Apple-Cinnamon Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal Recipe

Oatmeal is a wholesome breakfast dish that's guaranteed to provide you with a hearty start to your day. All the same, it can be too easy to instead shake some dry cereal into a bowl or pop a couple of slices of bread into the toaster and call it a meal. So, instead of relying on your morning self to muster up the energy to make oatmeal, how about preparing it overnight? Chowhound recipe developer Julianne De Witt shares this apple-cinnamon slow cooker steel-cut oatmeal that satisfies your taste buds and lets you hit snooze for an extra 5 minutes in the morning.

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"This is a great recipe to put together just before you go to bed," De Witt shares. "The oats will cook overnight, and in the morning, you'll have a hot breakfast waiting for you." Steel-cut oats are an excellent candidate for this recipe since they take longer to cook than standard rolled oats. And while apples and cinnamon are a timeless combination, once you get the hang of this easy dish, feel free to customize it with seasonal fruits and your favorite add-ins.

Gather the ingredients for this apple-cinnamon slow cooker steel-cut oatmeal recipe

For this recipe, you'll need steel-cut oats. Specifically, De Witt advises, "Use regular long cooking steel-cut oats in this recipe. Quick steel-cut oats, large flake, and rolled oats won't hold up to the long cooking time; they'll become too mushy."

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Next, you'll need milk, heavy cream, water, apples (peeled, cored, and diced), vanilla extract, sea salt, freshly grated nutmeg, and ground cinnamon. To serve, grab brown sugar and chopped pecans. 

"This is a simple recipe to put together and is customizable to any taste," De Witt remarks, offering suggestions for adaptations: "Skip the cream and add more milk, or use a non-dairy milk instead." As for the topping, she recommends, "Swap out the pecans for other nuts or pumpkin seeds, add raisins or cranberries, or use maple syrup on top instead of brown sugar. The combinations are endless."

Step 1: Grease your slow cooker

Generously the grease interior of your crockpot with cooking spray.

Step 2: Pour in the oats

Add oats to the crockpot.

Step 3: Add the liquids

Add milk, cream, and water.

Step 4: Add the fruit

Add apples.

Step 5: Stir in the seasonings

Add vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and stir thoroughly.

Step 6: Let the oats cook

Cook on low for 7 hours.

Step 7: Garnish and serve

Top oatmeal with extra cream, brown sugar, and pecans before serving.

Why does this oatmeal recipe use steel-cut oats?

As De Witt explains, steel-cut oats have a harder exterior, which makes them capable of cooking in liquid for several hours. The same cannot be said about rolled oats or quick oats, as the extra step of processing makes them easier to break down. To ensure your morning meal isn't just a pile of mush, using steel-cut oats is a must when making this recipe.

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You'll be glad to know that these oats' sturdier structure doesn't only serve a culinary purpose. "Steel-cut oats have a lower glycemic index than rolled oats," De Witt explains. "It takes your body longer to digest steel-cut oats, helping to stabilize your blood sugar — especially when combined with the protein and fat in the nuts. They'll also leave you feeling full for longer." Much like they take longer to break down in the slow cooker, steel-cut oats are also slower to digest. If you're looking for a breakfast recipe that keeps you satisfied until lunch, this is it. 

What are some slow cooker tips for the best steel-cut oatmeal?

Although this recipe is straightforward, De Witt offers a few additional crockpot tips for maximum success. For starters, don't think of skipping the first step and not greasing your slow cooker. Regardless of the material of your slow cooker's interior, De Witt strongly advises "to add cooking spray so the oats don't stick as much to the crockpot" — essential for easier cleanup.

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As for properly setting your slow cooker, she highlights: "Make sure you have the type of slow cooker that will switch over automatically to the warm setting after you program in the 7-hour cook time." After all, it would be pretty disappointing to wake up to a pot of cold and congealed oats. If you prefer to eat a few hours after waking up, De Witt offers another cooking option: "Alternatively, you can also cook on high for 3 ½ hours," she instructs.

Apple-Cinnamon Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal Recipe

5 (17 ratings)

This sweet and creamy oatmeal comes together in the crockpot, so you can wake up to the smell of apples and cinnamon with minimal effort.

Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
7
hours
servings
6
servings
apple cinnamon oatmeal in bowl
Total time: 7 hours, 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for serving
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Brown sugar, for serving
  • Chopped pecans, for serving

Directions

  1. Generously grease interior of crockpot with cooking spray.
  2. Add oats to the crockpot.
  3. Add milk, cream, and water.
  4. Add apples.
  5. Add vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and stir thoroughly.
  6. Cook on low for 7 hours.
  7. Top oatmeal with extra cream, brown sugar, and pecans before serving.

Nutrition

Calories per Serving 311
Total Fat 20.8 g
Saturated Fat 10.5 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 48.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.5 g
Total Sugars 10.5 g
Sodium 193.1 mg
Protein 5.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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