Crockpot oatmeal is a healthy and satisfying hot breakfast that’s ready when you wake up. Get a good old-fashioned start to your day!

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Your slow cooker is ideal for cooking steel cut oats. Low and slow is just what they need to cook perfectly.

How long it takes: overnight
Equipment you’ll need: slow cooker (4-6 quart)
Servings: 6

Oatmeal in a white bowl topped with raspberries, blueberries, almonds.
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You’ll love crockpot oatmeal because you wake up to a hot bowl of oatmeal, a hearty healthy breakfast. What could be better than that? It’s comforting, warm, and filling.

Eating oatmeal can feel a little old-fashioned. Oats have been around for thousands of years. You may know oatmeal as porridge or by another name. The Scots have been eating oatmeal for centuries because growing oats is well-suited to their climate. I’m reminded of a funny episode in The Outlander series when Jamie tells the French king his digestive problems could be solved with a morning bowl of porridge.

If you have only tried instant oatmeal from the little packets, you’ll be very pleased to discover that crockpot oatmeal is so much better than that! There’s really no comparison.

What Are Steel Cut Oats?

Oat groats (the whole grain) are milled in a variety of ways.  For steel cut oats, the groats are chopped into little pieces. They look like small pieces of brown rice. Steel cut oats, also known as Irish oats or Scottish oats, have a chewier texture than old-fashioned oats which are steamed first, then rolled into small flat disks. Steel cut oats require a longer cooking time.
Close up view, showing texture of oatmeal.

Why You’ll Love Crockpot Oatmeal

A cinch to make! This oatmeal is so easy to stir up the night before. You only need oats, water, and a pinch of salt. And a crockpot, of course. Five minutes max!

Eliminates breakfast prep in the morning. When you’re ready for breakfast, just lift the lid off your slow cooker, spoon steaming hot oatmeal into your bowl, top with anything you like, and eat! No half-awake breakfast making. No standing by the stove, stirring a pot while you listen to your stomach growl.

A healthy start to the day! Why is a breakfast of oatmeal a good thing? Healthline says oats are one of the healthiest grains on earth. They are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber and help with heart health, digestion, and weight loss. Oats are higher in protein than many other grains. They’ll stick with you until lunchtime. Oats are gluten-free, too.

If you have an Instant Pot, you may want to try Instant Pot steel cut oats. The cooking time is shorter, about 30 minutes, and it’s all hands-off time. We also love breakfast quinoa as a fun alternative.

Ingredient Notes

  • Steel Cut Oats: No substitutions here; other types of oats won’t work in this recipe. Try our baked oatmeal with rolled (old-fashioned) oats if that’s what you have on hand. Homemade granola is always a great option, too.
  • Water: A liquid is essential to hydrate the oats. I tested this recipe several different ways, including using milk instead of water, and found that the mixture with milk tends to burn on the bottom and around the edges when it cooks all night in a slow cooker.
  • Salt: Just a pinch of salt keeps the oats from tasting flat.
  • Nonstick Spray, Butter, Or Coconut Oil: A little bit of oil will make clean up easy for you.
  • Slow Cooker (Crockpot): You’ll need a four to six quart crockpot with a lid.
  • Optional Toppings: Milk (both dairy and non-dairy), fruit, dried fruit, seeds, nuts, nut butters, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, you name it, it’s good on oatmeal. Keep reading for even more topping ideas!
Oats, water, salt, in separate bowls.

How To Make Crockpot Oatmeal

Spray the inside of the crockpot with nonstick spray or grease it with butter or coconut oil. This will prevent the oats from sticking to the sides and will be easier to clean up.

Add the steel cut oats, water, and a bit of salt to the crockpot and stir. Put the lid on, set it for Low, and walk away.

Oats before cooking.

In seven or eight hours, you’ll have perfectly cooked steel cut oats! Have a good night’s sleep!

Cooked oatmeal in a slow cooker.

In the morning, give the oats a stir and scoop up a bowlful.

Oatmeal on a serving spoon.

Unless you’re really a purist, you’ll want to top the oatmeal with something. Here are a few ideas but don’t be limited by this list.

Topping ideas

  • Dairy (or non-dairy): Milk, cream, yogurt, non-dairy milk such as almond milk
  • Sweeteners: Brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, chocolate syrup (or chocolate chips!)
  • Spices: Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger. Pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice are great additions to oatmeal. Try mild curry powder for something different!
  • Fruit: Sliced bananas, berries, peaches, and mango are good choices. Apple compote (cooked apples) is one of my favorite things to add to oatmeal. It’s great on French toast or pancakes, too!
  • Dried fruit: Raisins, dried cherries, dried apricots, dates, figs
  • Toasted nuts and seeds: Walnuts, pecans, almonds, pepitas, and sunflower seeds. Toasting the nuts first adds extra flavor and it’s easy to do. For an extra special breakfast, garnish the oatmeal with spiced pecans.
  • Nutrition boosters: Try ground flaxseed, chia seeds, wheat germ, and nut butters.
  • Eggs: Add a fried egg to your bowl of oatmeal for a more savory treat.
Two bowls of oatmeal with different toppings.

FAQs

Do you need to wash steel cut oats?

No, you shouldn’t have to wash the oats before cooking unless the package instructs you to do so.

Do you need to soak steel cut oats?

Soaking the oats can speed up the cooking time if you are cooking them on the stove. With this crockpot method, there’s no need to soak them first.

Oatmeal topped with mango and coconut.

Make-Ahead Ideas

Crockpot oatmeal is a great make ahead recipe because the oatmeal is really good reheated the next few mornings. Double the recipe if you like.

You may like this idea: For serving size portions, freeze the cooked oatmeal in muffin tins sprayed lightly with cooking spray or greased (silicone muffin tins work great for this). Once it’s frozen, pop it out of the tins and put the disks into freezer bags. To reheat, put one into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1-2 minutes. Bingo, breakfast is ready!

Make Ahead & Storage Tips

Make ahead: Crockpot oatmeal is a great make ahead recipe because cooked oatmeal can be refrigerated or frozen for a quick and easy breakfast later in the week. Double the recipe if you like.

Refrigerate: Cooked oatmeal can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Freeze: For serving size portions, freeze the cooked oatmeal in muffin tins sprayed lightly with cooking spray or greased (silicone muffin tins work great for this). Once it’s frozen, pop the oatmeal out of the tins and put the disks into freezer bags. It will keep for up to six months. To reheat, put one into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 to 2 minutes.

How to store uncooked oats: Oats should be kept in an airtight container in a cool dark place. They’ll keep for at least 12 months or even longer.

Rather Have Oatmeal Cookies?

I get that! Try these crispy coconut oatmeal cookies, soft and chewy iced oatmeal cookies, or whole wheat oatmeal raisin cookies. We really love chocolate walnut breakfast cookies for breakfast on-the-go or a healthy snack. Energy balls are high in protein and are usually made with oats, too. Try cranberry oatmeal energy balls or apple cinnamon energy bites.

If you’re loving the idea of crockpot oatmeal, be sure to try carrot cake slow cooker oatmeal or pumpkin pie slow cooker oatmeal.

Easy Breakfast Ideas

Recipe

Crockpot Oatmeal with Steel Cut Oats

4.74 from 23 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Crockpot oatmeal is a healthy and satisfying hot breakfast that's ready when you wake up. Get a good old-fashioned start to your day!
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cups steel-cut oats, uncooked (do not substitute other types of oats)
  • 6 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions 

  • Spray the inside of a 4 to 6-quart crockpot with nonstick cooking spray or rub with coconut oil or butter.
  • Add ingredients to crockpot and stir to combine.
  • Cook on low, covered, for 7-8 hours (overnight is perfect!) or on high for 4 hours, until the oats are tender and the water is absorbed.
  • Stir and serve warm with desired toppings.

Notes

  • Makes 6 cups (serving size 1 cup).
  • Recipe can be doubled. We don’t recommend halving the recipe unless you have a smaller size slow cooker.
  • We found the oatmeal cooked best (and didn’t burn) when we added additional ingredients after it was done cooking. We tested this many, many times!
  • Optional Toppings: Milk, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nut butters (peanut butter, for example), or spices (cinnamon, apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, etc.). Ground flaxseed, chia seeds, or hemp seeds add great nutrition.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 154kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 109mg, Potassium: 1mg, Fiber: 4g, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 2mg

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

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4.74 from 23 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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47 Comments

  1. Marissa says:

    5 stars
    This is such a simple recipe but it comes out perfectly each time! I love to make a big batch of steel cut oats and have them for breakfast throughout the week. I follow the recipe as written and add everything else once it’s done cooking. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you like it!

  2. Tia says:

    5 stars
    Love how easy this recipe is and how perfectly it turns out overnight!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      It’s such a great easy breakfast!

  3. Amy says:

    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!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you loved the recipe! I love the changes you made!

  4. Marvin says:

    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?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Thanks for the tip, Marvin! Never heard that about heat and flax. I’ll have to look into it.

  5. JON says:

    HI RACHEL,
    I WAS LOOKING AT DIFFERENT WAYS TO COOK STEET CUT OATMEAL IN A CROCKPOT AND ALL OF THE RECIPES ONLY MAKE 3-4 SERVINGS. CAN I DOUBLE THE RECIPE TO MAKE A LARGER AMOUNT AND IF SO IS THE COOKING TIME THE SAME?

    THANK YOU, JON HERZFELD

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Hi Jon,
      I have a larger crockpot so I almost always double this recipe when I make it. Cooking time remains the same. Enjoy!

  6. Aimee says:

    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?

    1. Rachel says:

      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 :)

  7. Jennifer Wiggins says:

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

  8. Tracey Evans says:

    Love this!!! What size slow cooker are you using for this? Thanks! :)

    1. Rachel says:

      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!

      1. Tracey Evans says:

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

        1. Tracey Evans says:

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

          1. Tracey Evans says:

            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. :)

          2. Rachel says:

            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! :(

          3. Tracey Evans says:

            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!! :)

  9. Kristie says:

    Looks great! Always looking for quick breakfast ideas.

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

    1. Rachel says:

      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!