Close view of a bowl of slow cooker breakfast oats garnished with butter, maple syrup, dried fruit, and nuts.

Aside from prepping the ingredients for the slow cooker, this slow cooker steel-cut oats with apples and dates recipe is mostly hands-off. The slow cooker gives you a meal prep hot breakfast any day of the week!

A hearty bowl of steel-cut oatmeal will keep you full and satisfied. This crockpot oatmeal recipe includes soaking the steel-cut oats for at least 12 hours, so the oats are easier to digest. It’s a great option for those who want to add more whole grains into their day.

A spoon tucks into a bowl of crockpot oatmeal topped with dried fruit and nuts. A small bowl of berries sits nearby.

What ingredients do I need for slow cooker steel-cut oats with apples and dates?

We are going for a cozy flavor full of warming spice and a little sweetness. You’ll need:

  • Steel-cut oats
  • Water
  • Tart apple
  • Medjool dates
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt

Optional, for topping: 

  • Chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds
  • Raisins 
  • Maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar
  • Butter

What are steel-cut oats?

Steel-cut oats are oat seeds that are less processed than rolled oats (rolled oats are often called “old-fashioned” oats). When cooked, they have a pleasantly chewy texture. You may be able to find them in the bulk bin section of the grocery store, or look for a canister of steel-cut oats near the other types of oatmeal in your grocery store.

A bowl of steel cut oatmeal topped with fruit, nuts, butter, and maple syrup sits beside a small bowl of fresh berries.

Can I use rolled oats or quick oats instead of steel cut?

Rolled oats and quick oats are more processed, so they cook much quicker than steel-cut oats.

Since we’re using the slow cooker and heating the oats overnight, other oats will get mushy. You’ll want to use steel-cut oats only. Plus, they have more fiber and make this oatmeal deliciously hearty!

How do I make slow cooker steel-cut oats with fruit?

This recipe needs just a few steps of prep and is mostly hands-off! You’ll love how easy it is.

  1. Using the basin of a crock pot, soak steel-cut oats in water for 12 hours. 
  2. Drain oats and dump excess water.
  3. Add oats back and top with cooking water and other ingredients. Cook for 8-10 hours.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite oatmeal toppings!

Protip: Make clean-up easy!

No need to dirty an extra dish—use the slow cooker basin (room temp and turned off) to soak the oats before cooking.

Overhead of a single serving of slow cooker steel cut oats in a bowl drizzled with maple syrup and topped with chopped walnuts and dried fruit.

If I need to soak the oats before cooking them, how do I time this recipe?

We recommend soaking the oats all day and then cooking them overnight. This way you can enjoy a hot, filling breakfast as soon as you wake up!

What can I serve alongside apple cinnamon overnight steel-cut oats?

For an everyday, delicious breakfast, we would serve these oats with a smoothie like Mixed Berry Smoothie Without Banana or a refreshing glass of homemade cold brew.

If you’re setting up a big Sunday brunch, you could add some of our favorite special breakfast dishes: Dill Pickle Deviled Eggs RecipeBell Pepper Eggs, or Instant Pot Coconut Yogurt.

How do I store leftovers from slow cooker steel-cut oats?

In a well-sealed container, these oats will last in the fridge for a little less than a week, or in the freezer for a few months.

To reheat— stir a tablespoon or two of milk or water into the oatmeal and heat up in the microwave for a minute or in a pan on the stovetop for a few minutes.

Looking for more easy oatmeal recipes? We’ve got you!

Close view of a bowl of slow cooker breakfast oats garnished with butter, maple syrup, dried fruit, and nuts.

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats with Apples and Dates

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 22 hours

You’ll love this Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats with Apples and Dates for a filling breakfast that you can prepare the night before. Make your mornings easier and tastier!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • 1 large tart apple, cored and diced (like Granny Smith)
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Optional toppings (chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, butter, or your favorite oatmeal toppings)

Instructions

  1. In the basin of a slow cooker, combine the steel cut oats and 4 cups of water. Close the lid and let the oats soak at room temperature for at least 12 hours.
  2. When soaking time is up, drain the oats, discard the soaking water, and return the oats to the slow cooker. Add in the remaining 3 cups water, plus all the remaining ingredients (except your toppings). Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  3. Serve topped with your favorite oatmeal toppings.

Notes

  • To time this right, we recommend starting to soak your oatmeal in the morning, then putting it to cook overnight—that way you'll wake up the next morning to a hot breakfast. Your house will smell amazing!
  • This recipe won't work with "regular" old-fashioned oats or quick cook oats. You're looking for steel cut oats—which should be sold in a can next to all the other oatmeal in your grocery store. These are a less-processed form of the oat seed, and result in a pleasantly chewy oatmeal!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 74mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 8gSugar: 39gProtein: 7g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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7 Comments

  1. The secret to cooking steel cut oats is to let them soak in water for 24 hours before you cook them that way you only have to cook them for only about 15-20 minutes every one should do that

  2. I’ve made these oats several times and they’re delicious every time. I usually double the recipe to have enough for my husband and I to eat for breakfast through the week. I use my rice cooker to make them, but it only has one setting for whole grains and doesn’t turn off automatically. I usually cook for 25 minutes, stir and cook another 20 if it is only one batch- if more than one, it may take an additional 15-20 minutes. I’ve also substituted the dates for raisins, dried cranberries, etc. This has become a go to favorite in our house!

  3. I made a batch of these oats yesterday for breakfasts during the week. This was my first time trying Medjool dates, and I loved them in this dish! I made mine on the stove-top and added milk and chopped walnuts to serve. It was nice and quick to reheat this morning. I plan to make this again!

  4. just pinned this to try soon…I’m always a little intimidated to cook steel cut oats, but this sounds so easy. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I’ve been ready for spring since the clocks went back in September! So far it’s been unseasonally warm but it started to get colder this weekend and it’s been sunnier which helps, although true to form, it’s still raining! I’m not keen on oatmeal and we call it porridge which makes it even less appealing but maybe I should try the steel cut oats and see if they convert me?

  6. I am a slow cooker steel cut oats kind of girl because I don’t have a rice cooker. However, I use one of the little ones that don’t have different settings, like you would use to serve queso. I just put in one cup of steel cut oats and three cups of water and plug it in. It takes about 2 hours for the oats to cook…when all of the water is almost absorbed, I add whatever fun ingredients I have on hand and cook it the rest of the way.

    I just bought dates for the first time, so now I am going to have try this recipe! As soon as I get sick of my bagel-a-day habit, I will be moving on to some oatmeal breakfasts.