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Caramelized Apple Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Caramelized Apple Slow Cooker Oatmeal - a fantastic solution for school mornings, lazy mornings, holiday mornings - pretty much anytime! |

My daughter, who refuses to eat oatmeal, declares this “Inside Out Apple Pie” to be her favorite breakfast. (Her brother calls it “Apple Pudding.”)

It’s oatmeal, all right, but with lots of apples and a bit of sweet caramelly goodness, so somehow in her seven-year-old mind, it’s not her despised breakfast nemesis and will gobble down two bowls before I can sufficiently cool the servings for her two little brothers.

And really, I shouldn’t even call this Caramelized APPLE Slow Cooker Oatmeal, because it works just as well with fresh peaches, cherries, berries, and other fruits that stew well and that you would typically serve with oatmeal.

And of course, it’s made with natural sweeteners that are adaptable to your family’s tastes.

The only caveat is that it takes 10-15 minutes to pull together in the evening, since you have to cut up all the apples, but if that’s okay with you, this recipe certainly is very easy – and DEFINITELY could be taught to the kiddos to make themselves (just dump in blueberries instead of cutting up apples if you don’t trust your kiddos with knives quite yet…..).

 So, really, this recipe is one of the best kind: it’s a slow-cooker breakfast, it’s easily gluten-free, the kids can take ownership of preparing breakfast, and it’s just plain delicious.

Here’s to easy mornings!

Caramelized Apple Slow Cooker Oatmeal - a fantabulous way to start the day |

Caramelized Apple Slow Cooker Oatmeal
Serves 6
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  1. 2 pounds sweet or tart apples (about 5 large or 9 small apples), chopped into 1-inch pieces - peeling is optional
  2. 3/4 cup brown sugar, more or less to taste (see how to make your own brown sugar)
  3. pinch of sea salt
  4. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
  6. juice from half a lemon (1-2 tablespoons)
  7. 2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary)
  8. 2 cups whole milk
  9. 2 eggs (optional)
  10. 1 1/2 cups water
  1. Generously grease the bowl of a slow cooker (a deep 3-quart one works well).
  2. Toss the apples, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice in a large bowl, then add the oats and stir again. Pour into the greased slow cooker insert.
  3. Either in the same bowl or a new one, whisk the eggs into the milk until the mixture is very smooth. Add the water and whisk again. Pour over the apple-oat mixture.
  4. Cook on low for 6-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Cook time will vary considerably according to brand and size of slow cooker, so if you don't like crispy edges on your oatmeal, make this recipe for the first time during the day when you can gauge the progress of the oatmeal.
  1. To caramelize the apples more, skip the tossing step at the beginning and instead, layer the apples, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and oats in the greased insert (in that order) and do not stir.
  2. Whisk the milk, eggs, and water as described and pour over the layered apples and cook as directed.
Nourishing Joy



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  1. Leah says

    Oooo…..this looks amazing!! As someone who is not a morning person yet cannot in good conscience send my children to school having eaten something out of a cereal box, I am ALWAYS looking for good breakfasts that I can make the night before. This looks like just the thing. I’ll have to play around a bit since I have a much larger slow-cooker. Maybe we’ll plan oatmeal for dinner one of these nights so I can get the timing right. :)

    • Kresha Faber says

      I find that it reheats well too, so if you make a larger batch, spoon the extra into a greased baking dish and stick in the refrigerator, then you can easily reheat it at 350F for 20-30 minutes (depending on quantity and depth) whenever you need it. I haven’t tried freezing and reheating, but that might work too!

    • Kresha Faber says

      Definitely! Just soak the oats earlier in the day, say after lunch, then drain and rinse, and add to the slow cooker with the other ingredients, perhaps reducing the water by 1/2 cup or so.

      The only issue I can imagine arising with soaking the oats is that they’ll cook too fast, so by the morning they might be rather burned around the edges. Thus, if you’re going to soak them, perhaps try the recipe with groats / steel-cut oats instead, which cook a bit slower.

      Have fun!

  2. says

    We tried this and it was a HIT at our place! All 7 of our children (and my husband and I) decided it will become a part of our regular breakfast rotation!

  3. Lisa says

    looks wonderful!!! I cant wait to make it. It’s just my daughter and me. Will it be okay to refrigerate some of it to reheat during the week?

  4. says

    This sounds good enough for a dessert. Yummy
    I also like to take whole oats and water, put in the crockpot the night before at bedtime and the next morning, breakfast is mostly ready.. Then I like to add to this some dried fruits, such as raisins, pears, figs and some thawed strawberries, blueberries, or cherries and cook just enough to tenderize the dried fruits, add a little salt and it’s ready.. I like to add some milk when I put it in the bowls.

  5. Cristina says

    Mine turned out too mushy, but the taste was outstanding! I bought steal oats and I’m trying again for tomorrow.

  6. Janie says

    This is amazing! I added a tablespoon of flaxseed to the brown sugar & cinnamon which did not alter the taste. Thank you sooo much for sharing!

  7. Greg says

    I’ve made this seven or eight times. It’s like eating dessert for breakfast, except this is actually healthy. I make a big pot on Sunday night and we eat it all week long.

    The key to getting the best results is using the right amount of liquid. Too much and it gets mushy; too little and it can be a little dry and burned. I got the best results using firm baking apples (half granny smith and half pink lady, in my case). Other kinds of apples get mushy themselves and they also release too much liquid, which can make the oatmeal mushy, too. With the right apples, the quantities of liquids that you give in the recipe are just right,

    For the liquids, I’ve used apple juice instead of water, which gives the oatmeal an even stronger apple taste, which I like. I’ve also tried hard cider, which I like even better = a little more tart and more complex. Raisins are a good addition, too, but then you need to add more liquid. It’s hard to judge how much liquid the raisins will soak up, so now I soak them to plump them before I add them to the mix. I also decrease the brown sugar a little, because the raisins add sweetness themselves.

  8. flori sorensen says


    I can’t wait to make this recipe for a group of friends. Could you use steel cut oats instead of rolled and if so, would you do anything different.

    • Kresha Faber says

      Yes, I do occasionally make this with steel cut oats and I love it! I use 2 cups milk and 1 cup water per cup of 1 cup of oats, which makes a pretty thick oatmeal.

      Enjoy! :)

    • Kresha Faber says

      The few times I’ve increased it the quantity, yes, I’ve found that it was helpful to reduce the liquid just a bit, maybe a cup or so if you’re tripling it. It also would be good to give it an extra hour or so to cook, but I’ve served a tripled batch that was cooked in the same amount of time as a single batch, so it’s not essential.

  9. Meghan Jefferson says

    Do you think you could a savoury version of this? I was wondering if I could omit the sugar and cinnamon but add some vintage cheddar cheese we have in the fridge; but would I need to further adjust the liquid if I did that?

    • Kresha Faber says

      That sounds lovely! And no, I don’t think you’d need to adjust the liquid except according to taste. If you’re wanting it to be very thick, I would reduce it a bit, but that’s a matter of desire rather than necessity.

      Also, it might be advantageous to add the cheese just about half-an-hour before serving. I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it could work either way.

  10. Calie says

    So glad I found this! Breakfast time is so busy with 3 kids so I can’t wait to try this. Do you think I can substitute whole milk with coconut or almond milk?

    • Kresha Faber says

      In order to caramelize, the apples need to be against the walls of the slow cooker, so I put them on the bottom. You can certainly put them on the top – they soften up beautifully and are delicious, but the caramelization only happens when they’re in the bottom.

      I hope that helps!

  11. Whitney says

    Can I cook this in a six quart slow cooker or should I double it? If I need to double, should I reduce the liquid quanitity at all? Thanks, this looks delicious!

    • Kresha Faber says

      Y’know, when I do it in a larger slow cooker, I actually have started making it in a heat-proof mixing bowl (say, a Pyrex bowl) instead of mixing it in the slow cooker insert, and then in the insert I just put an inch or two of water and basically steam the oatmeal. It cooks about as fast, I can make just the amount of the single recipe, and clean-up is seriously easier. The only difference is that the apples don’t caramelize – they just soften. They’re still super-yummy, just not caramelized. :)

      I hope that helps!

      • Whitney says

        Thanks for the advice! I decided to take a gamble because I wanted the apples carmelized and made it exactly as written and it still turned out PERFECTLY! It only filled my cooker about `1/2 way once it cooked down, but it wasn’t burned or anything. It was super fluffy and flavorful. I even left it on warm for 2 hours before I could serve it and it was still delicious. I served it with a little whipped cream and my co-workers went NUTS over it. It made 9 good size bowl servings. Thank you SO much for such a tasty and easy recipe, this one is definitely going to be added to my routine! :D

  12. Therese says

    I made this subbing the brown sugar for palm sugar and it was delicious! My 2 year old ate a huge bowl full! Thank you,

  13. says

    Just put a modified version of this in the crock pot for breakfast tomorrow. I’m super excited. It already smells delicious.

    Thanks for the idea! :)

  14. Marissa says

    How do you keep ingredients from getting mushy while waiting for timer to start cooking at 1 am? I would need to put in pot at 9 pm.

    • Kresha Faber says

      It will vary according to your brand, but I would assume about 4-5 hours. If you’re wanting to do it overnight, I might change it up a bit – either double the recipe OR turn it into a steamed oatmeal by mixing the oatmeal in a heatproof bowl that fits inside the slow cooker insert (I use an old Pyrex one), then place about 2 inches of water in the slow cooker insert and cook on either high or low for the amount of time called for in the recipe. It doesn’t caramelize the apples the same way, but it’s a good way to use a larger slow cooker and it’s easier to clean up! :)

      I hope that helps!

    • Kresha Faber says

      Well, you can use them, but only if you cook them for 2-4 hours. If you do the full overnight recipe, they’ll be completely mushy in the morning. But if that’s what you like, go for it! :)

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