Apple cinnamon oatmeal is a great breakfast any time of the year. Make this healthy, oatmeal in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Updated 2020 with Instant Pot instructions
This recipe first appeared in my first cookbook, The Easy & Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook. My cookbook has 15 new breakfast recipes! I’m only going to share one or two here and I figured what better way to kick things off than with oatmeal.
What Is Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a great way to have a tasty and filling breakfast while also keeping warm in the frosty winter months. One of my favorite ways to make my oatmeal is with the fall flavors of apples and cinnamon, and then pair it with a warm cup of coffee for an outstanding breakfast that is going to kickstart your day the right way! Oatmeal is a term used to describe a porridge made from ground, steel cut, or rolled oats. Each of these terms just means that the oat has been removed from a husk and is ready to cook! Oatmeal may also be called hot cereal, which also covers cream of wheat and grits, but we are just going to focus on making oatmeal today. Most people are familiar with the quick oatmeal that you can get in many flavors and from many brands at your local grocery store, but what many people don’t know is how cheap and easy it is to make your own oatmeal at home. You can even copy your favorite flavors from the name brands! When you make oatmeal at home, you can add a variety of healthy ingredients to it like fruits and nuts to increase the benefits you get from your morning meal! Oatmeal is a whole grain, too, so you can feel better about making it for your children over sugar filled breakfast cereal.
Is Oatmeal Good For You
Oatmeal can be a particularly good breakfast for you if you are careful about what ingredients you add to it. Sticking to natural and whole ingredients like fruits and nuts when prepping your oatmeal will make sure you are making healthy meal choices. It is when you add unhealthy ingredients, like too much sugar, that oatmeal becomes unhealthy. It is easy to cut back on the sugar when making oatmeal at home instead of buying the premade packages because those are packed with unnecessary sugars. Instead of sugar, use spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to flavor your oatmeal and you might even notice that you don’t feel like you have to put much sweetener in at all. Regular unsweetened oats have about a gram of sugar per serving to start with, so keeping most of your added sugars to pieces of fruit will make this a healthy breakfast for you and your family. Another great benefit of oatmeal is its 40 grams of whole grains per serving, which is most of the recommended 48 grams per day. These whole grains will help you feel full for longer, so you don’t get that afternoon hunger slump right before lunch. Whole grains are also known to help you lower your risk for heart disease, adult diabetes, and certain types of cancer and other health problems. Oatmeal also boast a healthy four grams of fiber per serving, which helps with digestion and can even help manage blood sugar levels!
Steel Cut or Rolled Oats?
Slow Cooker or Instant Pot oatmeal is best made with steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats are one of the healthiest grains; they’re minimally processed, and contain more fiber than rolled oats. Personally I always use steel-cut oats for my oatmeal and rolled oats for baking or making oat flour. If you’re using the slow cooker and intend for this to be an overnight oatmeal recipe, you cannot use rolled oats, they will turn to mush during the long cook time. Having said that, yes you can use rolled oat if you must but you will need to make adjustments. For the slow cooker, the cook time will be 1-2 hours on high or 2-4 hours on low. For the electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot), the cook time remains the same but you have to change the oat/liquid ratio.
Liquid/Oatmeal ratio for slow cooker or pressure cooker:
Steel cut – 3 cups liquid to 1 cup oats
Rolled – 2 cups liquid to 1 cup oats
This recipe does not work with instant oatmeal.
Water or Milk?
For the liquid in this oatmeal, you can use the milk/water ratio I list in the recipe card or you can use all water or 3 cups of your preferred milk. Milk will make the oatmeal creamier than plain water. For this recipe to be vegan, you have to use either water or something like a nut milk or coconut milk. Personally I use almond milk. For the sweetener, in order for this to be a vegan oatmeal recipe, you will need to use maple syrup. If you’re not worried about that, you can use honey. The measurements and cook time will remain the same regardless of which sweetener you decide to use.
Doubling The Recipe
Need to cook oatmeal for a larger crowd? You can double or triple the recipe without having to make adjustments to the cook time. The oatmeal will still cook for 8 hours or 4 minutes (slow cooker vs pressure cooker), you will just need a larger appliance.
Other oatmeal recipes you might enjoy:
Notes About This Recipe….
- It’s important to spray the slow cooker or Instant Pot with cooking spray to help keep the oatmeal from sticking. The oatmeal will still probably stick to the sides a bit but it won’t be nearly as bad as it would if you didn’t spray.
- Top your oatmeal with your preferred toppings. Suggestions include additional sweetener, chopped nuts, granola, etc.
- Refrigerate your cooked oatmeal for 5-7 days. To reheat the oatmeal, add some milk or water, before heating in the microwave or on the stove top.
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 1 apple, cored & diced
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups milk of your choice (I use almond milk)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Spray slow cooker generously with cooking spray.
- Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir to mix well.
- Cook HIGH 3-4 or LOW 6-8 hours.
- Stir well before serving.
Spray the Instant Pot generously with cooking spray.
- Add all the ingredients. Stir gently to mix well. Select manual setting. Adjust pressure to high, and set time for 4 minutes.
- Allow for pressure to natural release.
- Stir well before serving.
Your oatmeal will thicken slightly as it cools.
Cook time calculated using slow cooker.
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