Slow Cooker Gingerbread Steel Cut Oats (with easy day before method)
Yield: 4 servings
This method of cooking is virtually clean-up free and ensures perfectly cooked oats that are ready when you are. After the designated cooking time, simply cover the container in which you cooked the oats and refrigerate. The oats will still be a little soupy, but by morning they will be perfect.


  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups milk (regular, almond, soy or coconut; see notes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (1/8 for less spice; see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (1/8 for less spice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • Optional toppings: additional maple syrup or brown sugar, to taste; chopped nuts; bananas, raisins, a drizzle of milk (even eggnog for a holiday spin), etc.


  1. Place milk, water, oats and the remaining ingredients (except the optional toppings) in a 2-quart casserole that fits in your slow cooker.
  2. Fill your slow cooker with a couple inches of water and place the casserole on a rack in the slow cooker. (You may also place the casserole on a ring made out of aluminum foil. You don’t want the dish to be sitting on the bottom of the cooker.)
  3. Cook on low for 3 hours. Cool slightly, and then remove the dish from the cooker, cover and refrigerate until ready for breakfast. You may also portion into individual bowls.
  4. In the morning, reheat gently in the microwave and top as desired.


While you may use all water for this recipe, I like the added flavor, creaminess, and nutrients provided by the milk. I have even used all milk as well as a variety of plant-based milks like almond and coconut. Milk with some fat will enhance the creaminess. Use what appeals to you.

If using very old spices, they may become bitter and spices like cloves and allspice can overshadow other flavors. When in doubt, go light. You can always add more (or purchase fresh) for the next time.

If you are cooking this for one person to eat over a few days, you may portion into four separate bowls and cover for super-speedy breakfasts.

If you prefer to cook this overnight, cook on low for six hours and no more than eight hours. If your slow cooker has a warm option, you can cook the oatmeal for 3-4 hours on low, letting it switch over to warm at that point. The oats will continue to cook, albeit a bit more slowly, when the cooker is on the warm setting. Note that the longer cook time will result in less “toothsome” oats.

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