This is one of my favorite breakfasts. I put it in the Crock Pot before I go to bed at night and wake up the next morning to the scrumptious aroma of cinnamon and apples. A hearty, nutritious breakfast is ready to eat right away. I make this for myself and have enough leftover for 4 to 5 breakfasts. I especially like making this when we have overnight guests. It's so warm and welcoming for everyone to wake up to a fragrant, yummy breakfast.
My friend, Sandy, first shared this recipe with me several years ago. I believe the original version was a Weight Watcher's recipe. I've tweaked it just a bit--added some ground flaxseed and doubled the cinnamon for a nutrition and flavor boost. But, the basic ingredients and cooking procedure is true to the original recipe. It's incredibly easy to make, and it would be hard to find a breakfast with more nutrition. I love the nutty taste and texture of steel-cut oats. This is hearty, filling food.
Why are steel cut oats good for you? Old fashioned rolled oats are steamed, rolled, and dried before packaging--this process makes them cook and digest faster. Although rolled oats are good for you, too, steel cut oats are even better. They are whole oats that have been chopped into pieces--no other processing at all. It takes a bit longer for them to cook; but because it takes longer to digest them, they make you feel full longer. They also have a lower glycemic index. Oats are a high-fiber, complex carbohydrate that can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and help prevent heart disease. Studies have shown that eating oats regularly can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
(Read more about the benefits of steel-cut oats here.)
Nutritional Info (per 3/4 cup serving): 149 calories, 3.6g fat, 27.3g carbs, 3.9g fiber, 4.9g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4 pts
Step-by-step photos for making
Overnight, Slow Cooker, Apple & Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: apples, skim milk, steel-cut oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ground flaxseed, butter, nuts (for optional garnish). You may substitute non-dairy milk (like almond), another preferred sweetener, and gluten free steel cut oats--use whatever suits you. I also sometimes substitute chia seeds for the ground flax seed.
Step 2. Peel and core the apples; cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. You can leave the peel on for added fiber and nutrition. I don't care for the texture of cooked apple skin, so I peel mine; but that's a personal preference.
Step 3. Coat the slow cooker with cooking spray. Don't skip this step, or you will really regret it. You'll need a hammer and chisel to get the slow cooker clean if it's not sprayed with oil first. (I speak from experience here.)
Step 4. Throw everything in the slow cooker. I have a 6-1/2 quart slow cooker, but 3-1/2 quarts is big enough for this recipe. I can double the recipe in my slow cooker when I'm feeding more than 4 or 5 people.
Step 5. Stir it. Put on the lid. Set it to cook on low for 7 hours. That's how long it takes in my slow cooker, anyway. The cooking time can vary greatly from one slow cooker to another, so read my tips below for How To Avoid Overcooking Your Oatmeal.
Step 6. Go to bed. Wake up to the sweet aroma of cinnamon and apples.
Here's how it looks after 7 hours of cooking.
It gets crusty around the edges. That's my favorite part. Great flavor right there.
The finished dish tastes kind of like a combination of apple pie and oatmeal. Those brown bits mixed in are so yummy. You can top it with maple syrup, raisins, nuts, and more milk and butter, if you like. I added walnuts to mine.
Here's a lovin' spoonful for you!
How To Avoid Overcooking Your Oatmeal. My overnight oatmeal was perfect after 7 hours of cooking, and I was lucky that it turned out perfectly with the first try. Although many have had the same success, some readers have commented that their oatmeal was burnt and ruined after 7 hours--that was too long in their slow cookers. There can be some trial-and-error in figuring out exactly how long to cook this in your slow cooker--they can vary a lot in temperature and cooking time. Here are some tips to try:
view on Amazon: on-off lamp timer (for auto shut-off)
view on Amazon: heat-proof bowls for double boiling in slow cooker
(The largest bowl in this set fits inside my slower cooker)
Make it ahead and reheat leftovers. I make a batch of this, refrigerate leftovers, and reheat individual servings in the microwave. Spoon a 1-cup serving of cooked oatmeal into a microwave proof bowl, add 1/3 cup milk, cook on high for 1 minute. Stir and microwave approx. 1 more minute until hot. Breakfast is ready!
If you're looking for an easy, nutritious, delicious breakfast, you can't go wrong with this.
You might also be interested in these. Same idea, different flavors:
Make it a yummy day!
This post was updated 9/3/2012