Steel Cut Oats: The Slow Cooker Methods

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats

February 16, 2015   11 Comments

When I wrote about steel cut oats last week, I had no idea how many different ways there were to make it.

The response was overwhelmingly positive but then there were questions about the safety of my method – which was to boil the oats and leave the oats on the stove overnight. I thought my “leave it on the stove method” was okay because:

1. My house is cold in the winter – about 55-60F at night
2. I heat the oatmeal to a boil in the morning

My thinking was that anything that might have grown would be killed off, but there is a possibility that this method is not safe. Here is the safest method:

1. Boil 3 cups water and one cup oats for 1 minute on the stove
2. Cover the pot, cool, and store overnight in the refrigerator
3. In the morning, reheat oats on the stove and add water or milk to get to preferred texture

I’ve never had any problems with leaving them on the stove but it is not something I would do in summer.

The best part of the post was how everyone added their method to cook them. I had tried making my oats in a slow cooker in the but found that they burned in my 6 quart cooker – making a HUGE mess. It seems my cooker was too big!

Here is an easy slow cooker method that won’t burn your pot from Viv:

I use a 1 1/2 quart crockpot to prepare my oatmeal and it doesn't burn or dry out. You also don't have to worry about possibly burning yourself lifting a measuring cup out of hot water. I put 4 cups of water or a few drops more along with 1 cup steel cut oats into the crock pot. Turn it on about 10 PM and it's perfect when I wake up at 5:30 or 6 AM.

Snack Girl is correct that it's too dry in the larger crock pots. So, if that's what you have, double the recipe and then freeze the extra cooked oatmeal. It's easy to microwave in the morning.

I purchased my small Proctor Silex crock slow cooker from Amazon for less than $20 just for my oatmeal. If you order it with Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats (those were the cheapest) you get free shipping.

My other favorite slow cooker method came from Linda – who puts all this good stuff in the oatmeal and then divides it up for later breakfasts.

From Linda:

I do mine in a crock pot. One cup steel cut oats, three cups water and/or almond milk, pinch of salt and 6 dates chopped and 1/4 c chopped nuts. I use pecans, walnuts or almonds. Set on low for 8 hours.

Divide into 4 portions. Microwave to heat. Healthy breakfast for four days! Sometimes I'll use dried cherries or cranberries in place of dates. I use about 1/4 cup. You can add honey or agave but I don't like it real sweet.

I believe she is using the 1 ½ quart slow cooker as well. I think her combo of dates and nuts sounds delicious.

Then there was the waterbath slow cooker method from Bittytux which I thought was wonderful because it seemed easy to clean:

I love to eat steel cut oats for breakfast, but mine are even easier to make. I use the water bath crockpot overnight method. In a 4 cup glass measuring cup, I place 1/4 cup oats and 1 cup water for each serving I want to make. Add a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla, then place the whole thing in your empty crockpot.

Fill the crock (around the measuring cup) with water at least halfway up the cup. Cover and cook on low for at least 5 hours but as many as 10. When you wake up, take the cup out with a hot pad, stir and serve.

Let the water in the crockpot cool before dumping, or leave it in with the lid on and reuse it for the next night's batch. You can even add fruit at night and (as long as everyone agrees on the flavor) and it will all cook together. I leave my water-filled crockpot on my counter now, so a hot breakfast takes me 5 minutes a night now!

Thanks so much for all the wonderful suggestions.

The products Viv suggests are below (if you get inspired to try to make steel cut oats).

Snack Girl receives a small percentage of sales from links to

Proctor Silex 33015Y 1-1/2-Quart Round Slow Cooker


Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats, 24-ounce (Pack of 4)

$22.82   $11.84

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Lisa I just saw instant steel cut oats. What is your take on these are they just as healthy as cooking from scratch?????

on February 16, 2015

This is all great, but don't forget the yummy baked oatmeal recipe, too!! My household ate a whole pan between shovelings on one of these really shovely days recently.....

on February 16, 2015

In Reference To Your The Fifth Of February Post In Which Responds By Raising The question Of Airborne Pathogens
About Five Years I Visited A 'Web Page Which
Claims Unprocessed Oats Have Be Boiled For Five Minutes. It Is Said It Increases their Resistance To Airborn Bacteria. The Final Sentence of The Page Was "There Is No Shortcut To Preparing Oats.".

on February 16, 2015

I use the crock pot method (with apples or other fruit) and then divide into 8oz mason jars. They stay fresh in the refrigerator for about a week or I freeze them. Just pop one in the microwave for 1 minute ( 2 if frozen) and you have great tasting healthy oatmeal!

on February 16, 2015

I like steel cut oats and I always make them in the slow cooker. I determine how many servings I want to make, add the oats, etc., and add dried fruit. Put the bowl in the slow cooker and then fill the slow cooker with water around the bowl up to around an inch or two from the top of the bowl. Turn it on low overnight and it is all ready for you in the morning. Delicious!

on February 16, 2015

If you want to make delicious oat milk just take this one step more.
Transfer the cooked oats to a large mixing bowl and add 1 to 2 Tbs. of hatcho miso or any live miso and mix it into the oats after they have cooled to just warm. Mix well, leave covered with a dish towel on the counter overnight. Strain off the liquid (milk) in the morning and refrigerate. Add sweetener if desired and enjoy cold or warm with cinnamon.
This is a delicious beverage and there is no miso flavor left in the "milk". The miso merely breaks down the oats. This is a very healthy drink.
The remaining oats that have been strained off can be heated and eaten for breakfast. : )

on February 16, 2015

I have an itty bitty crock pot. It holds 1/4 cup steel cut oats and 2c water perfectly. Set up before bed, ready in the am. This will make 2 portions. I eat one and put one in the fridge for later in the week. I add cinnamon, raisin, berries etc as the mood strikes :-)

on February 16, 2015

I make my steel cut oatmeal in the microwave. 1 cup oats to 2 cups liquid (I do 1 cup milk and 1 cup water) and add ingredients. Plop in microwave on full for 20 minutes. Go take a shower and by the time I'm dressed, they are ready.

on February 16, 2015

I love cooking steel cut oats in my zojishuri rice cooker. the texture is perfect and the creaminess is unbelievable.
I add a nuked banana, goji berries, and grated orange
peel (the spice house). delish! :)

on February 16, 2015

Love all the different ways people cook their oats - I will have to try a few and see which my gang likes best. Thanks!

on February 17, 2015

I have made the slow cooker steel cut oats using a 1:4 ratio of oats to water and 7 hours on low. BUT...they came out with hardly any discernible grain, more like a cream soup. They solidified in the tupperware container in the fridge but it is one glob and so pulling out one serving is difficult and the stuff doesn't separate easily. What do I do to correct this? Thanks for any help.

on March 11, 2015

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