We all know that every day should begin with a good breakfast, so we’ll start our slow cooker recipes with steel-cut oats. But first, a little personal history. I absolutely hated oatmeal for most of my life. There were times I wished I liked oatmeal and would force myself to eat it, hoping it would grow on me. But now I love it! What happened? I got pregnant. When I was expecting my first child, I craved pepperoncinis and oatmeal (not together). I understood the peppers—they are salty like pickles. But oatmeal? That’s when I started eating oatmeal and, fortunately, I still liked it even after I gave birth.
There are a variety of ways oats are sold:
Groats: whole oat kernels with the hulls removed; contains the oat bran, germ, and endosperm
Steel-cut oats (Irish oats): groats that have been cut with steel into two or three pieces
Rolled oats (old-fashioned oats): groats that have been rolled flat
Scottish oatmeal: steel-cut oats that have been steamed and ground
Quick-cooking oatmeal: steel-cut oats that have been rolled
Instant oatmeal: same as quick-cooking oats but processed to smaller flakes
Steel-cut oats are by far my favorite way to make oatmeal. When cooked, they have more texture than rolled oats, kind of the al dente version of oatmeal. And the flavor is nuttier than rolled oats. Nutritionally, all oatmeal is good for you, but steel-cut oats are better for you than the more processed varieties. They have a lower glycemic index which means you don’t get hungry as quickly after eating them.
The one inconvenient thing about steel-cut oats is that they take 30-40 minutes to cook on the stove. I’m not a morning person, so I cook them in the slow cooker over night. The house smells so good in the morning and we have fresh, hot oatmeal ready to eat.
I think steel-cut oats are good enough to eat plain. Even my toddler boys scarf it down plain. But I really love them with some banana slices and cinnamon. If you want, you can add dried fruit to the slow cooker at night or in the morning, depending on how re-hydrated you want the fruit.
Oatmeal is definitely a great way to stretch your grocery budget if you stay away from packets. WinCo carries many types of oatmeal in the bulk bins. When I went yesterday, steel-cut oats cost $0.83/lb. and rolled oats and quick oats were $0.50/lb. I then went over to the cereal aisle and compared those prices to packets of instant oatmeal. Quaker original instant oatmeal cost $1.98/11.8 oz. which comes to $2.68/lb. Hy-top instant oatmeal was better at $1.74/lb., but nowhere near the cost of the oatmeal from the bins. If your store does not carry items in bulk, canisters are also an economical way to buy oats.
I also took a look at the cost of
’s favorite oat cereal. They happened to be on sale but the cost still came to $2.03/lb. The generic version came to $1.63/lb. You also have to consider that 1 lb. of Cheerios yields 1 lb. of Cheerios. One pound of steel-cut oats, however, yields about 6 lbs. of oatmeal. That’s $0.14/lb.! Just switching from cold cereal to hot cereals could save a lot of money. Cheerios, America
Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oats
4 c. water
Dried fruit (optional)
Place oats and water in slow cooker. Add dried fruit, if desired (may need a little extra water). Heat overnight on low. The top layer will be a little dried out. Just stir it in.