A Healthy and Easy Breakfast Even at 5:30 A.M.


Post by community member:

This fall my work schedule changed and I now am blessed with the exercise of getting myself out of bed at 5:30 am several days a week. I know many of us can relate and are probably thinking, “5:30? That’s sleeping in for me!”

How do I survive the early hour and make sure I’m ready to face the day? With my crock pot, a timer, and some oatmeal.

How to make Crock Pot Oats: Printable

This serves two. I start with a heaping 1/2 cup of steal cut oats. This goes into my 1 1/2 quart slow cooker.


To that, I add 1 whole fruit or about 4 oz frozen fruit. I usually get 3 servings out of the regular sized frozen bags. We had mixed berries this day.


Next you can add your extras. How about mixed berry hazelnut spread flavored breakfast? I’ve got about 1 1/2 tablespoons of hazelnut spread here. It gets all over the sides of the crock pot and that’s okay. If you use a spoon instead of a knife it will be much harder to get into the crock pot.


Next, I add 2 tablespoons of sugar. If you don’t want the sugar you don’t have to add it. But I will judge you for it. Also, I’ve lost more weight since I started eating this for breakfast than I have my entire life. (Christmas weight doesn’t count).


The last ingredient is the water. 2 cups and a shot, as I tell my husband, or 2 cups and 2 tablespoons if you insist on reassuring. Give it a stir. The spread will not stir in and that’s okay.


When we started this we bought one of those plug in timers like what you use for Christmas lights. You set it to start 3 1/2 hours before you wake up and to shut off a half hour before you wake up, so the full cook time is 3 hours on high. You want it to set for about 30 minutes, and the crock pot will keep it very warm. After we bought our timer, I read online a lot of recipes where you turn it on low when you go to bed and it cooks all night. I haven’t tried this way yet.

The first thing I do in the morning is take the lid off of the crock pot and give it a stir. If there’s any extra moisture in the oats, it will evaporate in the time you spend getting dressed. This also lets it cool down so you can eat it when it’s time to eat instead of burning your mouth.

Here are several combinations we’ve tried. You should play around and find out what you enjoy.

  • Apple Cinnamon:
  • heaping 1/2 cup of steal cut oats, 1 apple (we use honey crips) minced, 1 tablespoon molasses (or used 2 tablespoons of brown sugar instead of white), 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 cups and a shot of water.

  • Raisins & Cinnamon:
  • heaping 1/2 cup of steal cut oats, 1/4 cup raisins, 1 tablespoon molasses (see above if you don’t have), 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 1/4 cups water. You need the extra water if you’re using dried fruit like raisins because they will absorb the water.

  • Banana Chocolate Chip:
  • heaping 1/2 cup of steal cut oats, 1 banana sliced, 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 cups and a shot of water. My favorite!

  • Strawberry:
  • heaping 1/2 cup of steal cut oats, 4 ounces frozen strawberries (you can leave these whole, they will break down as they cook), 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 cups and a shot of water.

  • Mixed Berry Hazelnut:
  • heaping 1/2 cup of steal cut oats, 4 ounces frozen mixed berries, 1 1/2 tablespoons of hazelnut spread, 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 cups and a shot of water.

  • Strawberry Banana:
  • heaping 1/2 cup of steal cut oats, 1 banana sliced, 5 frozen strawberries left whole, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 cups and a shot of water.

  • Blueberry:
  • heaping 1/2 cup steal cut oats, 4 oz frozen blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 cups and a shot of water. This one is also a favorite, but not very frugal in the winter months.

  • Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, or 1 1/2 tablespoons hazelnut spread to whatever fruit you want to make it your own.

LisaAJB blogs at You Probably Shouldn’t Read this .

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  1. czecher says:

    I’ve made steel cut oats in the slow cooker as well, but I’ve just plugged it in before I go to bed and let them cook all night. They didn’t seem to suffer from the extra time in the slow cooker. I love them. Thanks for the recipes!

  2. Ulrike says:

    I started out doing mine on low over night, but I like using the timer better. I still use the low setting, but oats don’t really need to cook for 8 hours, and it’s nice when they have a chance to cool a bit before I start serving it up.

    If you want to use another brand, the key is to use 50% more liquid than the package calls for. I use Bob’s Red Mill Scottish Oats or Thick Rolled Oats most of the time. I love adding Vanilla Almond Milk for some of the water, as it adds sweetness and the vanilla permeates the whole batch.

    Kefir or Yogurt also make great additions.

  3. LisaAJB says:

    This isn’t actually Quaker oats, it’s Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats. I kept the Quaker container because it’s easier to scoop out than the Bob’s bag. I bought a case of the oats online and whenever I open a new bag I dump it into the old container.

  4. stacylee says:

    This is my favorite breakfast- next to bacon, toast, hashbrowns and eggs that someone made FOR ME! We leave it on all night and love the cinnamon and apples.

  5. LisaAJB says:

    Stacey, I 100% agree with that statement.

  6. Lorraine Swazey says:

    Lisa-Thanks-this sounds divine!! I so miss oatmeal-I’m celiac-and they said I cant have it anymore-do you know anything about that-cause I sure miss oatmeal on colddd winter mornings! Love the name of your blog!-must jump on over!!

  7. Faith says:

    @rainss61 You should be able to have oatmeal, you just need to buy some that is certified to be gluten free. Regular oatmeal can be contaminated with small amounts of wheat, which may be why you were told to avoid it. But, if celiac is all you’ve been diagnosed with you can definitely still have oats.

  8. murphala says:

    Fabulous idea! I love me some oatmeal in the morning, but I’m always either too rushed or too lazy to be able to cook some (I hate the instant kind). I am definitely going to do this one! Thanks!

  9. LisaAJB says:

    Rain! I looked and Bob’s Red Mill does sell a gluten free steel cut oats! Hope you get to try some.

  10. JerseyMom says:

    Well I’m really pushing the envelope here…I have a new mini crockpot…I bought it, and a block of wax, when I thought my cheesemaking was going somewhere ;(

    I followed the recipe with oats that had been sitting around in a plastic bag for some time…..brown sugar instead of white, the last of a box of blueberries from my fridge (don’t ask…) and I just set the baby crockpot on low.

    The way I see it I’m still ahead of the game…..the last of the blueberries might have become chicken food….the baby crockpot has been crying out for a job, and the steel cut oats probably have sat around long enough to have zero nutrition..but combined, by tomorrow morning, they should be worth eating!!

  11. Miss Judy says:

    I think I am ging to try this with some of my Apple Pie Jam and then sprinkle some nuts on when it’s ready too eat! Thanks for the post.

  12. TeaCup says:

    What an interesting idea!DH is a maple syrup fan,but I like apples, brown sugar & walnuts in my oatmeal. Haven’t had it for a while, as breakfast is usually made by DH, esp. on weekends, when we had the other.

    Hmmm. I just bought some apples, I was going to make apple upside down cake. I wonder if I have enough…?


  13. Jennifer says:

    This ROCKS! I got out my little crockpot, ordered a box of Bob’s Organic Steel Cut Oats, and asked my husband to pick up a timer. We used rolled oats while waiting for the steel cut to come, and that worked too (and has less calories) but today I used steel cut, and WOW!! So the oatmeal today was 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp flax meal and the water. (the whole pot is 524 calories fyi) This is my fave so far, but my husband’s favorite is the chocolate banana, and my teenager’s fave is the apple cinnamon. My younger 2 wont even look at it, it’s “gross”, sigh…No one tell my runner husband that steel cut has more calories though, or he wont eat it…whatevs…keeping that to myself! I care more about his heart than his waist.

  14. LisaAJB says:

    The Scottish oats have less calories and I’ve used them before the exact same way. Glad you’ve found the combinations you like.

  15. Lorraine Swazey says:

    Faith and Lisa, Thanks so much–I found some at the store-and it was so delicious with mixed berries and blueberries from last summer and a few other treats-I’m hooked again!! And no ill affects!!-Thank you so much!!~~Rain

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