Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Hello and welcome to the latest chapter in our lives without a stove: Slow Cooker Overnight Steel Cut Oats. This oatmeal recipe is healthy, freezer-friendly, and cooks entirely in the crock pot while you sleep. When I awoke to the scent of warm cinnamon and sweet bananas wafting from my kitchen, I felt like my home had been turned into a bed and breakfast!

Slow Cooker Overnight Steel Cut Oats. Healthy steel cut oatmeal with the flavors of your favorite banana bread. Just dump everything in your crock pot, and in the morning, it's ready to eat!

Our stove has been broken for three weeks, a tragedy that, while frustrating, has pushed me to embrace my slow cooker with a passion I didn’t realize I could muster for an appliance. I’ve seen overnight steel cut oatmeal recipes floating around the web for ages, but it took our stove’s demise to push me to finally try it myself. Friends, I need to do a lot of overnight oatmeal eating to make up for lost time—this recipe is fabulous!

If you’ve never had steel cut oats, prepare yourself for a serious oatmeal upgrade. Steel cut oats (whole oats that have been cut into a few pieces) are significantly less processed than instant oats, which are steamed, pressed, ground, and otherwise obliterated. This means that, unlike instant oatmeal, which has all the flavor and texture of a pile of wet sawdust, steel cut oatmeal has a hearty, pleasing texture and nutty taste. As a bonus, because steel cut oats take your body longer to break down, they keep you fuller too.

Slow Cooker Overnight Steel Cut Oats. Tastes like your favorite banana bread! You'll love waking up to a crock pot filled with this healthy banana oatmeal!

The one downfall of steel cut oats is that they take 30 minutes to cook on your stovetop, which is about 26 minutes longer than I’m willing to wait for my breakfast on an average morning. This recipe for overnight steel cut oats made in the slow cooker is the perfect solution. All of the oatmeal magic happens in the crock pot overnight, so in the morning, the only waiting you’ll do is for the coffee to brew.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats made in the slow cooker. With banana, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this healthy oatmeal tastes like banana bread. You'll love waking up with breakfast ready to eat!

To give my overnight steel cut oats some pizzazz, I took inspiration from my favorite healthy banana nut muffins and added mashed ripe bananas, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the oats before they cooked. The result was a filling, healthy breakfast with the cozy flavor of freshly baked banana bread.

Inspired by this banana bread theme, I couldn’t stop myself from topping my overnight steel cut oats with extra banana slices and walnuts. Combined with the bananas in the oatmeal itself, this was just the right amount of sweetness for me. If you prefer your oatmeal on the sweeter side, I suspect a drizzle of pure maple syrup or honey would do the trick.

Chocolate chips and a giant dollop of peanut butter wouldn’t hurt one bit either.

The best Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats. This recipe cooks overnight, so in the morning, it's ready to eat!

This recipe makes a big batch of slow cooker oatmeal, which I assure you will be happy to have on hand. Cooked overnight steel cut oats keep well in the refrigerator for days and in the freezer for months. To reheat, simply mix your desired portion of steel cut oats with a little water or milk and warm it in the microwave. I froze my leftovers in portioned containers, and I pull out a few at the beginning of each week. I love waking up knowing that I’m just a few minutes away from a warm, healthy bowl of steel cut oatmeal, with no work beyond lifting my spoon required.

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Banana Slow Cooker Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Slow cooker overnight steel cut oats that taste like yummy banana bread. Just put the ingredients in your crock pot and in the morning, breakfast is served!

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups steel cut oats (do not substitute quick cooking, instant, or rolled oats), gluten free if needed
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups milk, any kind you like (I used skim)
  • 2 large mashed ripe bananas, plus additional banana slices for serving
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (it’s an amazing flavor upgrade to grate your own nutmeg. I use this zester to do it.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For serving: chopped toasted walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, maple syrup, peanut butter, or any other mix-ins you enjoy with banana bread

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients except the toppings in the bottom of a 4-to-6-quart slow cooker and stir to combine: Steel cut oats, water, milk, mashed bananas, flaxseed meal, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours (overnight) or on high for 4 hours, until the oats are soft but maintain a bit of chew. Remove cover and stir to evenly combine the ingredients. Enjoy warm with desired toppings.

Overnight steel cut oats can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months. To reheat, top desired amount with a few tablespoons of water or milk, then warm in the microwave or in a small saucepan until hot. If the oatmeal is frozen, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator first.

*The ground flaxseed meal I added for a nutritional boost. If you don’t have it or do not wish to add it, simply omit it. You can also substitute chia seeds or hulled hemp seeds.

All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 (of 6, without toppings—about 1 1/4 cups)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 229
  • Total Fat: 4g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 2mg
  • Sodium: 141mg
  • Carbohydrates: 39g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Protein: 9g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

89 comments

  1. I just got on the slow-cooker overnight oats train about three weeks ago myself, and holy moly it’s  game changer. Nothing like waking up to hearty oats waiting for you (and that smell!!!) Can’t wait to try your version – bananas sound heavenly! 

  2. I need more of these recipes in my life! I am a BIG fan of anything banana bread flavored! Also, I wanted to tell you that I was thinking of you yesterday when you posted about your father’s birthday. Just know that his love will continue to shine through you. Love you friend! 

  3. Believe it or not, I JUST came into possession of a slow cooker thanks to project cohabitation :) And I’ve been dying to try overnight steel cut oats! Also, your new dark wood backdrop is totally dreamy. 

  4. hey girl this would be fabulous!!

  5. I can swap out the milk for a non dairy version?

  6. Hi Erin, this looks so good – I want some right now!!  Hubbybwas just asking for a batch of oatmeal…we’ll give your a try!

  7. I love slow cooking steel cut oats! It’s the best way to eat them. Great recipe, dear!

  8. I love the taste of steel cut oats the best, but like you said, aint nobody got patience for them in the morning!  I love that I can wake up to the delicious smell of banana oatmeal and not have to actually make a mess in the kitchen!  This recipe is da bomb :)

  9. I’d definitely take you up on that chocolate and peanut butter addition! Something about that Elvis combo of banana, chocolate, and PB is just irresistible :)

  10. This looks fantabulous, my dear! I might not be able to enjoy it sadly on account of the bananas, but I do know the wee one and the husband would devour it for days!

  11. I completely agree with you on steel cut oats. While I love oatmeal. I find steel cut oats, with their nutty bite, far more enjoyable. Plus the slow cooker method rocks. I used to stand at the stove stirring adn sitrring. We enjoyed every bite, but the standing and stirring got old, and so did I. Then I discovered the oven-method – from Marion Cuinningham, I think. From there it was a short hop to the (as we used to call it) the crock pot. What a great method. I love your additions of flaxseed and spices. These sound wonderful. Eat your oats!

  12. I love having overnight oats for weekday breakfasts! The banana bread flavor sounds so good!

  13. Always looking for a great overnight oats recipe; the banana bread flavor sounds amazing; looking forward to making it :)

  14. I made this last night.  I was a little underwhelmed when I found that it had stuck to the pot and was pretty bland.  A little coconut oil would prevent the sticking and add richness.  I added some to my serving and it was great.  Also, I know many people like to sweeten their oatmeal after serving, but I have an 8 yr old who serves herself.  She is not allowed to add sugar, honey, maple syrup, candied ginger or banana chips on her own.  I learned my lesson long ago.  I added a little brown sugar (I only needed 2 Tablespoons for the whole pot) and she loved it.  We are taking this recipe to the slopes next weekend.  It’s perfect for bunch of skiers!

  15. I made this last night, too.  I have kids so I added a little brown sugar.  The flavor was very good, but the texture was pretty gloopy.  Much of the oatmeal ended up dark brown and stuck to the sides of the slow cooker.  I was hoping for a little more chew to the oats.  Just hard to adjust cook time when you’re sleeping :)

  16. I’d love to try this but wondering if there is something I could substitute for the ground flaxseed meal? Thanks! 

    • Hi Alisha! You can simply omit the flaxseed meal or swap it for another “super food” mix-in ingredient like hemp seeds or chia seeds. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  17. I made this last night with a couple of variations from previous posters. I added 1 tbsp of coconut oil and 2 tbsp of brown sugar. It turned out so good!! I’ve added a small amount of raisins, chocolate chips and sunflower butter as a topping and it’s just perfect! Thank you!!

    • Lindsay, I am so excited to hear this! Thanks for letting me know and sharing your tips for others making the recipe too.

      • You’re welcome! Had leftovers this morning and they heated up with a bit of milk perfectly. I used just raisins this time and it was just as tasty. Will definitely be making this one again! Thanks Erin!

  18. Sadly, I read this and realized you cannot use quick cook steel cut oats! If I do, would you have any suggestions as how to modify the recipe? 

    • April, if you want to use quick cooking, I would suggest cooking them on the stovetop according to the package instructions. You can always mix in the mashed banana and spices to create a similar effect. Unfortunately, quick cooking oats will turn to goo in the slow cooker. The other option would be to try reducing the cooking time significantly, but since I’ve never tried this recipe with quick cooking oats, I can’t give you an exact time.

  19. Thanks for the suggestion, that’s just what I did this morning and my son and I loved it! 

  20. Have you ever tried this w/ dried bananas? Bananas don’t last long in my house, but I do have a bag of bananas I dehydrated myself.

    • Anna, I haven’t so I can’t say for certain how that would turn out. The ripe bananas add both moisture and sweetness to the oatmeal, so the final result would definitely be different. The dried bananas won’t mix in with the oats the way ripe, mashed bananas do. I’d suggest starting with mashed bananas, then decide how you’d like to customize the oatmeal from there!

  21. I’m trying to work with some gluten free rolled oats I have (I see that it says not to substitute these). I’m new to the slow cooking game, cooking in general if I’m honest, so is there any particular reason for not using rolled? Is it just a texture thing, or will the taste be wrong? I really wanna try out this recipe

    • Hi Sarah! Rolled oats won’t work for this recipe because they have such a short cooking time, they’ll turn to total goo if left in the slow cooker overnight.  If you want to use rolled oats, I would suggest cooking them on the stovetop according to the package instructions. You can always mix in the mashed banana and spices to create a similar effect. Unfortunately, quick cooking oats will turn to goo in the slow cooker. The other option would be to try reducing the slow cooker time significantly, but since I’ve never tried this recipe this way, I can’t give you specifics. I hope you are able to find a way to make this recipe work for you!

  22. Do you think you could double or triple this recipe for a large group in a standard sized crockpot?

    • Hi Chelsea! I’ve never tried this recipe doubled or tripled—my guess is that you would be safe with doubled, but I’m not sure about tripled. Big batches of things can sometimes not cook the same way. If you need a really, really big batch, perhaps you could borrow a slow cooker from a friend and have two batches going at the same.

  23. This recipe essentially was my introduction to steel-cut oats, and I was looking for something–like you–that didn’t take forever and a day when I wanted something fast. I liked the efficiency it provided but might adjust upwards the “banana bread” components to get more of that flavor–especially the bananas. I really like the way it reheats–thank you for the tip on adding milk/water during the reheating to help loosen it up. 2 T (milk) added to one cup of the final product, then heated on high for 3 minutes (stir after two) seemed to be a good combination for me.

    Thank you!

  24. Just curious, what’s wrong with rolled oats?

    • Hi Rick! Please see the answer to Sarah’s question above—essentially, because rolled oats cook more quickly, they will turned to mush in the slow cooker. Steel cut is the way to go.

  25. Tried this last night for the first time and was disappointed with the texture… I’ve been eating steel cut oats for a while and didn’t expect them to turn so “mushy” in the slow cooker. The flavours were great, but the texture definitely was not. I followed the directions, using 4 cups of water and 2 cups of 1% milk. I had it on low for 8 hours. Would you have any suggestions to improve the texture? Less liquid? Doing the 4-hour version on high? I really like the flavour so I would like to make this work! Thanks

    • Hi Isabelle! This sounds like the oats overcooked. Every slow cooker is different, and yours might be extra powerful. I would try cooking it for less time that specified in the directions (for either low or high heat) and see how that goes. You could also skip the slow cooker entirely and make the oats on the stovetop with milk (use a little less liquid than the amount specified on the package since you’ll be adding mashed bananas), and the other recipe ingredients (mashed bananas, spices, vanilla, etc.). I hope it goes better for you the next time!

  26. I ate this again this morning and have everyone at work questioning me about what I’m eating and how can I eat it every single day? This banana recipe is wonderful, I don’t remember ever eating the same food every day before but each time I have my oats they still “taste great and no desire to eat something else”. You know your hooked when you pass up the donuts at work, and other junk food. I’ve also noticed I eat a great deal less during the day since I started eating this recipe for breakfast. I’m up at 5:30 every single day, eat my banana oats around 8 .I graze on it all morning at my desk at work, I eat nothing else..no coffee break snack, and most days I find its 3:00 and I’ve forgotten to eat my lunch. My clothes are fitting better, less muffin top. :)

    • Cynthia, I am so so happy that you love this recipe so much! I get the same way about oatmeal myself. It’s also wonderful to hear how filling this is and that’s it helped you make positive healthy changes. HOORAY! Thank you so much for letting me know and taking time to leave this kind review. It truly means a lot!

  27. I just made this last night, but instead of using my slow cooker, I used the stove-top method. I brought the water/milk to a gentle boil, added the oats and brought them to a rolling boil. Once at a rolling boil, I reduced to a simmer and added the spice mixture. After about 20 minutes, I added the mashed banana and vanilla. After 10 more minutes I pulled the pot off the stove and let the oats sit until they reached room temp so I could place in the fridge. I had a bowl this morning and it was perfection! I only added 1tsp of light brown sugar to my serving this morning. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe. The spices were just right and the bananas added perfect sweetness.

    • Ashley, I am so excited to hear that you enjoyed these flavors so much! Thanks for sharing your tips to cook the oats on the stovetop—I know it will be useful for many. Enjoy!

  28. I left the flax out because I didn’t have any and my oats are a soupy mess. I followed the recipe to the T and even let it cook on low for 8 and 1/2 hours. Should I have added more oats to compensate for the flax?

    • I’m so sorry this didn’t turn out for you! While some readers have had the oats turn mushy due to overcooking (every slow cooker is a little bit different, so as with all slow cooker recipes, it’s important to be familiar with how quickly yours finishes food), soupiness has not been an issue. I do think that omitting the flax was part of it—next time you can add extra oats. Also, are you sure you used traditional (not quick cooking) steel cut oats and not old fashioned or quick oats? This recipe is designed to work with steel cut oats only.

  29. Just made this and it was fantastic!! So happy with the results. Doesn’t even need brown sugar for me!! I wanted to eat the whole pot!

  30. Could you state what the serving size for the calories you posted above? 

  31. I made this last night and the only changes I made were adding 1 T. coconut oil and 2 T. brown sugar. And the only problem was that it smelled so good while it was cooking that it actually woke me up at 4am lol :) It was really good and super filling! I’ll be making this again for sure! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.

  32. Love steel cut oats but, like everyone else, I hate that they take so long to cook. Who has time for that in the madness that is most weekday mornings!?!?  Add the banana bread inspired flavors to cooking the steel cut oats overnight in the slow cooker and I’m in banana oatmeal heaven.  You are this week’s kitchen shortcut hero, Erin!  

    • Agree with you on the time it takes to make steel cut oats Cat! I hope this recipe does the trick for you.

      • I’ve been eating this oatmeal for breakfast all week!  It is so delicious and filling.  My favorite toppings have to be the peanut butter (homemade honey roasted PB) and chocolate chips with sliced bananas, though sliced banana and raw honey came in a close second.  Thanks for the reheating tip, that tablespoon of milk made all the difference.   Just put on a pot for next week.  I want to thank all the reviewers for the coconut oil and brown sugar suggestions.  With 2 T of each added in I didn’t have a problem with the oats sticking to the crock and the level of sweetness was just right considering all sweets I use for toppings :). Dessert for breakfast. Yum!

  33. im making this,tonight. I used coconut almond milk, do fingers crossed. I also used crock pot liner, so hopefully wont stick.

  34. I made this, it was wonderful! I would definitely recommend using a crock pot liner for easy cleaning up. No mess at all!

    Rating: 4.5
  35. I’m going to make this tomorrow morning for breakfast. I know from sad experience that nothing can redeem overnight steel cut oats from my slow cooker. It must be super hot.  I’ve figured out that If I soak the oats overnight, they take just a fraction of the time they normally require on the stove. I’m sure they won’t be quite the same as your overnight oats are but I’ll never know and ignorance will be bliss! 😋

    • Hi Kathrina, it’s true…slow cookers can vary so much. It’s a bummer you had to find out from experience. The soaking tip is awesome; thank you for sharing! I hope you enjoy!

    • I love this! It’s like eating dessert for breakfast. I think I would really like it with whipped cream on top! ;-) I made it on the stove after letting the oats soak in the liquid ingredients overnight. I added the mashed bananas and ground flaxseed just before cooking. It took about 20 minutes on the stove but that’s okay – gave me time to wrassle the kids, set the table, and find more milk!

      4.5 stars!

      Rating: 5
  36. Thank you for this recipe!!! I just made it last night and had some for breakfast today. The only things I didn’t add were the flax seeds or nutmeg since I didn’t have any on hand. I substituted extra cinnamon for the nutmeg and extra oats for the flax, sprayed the bottom of my crock pot with coconut oil and used unsweetened vanilla almond milk- cooked it on low for about 7 hours and it was perfect!!! I had no issues cleaning out my crockpot and the consistency was fine. I added a small dash of honey and a few walnuts to the top- I’m still full and look forward to eating it tomorrow and the rest of this week now. :)

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Jen! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! :) Thanks for sharing your steps and substitutions and toppings! It sounds like a delicious bowl. I really appreciate your taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

  37. This was AMAZING! SOOO yummy. I skipped the cinnamon and the nutmeg but added 1 heaped tbsp. of honey and 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips after stirring it well. One last stir for the chocolate chips then didn’t touch it again so the chips would stay somewhat formed.

    Serving it I put on a tiny bit of brown sugar, a handful of chocolate chips, toasted walnuts and thinly sliced bananas and it was incredible!

    I had it on for more than 8 hours though as I slept in but the texture was fine. It sat for about an extra hour just keeping warm.

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Sarah, thanks so much! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! The chocolate chips sound delicious. Thank you for leaving this awesome review!

      • Had it again today. Just as good too! I didn’t need the brown sugar. Just tossed on a few more Chipits milk chocolate chips, banana and those toasted walnuts, which I just fried up in the small fry pan till roasted. The walnuts not only added nutrition but some great flavour! Between those and the chocolate, it gave me my milk chocolate fix without a big hit of calories! Leaving out the nutmeg and cinnamon with these made this an entirely new taste experience. Let me know if you ever try it. Super tasty way to get chocolate in a modest way!

  38. This was my first time making steel cut oats, and I will definitely make this recipe again! It was a delicious way to use up ripe bananas and the steel cut oats a friend of mine gave me after she purchased them by mistake. Her loss, our gain! This makes mornings much easier too. I did it just like the recipe states. Very good…so good, in fact, that my two-year-old daughter requested more! Definitely a keeper!

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Beth! Welcome to the world of steel-cut oats! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe and that it’s now a keeper for your family. Thank you so much for leaving this wonderful review!

  39. Awesome, Kathrina! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipes! Thanks for taking the time to report back and let us know how everything went. :)

  40. Hi there! I tried this and it smelled so good cooking! However, in the morning, it was so soupy! It just seemed wrong and looked nothing like the photo. Is it really this much liquid to only 1.5 cups oats? Help!

    • Hello! Yes, the liquid amounts are correct. It sounds like an error with measuring or perhaps the type of oats used. It’s important that they are regular steel-cut oats (not old-fashioned oats or even quick-cooking steel cut).

  41. I made this today. It was so delicious, I couldn’t help but to eat a bowl before bed! I would recommend doubling the spices. I do love cinnamon though, so maybe its just me! I sprinkled my bowl with extra cinnamon, some honey, and coconut flakes! SO GOOD!

    Rating: 5
    • Honey and coconut flakes sound delicious! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Nora. Thanks so much for reporting back!

  42. Fabulous consistency! My crockpot runs a bit hot, but a little extra liquid solves that. Using your basic outline, I’ve switched it up to apple/cinnamon oatmeal as well. It’s fun to have a solid base to play around with. Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 5
    • I’m happy to hear you enjoy the recipe, Kerrie! Apple/cinnamon sounds delicious. Thank YOU for leaving this great feedback!

  43. Came back to say I once again made this oatmeal, but this time put Pure Whey protein powder in. Did not really change the consistency or taste! So anyone looking to up their protein content without boring shakes, this is a tasty way! I just add a splash of half and half when hearing it up, because the protein absorbs some of the liquid. 

    Rating: 5
  44. Let me just start by saying I HATE oatmeal! And I just made my second batch this morning, which means you know its good!! I’ve never enjoyed oatmeal but this recipe is delicious, filling, and great for when you just need to pop something in the microwave on a busy morning. I discovered Erin’s blog in January and have made many recipes and have yet to be disappointed! :) Thanks Erin!

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Olivia! I’m so happy you’re here, and I’m glad that you enjoy this oatmeal recipe! Thank you for taking the time to share and for the kind words about my recipes!

  45. Has anyone had a problem with the oats sticking or burning? I haven’t tried this recipe yet but another overnight recipe I tried burned and stuck no matter how often you stirred.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Susianne, a few other commenters mentioned that they added 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the recipe to prevent sticking. I didn’t have any problems with sticking in my batch, but everyone’s slow cooker is different!

  46. Made this….delicious!  Used coconut milk instead of regular (ran out!!) and added an extra banana since I LOVE bananas! Woke up in the morning to a wonderful breakfast.  

    Rating: 5
    • Alice, I’m so glad you enjoyed the oatmeal! Thanks for taking the time to report back and share your tweaks—I think coconut milk sounds delicious!

  47. Anyone know the 21day fix container count? This was really good and makes a lot!!

    • Hi Melissa, I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the 21 day fix, but perhaps someone else here knows! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe!

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