Monica's favorite gear for
making Groatmeal
These are my favorite kind of oats. They make a hot hearty breakfast cereal or savory pilaf. Click below for gluten-free groats.
Also available: gluten free oat groats
These little seeds pack a big nutritional punch. I add them to this groatmeal as well as smoothies, granola, and more.
This is preferred over whole flaxseed for better nutrient absorption. It can be added in addition to or in place of chia seeds in my groatmeal recipe.
It's easy to use and big enough for a double batch of overnight groatmeal. I love that it automatically switches to the warm setting when the cooking time is up. This model is the #1 recommendation of Cooks Illustrated & America's Test Kitchen.
This is delicious drizzled on a bowl of groatmeal. I prefer this 100% pure grade B maple syrup with its strong maple flavor. If you prefer a milder flavor, click below for Grade A syrup.
These are the right size and an inexpensive options for storing individual servings of groatmeal in the fridge or freezer.
These wide-mouth freezer safe jars are the perfect size for storing single servings of groatmeal in the fridge or freezer. Click below for plastic lids that fit these jars.
I place the largest bowl (2-1/2 qts) in this set inside my slow cooker for cooking groatmeal longer with no burnt edges.
These are often used for lamps, but they also work for delaying the start time of your slow cooker. That way, your groatmeal can start cooking after you go to bed.

Groatmeal: Nourishing Slow Cooker Oat Groats

The healthiest oatmeal of them all. Easy & delicious, too!


Slow Cooker Oat Groats (Groatmeal)

By Monica              ten 3/4-cup servings
This whole grain hot cereal is the healthiest oatmeal of them all.

This whole grain hot cereal is the healthiest oatmeal of them all.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups oat groats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds or flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce OR 2 apples grated with skins on (discard cores)
  • 2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)*
  • 3 cups water
  • optional sweetener: 1/4 cup brown sugar, maple syrup, or other preferred sweetener

Directions
Coat the inside of a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray or oil. Add the groats, chia or flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt and give them a stir. (If you don't stir them and distribute the ingredients, the chia/flaxseed and cinnamon tend to clump together as they cook.) Add the applesauce or shredded apples, milk, water and optional sweetener. Stir to combine, cover, and cook on low for approximately 6-7 hours. (NOTE: slow cooker times and temperatures vary, so you may need to adjust the cooking time.)

*For a creamier, softer texture, add 1 (or more) additional cup(s) of milk to the cooking ingredients and extend the cooking time by 30-60 minutes.

Stir cooked groatmeal before spooning into serving bowls. May be topped with additional milk, syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, dried or fresh fruit, or nuts.

Freezes well. Recipe may be halved or doubled.

To reheat single 3/4 cup servings: Put cooked groatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Nutritional Information (for one 3/4 cup serving using whole milk without sweetener): 169 calories, 3.9g fat, 142mg sodium, 28.3g carbs, 4.1g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 7.5g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4


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Groatmeal is the new favorite breakfast in our house. King-Man has it every single morning.  For many, many years he ate nothing but Life Cereal for breakfast. I wrote about that a few years ago in my post Married to a Serial Cereal Eater. Since then, in pursuit of a healthier breakfast King-Man and I became a fans of Refrigerator Oatmeal in the summer months and Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oats the rest of the year. Now that I've started making groatmeal regularly, King-Man wants nothing else for breakfast. We both love the nutty taste and texture, and the hearty whole grain oats help us stay full longer and fight the hungries until lunch. Although I don't think groatmeal is a real word, that's our nickname for this nourishing hot cereal.

Oat groats are the least processed kind of oats. They are the whole oat kernel with the inedible outer hull removed and the bran layer left intact. Because of their minimal processing, they have the highest nutritional value of all oats. (Mind you, most forms of oats are nutritionally similar. Read how they compare in my Ultimate Guide to Oats.) The nutritional profile, texture and taste of groats is most similar to steel cut oats. However, because groats are the whole kernel and steel cut oats have been cut into smaller pieces, it takes longer to digest groats. That means they keep you feeling full longer and do the best job of all oats types at stabilizing blood sugars. Here are more of the health benefits of eating oats.

What are the health benefits of eating oats? 

  • Oats are rich in fiber, manganese, the B vitamins thiamin and riboflavin, vitamin E, iron, and protein.
  • Oats are believed to help lower blood cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. 
  • Oats have the highest proportion of soluble fiber of any grain. 
  • The fiber in oats can help improve bowel health.
  • Oats can aid in weight loss by keeping you feeling full for longer periods of time (especially groats).
  • The Mayo Clinic rates oats and oat bran as the #1 foods for reducing bad cholesterol and protecting your heart. 
  • Read more about the benefits of oats: The World's Healthiest Foods, LivestrongJohns Hopkins

Oat Groats are perfect for the slow cooker.  After discovering the taste and nutritional superiority of oat groats, I was surprised that they weren't more popular. Although groats are commonly used for animal feed, they've  never really caught on for people food and are the least popular form of oats. Well, no more! Not in my house anyway. I think the reason groats are less popular is that they take so long to cook. It takes up to an hour to cook them on the stove top; that's twice (or more) longer than other types of oats. So, they're not something that can be made at the last minute. But the long required cooking time makes them perfect for the slow cooker. Throw them in a crockpot before you go to bed, and wake up to a nutritious, delicious breakfast. It couldn't be easier. 

Groatmeal Nutritional Information (for one 3/4 cup serving using whole milk without sweetener): 169 calories, 3.9g fat, 142mg sodium, 28.3g carbs, 4.1g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 7.5g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4

Vegan and gluten free options. Use non-dairy milk (I like almond or coconut milk) for vegan groatmeal. Gluten-free oat groats are available, too.


Step-by-step photos for making

Slow Cooker Groatmeal 

This is a basic recipe with a neutral, oat flavor that can be customized with additional favorite add-ins. Feel free to experiment with adding your favorite fruits, extracts, sweeteners or nuts before or after cooking the groatmeal. 

Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:

  • oat groats -- These may not be as easy to find as regular rolled oats and steel cut oats. Some stores have them in their bulk grain bins. I buy mine on Amazon. They have a good price, if you buy them 4 bags at a time. That's not a problem for me, because we eat this so often for breakfast. 

view on Amazon:  organic oat groats, gluten-free oat groats

Oat_Groats

  • chia seeds or flaxseed meal -- Although these are optional, I always add one or both of these to a batch of groatmeal. They both have big health benefits and they virtually disappear into the cooked groats to provide invisible nutrition. I'm a little partial to chia seeds, both both are so good for you. (You can read about the health benefits of chia seeds in my Refrigerator Oatmeal post.)

view on Amazon:  organic chia seeds,  organic flaxseed meal

Oat Groats

  • salt -- just a smidgeon really enhances the flavor without adding an unhealthy amount of sodium
  • cinnamon -- I add just enough for a hint of flavor and sweetness, but you can add more if you like a stronger cinnamon flavor in your oats. Did you know that cinnamon is crazy good for you, too? Read about its health benefits here.

Oat Groats

  • unsweetened applesauce or shredded apples -- I use these interchangeably depending on what I have on hand, and both add sweetness and moisture to the oats without a prominent apple flavor. I leave the skin on organic apples when I shred them for added nutrition. TIP: If you prefer a more dominant apple flavor, add another apple or two and chop them into 1/2" pieces rather than shredding them. 

--Want to make your own applesauce? Check out my easy recipe:
                                        Fruit & Applesauce Blends.Oat Groats

  • dairy or non-dairy milk -- You can use any variety that you prefer. I most often use whole or 2% cow's milk, but skim works, too. Almond and coconut milk are good non-dairy options.

Oat Groats

  • sweetener -- This is completely optional. If you like your oatmeal sweetened, you can add a preferred sweetener to the slow cooker with the other ingredients. Or, add it later by sprinkling or drizzling a bowl of cooked oatmeal with something sweet. I prefer to cook my groatmeal without added sweetener so that whoever is eating it can add whatever amount of sweetener they like. Sometimes stirring in some fruit is enough sweetness for me, and sometimes I add a drizzle of maple syrup. King-Man has a big-time sweet tooth and  likes to add a heaping spoonful of brown sugar to his. So, you can customize this groatmeal recipe to suit your taste.

view on Amazon:  organic maple syrup

Oat Groats

Step 2.  Coat the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray, butter, or oil. Add the ingredients to the slow cooker. First add the dry ingredients (groats, chia/flaxseed, salt, cinnamon) and give them a stir. (If you don't stir them and distribute the ingredients, the chia seeds and cinnamon tend to clump together as they cook.) Then add the apples/applesauce, milk, water and optional sweetener. Stir to combine, cover, and cook. 

I have a 6-1/2 quart slow cooker, but a 4 quart one is big enough for this recipe. If you have a smaller slow cooker or prefer to make a smaller batch, simply cut all of the ingredients in half. The recipe can also be doubled for a super-sized batch of groatmeal.

view on Amazon:  My Programmable Slow Cooker  (rated #1 by Cooks Illustrated--I love mine!)

Oat Groats

Step 3. Cook on low for approximately 6-7 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. My slow cooker automatically switches to a "keep warm" setting after the cooking is complete; so I can start this before I go to bed, and it's still warm when I get up in the morning. If you don't have a programmable slow cooker like mine, read my tips below for an easy way to make yours programmable.

Here's how mine looks when I first lift the lid after 7 hours of cooking time. You can see the shredded apples settled on the top, but they stir into the mixture and virtually disappear.

Oat Groats

In my slow cooker, the edges get brown and caramelized. I love that crunchy flavor and like to stir the browned bits into my groatmeal.

Oat Groats

I prefer to use just enough liquid to cook the oats completely so that they soften but have a firm, chewy texture. 

Oat Groats

If you prefer a creamier, softer texture, simply add 1 (or more) additional cup(s) of milk to the cooking ingredients and extend the cooking time by 30-60 minutes. The double-boiler method explained below, also results in a creamier texture. Here's how the creamier version looks:

oat groats

How to Avoid Overcooking Your Groatmeal. My overnight groatmeal is perfect after 7 hours of cooking and keeps a good consistency for up to 2 additional hours on the warm setting. However, because slow cookers vary a lot in temperature and cooking time, there can be some trial-and-error in figuring out exactly how long to cook this in your slow cooker. Here are some tips to try:

  • The first time you try this recipe, make it sometime during the day when you are at home and can keep an eye on it to determine when it is done. You want the edges slightly browned, but not burnt. Start checking it after 5 hours of cook time. Assuming your lid is clear, eyeball the oats through the lid without lifting it. Every time you lift the lid, it adds 30 more minutes to the cooking time.
  • Plug your slow cooker into an on-off light timer, if you normally sleep longer than the time required for your groats to cook and you don't have a programmable slow cooker. You can assemble the ingredients in the slow cooker before you go to bed and set the timer to turn on later. That way your groats won't overcook and you don't have to get up in the wee hours to turn off your slow cooker. (A tip from my clever friend Sheri of The Loopy Ewe)

view on Amazon:  on-off lamp timer (for auto shut-off)

  • Or, set up a double boiler in your slower cooker. (see my Pumpkin Pie Slow Cooker Oatmeal for photos of this method) This allows you to extend the cooking time in your slow cooker without burning the edges of the groatmeal. Insert a heat-proof bowl inside the slow cooker that is large enough to hold the groatmeal ingredients. Spray or grease the bowl. Add the groatmeal ingredients. Add water to the slow cooker, pouring it between the outside of the bowl and the inside of the slow cooker until the water is approx. half way up the sides of the bowl. Put the lid on the slow cooker, turn it on low, and let it cook for up to 8 hours (maybe longer). You won't have the flavor and texture from browned edges, but they don't burn either. Another bonus--clean up is a breeze! This method results in a softer, moister texture.

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 every week, refrigerate leftovers in 1 cup plastic containers or mason jars, and reheat individual servings in the microwave. Heat it in a microwave proof bowl with 1/3 cup milk, cook on high for 1 minute. Stir and microwave approx. 1 more minute until hot. Breakfast is ready! It's easy to grab one of these to take along to heat up at work. These freeze well, too. (Warning: If you freeze in glass jars, make sure you leave at least 1/2" of headspace to allow for expansion in the freezer.)

view freezer-safe containers on Amazon:  plastic cups with lids, wide mouth 1/2 pint mason jars, wide mouth white plastic lids for mason jars (durable and easy to screw off and on)

Oat Groats

Pre-assemble ingredients for quick batches in the future. Since I make at least one batch of groatmeal per week, it makes life easier to assemble the dry ingredients ahead. While I have all of the ingredients out to make a batch of groatmeal, I assemble extra jars of the dry ingredients to have on hand for future batches. That way I can easily throw them in the slow cooker before I go to bed. All I have to add to the pre-assembled jar mix is milk, water, and applesauce (or shredded apples). Pint mason jars are the perfect size to hold a single batch of dry ingredients.

view on Amazon:  regular mouth pint mason jars, regular mouth plastic jar lids (these are more durable than the metal rings & lids and are easy to screw off and on)

Oat Groats

My favorite way to eat groatmeal is sprinkled with additional cinnamon, drizzled with some maple syrup, and berries or bananas slices on top. King-Man likes to add more milk to his with a heaping spoon of brown sugar. 

Oat Groats

How about you? What would you like on a bowl of hot groatmeal?

oat groats

Make it a Yummy day!
Monica 

(keep scrolling for the printable recipe)

You might also be interested in these recipes:

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal

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Slow Cooker, Cherry Almond Steel-Cut Oatmeal

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Slow Cooker, Banana & Coconut Milk Steel-Cut Oatmeal

thumbnailIMG_8209.png

Slow Cooker, Pumpkin Pie Steel-Cut Oatmeal

thumbIMG_4015_.JPG

Overnight, Refrigerator, No-Cook Oatmeal in 6 Flavors

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Link directly to this recipe Print this recipe
Slow Cooker Oat Groats (Groatmeal)
By Monica              Servings: ten 3/4-cup servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups oat groats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds or flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce OR 2 apples grated with skins on (discard cores)
  • 2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)*
  • 3 cups water
  • optional sweetener: 1/4 cup brown sugar, maple syrup, or other preferred sweetener
Directions
Coat the inside of a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray or oil. Add the groats, chia or flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt and give them a stir. (If you don't stir them and distribute the ingredients, the chia/flaxseed and cinnamon tend to clump together as they cook.) Add the applesauce or shredded apples, milk, water and optional sweetener. Stir to combine, cover, and cook on low for approximately 6-7 hours. (NOTE: slow cooker times and temperatures vary, so you may need to adjust the cooking time.)

*For a creamier, softer texture, add 1 (or more) additional cup(s) of milk to the cooking ingredients and extend the cooking time by 30-60 minutes.

Stir cooked groatmeal before spooning into serving bowls. May be topped with additional milk, syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, dried or fresh fruit, or nuts.

Freezes well. Recipe may be halved or doubled.

To reheat single 3/4 cup servings: Put cooked groatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Nutritional Information (for one 3/4 cup serving using whole milk without sweetener): 169 calories, 3.9g fat, 142mg sodium, 28.3g carbs, 4.1g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 7.5g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4
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Posted on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014








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