Breakfast while you were sleeping.

By Family Circle Food Editors

The recipe

Combine 3 cups 1% milk, 3 cups water, 1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 tsp salt in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook overnight on LOW for 9 1/2 to 10 hours. Uncover and stir in 1/4 cup brown sugar until smooth. (For looser oatmeal, stir in up to 1 cup 1% milk with the brown sugar.) Spoon about 1 cup oatmeal into each bowl and add toppings. Serves 6.


Cut down on cleanup by using a slow cooker liner. 

Use steel-cut oats. Because these cook overnight, you need oats that will hold some of their shape and not turn into total mush. Quality brands to look for:

  • Flahavan’s 
  • McCann’s 
  • Bob’s Red Mill

Overnight Oats from the Fridge

If you have a smaller family, make individual batches in your fridge instead. Combine equal parts milk and old-fashioned oats (steel-cut oats need cooking) in a jar with a pinch of salt and sugar to taste. Stir and seal. Refrigerate overnight.

Dairy Swaps

Sub in an equal amount of almond or oat milk in place of the 1% milk. 

Oatmeal Topping Inspiration

Take your breakfast to the next level with interesting flavor combos—sweet, savory or somewhere in between. For fully savory slow cooker oatmeal, omit the brown sugar called for in the recipe.

  • sliced strawberries + thinly sliced crystallized ginger
  • mini chocolate chips + chopped toasted hazelnuts 
  • toasted coconut + finely diced fresh pineapple + cinnamon
  • dried tart cherries + chopped pistachios + honey
  • crumbled bacon + maple syrup
  • shredded cheddar + finely diced Gala apple
  • sliced bananas + blueberries + maple syrup
  • sautéed spinach + chopped breakfast sausage
  • sliced scallions + shredded pepper Jack + sour cream