Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Overnight Steel Cut Oats in the Slow Cooker


Truly, I bring a weak game. 

I am familiar with the “it’s the most important meal of the day” expression, and will even concede that it makes at least the top three. BUT. I’m not good at making breakfast part of my daily routine.

In a moment of self-examination, I’ve realized that when I do eat breakfast, it is usually because:

  1. someone else makes it for me;
  2. I am at a restaurant; or
  3. we have leftover baked goods sitting on the counter.

What I’ve gathered from this is that in order for me to actually eat breakfast, there needs to be minimal effort involved in the morning, and it needs to be tasty enough to rival a slice of flourless chocolate cake or the shortbread cookies I got for Christmas.

These overnight slow cooker oats are everything I need.

Easy Steel Cut Oats

They cook while you sleep, and you get to wake up to a bowl of creamy, steamy oats and top it with whatever you’re into. So easy! So good!

These are made with steel cut oats. Not quick cook, not rolled, NOT instant. Good, old-fashioned steel cut. The kind that looks like rice.

raw steel cut oats

I have historically been a rolled/instant oat type of lady, but I don’t think I can ever go back now. The texture of steel cut is unbeatable! They don’t get at all mushy or slimy. They are a creamy, chewy dream! 

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

This is my favorite way to cook oats not only because they are ready for you when you wake up, but also because if you play your cards right, you won’t even have to clean your slow cooker!


My number one reservation in slow cooking oats is that they get super stuck to the sides of the slow cooker. And resident kitchen cleaner (AKA, Husband, AKA, Josh) DOES NOT appreciate starting his day with a crispy oatey mess of a crock pot. 

This method side steps this problem because you use your slow cooker to make a water bath that you put another container into which is where the oats actually cook. This creates more of a steamy effect where all the oats cook evenly instead of the outer oats getting really hot and a little dry.

How to make steel cut oats in the crock pot

Some thought needs to be made about what dish to use to put your oat/water combo in. It (obviously) needs to be heat-safe, and big enough to hold all of the oats AND also fit into your slow cooker. I love using a big Pyrex for this (like this one) or sometimes, if I’m doing like an oat bar for people who are coming over and want the container to look nicer, I will tempt fate and use my 1 1/2 quart Corningware. (Somehow, everything DOES fit and stay contained, but there is no wiggle room!)

Once your dish has been selected, you combine oats in water in it, place it in your slow cooker, and fill the slow cooker basin with enough water to come halfway up the oat dish’s sides. Then you will turn your slow cooker on and try to clock in 9 hours of shut eye.

overnight crock pot steel

I will warn you that the ratio of oats : water seems bonkers! You will probably doubt me that those oats could absorb all that water. But they will! They really will!!

When I first started making this, Baby J was still waking up several times a night, and any time I got out of bed to tell him to go back to sleep tend to him, I would tiptoe over to the slow cooker to check on the oats’ progress. It is really very exciting stuff, you know.

But in the morning you will have the creamiest, dreamiest oats waiting for you to dress them up with your favorite toppings and mix-ins. 

CURRENT FAVORITE: Peanut butter, heavy drizzle of honey, raisins, sprinkle of cinnamon.

These oats also reheat really well, so you can save any leftovers and reheat on future mornings.

There is maybe no better way to start a day than to wake up to hot, creamy oats that are ready to eat.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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An easy method to make oats for a crowd overnight: This recipe uses a slow cooker to create a water bath, so oats are cooked evenly to creamy perfection! If you're careful, your slow cooker won't even need to be cleaned afterwards.


  • 1 cup steel cut oats (NOT quick cook or instant)
  • 6 cups water

For serving: your favorite oatmeal toppings/mix-ins!


In a large, heat-safe dish, combine the oats and 6 cups water. Place dish in a large slow cooker. Fill outer basin with enough water to come halfway up the side of the dish. Cover and cook on ‘low’ overnight (9 hours).

Serve hot with your favorite oatmeal additions.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats in the Slow Cooker

Adapted from Food 52.


4 thoughts on “Overnight Steel Cut Oats

  1. I’m cooking steelcut oats on the stovetop as I type! But I’ve meant to make this overnight recipe :). I just wanted to double check something though. You call for 6C water and 1 C oats. My box calls for 4C water and 1C oats. I’m assuming this measurement difference is due to the diffence in cooking method but I would think the slow cooker would need less or equal water, not more, since it is self contained. I know you said it’s a lot of water but just double checking :).

  2. Hi, Karen! Yes, 6 cups is right for this method. It will seem like WAY too much when you’re making it, but it always turns out perfectly! Enjoy your oats 🙂

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