Overnight Steel-Cut Oats with Almond Butter & Honey

By • February 8, 2010 85 Comments

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Author Notes: Slow-cooker as bain-marie! This is an effortless, hot family breakfast that lets us sit down together before charging forth on weekdays. We change up the flavourings, but tend to break out the almond butter & honey at least once a week.ying

Food52 Review: We'll admit that before this week, we were somewhat bemused by the recent slow cooker revival. Ying's porridge helped change our minds. We love her idea of using a slow cooker as a bain marie, and what better way to be greeted on a chilly morning than with a steaming batch of steel cut oats, ready for a dollop of rich, toasty almond butter and a swirl of honey. (If you don't have almond butter, any nut butter will do.) We'll take this over Wheaties any day. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 2-3

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons flavourful honey
  1. In a 4-cup glass measuring jug, stir together the water, milk, steel-cut oatmeal and salt. Place in a large slow-cooker, add enough cold water to come halfway up the side of the jug (less is fine, because there's so little evaporation with a slow-cooker), switch on "low" and go to bed.
  2. In the morning, stir in the almond butter and honey. There will be a tablespoon's worth of grain clumped together at the bottom of the glass jug; it is fully cooked, though, and needs only to be mixed in. Serve. You'll have a halo of warmth around you for the rest of the morning.

More Great Recipes: Rice & Grains|Breakfast & Brunch|Breakfast

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Comments (85) Questions (5)


6 months ago Mitzi Allen

This has been our breakfast for many years! I triple the recipe and refrigerate so we can have more during the week. It's an instant breakfast! I cook it with some brown sugar and raisins. You can replace and add all sorts of things; apricots anyone? Prunes? Chocolate chips (ugh). Milk, cream, coconut milk, whatever you like. It's the very health oats that makes this satisfying breakfast.


7 months ago Anne Wong

I made these twice in the past month! It's lovely! Thanks so much for the recipe!


8 months ago Myrna Loy

How can you do just one serving?


8 months ago Diana Jordan

You could probably reduce quantities using a recipe conversion calculator like this one - http://www.cooks.com/rec... , but why? Steel cut oats store and reheat well. I live alone but when I make oatmeal I always make enough so I don't have to cook the next day (particularly if I'm coming down with a cold or something). It makes for a fast, easy meal without 'instant stuff'.


8 months ago Kimberly Anaya

Is this supposed to be covered with the lid? I'm confused


8 months ago Aenea Endymion

This is how I've been cooking mine, except in a Pyrex glass container (I don't recall off-hand how big it is, but I'd guess two large cups, vertical rather than horizontally wide), a 1/4 cup of oats, a chopped apple, and about a cup's worth of liquid.


8 months ago Nicole Morris-Clark

What's the nutrition info? I am a recently diagnosed diabetic and was wondering about the carbs specifically, especially with the added honey. Thanks!


8 months ago Jessica36

I use almond milk all the time and it works well


8 months ago cathy

Can I substitute almond milk?


9 months ago Debbie Tucker

This recipe was delicious. I used 2% milk and it still tasted wonderful. Next time, I think I will just use maple syrup or brown sugar to flavor and add pecans. The almond butter wasn't my favorite. But it was still very tasty and great to have ready to eat in the morning.


over 1 year ago robin lewis



over 1 year ago robin lewis

oh boy...dumb question, know, but do you put the lid on the slowcooker?? i can't tell in the instructions or pictures...i want to make this tonite...


over 1 year ago Jackie Casey

Yes you do! This dish is awesome!


over 1 year ago oregon cassie

All slow cookers are different. Mine is old-school -- the plastic lid just sits loosely on top of the ceramic pot, not a tight fit at all. Great recipe, try it.


over 1 year ago Jessica36

I absolutely love this cooking method--this recipe is my go-to for cold winter mornings now. Thanks for sharing!!


over 1 year ago missbellpepper

Vegans rejoice, this is AMAZING with coconut milk! Super rich, filling and perfect for the winter.


about 2 years ago Afoonah

I can't thank you enough for this recipe. So creamy and wonderful. My kids love it and it will be such a help to our home when school starts! Previous recipes failed me and were a mess. Thank You!!!


over 2 years ago Sarah Williams 1

If we used one of the small crockpots, would need to put it in a measuring bowl, or can it just be put straight in the crock?


over 2 years ago jocelyng

In my experience, it's much easier to clean a measuring cup than the crock pot. The overnight cooking makes a gummy ring.


over 2 years ago Mickey0627

The oatmeal tends to burn around the edges and the bottom if it's put directly in the crockpot.


over 2 years ago Minda Wei

I have a 1.5 quart one with a removable bowl, and putting it directly in works fine for me. It does get a little crusty around the sides, but I wouldn't call it burnt.


about 2 years ago PlantGrrrl

Sarah, have you used the crock pot liners? They are made for a dish like this.


over 2 years ago Mickey0627

This was GREAT! I used 3/4 cups oats. Not soupy, but not too thick either. Just perfect!


over 2 years ago Meglion

Oh my ever-loving goodness, this was delicious. It stayed warm until I was ready to eat it, and it's creamy, yes, but the oats have a little "pop" to them, almost like chia seeds after they've been soaking a long time. It is as warm and comforting a breakfast - and the best version of oatmeal - I've ever eaten.


over 2 years ago Robert Longenbaugh

For the non-crockpot option, do you fix the oats in the 4c jug and then put that into a pot with boiling water, just like you did with the crock pot? Or do you add the oats only to 2c boiling water and then let it sit overnight and add the milk in the morning? I made this in my crock pot last night and it came out perfectly, but it's not enough for my family of 5. I'm looking to see the best way to double it without having to get out another crock pot.


over 2 years ago ameulensteen

These were so delicious and super easy. Incredibly creamy consistency for steel cut oats--almost like a silky pudding. Plus, what's not to love about a receipt that says "and go to bed"?


almost 3 years ago TheLearningCook

This might be a stupid question but does this reheat ok if I don't eat it all the first day?


about 2 years ago Eggplayer

My husband has steel cut oats every morning. He makes a really big batch in the crockpot http://fromaliceskitchen... and then stores what he doesn't eat in the fridge. Then, the next morning, he scoops out oatmeal into a microwave-safe bowl, adds his embellishments and then zaps it in the microwave. No problem. :-)


about 3 years ago thepisceanchef

Someone mentioned a brand of organic steel cut oats in the comments section, that I had not heard of before. When I saw the comment, I found the brand on line, but failed to order them. Now I cannot recall the brand name. It is from a small farm. Can anyone help?



over 3 years ago oregon cassie

This came-out great -- love learning new time- saving techniques for great food.


over 3 years ago Zim

I'd never thought about doing a water bath in the slow cooker. I'd been using Alton Brown's overnight oatmeal recipe, but had gotten sick of a big bunch of the oats burning to the bottom of my cooker. I've been too lazy to hack my slow cooker into a sous vide machine to combat the high temps of modern slow cookers.


over 3 years ago Geri

Would love to try but without the almond butter (allergy), would love to hear substitutions.....


over 3 years ago mward

You can add raisins, butter, honey or maple syrup afterward, or anything you would add to regular oatmeal.


over 3 years ago susan g

There are other 'butters' you might like, such as sesame tahini, sunflower butter, or - if you could have them - other nuts (or peanuts).


over 3 years ago rheg18

Can i use old-fashioned oats instead of steel-cut?


over 3 years ago mward

I haven't tried it, but I'd think you'd end up with a gooey mess. The point of cooking the steel cut oats this way is that they're a pain to cook on the top of the stove--they take a long time to cook and thy splatter. This way you don't have to deal with them except for the minute it takes to mix stuff together the previous evening and you have breakfast waiting for you in the morning. They're also supposed to be more healthy than old-fashioned, which take very little effort to prepare anyway.


over 3 years ago EveryoneIntoTheKitchen

I just acquired a slow-cooker and this was my first try with oatmeal. Based on my daughter's reaction this morning I'd say it's a keeper. I used 1% milk (it's what we drink) and substituted a Pyrex loaf pan for the measuring cup and it worked beautifully.


almost 4 years ago Head2Tail

Thank you so much for this recipe. This creamy, delicious, effortless hot cereal in the morning makes mornings at our house so much easier. One recipe feeds my husband, myself, and our twin one year olds (who thankfully never tire of good oatmeal). Has anyone tried cereals other than steel-cut oats?


about 2 years ago Amy Skretta

I've done a breakfast quinoa with almond milk that is equally as delicious.


about 4 years ago deedeebear

This is the first recipe I tried from this site and loved it. I've been gnawing my way through stove top steel cut oats for a while now and this technique transformed the oats into something more like pudding. Thank you for such a great recipe. I also love anything I can do the night before since I usually have a foggy brain in the morning.


over 4 years ago Cookie16

I've added a little spoonful of jam or preserves in my steel cut oats with almond butter—a nice pb&j twist.


over 4 years ago Ozzy

I made something similar this week with a layer of apples dusted in brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice on the bottom of the crock pot and then added the oatmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill old fashioned oats). It was delish. I've never heard of adding nut butters to oatmeal, I will definitely try that next time.


over 4 years ago Carriejk

Would I put the cover on the slow cooker? Sorry if that's a dumb question!


over 4 years ago GoodFoodie

Yeah, you have to use it with the top on.
Also, fyi, last time i made this, I forgot to turn on the slow cooker overnight and the milk and everything sat for about 9 hours before I turned it on the next morning - and it was fine.


over 4 years ago jackiecasey

made this for this morning!! LOVE IT!! Instead of a glass 4 cup measuring cup, I used a pyrex loaf pan, it worked great! Not a huge fan of almond butter, think I will experiment with different variations, but it is still very good. My daycare kids show up soon, pretty sure they will love it too!!! Thanks!


over 4 years ago flossy

made this the night of the blizzard for a nice blizzard morning. superb!


over 5 years ago selfsouschef

Addicted as well! My favorite way to enjoy oatmeal! I frequently substitute dark maple syrup (usually grade B) for honey- yum!


over 5 years ago jocelyng

We are addicted to this. We've been having it almost every day since it was published. It's fabulous. Thanks so much.


over 5 years ago AnneF

Just as yummy as you said. I'm so excited--and glad I finally tried this!


over 5 years ago sarahdecker

When I added more water "half way up the jug" it turned out soupy; was this in addition to the two cups of water called for in the recipe? Guess it depends on the style of slow cooker...


over 5 years ago ying

I just re-read my instructions and they could be clearer. After placing your jug in the slow cooker, you add water to the slow-cooker bowl (not the oatmeal jug) to create a water bath. Is that where the confusion lies? Having said that, it's a pretty loose oatmeal. When A&M made it in the video, the finished oatmeal was a lot thicker because they'd cooled it overnight then reheated it.


over 5 years ago LSarno

I am so happy I found this conversation. I made Steal Cut Oatmeal last night and put it directly into my crock pot and it was over done, close to burnt this morning! I was so disappointed! I have a big crock pot... if I use the bain-marie method, how long is "overnight"? 6, 7 , 9 hours? Thanks!


over 5 years ago ying

Overnight is pretty flexible, b/c the bain-marie slows everything down. I'd say not less than 6 and not more than 9?


over 5 years ago merrygourmet

I made these last night for breakfast this morning, and they were perfect. I used 2% milk instead of whole, and since I didn't have almond butter, I used honey and banana. This is now my new favorite steel cut oats recipe!


over 5 years ago lindachoi

This is terrific. I have been looking for a way to add protein and fat to oats and this is wonderful.

You can also do this without the slow cooker - I use a regular pan, put the oats into boiling water, boil for a minute and turn off and just leave it sitting out overnight. Its done in the AM. If you're skittish about leaving food out, you can also refrigerate.


over 5 years ago monkeymom

I do like lindachoi's boil and set method much better. It allows the steelcuts to still have a little bite. I tried the crockpot method last night and found it a bit gummy.


over 5 years ago 2eatwellRD

Made this last night and just finished a bowl this morning! It was creamy and delicious. I had to use skim milk and agave nectar but I don't think it made that much of a difference. I will definitely make this again!


over 5 years ago NakedBeet

What a fantastic use for almond butter, will have to give that a go in my next steel cut oatmeal batch.


over 5 years ago Oui, Chef

I'm trying this with the new can of McCanns I just bought, it sounds delicious!


over 5 years ago susantrevit

Okay, now I am seriously interested in getting a slow-cooker, too. Can people recommend their favorites and why? The last thing we need is another small appliance on our counter that just collects dust... Thank you!


over 5 years ago ying

I think it depends how you'll be using it. You can get programmable ones with meat probes that shut off the heat when your roast is done, but I work from home and am not a pot-roast kind of girl. Mine just has 3 settings (low, high, keep warm) and it's been great for all kinds of beans, stews, curries and puddings.


over 5 years ago Jamies' Mom

Growing up my mom often cooked oatmeal in a slow cooker this way. The almond butter is a great twist. Thanks


over 5 years ago GoodFoodie

Do I need to change any of the proportions if I am going to double or triple the recipe?


over 5 years ago ying

I've never tried it but I reduce the liquid ratio whenever I multiply any soup/stew recipe, so I'd do that here, too. Let me know how it turns out?


over 5 years ago GoodFoodie

What a creamy transformation! Made the oats last night and can't believe I was eating the same grain. Husband usually makes it on the 'crunchy' side. For a recipe doubling the oats (1 cup) I only increased liquids by 1 1/2 times (the bowl was filled up). In the morning I added a bit more milk to loosen it up. Somehow, the almond butter taste in the oats begged for sliced bananas. Yummy!


over 5 years ago claibornem

This seriously makes me want to go out and buy a slow-cooker!


over 5 years ago ying

Do it, do it! Slow-cooking doesn't HAVE to be about dumping a sachet of instant soup mix over a semi-frozen roast...


over 5 years ago AppleAnnie

Peanut butter and maple syrup is a similar and delicious combination with oatmeal.


over 5 years ago Savour

Ha. You should try making confit in a slow cooker. It's a revelation.

Re: the porridge -- I really love nut butters in my oatmeal, and often stir in a spoonful.


over 5 years ago ying

Confit in a slow cooker = GENIUS. How long for, Savour?


over 5 years ago Kelsey Banfield

Ditto @ying - confit in the slow cooker is genius! Recipe please! :)


over 5 years ago Kelsey Banfield

What a delicious recipe! I love the slow-cooker, such a great solution to many things. I am particularly taken with your use of almond butter and honey in the oats, that just might be my favorite combination for oatmeal yet! Perfect timing too, my maple syrup and cream is getting a little repetitive.


over 5 years ago ying

Thanks, Kelsey! Nut butters make the oatmeal beyond creamy - it's my favourite way, though I also love the flavour affinity of maple syrup and blueberries. Now I'm thinking maple syrup and blueberries and CREAM.

I made your all-conquering chocolate cake last weekend. Wonderful - and even better on day 2.


over 5 years ago mleconge

Question for A&M: why were you "...somewhat bemused by the recent slow cooker revival"? It seems like cheating? It's a response to economics and helps cook cheap, tougher cuts of meat? I'm just curious, as a "recent slow cooker revivalist."


over 5 years ago freshparsley

I use my rice cooker to make oatmeal. Simply set it up as you would for rice. In the time it takes me to shower, the oats are ready. The Irish steel cut oats are the best tasting. Nice thing about the rice cooker is that it keeps the oats warm once they are cooked.


over 4 years ago mward

A friend told me that when they do this, oatmeal spews all over the place...


over 5 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Sounds very delicious! I don't have a slow-cooker. Any alternatives?


over 5 years ago ying

I guess if you had an oven with a very consistent thermometer (I don't! I'd burn the house down if I left it on overnight), you could try a regular bain-marie. I'd be interested to hear how it works.


over 5 years ago debbiek

This is my favorite way of making steel-cut oats. The bain marie really makes a huge difference. I use a slightly different proportion, though: 3 cups liquid to 1 cup oats. Details here: http://wordstoeatby.blogspot...


over 5 years ago ying

I use that ratio if I'm going to stir a lot of liquid into the cooked oatmeal, but this ratio produces the "right" texture (to me!) for adding nut butters and other dry flavourings. I'm a lurker at your blog, btw, and love your overnight chicken stock technique. It gives you such deep flavour!


over 5 years ago jennichols

Thank you so much for posting your link to your variation. I was trying to figure out whether I needed to put the lid on it and your post answered my question with the simple "Cover". :) Hoping for tasty oatmeal tomorrow morning!


over 5 years ago CASJ

Great idea - when I tried just slow cooking overnight, well, it was way overdone. I will try this!


over 5 years ago ying

Yes, I imagine it would have been like a stucco coating on your slow-cooker bowl!


over 5 years ago Kayb

What a wonderful technique! Now I'm busy wondering what other bain-marie recipes will adapt to this....


over 5 years ago ying

Thanks, Kayb! It works beautifully for rice pudding, too. I'd love to hear about your results once you've experimented.