Chrysta Wilson is a baker famous for her bundt cakes. But this chef also knows her way around a good breakfast. (Check out her Pumpkin Spice Pancake recipe.) This overnight steel cut oats in a crockpot is her answer to breakfast on the run. And we think it is the best overnight oatmeal recipe around.
How to make overnight steel cut oats
This really is cooking in your sleep! By preparing the oats at night and letting them cook in a slow cooker, you skip the waiting time it takes to make steel cut oats in the morning. Cooking steel cut oats overnight is a great option for breakfast in a hurry.
But cooking oatmeal overnight also offers a warm and inviting, healthy oatmeal for savoring breakfast in bed. (And you can even make overnight steel cut oats vegan. Scroll down for my modifications.) Did you know that oats are aphrodisiac? I’ll get to more on that later. But for now, let your imagination take you to a cozy morning in bed with a special someone and steaming bowls of this nutritious and aphrodisiac breakfast.
What is the best slow cooker for overnight steel cut oatmeal?
Of course, this recipe requires that you have a slow cooker. We use the All-Clad 6.5 quart slow cooker. And it is an awesome machine. This programmable slow cooker has a ceramic insert which makes cleaning fast and easy.
But you don’t need to invest in this large of a slow cooker for this recipe. If you want something a little smaller and less expensive for cooking oats overnight, check out the popular Instant Pot multi-use electric pressure cooker. (Yes, it is possible to make Instant Pot overnight oats.) Or for a budget slow cooker option, we like the Crockpot Cook and Carry.
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Some surprising facts about oatmeal and health
Waking up in the morning and eating a bowl of warm oatmeal can benefit your sexual health. (Remember my comments earlier about this being a potentially aphrodisiac breakfast in bed?)
It surprises most people to learn that oats are considered a food of love. But this ancient grain offers a surprising number of nutrients beneficial to your sex life. In fact, we even included oats in our list of 10 Best Food for Men’s Sexual Health.
But before you get too excited about how oatmeal might give your libido a lift, you need to understand the different kinds of oats commonly sold at the grocery store.
Understanding the different types of oats
There is some confusion when it comes to oatmeal. Not all oats offer the same nutritional benefits. Of the three types of oats commonly sold, quick oats, rolled and steel cut oats, the steel cut lead the pack for nutrition.
What are steel cut oats?
Steel cut oats, also called Irish oats, are made by chopping oat groats into pieces. (The groats are the whole, unbroken grains.) They look very different from the other two types of oats. In fact, they more resemble chopped-up pieces of brown rice than what most of us think of as oats.
Once they’re cooked using Chrysta’s method, the resulting overnight oatmeal has a bit of a chewy texture and a more nutty flavor than what you could expect from oatmeal made with rolled oats.
What’s the difference between steel cut, rolled oats and quick cooking oats?
Rolled oats, also called old-fashioned oats, are more processed than steel cut oats. They look like little disks. They are made by steaming the whole grains first, then pressing to flatten them. These are the oats most commonly used in cookies and granola bars.
Quick oats or instant oats, are the most processed and quickest cooking of the three. They are partially cooked, dried, then rolled to make them thin, which is what makes them cook quickly. But they tend not to have the richness of texture or flavor of the other types of oats.
While all types of oats have the same basic nutrients, you get additional nutrition in steel cut oats vs rolled oats or quick oats. According to Bob’s Red Mill, whose steel cut oats are among my preferred brands, steel cut and rolled oats have identical values for vitamins and minerals. However, oats that are steel cut are richer in soluble and insoluble fiber than rolled oats. In fact, a serving of steel cut oats offers about 20% of your daily fiber intake. And don’t forget that steel cut oats are naturally gluten-free.
Is it ok to eat overnight oats every day?
While variety is the spice of life, this is a recipe you could benefit from eating every day. Because overnight oatmeal is rich in a number of essential vitamins and minerals and offers about 20% of your daily fiber intake, it’s a great choice for a warming and nutritious breakfast. And research even shows that oatmeal can help you feel full longer than many other breakfast foods.
But to keep this easy oatmeal recipe feeling fresh, you can try changing it up with different toppings.
Flavorful oatmeal recipe variations
- Add a fruit topping, such as fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries or sliced banana.
- For additional nutritional benefits and interesting texture, try adding a teaspoon of chia seeds to the liquid ingredients before cooking.
- Garnish your oatmeal with one tablespoon of peanut butter, almond butter or your favorite seed or nut butter.
- Toss in a handful of your favorite dried fruits, such as dried cranberries, golden raisins, dried papaya, goji berries or dried cherries.
- For a tropical flavor, try using coconut milk in place of the dairy milk.
- For a more complex spice flavor, try using pumpkin pie spice in place of the ground cinnamon. (Did you know that the scent of pumpkin pie spice is scientifically proven to be arousing to men?)
To make vegan overnight oats
It is possible to make a vegan version of this steel cut oatmeal recipe. It just takes a couple of easy modifications.
First, you’ll need to use your favorite non-dairy milk in place of the cream and skim milk. (I prefer almond milk but other seed and nut milks work, too.) And then you’ll need to make sure that your brown sugar is vegan. Most brown sugar is made with bone char, which means it isn’t vegan. Vegan brown sugar can be hard to find but look for brands like Now Foods and Zulka, both of which make vegan sugars.
Plan ahead when making slow cooker oatmeal
You will need eight hours for this overnight oats recipe to completely cook in your slow cooker, so be sure to plan accordingly if you’re craving overnight oatmeal with steel cut oats.
But once you get the hang of making this healthy slow cooker oatmeal, you can look forward to just waking up in the morning and topping a bowl of overnight oats with sliced bananas or berries for a healthy breakfast with an aphrodisiac twist!
Overnight Steel Cut Oats
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup skim milk
- 2 1/2 cups purified water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 5 6-oz ramekins or small heat-safe bowls
- In a bowl, combine the cream, milk, water, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract.
- Place ramekins or small bowls into the bottom of your slow cooker.
- In the bottom of each ramekin, add 2 tablespoons steel cut oats.
- Add ½ cup of the liquid mixture into each ramekin. Stir.
- Slowly add water to the base of your slow cooker, being sure not to get any water into the ramekins. The amount of water will vary by the size of your slow-cookers, but you basically want the ramekins sitting in at least 3 inches of water. (For most slow cookers, water will come up to the middle of your bottom ramekin.)
- Place the lid on the slow cooker, and cook for 8 hours.
- When you wake up, simply remove the oats, grab a spoon, and enjoy, or top with sliced bananas and berries for a complete meal. Cover any remaining ramekins and store, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.
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