo.

  18. Yum! Sometimes food doesn’t look pretty. As long as it tastes good it’s good in my book 🙂

  19. I won’t mind the presentation if the dish does good to me…and this looks just perfect, Rachel!

  20. Looks delicious. I love oatmeal in the morning with fresh fruit, walnuts and maple syrup.

  21. Looks great! Always looking for quick breakfast ideas.

    I’m assuming 1/2 CUP ground flax seed … can you please confirm?

    • Yes! Thanks for pointing that out! Fixed it 🙂 I don’t usually measure the ground flax seed anyways, you can really just put in however much you like, or you may leave it out all together. Thanks again!

  22. Love this!!! What size slow cooker are you using for this? Thanks! 🙂

    • I actually usually double the recipe and use my big oval one–I think it is a 6qt. It makes a TON but keeps well in the fridge and reheats nicely in the microwave. I honestly do this mostly because the 6qt isn’t way back in a closet somewhere. I do also have a smaller crockpot (I believe a 5qt round one?)–that size would probably work better for a single batch. Hope this helps!

      • I have an oval one. I honestly don’t even know the size, lol!! Thanks for the info! 🙂

        • PS: A big dallop of Almond Butter is delicious on top if you have never tried it. 🙂

          • Soooo, I don’t know what happened, but my oatmeal did not turn out well. I doubled the recipe and the oates burnt around the edges of the pot and bottom (I sprayed the inside with cooking spray too). Also very soupy. Hmmmm…. I have a Rival 6 quart that swithches to warm after cooking. The only thing I can think is that my cooker gets too hot. Your picture looks much better than my finished product… lol!! Oh well, the stove top it is for me. 🙂

            • Hmm–strange. Mine also sometimes gets more brown around the bottom and edges, but I wouldn’t say burnt? I usually just stir it all together really well and it tastes great and the thicker parts around the edges thicken up the soupier middle part.

              Sorry it didn’t turn out for you! 🙁

              • Yeah, I did all that too. It’s not your fault. I love the idea and will try again with a new crockpot. I need a smaller one anyway. Thanks!! 🙂

  23. I love this! Just put a batch in the slow cooker with banana and cinnamon for breakfast tomorrow.

  24. I love your site! I love my oatmeal and was looking for a slow cooker recipe for them so I could set it over night and forget it. I tried your recipe and it didn’t seem to turn out that well.

    It kindof seemed like none of the moisture was absorbed maybe. The flax & oats were on the bottom in a bit hard to stir clump & all the liquid was on the top. Very liquidy. My husband said maybe it was because I put the oats in first but I did stir alot after I added everything in.

    Was it supposed to be very on the liquid side? Perhaps I just am more used to thicker oatmeal lol. I just am not sure if i did something wrong or not?

    • It is a little on the runny side, although if you stir it up really well, it comes to a pretty nice consistency. I always stir the edges into the middle and it helps a little. It also thickens as it cools. Sorry it didn’t work out the greatest! Thanks for reading my site 🙂

  25. HI RACHEL,


  26. As for steel cut oats, the best and tastiest is McCann’s Irish Oatmeal (comes in a white can with black lettering). A portion for two is 2/3 cup oats and 2 cups of water. Once brought to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover partially, and fifteen minutes later it’s done without any stirring necessary. I use a heavy SS/aluminum core saucepan.

    Question: I have read that heat destroys ground flax seed. True?

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  29. Fantastic! I made this last week and it was delicious. I reduced the water by one cup and used skim milk. It came out thicker, which I prefer. I also added:
    64 g (a quarter cup) peanut butter
    65 g of trail mix (cranberries, almonds, cashews, blueberries)
    Canned pumpkin puree (about 0.5 cup)
    4 T brown sugar

    Didn’t come out clumpy at all, and was ready to go in the morning. Loved this recipe, thank you so much!

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