February 2, 2012

Steel Cut Oatmeal in the crockpot. . . or not.

(Photo credit: The Yummy Life!)

Oh I had great thoughts of waking up this morning to a warm bowl of apple cinnamon steel cut oatmeal and a hot cup of coffee. You see I found a recipe for Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal here and I wanted to give it a go (doesn’t it look delicious?). I even got a bunch of you excited about this over on the Queen Bee Facebook page.

So late last night I throw it all in my crockpot – only to discover that it this is what my crockpot did to it by morning:

What a hot mess. I don’t believe this is the fault of the recipe. And of course it can’t be user error (wink, wink). I think my slow cooker does not know the true meaning of “low” – which usually works to my advantage as I frantically throw my “slow” cooker meal into the crockpot at 2 p.m. for a 5 p.m. dinner. LOL. Usually that scorching “slow” cook helps me out – but not today. I had it on the lowest possible setting. And the crazy thing is I woke up at 4:30 a.m. on a whim and decided to check it – imagine if I had slept another couple hours.

I also discovered why none of the recipes suggested adding raisins during the cooking process. Well duh. They melted into a big mess. I’ve never claimed to be Martha Stewart – but I really feel like a doofus messing up oatmeal.

My husband woke up and was completely fooled. It smelled so good. He headed straight for the kitchen asking if he could have some. I said, “sure!” and he took one look at it and said, “uhhh. . . want a coffee refill?” Haha. Poor guy.

I did see other recipes use a water bath in the slow cooker and that might be my best bet. I won’t give up, not yet. . .stay tuned. It might be a few days, I have a feeling I’ll be scrubbing this pot for a while.  . . Cheerios anyone?

p.s. I know this post probably has you ready to run out and buy Steel Cut Oats. If so, here’s a printable coupon for $1 off any McCann’s Irish Oatmeal product (use zip code 75037). Trader Joe’s is a great place to buy.


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  1. I make steel cut oats in the crock pot overnight all the time. My recipe notes say not to use a slow cooker, as they cook hotter than the old crock pots. So I believe that is where things went wrong. “Our Best Bites” is the cookbook I got my recipe from, and I have gotten my family that hates oatmeal to eat this without any complaints. I found that adding raisins means adding another cup of liquid is necessary too (so 2 cups whole milk and about 3 cups water to your 1 cup of oats. Good Luck!! It really is yummy:-)

  2. I’ve had the same thing happen when making applesauce… I love my slow cooker, but I think I need an older model that doesn’t cook so fast! (Hope you were able to get it cleaned out ~ my favorite trick for cleaning dried on gunk is to put a fabric softener sheet in the pot with hot water and let it soak … it dissolves all the crusty stuff and wipes away clean!)

  3. not to worry, i had the same experience last spring when i tried this. I was very saddened as it had looked so good in the recipe!

  4. Ugh! And I love steel cut oats! Since I can’t use a lot of milk due to allergies, I use coconut milk. You should try that sometime, it makes very amazing oatmeal.

  5. If you have trouble getting it all off the bottom of the crock pot, try sprinkling the bottom layer with baking soda and putting some wet or moist paper towels on top and letting it sit for a day or two. The remains of what is stuck to the bottom of the pot should come up very easy.

  6. Slow cooker vary wildly on their low temps. If you know yours runs hot (or it’s bigger than the recipe calls for) you can add extra liquid. For this I would even start with an extra cup of liquid and work from there.

    I have 15 slow cookers and some need adjusting for and some don’t. But they vary even by models with the same manufacturer. So it makes it hard to know which one works best. I do like the Cuisinart model because it has warm, low, high, and a simmer setting. So if you are looking for one take a peek at that one.

  7. I think on the crockpot365 blog she has some ideas for hot cooking crockpots.

    I’m so sad for your breakfast!

    We got a bunch of steel cut oatmeal with the Vitacost deal.
    Let us know if you have better luck with other recipes!

  8. My husband makes steel cut oatmeal every night in the microwave. 1/3 c oats, 1 cup water, raisins, 1T flax seed
    He mixes it the night before and lets it soak inside the microwave overnight. We have delay start on our microwave so it turns on 20 min before he eats it. Microwave for 10min on medium power.
    I think letting it soak is the key to why it turns out so well.

  9. Yikes! I have had this problem with my crotchity crock pot too. I tried to read online what other people did… I read somewhere that a person put a tempered bowl lined with cooking spray inside- to cook in. What worked for me was adjusting my crock setting… my “low” is actually my “warm” setting…. Good luck. It is really really worth it and not to mention the combos are endless.. Yumm. Thank you for the pictures..:)

  10. I think we have the same crockpot Heather, mine cooks way to hot on “low” setting too. Can anyone recommend a crockpot that really cooks low on the low setting? Mine is Rival brand.

    • Yes, mine is a Rival Smart Pot or something. I got it at Costco. It cooks very hot.

      • I have and LOVE the “Hamilton Beach 3 in 1” crockpot (2qt, 4qt, & 6qt). I LOVE LOVE LOVE it…did I mention that I LOVE it? lol I use it as least once a week…sometimes 2. Low is low, high is high and warm is warm! My previous crockpot was a Rival…lol…it’s true! Get the Hamilton Beach 3 in 1…you won’t regret it…and it all stores right inside itself.

  11. oh yes! Baked oatmeal is delish!
    here’s one recipe for you Heather.

    1/2 Cup oil
    1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
    2 Eggs
    1 2/3 Cups Oatmeal
    2 tsps Baking Powder
    1/2 tsp Salt
    1 Cup Milk
    Frozen Berries (Blueberries Raspberries Cherries, etc.)

    Topping (if desired)
    2 cups Milk
    1/3 cup Sugar
    3/4 tsp Cinnamon

    Mix together oil, sugar and eggs. Add oatmeal, baking powder, salt and milk. Let sit overnight in refrigerator in bowl. In morning, stir well and add berries. (you can add as much or as little as you like). Pour into 8″ greased pan.
    Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes at 350. Serve with warmed milk and cinnamon sugar mixture. ( Personally, I don’t use the topping. I just sprinkle with brown sugar.)

    Note: Honey can be used in place of sugar (3/4 the amount).

    Serves 8


    Overnight Crock Pot Oatmeal

    1 C steel cut oats
    4 C water
    (if using a slow cooker liner decrease the water to 3 1/2 C)
    1/2 C half and half or milk
    1 C dried fruit of choice, optional (apples, raisins, cranberries, apricots etc)
    or 1 – fresh apple (chopped)
    1/4 C brown sugar
    1 – tbsp butter
    1/2 – tsp vanilla extract
    2-3 tbsp cinnamon sugar

    First off find a bowl that will hold four cups of liquid, and fit inside your crock pot with the lid on. Measure out one C of Steel cut oats. Pour that into the inner bowl. Add the four C of water, milk, or half and half, brown sugar, vanilla, butter, and cinnamon sugar. If you would like to add dried fruit or a cut up apple, then add that as well. Fill the crock with water to about halfway.

    Set the inner bowl into the crock and see how high the water rises. Add ore water in the crock if necessary. Try to match it so that the water reaches about the same height on the outside of the oats bowl or just below the bowl. Place the lid on your crock pot. Set on low and go to bed. When you get up the next morning your oatmeal should be cooked perfectly in that steamy water bath.

    Careful when taking out the bowl, it’s hot!

  13. Heather B. says:

    My slow cooker runs hot as well. I tried doing a peanut butter version of this a few months ago and it turned out equally way over done and nasty. Made our house stink like pukey peanut butter for a couple days. That was my last try at it! Found a really great baked oatmeal recipe that I love in its place 🙂

  14. A good soak and some Bon Ami!

  15. Thank you for sharing your do’s and don’ts! You are awesome! Keep going and the Rachel Ray in you will come out..

  16. Deanna Miller says:

    My slow cooker is the same. I have wanted to try steel cut oatmeal but I didn’t want to wake up to failure, so I have had a large measuring cup on my shopping list for the last couple weeks just waiting for me to make it to the store.

  17. Oh my goodness! Sounds like something that would happen to me…lol Can’t wait to see your perfected version…it DOES look amazing…

  18. Heather J. says:

    My slow cooker is the same way! On ‘low’ it still cooks food way faster than the recipe recommends!

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