slow cooker oatmeal faqs

A few faqs on making oatmeal in the slow cooker:

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are cooking oatmeal in a slow cooker. The most important is to use steel-cut oats and not rolled oats. Steal cut can hold up to an 8  hour plus cooking time much better than rolled oats. I’ve heard horror stories of waking up to burnt rolled oats.

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If you are concerned about clean up, spray the crock with a little oil before adding the ingredients. But be aware that even if you spray your crock with oil some oatmeal will still stick to the sides. To clean it out simply fill it with water in the morning. It will come out easily that evening. I fill mine with water, then drain off the excess water and give my dog the oatmeal that was stuck to the sides. She loves it and it’s good for her coat.

Unfortunately slow cookers run at different temperatures depending on age and manufacturer. So there is some trial and error in getting everything just right for your slow cooker. I have one newer model that I add some extra water to and 2 others that use this recipes just fine as is. If you think you might sleep in go ahead and add a little extra water then too.

You can also use almond, soy, rice, or coconut milk as your liquid. Just be mindful that if you are using applesauce (or dried cranberries) and it has citric acid or lemon juice it will make your oatmeal a curdled mess. So make sure to check the ingredients before adding.


  1. DeAnn Blandford says

    Hi, I read that you had 40+ varieties of oatmeal posted. When I click on the “Oatmeal Celebration” tab, I’m only finding a handful. I was specifically looking for the apple pie and chai. I found them typing it into search but where are all the others!? Thanks!

    • Kathy Hester says


      At the bottom of the first page of oatmeals on that page is an older post link (it’s under the kheer oatmeal on the first page). That will take you to another page of oatmeals that come before that. There are a few pages of them.

      There’s not an easier way in wordpress that I know of. I hope this helps.

  2. UrbanCougar (@Urban_Cougar) says

    My small slow cooker only has one setting, which seems to be HIGH! Any suggestions for amount of time oatmeal should cook on high?

    • Kathy Hester says

      If your slow cooker has one setting then it is low – at least to the manufacturer. My new ones run very hot – try adding 1/2 to 1 cup extra liquid and that should help.

  3. Sara says

    It would be helpful to know what kind of steel cut oats you used. They come very coarse but also very finely ground. (As well as a medium). The other question I have is for slow cooking generally. The recipes just say to add water. Should that be hot or cold from the tap. I am curious because how does a slow cooker heat up to boiling point if it is operating at so low a temperature? And doesn’t going from cold mean it takes literally several hours to get to the point you would if you started with hot water. It would just be handy to know one way or the other. The information just isn’t mentioned anywhere. Thanks

    • Kathy Hester says

      Where I live there is only one kind of steel cuts oats and they are whole oat groats that have been cut in half. So they aren’t ground or rolled. You can see this for an example of what I’m talking about:

      Since you’re cooking for such a long time don’t even worry about the water temperature you start with. I use cold because that’s what my filter is attached to. It would not make a noticeable difference in time. If you are looking to cook quickly I would use the stove-top instead of the slow cooker. Oats in the slow cooker take 6 to 8 hours.

    • Kathy Hester says

      Some people have had luck using a small Pyrex container inside their larger slow cooker. I believe you’d have to play with the liquid content a bit. I’d also use an aluminum foil ring underneath the Pyrex to keep the temp consistent all around.

  4. Daphne White says

    Thanks so much for all these amazing recipes! I’ve just started making steel cut oats for breakfast every day, as my nutritionist recommended, so it’s great to see all these variations … I won’t get bored!

    I’ve got a question, though: unless I rinse the steel cut oats, there is a white gooky film on top, after they are cooked. What is this gook? Is it gluten? I’m not allergic, but I end up both rinsing the oats AND taking the white film off at the end … if I knew what the stuff was, maybe I’d feel better about it. Or should I keep getting rid of it?

    Thanks so much,

  5. Nicole says

    This might sound boring but I’m just starting to get into eating oatmeal and I’d like to find a basic overnight slow cooker oatmeal recipe (not too many frills) before I start adding in lots of different spices and flavors. I was wondering if you have a basic recipe that you use and can share. Thanks so much. Once I can make a good basic oatmeal I can’t wait to try some of your oatmeals. So Yummy!!

    • says

      The basic recipe would be 1/2 cup steel cut oats to 2 cups liquid (water or non-dairy milk). Cook in a 1 1/2 to 2 quart slow cooker overnight. Stir before serving.

      You may find your oats cook too dry – if so keep upping the liquid until it works perfectly in your slow cooker.

      I hope this helps!

  6. Heidi says

    Kathy, If I double the recipe will it work out okay in my 4 qt crock pt. I have a three kids so we eat a lot plus I don’t have a 2 qt crock. Thanks.

    • Kathy Hester says

      It should work fin if you double it. You may need to add some extra liquid and I would err on the side of caution and do that the first time you make. Also make sure you are using steel cut oats. Let me know how it turns out!

  7. Bethany says

    I love your Vegan Slow Cooker book and have every recipe I’ve tried has been delicious. Brought the pumpkin gingerbread to Thanksgiving and knocked everyone’s socks off. I see lots of people getting it through interlibrary loan. And I recommend it a lot (I work in a library). Are you coming out with an oatmeal only book? There’s a huge need for one and you should be the person to write it!!!

    • Kathy Hester says

      Thank you so much! I want to do an oatmeal ebook in the future and there are a few oatmeal recipes in my next slow cooker book coming out Fall 2013.

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