The first time I heard about cooking oatmeal in the crock pot overnight and waking up to it already made, I thought it was a great idea . . . until I tried it.
In a word . . . mush.
I do not like mush.
I do not like scraping over-cooked goo off the sides of my crock pot after breakfast either.
I’ll confess to being a little picky, but fortunately, I’m also the cook, so I was determined to find a better way.
Next, I tried steel cut oats instead of rolled oats. I figured the heartier texture would hold up to an all-night cook, right?
Have I mentioned how I feel about mush?
Then a brilliant idea occurred to me . . . use a timer! Instead of cooking the oats
to death all night long, I experimented to find the right amount of cooking time to yield a great, non-mushy texture.
It has been such a blessing to wake up to already-prepared oatmeal these last several years, especially on chilly, busy mornings, AND have it taste great, with just the right amount of chew. Pasta isn’t the only thing that should be cooked al dente.
So if the convenience of overnight oatmeal appeals to you, but the end result doesn’t . . . you may like this method too. We love oatmeal prepared this way and have it at least a couple times a week this time of year.
This recipe makes enough for my family; you may have to adjust it proportionally for yours. Also, I’ve discovered through trial and error that crock pots are all a little different with their heating and cooking times and that not all brands of steel cut oats are cut uniformly and cook at the same rate. Therefore, you may have to adjust the liquid or cooking time based on this.
Easy Crock Pot Oatmeal (That Isn’t Mushy)
2 cups steel cut oats
heaping 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt (we like Real Salt)
6 1/2 – 7 cups water
My timer is set to cook from 3:15 – 7:15 a.m. Four hours is just the right amount of time for my crock pot, this amount of oatmeal, and our texture preference. You may have to experiment a little to find out what’s the best amount of time for you.
Sometimes the oatmeal sits around until 8 a.m. before we eat it, and that’s fine too. It’s not overcooked and is still warm and waiting for us. I’d rather have it waiting on us than the other way around. Depending, I may mix in some milk if it has sat for awhile and thickened more than we like.
Eating the oatmeal plain is good, but stir-ins make it even better. When we’re ready to eat, I’ll stir in whatever sounds good—raisins, cinnamon, peanut butter, or sometimes all three, which is one of our favorite combinations.
Sometimes the night before, I’ll add a diced apple or pear and some cinnamon, allowing the fruit to cook right along with the oats. That’s another very yummy favorite.
A generous squirt of Barlean’s cinnamon flax oil in each bowl is tasty too.
The texture is good, and there is no gummy mess to clean up in the morning. It’s easy and delicious . . . and not mushy!