This vegan-friendly Slow Cooker Oatmeal with Winter Fruit uses heart-healthy steel-cut oats, cranberries, and oranges for a healthy and hearty breakfast.
If you landed here looking for a PUMPKIN OATMEAL recipe, you aren't lost! Check the recipe card notes to swap the winter fruit for pumpkin.
Each year as a chill hits the air, I say goodbye to my tiny summer garden, and haul inside whatever plants I can. For a moment I'm sad, but then, I remember something exciting-- Winter fruit is coming! Cranberries and citrus begin flooding my tiny kitchen, and I devour them all!
Cranberries-- those gorgeous and bitter red jewels-- are one of my absolute favorite fruits on the planet. And it just so happens that they are AMAZING in oatmeal!
These pretty little berries sweeten and burst into the creamy oats, leaving you with a deliciously seasonal bowl of berries and grains. This recipe for Slow Cooker Oatmeal with Winter Fruit is an easy and hearty breakfast that cooks while you sleep!
Eat More: If you love cranberries for breakfast, you should also try this Eggnog French Toast with Cranberry Sauce!
Can I Use Rolled Oats for Slow Cooker Oatmeal?
No. Rolled oats will turn to mush in the slow cooker. Stick to steel cut oats, and avoid any type of rolled oats for this recipe-- including "quick oats" or "instant oats."
If you have rolled oats to use, try making this peanut butter granola instead.
What if I Can't Find Cranberries?
Fresh cranberries appear magically in the produce section in late fall, and then vanish just as suddenly a few months later. Sometimes you can find bags of cranberries in the freezer section at the grocery store, or you can buy extra and freeze your own for up to a year.
If, however, cranberries are nowhere to be found-- you can use dried cranberries instead, swap them out with apples, or leave them out of this recipe entirely. If you leave them out, go ahead and add a little more fruit topping.
Cleaning the Slow Cooker
When you've finished scooping out your breakfast, take a minute and fill the basin with hot soapy water. Go ahead and clean it out, or leave it to soak.
Whatever you do-- don't leave it sitting out for the oats to harden onto the basin like glue. You'll be sad later.
How to Make Slow Cooker Oatmeal
Are you ready for this complicated recipe? Here you go!-- Add the oats, milk, water, and berries to your slow cooker. And then go to bed.
When you wake up, stir the oats, sweeten them, and then add some fresh citrus. Eat the oats, rinse out the slow cooker basin, and enjoy your day!
Slow Cooker Oatmeal with Winter Fruit
- ½ cup steel cut oats Use gluten-free oats if needed
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 1 ¼ cups milk OR milk subsitute
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (*See Recipe Notes)
- ¼ cup sugar, or more (to taste) Or substitute molasses, agave syrup, or honey
- 2 oranges, blood oranges, clementines, or mandarins
- To serve: more milk or milk-substitute (optional)
- Spray or brush oil into slow cooker basin. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!
- Add oats, water, milk, and cranberries to the slow cooker basin. Stir and cook on low 6-8 hours.
- Sometimes oats will stick to the side while cooking. To help with this, stir the oats about an hour into cooking. If you're doing this overnight, don't worry about it.
- Add sugar to taste, stirring to incorporate into the oats.
- Peel and slice the oranges, and add extra milk if desired. Serve oats with toppings while hot.
- Cleaning Tip: After you scoop all the oats out of the slow cooker basin, clean immediately or pour hot soapy water inside above the oatmeal line.
- Dried Cranberries: Use ½ cup dried cranberries instead. Stir these in after the oatmeal is done cooking.
- Change the fruit: Swap the cranberries for diced apple.
- Fresh Fruit Only: Skip the cranberries, and add extra fruit to the oats after cooking. Kiwi or banana slices would be perfect.
- Pumpkin Oats: Skip the cranberries, and add ½ cup pumpkin purée instead. Add 1 tsp each: ground cinnamon and clove. Sweeten with brown sugar. Top with bananas and/or walnuts.