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Overnight, Slow Cooker, Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal


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:

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 and determine when it is done. (A tip from Kate at Our Best Bites when she made a version of this recipe.) 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. Everytime 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 oats 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 oats 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 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 oatmeal. Insert a heat-proof bowl inside the slow cooker that is large enough to hold the oatmeal ingredients. Spray or grease the bowl. Add the oatmeal 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 any browned edges, but they don't burn either. Another bonus--clean up is a breeze!
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!


2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or substitute non-diary alternative like almond milk)
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or substitute maple syrup or other desired sweetener)
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter



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