Better and Faster than A Bowl of Cold Cereal

March 22, 2010   17 Comments

Life hasn't been easy since Snack-Girl set a new cereal standard in our house. I've tested many of our cereals and I've come up with very few that pass the Candy or Breakfast? Evaluate Your Cereal test.

Overnight Oatmeal

So, what to do? Oatmeal is a great solution to my breakfast dilemma. It is whole grain, no sugar added, and four grams of fiber per 1/2 cup. BUT, who has time to make oatmeal?

There is instant oatmeal, of course, but it doesn't taste as good as old fashioned rolled oats, or steel cut oats. Also, many of the packets have added sugar and flavors that may or may not be delicious. And, it costs more per serving than a regular box of rolled oats.

The solution: Buy a slow cooker and mix your oats and water at night. In the morning, your oats are ready to go! It is SO ridiculously easy and (for you college students out there), you don't even NEED a stove.

Some tips:

  • Get your hands on some rolled oats or steel cut oats from the bulk section of your supermarket. They are cheaper and more delicious than Quaker (trust me, I have tried them all).
  • Use a small slow cooker (1.5 - 2.5 quart). I used my large one and it really made a mess to clean up. Picture crusty oatmeal glued to my cooker. The small ones are perfect for this task.
  • Change what you mix in to your oatmeal. You can get bored with oatmeal if you eat the same thing every day. Add different things and look forward to the meal.

Sweet things to add to oatmeal:
maple syrup, brown sugar, honey
cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves
Raisins, dried apricots, dried cherries
Strawberries Prevent Cancer, Blueberries, Raspberries
Banana, Apples, Pear
Frozen Berries
apple butter

Savory things to add to oatmeal:
soy sauce and scallions
crumbled Hard Boiled Egg
peanut butter, almond butter, etc.
cooked vegetables from last night
grated cheese

Below the recipe, there is a book that I love for my slow cooker. "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" has a bunch of different overnight breakfast recipes and other great ideas for main dishes.


Overnight Oatmeal Recipe

(no reviews yet)

(serves 4)

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2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
4 3/4 cups water


Mix oats and water in slow cooker and set for 8-9 hours. Amounts can be doubled or halved depending on the size of your cooker. These recipes will work in a 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 quart capacity slow cooker.

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes


Overnight Steel Cut Oats Recipe

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(serves 2)

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1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water


Mix oats and water in slow cooker and set for 8-9 hours. Amounts can be doubled or halved depending on the size of your cooker. These recipes will work in a 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 quart capacity slow cooker.

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

What do you add to your oatmeal? Please share below.

Want to read about more snacks?
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Beyond Hard Boiled Eggs

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I don't know what I love more the "candy or cereal" test or the overnight oats, bravo once again. And I think you can make overnight oats sans slow cooker just soaking the oats and then heating in AM...haven't tried but I hear it works.

Fabulous! I always get so excited about slow cooker recipes, and this sounds like the perfect way to wake up! :-)

Does this freeze well? I love oatmeal but would get bored eating it every day.

Gayle - this does freeze well - get some small containers for your serving size and you are good.

I love grains for breakfast! On Sundays, I make enough oatmeal for my husband for the week. It reheats really well. For myself, I usually try a different grain each week. My favorite is spelt berries. This week, I have bulgar.

I haven't tried the slow cooker version yet, but often microwave the old fashioned oats with milk & "add ins" for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes - use a fairly large bowl so it doesn't bubble over. My favorite - dried cherries & pecans - YUM!

I'll also have to check out other brands than Quaker.

I love steel cut Irish Oatmeal - McCann's is the best. Thanks for your great idea and picture.


Bring to Boil 4c water and 1c steel cut oats in a pan...take off heat and leave on stove overnight. When you get up...just turn heat back on and stir a couple of times until it is warm. Very quick and so so good. I add a ton of extras to it the night before too...walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, flaxseeds, dried fruits...yumm-o!

When you don't even have time to make oatmeal in the morning, it's time to reassess your life and your priorities, methinks! Only in America.

Actually, you don't even need to cook rolled oats if you soak them overnight in milk. You just heat them in the microwave the next morning. Delish! Here's my step-by-step guide:

I have regular rolled oats everyday, made on the stove and it takes about ten minutes. Start the water to boil, come back in five minutes, add oats, come back in two minutes to stir, come back in three and stick it in a bowl to cool. Add 1 tbsp brown sugar and crasins, enjoy. It's not much more work than cereal and so much better and much more filling for you.

Thank you so much for this post!! It is AWESOME! I just love reading your site. Thank you for all the time you put forth in doing so.

I'll need a large pot for a family of 9. However, my favorite product is Slow Cooker Bags by Reynolds (they do the oven bags) for the slow cooker. I use them all the time and there's no clean up!

I adapted a recipe from the Quaker Oats website to use with my slow-cooker. The recipe below is for the oven; just double the milk or liquid (apple juice?) and cook on LOW overnight or about 8 hours.

This is a thicker oatmeal, you could easily add more liquid before cooking and it would be okay.…

Rich 'n Creamy Baked Oatmeal
1-1/2 cups low-fat milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla

2-1/2 cups QUAKER® OATS (quick or old fashioned), uncooked

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Optional toppings: fruit & skim milk or yogurt


Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 1½-quart casserole with no-stick cooking spray.

In medium bowl, combine milk, eggs, oil and vanilla; mix well. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; mix well.

Add liquid ingredients; mix until well blended. Let stand about 15 minutes.

Pour into prepared casserole. Bake, uncovered, 35 to 45 minutes or until center is dry and firm to the touch. Cool slightly before serving. Top with fruit and milk or yogurt, if desired.



I love the idea of the slow cooker for oatmeal and agree the quantity might be a bit much. I would then freeze the oatmeal in small containers (3x2 like a cookie). When I wanted to serve, simply turn on the broiler to "toast" your cookie and top with lemon curd. Yum

Try cooking your oats with half unsweetened almond milk. It adds only a few calories and a ton of creaminess. Thanks for the article! I am going to try making oats in my slow cooker.

Anyone had issues with burned oatmeal on the bottom? I have tried slow cooker steel-cut oats, but each time, I have a small amount of burned stuff.

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