Overnight Oatmeal

I think I am overdue in terms of singing the praises of one of my very favorite kitchen appliances, which is my beloved, faithful, trustworthy slow cooker. I’ve had the same slow cooker for years and years now – it’s a basic Rival Crockpot model – and I’ve made everything from the best beef barley soup in the world to a really incredible chocolate pudding cake and a lot of stuff in between. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you toss a bunch of stuff in the crockpot in the morning, go out to work, and then come home hours later to a house that smells like heaven and the glorious knowledge that dinner is already made!

Most of my crockpot recipes are dinner-oriented (well, except for that cake. Which I would happily eat for dinner, but that’s just me.) This oatmeal recipe also makes a fantastic comfort food dinner recipe, but it’s my only crockpot recipe that is perfection for breakfast. Here’s how it works, and why I adore it so much.

First of all, you must use steel-cut oats – none of those regular rolled Quaker Oats for this recipe. Steel cut oats are those hard little round oats – they look like teeny little pebbles and you will wonder how on earth they are going to turn into anything edible, but have faith. You toss them into your trusty slow cooker with some water, a little half and half and some dried fruit. I used dried cranberries and chopped up dried figs, but I think probably anything you have around will work just fine – raisins, dates, etc. Set the slow cooker for 8 hours on low, and go to bed. The next morning you will wake up to an unbelievably amazing aroma of sweet and creamy oatmeal. It has slowly cooked away all night long, and the fruit has somehow broken down and blended into the oats, giving the whole thing a wildly delicious, comforting, sweetly creamy texture. No additional sweetener is needed – just warm up a little milk and grab your favorite bowl.

Take hold of a spoon, close your eyes and dig in. It’s comfort food extraordinaire, and you may never go back to those little oatmeal packets ever again.Overnight Oatmeal, from Alton Brown 
Overnight Oatmeal
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried figs, cut in quarters
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ cup half and half
  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and set on low. Cover and cook for 8 hours.
  2. Stir and scoop into bowls. Pour warm milk over each serving.



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  1. That sounds like it would be perfect for Christmas Eve…except Santa might think it's for him. Hmmm… maybe then you'll get a few extra presents for being so good.

  2. theblogisthenewblack says:

    I would not have thought to put oats in a slow-cooker! Great idea.

  3. You know…i have never ever thought to use my slow cooker for oatmeal. And i have ALSO never thought to stuff my oatmeal with dried figs! Where have I been!!

  4. PoetessWug says:

    I'm an oatmeal fan, and always game for anything cooked in the crock pot…so thanks! :-)

  5. UrMomCooks says:

    I have always wanted to try this! Your pictures and description sound so good I'm ready to give it a try…it's just oatmeal right? But this looks like so much more! I'm thinking early morning bliss before we all head out the door!

  6. amazing! can't wait to try it.

  7. This looks amazing! About how many servings does it make? Does it reheat well?

    Thanks for sharing it!

  8. Kate Morgan Jackson says:

    Colleen: this makes about 4 servings. As for the reheating, it's never lasted long enough in my house to reheat! I think you probably could, especially if you reheated it with some milk.

  9. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    You know how I love slow cookers! This looks delicious!

  10. agree. .we have here in the Philippines, we called it nine mornings! Which we pray all mornings of December and I think this is perfect to eat before going to church

  11. Lauren Nutting says:

    I was so excited to try this last night but it didn't turn out too well. It was very runny and dark in color – not near as yummy as yours looked. I used 1/2 cup milk instead of half and half – could that be it? However- I have made several of your other posted recipes and have loved them!! Love the site!

  12. Kate Morgan Jackson says:

    Hi Lauren and hmmm….it *might* have been the half and half, since that is a thicker liquid than milk, but it shouldn't have made that much of a difference. Did you use the steel cut oats and not the rolled oat variety? And did it cook for the full time? That's all I can think of – but I'd give it one more go with the half and half just to see if you can make it work, because it is SO yummy. :)

  13. Lauren Nutting says:

    Hi Kate, Thanks for your reply! Yes to the steel cut oats and cooking the full time. I'll try again with the half and half – thanks for the help! Keep on tempting us with your recipes!

  14. i made this last night after reading several reviews on the original recipe, and i am so glad i did. i didn't have any figs, and next time i will try them. it didn't have a whole ton of sweet flavor which i prefer. i also added a whole cup of 1% milk instead of 1/2 and 1/2 (lots of people used milk instead of 1/2 and 1/2 that had great results), and put my crockpot on the keep warm setting. good thing too! it definitely would have burnt on low for 8 hours. i think it has potential. will have to try the figs. :)

    ps. i think Lauren may have needed to cook it longer. i read the biggest varying factor is your crockpot. the newer ones cook much faster than the ones from the 70's and 80's.

  15. I'd like to make this, but I have a small crockpot, like a one-serving type. I'll only be cooking for myself–is there any site that helps to convert recipes to smaller or alternately larger, yields? Or any advice anyone can offer? Also: I live in Oklahoma, which makes it hard to get some types of food: particularly dried figs–does anyone have any suggestions regarding this, too? Sorry so many questions!

  16. FramedCooks says:

    Hi LMNOP. For your crockpot size, I would just use a quarter of each ingredient, and that should give you one serving. In other words, 1/4 cup oatmeal, and so on. As for the figs, raisins would be a perfectly fine substitute. Good luck!

  17. thanks so much!! I'm making it tonight!

  18. FramedCooks says:

    Hope you had a delicious breakfast! :)

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