Few things are as revolutionizing to a homemaker’s routine than a good kitchen hack.
Freeze muffin batter? Yes, please.
Baking bread is a slow-cooker? Oh my…
Or even just leaving the measuring scoop in the container… why didn’t I think of that sooner?!
Friends, I just found a way to make a fast breakfast, even faster! Get this… slow cooker oatmeal!
We eat a lot of oatmeal in our house. It’s real food, inexpensive and I can dress it up in a million different ways so none of us get bored with it.
One of the key reasons we have it on most mornings though, is because it’s FAST.
If I’ve soaked my oats, breakfast is ready in 10 minutes, tops. If I didn’t soak oats, I’ve got a routine down to about 15 minutes, from start to finish.
It was an ordinary forgot-to-soak-my-oats type of day when the skies opened up, the clouds parted and I saw this (incredibly simple yet amazing) trick: oatmeal in a slow cooker.
Never heard-of before, earth-shattering breaking news? No.
I’ve been to pot-lucks where someone brought oatmeal in a slow cooker. But the whole “slow cooker oatmeal” thing? It kinda grosses me out. It’s goopy, sloppy and the fact that you scoop it out with the slap of a serving spoon makes it utterly unappetizing.
BUT, I’m all for a slow cooker making me breakfast while I sleep. (Aren’t we all?)
Armed with a few mason jars and some old fashioned rolls oats, I set out to find common ground. Friends, allow me to proudly introduce you to Single Serve Slow Cooker Oatmeal.
Goop, slop and slap gone – consider your breakfast routine revolutionized.
Slow Cooker Oatmeal
First, start with some glass jars. Here are the requirements:
- one jar per person you’re serving
- must hold at least 16 ounces
- must fit in your slow cooker
- must be wide enough to comfortably eat out of
I’ve found that these wide-mouth mason jars are a perfect fit. I can easily get 4 in my slow-cooker, but I bet I could get 6 if I tried. Plus since they’re wide-mouth like my quart-sized jars, I don’t have a bazillion different sized lids and rings driving me nuts in my kitchen drawers.
Next gather up your breakfast supplies. Oats are the obvious, but think of your favorite toppings too like fruit (fresh or dried), seeds, sweeteners…
The flavor combination that I’m totally addicted to right now (and the slow cooker oatmeal in the pictures):
- 1/4 cup chopped apples
- 2 Tbsp raisins
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 4-5 pecans, chopped
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup oats
Homey + healthy + simple + affordable + a combination that everyone in the family can agree on? Sign me up.
Slow Cooker Oatmeal Method
Line up your jars on the kitchen counter and layer your ingredients as follows:
- fruit #1
- 1/4 cup oats
- fruit #2 / seeds
- spices / sweetener
- 1/4 cup oats
The burning question of the moment: Do you HAVE to layer it all in?
No, but it makes it a bit more pleasant to eat in the morning. If you’re in a no-fuss mood, feel free to dump it all in. I won’t tell.
But don’t dump in the nuts. Save those for later.
Add enough water JUST to cover the oats. Honestly, I always eyeball the water. Some people like runny oats, some people like them thick.
If you like it thick slow cooker oatmeal, you want the water just to cover the oats. If you like runnier oats, add an extra tablespoon or two.
Next up, place all your jars in the slow cooker. Fill the slow cooker – not the jars – with water so that the water line is at the top of the oats in the jar.
Make sense? The jars of oatmeal are now taking a bath in the slow cooker.
Put on the cover and set the slow cooker on low for 4 hours and when it’s done you’ve got Single Serve Slow Cooker Oatmeal. If you set the slow cooker before you go to bed, breakfast will already done for you!
PS – It’s totally fine for your slow cooker to turn off OR kick over to low. It won’t effect the oatmeal in any way. In fact, it’ll still be warm when you wake up!
AAAAAAAANNNDD… since the oatmeal in the jars are cooked apart from each other, you can create multiple flavors of oatmeal at one time. Satisfy every belly in one fell swoop!
If you like to add nuts, now is when you want to add them. If you add them early on, they’ll get soggy overnight… which I don’t recommend.
Remember that the jar has been sitting in a bowl full of fairly warm water, so be careful when you take the jar out. Use a towel just in case, and wipe down the sides and bottom so you don’t get wet as you’re eating breakfast. If your breakfast is truly to go (as in, taking it out of the house, and not just taking it to the table), tighten a lid around the jar and you’re golden.
Stir well before enjoying (although this is optional too)!
Did you make too much? Save it and make leftover oatmeal cakes!
Single Serve Slow Cooker Oatmeal
- For One Serving of Oatmeal (multiply as needed)
- 1 glass jar
- 1/4 cup chopped apples
- 2 Tbsp raisins
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 4–5 pecans, chopped
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup oats
- Line up your jars on the kitchen counter and layer your ingredients as follows: fruit #1, 1/4 cup oats, fruit #2 / seeds, spices / sweetener, 1/4 cup oats. Do NOT add the nuts yet.
- Add enough water JUST to cover the oats. If you like it thick oatmeal, you want the water just to cover the oats. If you like runnier oats, add an extra tablespoon or two.
- Next up, place all your jars in the slow cooker. Fill the slow cooker – not the jars – with water so that the water line is at the top of the oats in the jar.
- Put on the cover and set the slow cooker on low for 4 hours before you go to bed. If the slow cooker turns off or to warm, that’s fine. It won’t effect the oatmeal.
- Add the nuts in the morning. Stir if you’d like, and enjoy!
If you prefer to have oats freshly cooked, assemble the oatmeal and jars in the slow cooker, and add water to the slow cooker but NOT to the oats. Add that water in the morning and cook on high for 60-90 minutes.
One last tip for those who have issues with the slow cooker being on while they sleep – you can get this all ready for a morning cook too. Assemble the oatmeal and jars in the slow cooker, and add water to the slow cooker but NOT to the oats. Add that water in the morning and cook on high for 60-90 minutes.
Haven’t tried it bc I don’t have a slow cooker. Can I make this in an instant pot?
Karen @ Team Crumbs
HI Linda! Yep!!! Here’s an Instant Pot oatmeal recipe! Enjoy! https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/instant-pot-oatmeal/
Thanks, Tiffany! Just popped my six jars in the crockpot and have a mix of flavors. Here’s to a week’s worth of breakfasts already portioned out! I echo the goop-aversion you feel, but love having oats in the crockpot. Great solution!
You’re welcome LaKendra!!
Looking forward to trying this recipe using steel cut oats. Most likely will make this part of my Sunday meal prep routine. Thanks so much! I’m giving it five stars even though I haven’t actually made this yet. I’m optimistic!
I hope you enjoy it Renee! I LOVE waking up to breakfast already done, and the fact that my kids can choose their flavors? Priceless! 🙂
Love this idea. I have a recipe I love for crock pot oatmeal that uses steel cut oats. But I love the single serve idea. I might try it with steel cut too. I have both so I can compare! Thanks, Tiffany!!
You’re welcome Wendy!
I just tried this today, prepping two jars(small c.p.) last night and leaving it on low for 8 hours. The oatmeal turned out pretty dense for my taste, and I didn’t detect much difference although I had more liquid in one jar. I’m guessing it could be because it was cooking for so long. I stirred in some milk and that did the trick for me. Will definitely make this again.
The oats continue to absorb water even when they’re done cooking, but like you said, adding some milk (or other preferred liquid) will do the trick. Glad you enjoyed the recipe Andreas!
I just boil water, and pour it over oatmeal-assembled jar(s), cover to steam…when it cools I add other toppings (yogurt, etc) and store in fridge, or eat it fresh 🙂 Much faster in my opinion and comes out great
That’s awesome! Easier for me to clean up.
Will this work with an old crock pot that does not automatically switch to warm and no timer? Otherwise, I would need to get up at 3AM to make oatmeal for breakfast, when I could just make it in 10 minutes when I get up.
Will this work with an old crock pot that does not automatically switch to warm and no timer? Otherwise, I would need to get up at 3AM to make oatmeal for breakfast, when I could just make it in 10 minutes when I get up. Thanks
Hi Vera – I’ve tried this with the setting on low all night and didn’t have any issues. 🙂
Can Almond milk be used in place of the water? Doesn’t the water make the oatmeal taste “watery”?
Sure, you can substitute Patty! I don’t think it tastes “watery” at all. The oats soak it all up, and it tastes like oatmeal!
I want to make these tonight for my husband who has to get up early with no time to make breakfast. My crockpot turns to warm either after 4 hrs on high or 8 hrs on low. I value my sleep too much to want to get up and turn it on low for four hours before he gets up. Would it be better to leave it at low longer than the four hours? Or would it be better to have it on high for four?
I’d go with the on low for 8 hour option. I think cooking on high and then turning to warm might overcook the oatmeal. My slow cooker turns to warm too and it always turns out fine!!
This recipe turned out GREAT for me! Both my husband and I commute into the city for work/school. We were able to carry these in our lunch bags and eat them at work/school once we arrived. Thanks for the recipe. Also, we have an older crockpot without a timer on it. I plugged it into the timer for my living room lamp and set it to start in the middle of the night so it would be ready when we needed to leave in the AM – it worked perfectly!
Awesome idea Janet! So glad you liked the oatmeal, and that it was perfect for your lunch bags and ready when you were. Thanks for sharing your success!
I’m so glad to hear this, since I am hoping to try it for school. Since COVID-19, I teach, and I will be going in for three days a week and would like something that “sticks with me” a little better than most breakfasts. Of course, being healthy for me is good as well!
Ooopppss! That should be 5-6 jars, not 56!!!!!
Great idea! No milk of any kind while in the slow cooker…or do you add it in the morning? As I live alone 56 jars would be my breakfasts for almost a week. Does this store well in the fridge?
Yes it does! I had leftovers this morning (from 3 days ago) and it was just fine. 🙂
Great idea! No milk of any kind while in the slow cooker…or do you add it in the morning?
Nope, we don’t add milk to our oatmeal!
You don’t add milk to your “yogurt”, Tiffany? Interesting! 😉
Oh goodness. That’s what I get for multi-tasking!
Noooo, why did you correct it? The other way was more fun 😉
LOL, for YOU! 😉
Awesome idea but I sleep a lot longer than 4 hrs! Does your slow cooker have a timer on it? Mine cooks for 8 or 10 hrs on low and then clicks over to warm. Any ideas?
LOL – mine kicks over to warm too and it works just fine. Still set it to low for 4 hours, and then it’ll just sit until you wake up. 🙂