When you think of oatmeal, you most likely think of weekday mornings — it's a hearty breakfast that keeps you full on busy days. Weekends are reserved for pancakes and eggs, right? Well, I encourage you to set aside a Saturday for this particular oatmeal, as it's as special as that short stack.
Made extra creamy with whole milk and pumpkin purée, spiced with cinnamon and ginger, sweetened with maple syrup, and finished with heavy cream, it's the coziest way to warm up on a fall morning — particularly on those fall mornings where you can keep your slippers on for a little bit longer and pour yourself a second cup of coffee without rushing out the door.
Make-Ahead Oats That Celebrate the Weekend
The thing with weekend mornings is that as much as you want to dig into breakfast that feels a little more special than what you eat every other morning, you also want to stay in bed for as long as you possibly can. This creamy steel-cut oatmeal is the solution. It involves no more than 10 minutes of prep work the night before and then you leave it be in the slow cooker while you snooze.
The next morning, your kitchen will smell like pumpkin spice and you'll feel like you won fall, weekends, and life in general. All the oats need to make them their best is a healthy drizzle of heavy cream over each bowl. A dusting of cinnamon and a bit more maple syrup don't hurt either.
Slow Cooker Creamy Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
Cooking spray, olive oil, or coconut oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
For serving: heavy cream, ground cinnamon, and additional maple syrup (optional)
Coat the bottom and sides of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray, olive oil, or coconut oil.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the oats and stir frequently until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Push the oats up to the side of the pan and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the center of the pan. Add the pumpkin purée to the center of the pan and cook without stirring for 1 minute. Add the ginger, nutmeg, and cloves into the purée and cook, stirring occasionally, until the purée darkens slightly and the raw smell disappears, 3 to 4 minutes more.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared slow cooker. Add the water, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon stick, vanilla, and salt and stir well to combine.
Cover the slow cooker and cook on the LOW setting for 8 hours. When finished, much of the pumpkin purée will have separated from the oats — don't panic! Stir well with a wooden spoon to recombine everything, and remove the cinnamon stick before serving. Spoon the oatmeal into bowls and finish with a splash of heavy cream, a dusting of ground cinnamon, and a drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 1 week. The oats will thicken in the fridge; stir a little water into them when reheating to loosen and garnish just before serving.
- Vegan variation: Coconut milk is a great alternative to the whole milk and heavy cream in the recipe.