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Most people are obsessed with their air fryers and instant pots right now. Me though? I am, and always have been, obsessed with my slow cooker. My theory is that if you are going to own a kitchen appliance, make it work for you! However, the only way you can make your kitchen equipment work for you, is to find a variety of recipes to cook in that kitchen appliance – like Slow Cooker Vegan Steel Cut Oats!

In order to find a variety of slow cooker recipes that you love, you need to think beyond dinner recipes. This is why I am bringing you a delicious, warm and comforting breakfast recipe to prepare in your slow cooker before you go to bed at night. I guarantee you will wake up in the morning and briefly think someone snuck into your house in the middle of the night and baked apple cinnamon muffins in your kitchen. That is how good your house will smell immediately upon waking! My recipe for Slow Cooker Vegan Steel Cut Oats only calls for 7 ingredients, preps in 5 minutes (or less!) and is packed with flavor.

Why do I cook steel cut oats in the slow cooker?

I cook steel cut oats in the slow cooker because steel cut oats take much longer to cook than regular rolled oats or quick-cooking oats. Of course, they don’t take 8 hours to prepare when cooked on the stove top, more like 30-45 minutes on the stove. Even on the weekends though, who has 45 minutes to prepare breakfast??? I might technically have the time, but I don’t want to spend that kind of time making breakfast in the morning. Instead, let your slow cooker do the work for you while your sleeping! That way you can sit and enjoy your coffee instead of making breakfast for your family.

What are steel cut oats?

Steel cut oats are oat groats that have been cut into 2-3 smaller pieces. Steel cut oats, sometimes referred to as Irish oats, have a chewy, dense texture. Thanks to their high fiber content, they are very filling and satisfying. The main difference between steel cut oats and rolled oats, is that rolled oats are oat groats that have been steamed and flattened. As a result, rolled oats require less cook time.

Ingredients Needed for Slow Cooker Vegan Steel Cut Oats with Apples & Cinnamon:

  • Steel cut oats – I prefer to use Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats but you can use any brand that you prefer.
  • Water
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk – I strongly suggest using unsweetened vanilla milk. We will be adding maple syrup and you can top your oatmeal with brown sugar after it has finished cooking.
  • Maple syrup – I hope I don’t have to tell you to only use pure maple syrup…
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Apples
  • Optional toppings: walnuts & brown sugar
Main ingredients for the recipe - steel cut oats, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon.
Main ingredients

How to prepare:

Step 1:

The very first thing you need to do is spray the inside of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray! This is a must! If you skip this step, prepare to have a half inch of oatmeal stuck to the sides of your slow cooker in the morning.

Inside of the slow cooker sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Inside of a slow cooker sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Step 2:

Add all of your liquid ingredients to the slow cooker first – the water, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Next add your dry ingredients – the steel cut oats, ground cinnamon and apples.

All ingredients added to the slow cooker except for the toppings.
All ingredients added to the slow cooker.

Step 3:

Cover your slow cooker and cook on low for 7.5 hours. If your slow cooker does not have an automatic timer, then you will have to make sure you start your slow cooker 7.5 hours before your will be waking up the next morning.

Vegan steel cut oats after they have finished cooking.
Slow cooker vegan steel cut oats after they have finished cooking.

Step 4:

After your vegan steel cut oats have finished cooking, give the oats a good stir to combine the mixture. Serve topped with brown sugar and walnuts.

Close up photo of apple cinnamon steel cut oats topped with apples and walnuts.
Apple cinnamon steel cut oats topped with apple slices and walnuts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cook my slow cooker steel cut oats on high?

Yes! I have cooked this recipe on both low and high. If you would like to cook them on high, cook them for 3.5 hours.

Can I freeze slow cooker steel cut oats?

Yes. I recommend freezing the oats in individual servings. You can thaw the oats slowly in the refrigerator or cook them from frozen in the microwave.

Are steel cut oats the same as rolled oats or quick cooking oats?

Yes and no. Steel cut oats and rolled oats both come from oat groats. However, steel cut oats are not processed any further. They are simply chopped up with a steel blade, hence the name STEEL CUT oats. In comparison, rolled oats are steamed and flattened which reduces their cooking time.

What are steel cut oats good for?

Steel cut oats are high in fiber. Fiber increases our feeling of fullness and promotes digestive regularity. Steel cut oats are a low-glycemic index food which supports healthy blood sugar levels. Steel cut oats contain B-vitamins and iron, both of which support energy levels.

What can I make with steel cut oats besides oatmeal?

While I have never made anything besides oatmeal with steel cut oats, you can find many recipes for pancakes, muffins and breads that contain steel cut oats.

Is this recipe gluten free?

You can make this recipe gluten free by choosing to use steel cut oats that are specifically labeled as gluten free.

Try out some of my other popular breakfast recipes!

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Close up image of slow cooker oats topped with apple slices and walnuts.

Slow Cooker Vegan Steel Cut Oats with Apples & Cinnamon

  • Author: Katie
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7.5 hours
  • Total Time: 31 minute
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Make yourself a batch of these ultra creamy, slow cooker steel cut oats.  Breakfast will cook all night while you sleep and you will wake up to a warm, freshly-cooked meal and a kitchen that smells like fresh baked apple cinnamon muffins. 


  • 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • Cooking spray
  • Optional – walnuts, brown sugar 


  1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Add all of your wet ingredients to the slow cooker first.  This includes the water, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  
  3. Next add the steel cut oats, ground cinnamon and the chopped apple.
  4. Put the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 7.5 hours or high for 3.5 hours. 
  5. At the end of cook time, give the oatmeal a good stir.  Top with walnuts and brown sugar.  Enjoy!


  • Don’t forget the non-stick cooking spray!  This is an absolute must. 
  • If you want to make this recipe gluten free, just make sure you are using certified gluten free steel cut oats.
  • If you don’t care about this recipe being vegan, I suggest serving your steel cut oats with a splash of heavy cream or half & half.
  • This recipe will freeze well.  I suggest freezing in individual portions and thawing in the microwave when you are ready to eat it. 
  • Category: breakfast
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegan steel cut oats, slow cooker steel cut oats, apple cinnamon steel cut oats, overnight oats