Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oatmeal {with no burnt edges!}

Overnight Apple Pie Steel Cut Oatmeal cooks in the slow cooker all night for an effortless breakfast the next day...with an easy trick for no burnt edges!

Apple Pie Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal with Text Overlay

Boy am I excited to share today's recipe with y'all! Like so many of you, several years back I came across a tempting Pinterest gem for cooking steel cut oats in the slow cooker all night long, resulting in a hot, ready-made breakfast in the morning. The version I found promised that the oatmeal would taste like apple pie, and boy was I excited to try it!

So I dutifully chopped my apples and stirred my ingredients and set my crock pot to low and headed to bed to happily dream of all-American pie as its heavenly aroma wafted through the house all night long. And sure enough, in the morning, my beautiful, creamy, apple studded, cinnamon-laced steel cut oats were ready and waiting. I was very eager to try the oatmeal, and my family was chomping at the bit for me to fill their bowls and hand them spoons. There was only one teensy-weensy problem...

The oats were browned and stuck around the edges of the slow cooker.

Aerial View of Apple Pie Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal with Nut Garnish

I assumed my crock pot must run a bit too hot. Or maybe I let the oats cook a bit too long. At any rate, we ate what was in the center of the slow cooker and I scraped the mess stuck to the edges when it was time to clean up. We loved the taste of the oatmeal, though, so despite my less-than-100% success, I made the recipe many more times...sometimes adding a bit more liquid in hopes that the edges wouldn't burn, sometimes getting up multiple times through the night to stir it (but only when a baby/toddler/child had already woken me up...I'm not that crazy). But I could never consistently get any variation of overnight slow cooker steel cut oatmeal to turn out perfectly without worrying about those darn burned edges.

UNTIL NOW. Friends, I can finally say that my overnight oatmeal woes are behind me. I have discovered a secret trick for preventing the darn stuff from sticking to the crock pot!

Close-Up in White Bowls and Spoon

The Secret to NO BURNING!

Are you ready???

  1. All you do is mix up your oatmeal recipe in an oven-safe baking dish (such as Corningware or Pyrex) that just so happens to fit down in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Then, once your Apple Pie Steel Cut Oatmeal is assembled in said dish, place it in said slow cooker and pour water into the bottom of the slow cooker until it comes to an inch or so below the top of the baking dish.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours...and guess what???

Those oatmeal edges won't be stuck or burnt! It's a Festivus miracle!

Step-by-Step Collage from Start to Finish

The Specifics

My steel-cut oats cook perfectly in 8 hours using this method in two different slow cookers that I own. One is a 6 ½-quart slow cooker, and my 2.5-liter(quart) round Corningware baking dish fits down in it but is a tad too big to reach all the way to the bottom. Thus, it hangs "suspended," and the water not only buffers the sides but also the bottom. (Links for my particular slow cooker and baking dish can be found in the recipe card below, in case you'd like even more specifics.)

As an FYI, in my slightly larger 7-quart slow cooker, the same Corningware dish sits flat on the bottom. As a result, the oatmeal at the bottom of the dish does get thicker than the oatmeal at the top, but it still doesn't burn, and a quick stir distributes everything to a smooth, even oatmeal consistency.

Either way, since the oatmeal will be cooking all night with the buffer of a baking dish and water, the oats won't feel obligated to overcook around the edges of the crock pot. As a result, after a quick stir (since the apples and cinnamon do tend to rise to the top), the Apple Pie Oatmeal will be thick, creamy, delicious, and definitively not overdone!

Add that to the fact that this oatmeal is healthy, and it's as effortless as scooping into a bowl come breakfast time, and it makes a big enough batch to get your day off to a good start all week long (just reheat with a splash of milk)...and you've got a recipe that's a year-round winner!

Apple Pie Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal On Red Decorative Cloth

Type of Apples to Use

I typically use Honeycrisp apples in my oatmeal -- since those are my family's favorite, they're what I usually have on hand -- but feel free to use your preferred variety.

As with baking apples in any recipe, keep in mind that some apples will hold their shape better and some will turn to complete mush. Braeburns, Pink Lady, and Golden Delicious apples are other good choices, in case you're open to suggestions. 😉

So are you as excited to try this recipe as I am to share it??? Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oatmeal might be a mouthful of a recipe title, but in the time it takes to spit it out, you can practically have tomorrow's breakfast mixed up and cooking away in the crock pot. And then you can drift off to sweet slumber enveloped by the heavenly scent of apple pie...and the knowledge that you won't have to scrape and scrub a slow cooker in the morning. 😉

More Yummy Oatmeal Recipes

Apple Pie Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal ~ loaded with steel cut oats and apple cinnamon goodness, this recipe is easy to throw in the slow cooker before bed for an effortless breakfast the next day. And with a special, no-stirring-required trick, you won't have to worry about burnt edges in the morning! | FiveHeartHome.com

{Overnight} Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oatmeal

Overnight Apple Pie Steel Cut Oatmeal is easy to throw in the slow cooker before bed for an effortless breakfast the next day...and with a special, no-stirring-required trick, you won't have to worry about burnt edges in the morning!
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Calories: 338kcal
Print Pin Rate


  • 1 cup steel cut oats, NO SUBSTITUTES
  • 2 medium apples, peeled & diced (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ to ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, chopped nuts


  • Locate an oven-safe, not-too-shallow baking dish (such as Corningware or Pyrex) that will fit in your slow cooker. In the baking dish, place oats, diced apples, apple juice, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; stir to combine. Carefully place baking dish down in slow cooker and slowly pour water into the bottom of the slow cooker until its level is about 1 inch below the top of the baking dish. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours. Stir before serving.


  • You may leave the skin on the apples, if you wish.
  • I use a 2.5-quart/liter round Corningware baking dish in a 6.5-quart slow cooker. It's okay if your baking dish is suspended by its sides on the edges of the slow cooker and doesn't touch the bottom...the lid of the slow cooker just needs to be able to close securely.
  • Once the oatmeal is cooked, be careful stirring it or removing the baking dish from the slow cooker as the water in the slow cooker will be extremely hot.
  • Some older model slow cookers run much cooler than newer slow cookers. In such a case, the oatmeal may still be liquid-y at the end of the directed cooking time and may need longer to cook or a higher temperature to finish thickening up.


Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 346mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 1.4mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe with great success. It’s wonderful. One trick I’ve found that is even easier, is if your slow cooker has the “Keep Warm” setting, you can throw everything directly in and cook it overnight on that setting, and nothing burns or sticks to the side!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this last night and I’m giving this recipe 5 stars because it is a very accurate recipe for an oatmeal breakfast that tastes just like the filling of an apple pie. With that said, it is beyond too sweet for me. If you don’t want so much sweetness, I guess you could try omitting the apple juice and just substitute more milk or water? I have 2 daughters (7 & 9) and they were not big on it because of the heavy sweetness. My husband loved it because it was like having apple pie for breakfast. It’s definitely not a recipe I, personally, would make again without tweaking, but if you like apple pie, then this is an accurate and easy recipe that will please! 🙂

    1. Glad it was a hit, Alison! You can definitely control the sweetness of this recipe by using all-natural apple juice (with no added sugar) and reducing or omitting the maple syrup. That's what I do and it's never turned out overly sweet. 🙂

    1. Sure! I'd use a little less than it calls for initially, and then add more to taste if it needs it. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I separated the ingredients into 6 pint canning jars and let them go about 4 1/2 hours during the day so I could make sure it didn't over cook. Let cool and it's a great way for me to have breakfast all week, since I'm cooking for one. They reheat great in the microwave with a little bit of apple butter.

  4. 4 stars
    The flavor is delicious! But the oats are too soft for our taste. I used the water bath method and cooked on low for 8 hours. Perhaps I should cut the cooking time back to 6 hours. Maybe I should reduce the liquids about a half cup each, We like our steel cut oats firm and chewy - not mushy. The only difference I made to the the recipe is I sauteed my appIe cubes in butter and spice. I didn't add them the oats until after cooking was finished. Overall this is a good recipe . I just need to adjust the cooking time and/or liquids for my family's taste.

  5. 5 stars
    This worked out so perfectly. I used my small crock pot crock inside my large crock pot for the water bath. I also skipped the syrup and let people add later for an individual sweetness level. Lastly I put two cinnamon sticks in the bottom instead of ground cinnamon. That didn’t go quite as far as I’d hoped. Thank you so much for this recipe. This one is a keeper for sure.

  6. Do you cover the dish with the oats in it? I'm wondering if condensation inside the slow cooker would drip into the oats.

    1. Hi Annette! No, I don't cover the inner dish. I just put the lid on the slow cooker, but I've never had an issue with excess condensation. Hope that helps! 🙂

  7. I love this recipe, I was wondering if it would hurt to add my chopped walnuts with the rest of the ingredients rather than a garnish later?
    Also I little tip, instead of going to all the work of the hot water bath, I simply spray my cooker with a butter flavored non stick spray. It works really well and no taste issues.

    1. Hi Donald! I think you could definitely stir in your walnuts before baking. I just suspect that they'd soften during cooking. But toasting them beforehand might help them maintain a (somewhat) crunchier texture?

      And I'm so happy to hear that the non-stick spray works for you! I still had edge-burning issues when I tried that. 😉

    2. The walnuts would probably not be as crisp, they would be a softer more mushy texture. Would be interesting to try adding them in the beginning.

  8. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing the water bath technique. I tried it last night. It was perfect!! You were right, before in the crock pot the edges were burned. Not with the water bath technique.

  9. 5 stars
    So yummy! We are quarateaming with Co-vid 19 and so pantry cooking is at an all time high. The first time we had this. I made it with apple cider and this time with apple mango juice. Both were equally delicious. It is hearty, filling, it cooks perfectly in the water bath and even stores well for a few days in the fridge. I appreciate your trial and error as mine came out perfectly each time! Thank you!

  10. 5 stars
    This came out deliciously creamy, and like Samantha says, the steaming method eliminated the problem of crusty edges. Thank you Samantha for the great idea!

    1. Hi, Laura. That would be fine! I've used almond milk when making this for my dairy-free son. 🙂

  11. Ate this for breakfast this morning, and it was delicious. I didn't have a dish that was quite deep enough to fit all the ingredients, so I only used 1 apple, instead of 2. I actually made this during the day, since crockpots seem to vary, and I wanted to keep an eye on it. Glad I did, because mine was done in about 5 hours. Great recipe! Thank you!

  12. You can avoid using an extra dish in your Crock-Pot altogether if it has a warm setting. Set your low temperature for 2 and 1/2 hours and then it will automatically switch to warm for the rest of the night. When you wake up it will be delicious and it will not be burnt to the edges of your Crock-Pot. This recipe has the perfect proportion of liquid. The only things that I did different from the recipe was that I didn't use cut apples. I used applesauce instead and I replaced the juice with water. All my kids loved it and that's a hard order to fill. Thank you!

  13. I made this last night and it was delicious! Because I'm diabetic, I was concerned about using 2 cups of apple juice, so I substituted 2 cups of unsweetened applesauce instead. For the milk, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I cut the Golden Delicious apples I used into chunks instead of dicing, just so that there would be some little chunks in the finished oatmeal. Just for personal taste, I think I'll up the salt a little in the next batch, and there will DEFINITELY be a next batch after this is gone. It was fantastic! I brought some in for a co-worker who also loves oatmeal, and he couldn't stop eating it, even though he had already eaten breakfast! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  14. Trying this recipe for the first time tonight. I have the slow cooker on a timer to turn on at 12 and off at 7 in the morning. I am diabetic so not using the apple juice and subbed with water. I sprayed the sides of the crock with coconut spray and not using the bath. Cannot wait to wake up in the morning. Will comment later on the results. If I decide to try again using the bath method I will use one of my own stoneware pots inside the crock. Thanks for the recipe.

  15. I'm going to make this tonight, but the only dish I have that will fit is a ceramic bread loaf pan. I hope it works! 😀 it sounds delicious!