Slow Cooker Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats (Water Bath version)

You all know I loves me some pumpkin oats.  I especially love steel cut oats, but remembering to soak them the night before is kind of a pain.  I have been obsessed with the slow cooker lately, but have not been as happy with how overnight oats come out.   They can get burned on the edges and really don’t need to cook overnight. However, I am not willing to get up at 3 am to start the oats for breakfast, know what I mean?

There are 2 brilliant solutions to this, which I wish I had come up with, but I didn’t.  One is to use a programmable light timer to have the oats start cooking at a set time.  I need to get a light timer to try this some time.

The other is the water bath method.  This allows you to turn the cooker on when you go to bed and the water bath slowly cooks the food without burning it.  I have made 2 different kind of steel cut oats this way and love it!

What you need is a smaller baking dish that fits inside your slow cooker.  Ours happen to be souffle dishes, but whatever works for you.  Place a shallow heat proof plate (or a tinfoil snake) underneath the bowl so that it isn’t sitting directly on the bottom of the slow cooker.  You want to fill the crockpot with water to about halfway up the side of the inner dish.  Not to the top or it will bubble over into your food (not good).  This will gently cook the oats and not burn them, making cleanup much easier.  The oats come out with a more pudding texture, too.

My version of the pumpkin oats for 4 servings:

  • 1 cup of steel cut oats (not the rolled oats)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (you could just do water, I wanted a bit of creaminess)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin
  • 40 grams of dried cranberries
  • pinch of salt

Spray the smaller cooking dish with cooking spray.

Mix the oats, cranberries, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl.



Then mix in the almond milk, water and pumpkin.  Place the smaller cooking vessel into the crockpot and fill with water to come halfway up the side of the smaller dish.  Then pour in the oat mixture.

water level


Put the lid on,  turn the heat to low and kiss it goodnight.



This cooked for about 8 hours by the time I got up on New Year’s Eve and came downstairs.

It will not look like much when you open the lid.


Not really appetizing, eh? LOL.  Oats just don’t photograph well.  Anyway, give this a good stir and it will look much, much better.

I topped mine with a tablespoon of real maple syrup.  This recipe is unsweetened, so add what you like.

pumpkin oats

They are wonderfully creamy soft this way.

This recipe makes 4 servings (1-1/4 cup each approximately).  To reheat, just add a little water and heat in the microwave or on the stove top.

Nutritional info per serving:

213 calories,  3 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbs, 7.5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein.

** If you want to sweeten during cooking, try adding 1/4 cup of sweetener of choice to the mixture.  I would avoid cooking with artificial sweeteners because I believe they will break down with the long cooking time, but I don’t know for sure.  I like doing it unsweetened because then I can top with whatever I want, like maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, etc.

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16 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats (Water Bath version)

    1. Lori Post author

      I am loving the water bath method. It is so much easier to clean up and the oats don’t get baked on the dish.

  1. debby

    Your tutorials are so good with all the pics you take!

    The stats are good on this recipe. I honestly don’t mind the 30 minutes it takes to cook steel cut oats in the morning, so I’ll probably just do it that way! I’ve got a can of pumpkin I need to finish off!

    1. Lori Post author

      I like the slow cooker because I can do multiple servings and then they are ready right when I get up and and ready to gnaw an arm off 😀

      John liked them as well, so I actually made breakfast for both of us, which is pretty rare.

      The only thing I miss is the usual egg whites cooked in them, but when I reheated the leftovers, I added the egg whites.

  2. Sharon

    Looks delicious. You can’t buy them in my little town here in Australia, but I might see if I can get some in the City next time and give this a try. It sure looks yummy. Love oats anyway. Do they taste a lot different to the regular oatmeal that is eaten at breakfast?
    Sharon´s last blog post ..A Lesson From Mangos

  3. Ali @ Peaches and Football

    I’ve seen the water bath idea used and it’s so clever! We don’t have a round crock pot – it’s a weird oval shape – and I need to find some smaller (yet large enough) container to cook the oats in. I love having them ready to go in the morning but don’t have time and hate cold oats! 🙂
    Ali @ Peaches and Football´s last blog post ..It’s 2012… err 13

  4. Chris

    I have tried these and really liked them (with plain steel cut oats). Maybe you could make your pumpkin oats with this method?

  5. Lesley

    I was too lazy to drag out my slow cooker so made them in a pot on the stove. Before I went to bed, I put everything in the pot, cooked it for 10 minutes (gas stove, so instant on and off), gave it a quick stir, and then put the lid back on and let it sit overnight on the stove. It was perfect the next morning; yummy, creamy, and not stuck to the pot.

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