What I like most about making oatmeal in my slow cooker is that I can change it up all I want- apples, blueberries, pears, strawberries, cranberries, bananas. You name it and I've added it to oatmeal at one time or another. (Okay, don't be gross.) When I can easily adapt a wholesome, filling food like slow cooker oatmeal, it's going to appear on my menu. We most often have this for breakfast nowadays, but I'll break it out for supper during the winter months. Added bonus: the whole house smells like yummy-ness while this slowly cooks on the counter top.
My favorite fruit additions are pears and blueberries; Mr. OFM likes apples the best; the Teenager likes plain old oatmeal (weirdness); and the two Littles like bananas.
Sometimes, I do a variation of this with canned pumpkin and evaporated milk. I know. I just blew your mind, right?
Ingredients for the best oatmeal in the history of ever
5 to 6 cups of whatever fruit you're using (peel and cut into bite size pieces if necessary)
3 cups milk (I use whole.)
3 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups uncooked steel cut oats
1/4 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
You may want to add raisins, walnuts, more brown sugar, maple syrup, or white table sugar just before serving. Whatever suits your tastes.
* You can easily half this recipe if you don't want to make as much. I have a family of five and we eat half of this at one sitting. The rest is either eaten during the week or frozen. This freezes so well!
A word about steel cut oats
So, what are steel cut oats anyway? Steel cut oats are whole grain groats (the inside of the oat) that are cut into a couple pieces by steel instead of rolled like the oats you most likely have always eaten. (Thank you, Wikipedia.) They have a really cool texture, are slightly nutty tasting, and pretty dang chewy. They kinda look like little pieces of rice. Steel cut oats take longer to cook than rolled oats, but if they're good enough for the Irish, they're good enough for me.
How to make the best oatmeal in the history of ever
Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker. Give everything a stir. Cover and place on low setting. Cook for 8 hours. If you half the recipe, reduce cooking time to 6 to 7 hours.
Add whatever toppings you like or eat like it is.
That's it. That's all you do.
If you freeze this, do so in single portions. You can just pop them in the microwave for a minute or so with a little milk.