Crock Pot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal is as warm and cozy as apple pie — and an easy way to make a big batch of healthy breakfasts for the week. Just combine steel cut oats, fresh apples, cinnamon, water, almond milk, vanilla, and maple syrup, then kick back and let your slow cooker do the work.
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You’re going to love this
Warm and cozy. A comforting bowl of apple oatmeal with the cozy flavors of cinnamon and maple syrup will warm your belly and your soul on a chilly morning.
Healthy oatmeal. This oatmeal recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, and has no processed sugar. All you’ll find are wholesome ingredients you can feel good about feeding your family.
Steel-cut oats. The coarse cut of steel-cut oats are hearty and provide more texture and substance than rolled oats. Plus, they can stand up to the longer cooking time in a slow cooker.
Tastes like apple pie. Apples and cinnamon are the quintessential flavor combination we crave in the fall and cooler months. This recipe contains two cups of apples, two tablespoons of cinnamon, and two tablespoons of maple syrup to pack as much flavor as possible into the oatmeal.
Easy. Other than peeling and chopping apples, there’s really no prep involved. Just dump everything in, stir it together, turn on your crock pot, and walk away. Or go to bed.
Meal prep recipe. This recipe uses a really simple formula, so you can make bigger batches and a week’s worth of breakfasts ahead of time. Or scale it down, if you like.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Steel-cut oats. I really recommend using steel-cut oats (also called Irish oats or Scottish oats) for slow cooker oatmeal because they’ll hold their texture better than rolled oats (also called old fashioned oats). Instant oats or quick oats are not recommended because they will turn to mush in the slow cooker.
What's the difference between steel cut oats and rolled oats? Steel-cut oats are coarsely cut oat groats, whereas rolled oats are oat groats that have been flattened, so they cook more quickly than steel-cut oats.
Water and almond milk. For the cooking liquid, I used half water and half almond milk to provide some flavor and a little creaminess to the oatmeal, without relying on dairy. You can use cow’s milk or a combination of milk or cream in place of any or all of the almond milk and water. Note that if you cook your oatmeal in all milk, you may end up with a thicker result.
Apples. I chose Fuji apples because they hold their shape nicely when cooked. But you can also use Granny Smith, Winesap, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady.
Cinnamon. Cinnamon is the only spice I used in this apple oatmeal, but you can use apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, or replace a portion of the cinnamon with your favorite warm spices like ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, mace, cardamom, or even a little black pepper or cayenne!
Maple syrup. There isn’t much sweetener in this apple oatmeal for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I don’t like taking healthy, wholesome ingredients and then adding a bunch of sugar to them. Second, I want to reserve the right to add some sweet stuff to the oatmeal later through the toppings — and not overpower it by putting sweet on sweet. Because some mornings just require chocolate chips on oatmeal.
The Crockpot Oatmeal Formula
When I make slow cooker apple cinnamon oatmeal, I use a ratio of 1 cup oatmeal to 3 cups liquid. This is what the whole formula looks like:
Per cup of steel-cut oats, I add:
- 1 cup of peeled and chopped apple
- 3 cups of liquid (water + milk)
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- dash of salt
Using this ratio will result in apple oatmeal that is thick and creamy right out of the crock pot. So, if you like a thinner oatmeal, add more liquid.
As the oatmeal cools, it will become even thicker. So if you are prepping for the week ahead or freezing some of the cooked oatmeal, you may wish to add some water or almond milk to the oatmeal when you reheat it to get the consistency you like.
I typically double or triple this recipe so I have breakfasts prepped for the week or some extra to throw in the freezer. The recipe and instructions below are for a double-batch.
How to Make Crock Pot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Peel and chop 2-3 Fuji apples into 2 cups of 1-inch pieces.
Spray your slow cooker insert with cooking spray.
Add the oatmeal, apples, water, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and salt to your slow cooker. Stir until combined.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
Do not stir during cooking.
Serve your apple cinnamon oatmeal with your favorite toppings.
Store your oatmeal in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat oatmeal, add a little milk or water and reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop until it is fully warmed through.
The BEST Toppings for oatmeal
- Maple syrup or honey
- Almond milk, milk, or cream
- Fresh fruit
- Peanut or almond butter
- Brown sugar
- Dried fruit
- Toasted nuts or seeds
- Coconut flakes
- Chocolate chips
Crock Pot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
- 2 cups steel-cut oats
- 2 cups Fuji apple, chopped
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups almond milk
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- dash salt
- Peel and chop 2-3 Fuji apples into 2 cups of 1-inch pieces.
- Spray your slow cooker insert with cooking spray.
- Add the oatmeal, apples, water, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and maple syrup to your slow cooker. Stir until combined.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Do not stir during cooking.
- Serve your apple cinnamon oatmeal with your favorite toppings like maple syrup, almond milk or cream, peanut or almond butter, brown sugar, dried fruit, toasted nuts or seeds, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, fresh berries or fruit.
- Store your oatmeal in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat oatmeal, add a little milk or water and reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop until it is fully warmed through.
- Freeze oatmeal for up to six months. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave. Reheat with a little milk or water in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Yes! Freezing cooked oatmeal is a great way to have a healthy, hearty breakfast on hand at all times. Just portion your cooked oatmeal into freezer-safe containers and store them in your freezer for up to six months. Then thaw it in the refrigerator or microwave and reheat it in the microwave or stovetop with a little milk or water.
I use a ratio of 3 cups of liquid to 1 cup of steel-cut oats. This will create a thick and creamy oatmeal. If you prefer your oatmeal thinner, you can add more liquid during cooking or stir it in afterward.
Steel-cut oats are hearty enough to stand up to the long cooking time in a slow cooker. Old fashioned oats or instant (quick) oats are not recommended because they will turn to mush.
I like to use a 50/50 split of almond milk and water. Too much water is just too bland, and all milk could create a gluey consistency.
This is a pretty no-frills slow cooker with the basic High, Low, and Warm temperature settings. I like the locks on the lid so when I bring it to a potluck or holiday meal, I don't have to worry about spills.
Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats
I like to buy this in large quantities so it's more affordable. The small bags are shockingly expensive -- I think. So this is what we get.