After taking a break for a few months to find ourselves and evaluate our relationship, I’m pleased to report that, thanks to this easy recipe for Pumpkin Overnight Oats, oatmeal and I are going steady again.
Simple, healthy, and endlessly versatile, steel cut oats will forever be one of my favorite breakfasts. Although I take a breather from oatmeal in the summer when our house reaches rain forest levels of humidity, during the crisp fall and winter months, I crave the way it warms me to my core.
As the temperature drops and the sun rises later, having a cozy breakfast to look forward to helps me climb out of bed in the morning, when our house is chilly and dark.
Not only do these Pumpkin Overnight Oats motivate me to kick off the covers, they fill our entire house with a warm, cinnamon-y smell that’s so tantalizing, I practically leap out of bed to serve myself a bowl as soon as I wake up.
Why I Love Steel Cut Oats
If you have never tried steel cut oats or, even worse, if your life oatmeal experience has been limited to those microwavable instant oatmeal packets, you are about to experience a breakfast renaissance.
Unlike their pulverized instant oatmeal cousins, the grains in steel cut oats are left more whole, allowing them to retain their flavor and texture. Forget the mushy, mucky oatmeal you’ve eaten in the past. Steel cut oats are delightfully nutty, chewy, and, because they are less processed, they are more filling than instant oatmeal too.
The one (dare I say only?) downside to steel cut oatmeal is that it takes longer to cook. Not pot-roast long or boeuf-bourguignon long, but longer than I’m willing to spend making breakfast on a weekday morning: 30 minutes.
My solution: cook the steel cut oats in a crock pot while I sleep! Just dump the ingredients into the slow cooker before bed, cover, and then in the morning, breakfast is ready to serve. (Or try these Overnight Steel Cut Oats in the refrigerator!)
I first discovered the beauty of slow cooker overnight steel cut oats earlier this year when I made these Slow Cooker Overnight Steel Cut Oats. They’ve been one of the most popular recipes on my site since, so I thought October called for a fall version. Hello, Pumpkin Overnight Oats!
If you need your oatmeal ready in a hurry, try these Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats with a touch of pumpkin.
These Pumpkin Overnight Oats are positively PACKED with pumpkin flavor. The recipe calls for a whole can of pumpkin puree, along with a heap of warm spices that will make your house smell heavenly when you wake. (If you only have part of a can of pumpkin to spare, try this Pumpkin Oatmeal or one of my other healthy pumpkin recipes.)
These Pumpkin Overnight Oats are naturally sweetened with a touch of maple syrup and are easy personalize. Drizzle a little extra maple syrup over the top if you please. Pile on the toasted pecans (my favorite), or add a handful dried cranberries, chia seeds, or chocolate chips.
This recipes yields a generous amount of Pumpkin Overnight Oats (about 6 servings), but they reheat beautifully. Make one batch and have healthy breakfasts on hand all week, eat half now and freeze half for later, or the next time you have house guests, treat them to a crock pot full of Pumpkin Overnight Oats…and yourself to easy clean up.
How to Store and Reheat These Oats
- To Store. Overnight steel cut oats can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
- To Reheat. 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 before reheating.
- To Freeze. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Recommended Tools for Making This Recipe
- 6 quart programmable slow cooker (see recipe notes if your slow cooker is not programmable)
Pumpkin Overnight Oats
- 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats do not substitute quick cooking, instant, or rolled oats, gluten free if needed
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups milk any kind you like (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
- 1 can pumpkin puree (15 ounces)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup plus additional for topping*
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal or swap an equal amount of chia seeds, hemp seeds, or 3 tablespoons additional steel cut oats
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg it's an amazing flavor upgrade to grate your own whole nutmeg. I use this zester to do it.
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- For serving: chopped toasted pecans dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, chocolate chips, peanut butter, or any other mix-ins you enjoy with pumpkin
- Place all of the ingredients, except for the toppings, in the bottom of a 4-to-6-quart slow cooker and stir to combine: Steel cut oats, water, milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, flaxseed meal, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
- Cover and cook on low for 7 hours (overnight) or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the oats are soft but maintain a bit of chew. Remove cover and stir to evenly combine the ingredients, scraping the oats off the bottom and away from the sides. Enjoy warm with desired toppings.
- This recipe as written is not ultra sweet, but can easily be adjusted. I recommend trying it with the 1/4 cup pure maple syrup only, then adding additional to individual servings as you like.
- Know thy slow cooker! Every crock pot is a little different, so you may need to adjust your cooking time, depending upon how quickly yours tends to finish recipes. I also recommend using a programmable slow cooker like this one, so that if you don't check it right away, the oatmeal doesn't burn.
- If cooking overnight, another option to make sure the edges of the oatmeal do not burn (readers with very powerful slow cookers might have this problem), you can prepare the oatmeal inside a large, heatproof casserole dish that fits inside your slow cooker. Place the dish inside the slow cooker, then pour water around the dish half way up the sides to create a water bath. I haven't tried the recipe this way, but know it has been successful for others who have used it to make my Slow Cooker Banana Bread Overnight Steel Cut Oats.
- 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 before reheating.
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