The Mistake You Want To Avoid When Making Oats In A Slow Cooker

bowl of oatmeal with fruit
bowl of oatmeal with fruit - Alena_Kos/Shutterstock

Busy mornings can leave little to no time for a wholesome breakfast. However, if you have a slow cooker, you can wake up each morning to tasty, nutritious oats with as little hassle as possible. The type of oats you use in your slow cooker will significantly impact the quality of your breakfast, so always opt for the steel-cut variety. It's all about texture, as other types of oats are not hearty and robust enough to withstand the extended cooking time, which can range from six to eight hours, associated with slow cookers.

As the name suggests, these oats are processed using a steel cutting tool, which imbues them with their unique characteristics. Because steel-cut oats are less absorbent, cooking times are naturally extended to fully cook the grains. Steel-cut oats also have a more toothsome texture than other varieties, as well as a deeper, richer flavor. That means you'll never suffer through unpalatably soft and flavorless slow cooker oatmeal again.

Read more: 14 Of The Oldest Cereals Still On Shelves

How Do Steel-Cut And Rolled Oats Differ?

steel cut and rolled oats
steel cut and rolled oats - Michelle Lee Photography/Getty Images

Oat grains consist of several distinct components, including the germ, endosperm, and bran. Steel-cut oats go through minimal processing, so most of each component remains after cutting. This process is quite different from that used to process rolled oats, which undergo more steps before they end up on store shelves.

Unlike steel-cut varieties, rolled oats are steamed, which naturally leads to a softer texture. Steaming also explains why rolled oats can be cooked much quicker than steel-cut oats. Along with steaming, rolled oats are run through a flattening device, which can eliminate the components found in unprocessed oat grains. Quick oats, a type of rolled oats, are processed to be incredibly thin to ensure the quickest cooking time possible.

While there's no denying that rolled oats are convenient, they fall short of the pleasing texture and flavor associated with steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats are known for their hints of nuttiness, whereas rolled oats are generally flavor-neutral. While they taste pretty amazing on their own, you can make slow cooker steel-cut oats even more delicious by adding the right ingredients.

Additions To Boost The Flavor Of Slow Cooker Oats

chopping apples on cutting board
chopping apples on cutting board - Milan2099/Getty Images

There are lots of tasty and nutritious ingredients you can add to your slow cooker to ensure a hearty and wholesome breakfast. For a classic morning meal, apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar are all excellent additions to steel-cut oats. Apples offer a touch of tartness, while cinnamon and brown sugar provide a slightly spicy sweetness. If you really want to amplify the sweetness quotient even further, consider adding some pure maple syrup to the recipe.

Different types of fruit also work well with slow cooker oats. Mashed bananas are just one tasty option that will infuse the oats with the perfect amount of sweetness. Tender mashed bananas will also contribute to a creamy texture capable of complementing the slightly firmer oats. If you want to replicate the feel of warm banana bread, feel free to add a few walnuts to the finished dish. You can also incorporate blueberries and raspberries to intensify the tanginess. With so many great flavor and topping options for oatmeal, slow cooker steel-cut oats are about to become a staple in your household.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.