It’s become an embarrassing pattern of mine to make a resolution every year to be better about eating breakfast. Each time, I start on the path towards healthy eating. However, as life becomes fuller and mornings more hectic, I find that eating a good breakfast often gets pushed to the side.
This year, I discovered how invaluable my slow cooker was in creating a beautiful, hot breakfast for my entire family that I could serve in the morning and enjoy for mornings to come. I could also serve it as a midday pick-me-up or as a healthy late- night snack. The discovery might seem a bit old-fashioned, but a batch of oatmeal is a great way to start the day. This isn’t just any old oatmeal though—this oatmeal is made from delicious steel cut oats.
What’s the difference between rolled oats and steel cut oats? Well, a part of it is their structure and the other part is the way that our body digests them. While both contain whole grain oats, they are processed differently. Rolled oats are steamed, rolled, steamed again and toasted, ending up as thin flakes. Steel cut oats are made from oat kernels that have been chopped into thick pieces.
The reason steel cut oats are so awesome is because they digest more slowly than rolled ones, leaving you fuller longer. Like all other grains in whole or cracked form, steel cut oats rank lower on the glycemic index than rolled oats. This just means that it takes longer for digestive enzymes to reach the starch inside the thicker pieces, slowing down its conversion to sugar. For me, those highs and lows are some rough stuff, and I’ve found that a bowl of steel cut oats keeps my blood sugar much steadier.
I make a variety of different oatmeal recipes in my slow cooker and have found one thing to be consistent no matter what kind I make. Can I let you in on my little secret? I absolutely hate cleaning the slow cooker after making oatmeal. I also hate that the oats can get crusty pretty quickly on the edges, yielding a less than creamy bowl even when I have the perfect liquid ratios.
Let me share my secret that yields the most perfect and creamy bowl you can imagine and it is probably something you already have in your kitchen:
1. Find an oven-safe dish that fits inside of your slow cooker and fill that dish with all of your ingredients for your oatmeal.
2. Fill a measuring cup with water and pour the water around your dish, just to about the halfway point. This creates a warm water bath (a lot like those candles we made this summer) and helps your oatmeal to cook more evenly yet remain delightfully creamy.
3. Put a lid on the slow cooker (no need to double lid) and set it to cook for eight hours. It’s okay if your slow cooker switches to “warm” in the night. Thanks to your water bath, your oats will not get overcooked, but stay hot until you wake up!
Once you have that perfect bowl of oatmeal, you can add your favorite toppings to it or create a quick toppings bar of ingredients for the week. For this Creamy Coconut Oatmeal recipe, I found the taste of rich blackberries and toasty almonds to be a delightful way to top it!
Slow Cooker Creamy Coconut Oatmeal (& Tips for Perfect Slow-Cooked Oats)
Recipe type: Breakfast
- 2 cups steel cut oatmeal (no substitutions)
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar (can omit if topping with brown sugar)
- 1 pinch of salt
- Place all ingredients in your Kenmore slow cooker as I have shown you above.
- Cook on low for eight hours.
- Serve with your favorite oatmeal toppings like berries, dried fruits, nuts, granola, nut butters, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, or additional milk for topping.
I can’t wait to hear what you think about this technique for perfectly cooked oatmeal and hope you can get the year started out right with this easy breakfast option!