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A festive holiday breakfast could not be easier than this Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal recipe! Whether you serve it for Christmas brunch or make a big batch to last through busy weekday mornings, slow cooker oatmeal is a healthy and delicious way to start your day.

A close up image of a while bowl filled with slow cooker gingerbread oatmeal. A person drizzles maple syrup over the oatmeal, which is topped with a dollop of greek yogurt and festive Christmas sprinkles.
Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love This Festive Gingerbread Oatmeal Recipe
  2. Ingredients for Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal
  3. How to Make Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal
  4. How to Serve Gingerbread Oatmeal
  5. Prep and Storage Tips for Slow Cooker Oatmeal
  6. Gingerbread Oatmeal Recipe Tips and Variations
  7. Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal Recipe

Are you getting ready for the holidays?! I’ve been busy creating all sorts of fun Christmas recipes and activities for our time with family. It’s such a delicious time of year, and I’m thrilled to be bringing you one of my new favorite holiday breakfasts – this Crockpot gingerbread oatmeal recipe! 

If you love oatmeal, using your slow cooker to make a big batch of warm and comforting breakfast is a great idea. This gingerbread oatmeal recipe is full of warm spices, but it’s not too sweet. I use a bit of molasses for that classic gingerbread flavor and color. If you like your oatmeal on the sweeter side, you can add some pure maple syrup or brown sugar for just the right amount of sweetness.

Why You’ll Love This Festive Gingerbread Oatmeal Recipe

Who doesn’t love a warm breakfast during the winter months?! Everyone knows that life picks up around the holiday season. Plans are made, family is in and out of the house, and the oven always seems to be on, making some kind of holiday cookies. This slow cooker gingerbread oatmeal recipe is a delicious way to bring the whole family together, even well before Christmas morning!

  • It’s hands-off. You don’t need to stand at the stove top and stir a pot of simmering oatmeal for what seems like forever. Simply dump all of the ingredients in your slow cooker, and let it do all the work. 
  • It’s perfect for the holidays. I don’t know about you, but all things gingerbread around the holidays just makes me happy! The warm spices and familiar scents of the season fill the home with happiness, even if someone in your family isn’t a morning person.
  • It’s easy to make ahead. You can make a big batch of gingerbread oatmeal ahead of time, store it in individual portions, and microwave it throughout the week. With one easy recipe, you’ve got days of breakfasts ready with practically no effort!

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal

The combination of classic gingerbread spices with warm, creamy oatmeal makes this slow cooker oatmeal perfect for a cold morning. All you need is some Christmas music and coffee! Here’s an overview of the simple ingredients you’ll need. As always, the complete ingredients and directions are in the printable recipe card at the end of the post.

  • Uncooked Steel Cut Oats: these are the best kind of oats to use for slow cooker oatmeal because they stand up to the cooking time without getting too mushy.
  • Gingerbread Spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice provide all the seasonal flavor you could imagine.
  • Molasses: this ingredient is what gives the oatmeal that true gingerbread taste, so don’t skip it!
  • Salt: to enhance and balance the flavors.
An overhead image of a bowl of gingerbread oatmeal mixed with milk and topped with crushed pecans.

What are steel cut oats? 

All oats start out as oat groats – whole, unprocessed grains. From there, the processing starts, including husking the grains, roasting them, and rolling them into the familiar form of rolled oats. Steel cut oats are oat groats that have the least amount of processing. After being husked and roasted, they’re cut with steel blades, and that’s about it. Steel cut oats are also often called Irish oats or coarse oats.

What is the difference between steel cut oats and regular oatmeal?

Aside from the manufacturing process, there are a few other major differences between steel cut oats and rolled oats. Steel cut oats require a much longer cooking time, which is why they’re perfect for slow cooker oatmeal. Steel cut oats have a nuttier flavor and a coarse, chewy texture when cooked. Rolled or old-fashioned oats tend to be creamier and softer after cooking (much like instant or quick-cooking oats).

Rolled oats are best in most baking applications because they cook up quicker in a dough. Steel cut oats are best when cooked slowly with lots of liquid. You can easily find steel cut oats from familiar brands in most grocery stores – including Quaker OatsBob’s Red Mill, and Better Oats.

How to Make Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal

Slow cooker oatmeal is the perfect breakfast – it’s creamy, flavorful, and serves a crowd. Enjoying a bowl of warm gingerbread oatmeal during the holiday season is one of my favorite ways to feel festive. Here’s how to make this simple gingerbread oatmeal recipe. 

  • Spray the inside of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray, or use a slow cooker liner.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in the slow cooker and stir to mix (oats, spices, and salt).
  • Add the wet ingredients to the slow cooker (water and molasses). Mix until everything is combined. 
  • Over the slow cooker and cook the oatmeal on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings and a drizzle of maple syrup or brown sugar for added sweetness.

How to Serve Gingerbread Oatmeal

Slow cooker gingerbread oatmeal is a customizable base that can be dressed up to suit all of the hungry tummies in your family. I like mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt for added protein, some maple syrup, and some chopped toasted pecans for healthy fat. It’s a nutritious breakfast that tastes fun without a massive sugar high!

Some other topping options include: 

  • Whipped cream
  • Chopped nuts, like toasted pecans or walnuts.
  • Dried cranberries or raisins
  • Chocolate chips
  • Crumbled gingerbread cookies
  • A dusting of cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or a sprinkle of coarse sugar

Prep and Storage Tips for Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Prep Ahead of Time: If you’re planning to feed a crowd for Christmas brunch, you can cook the oatmeal on low overnight – your house will smell ah-mazing when you wake up!

Storage: leftover oatmeal will last in the fridge for 4-6 days. Store in individual portions for quick serving, or store in a large airtight container and reheat on low in the slow cooker until warm and creamy. You may need to add a splash of milk or water to loosen up the mixture when it’s cold.

Reheating: gingerbread oatmeal can easily be reheated in a microwave-safe bowl or container for 1-2 minutes. Stir to check the texture halfway through, and add liquid if needed to loosen it up.

A bowl of slow cooker gingerbread oatmeal topped with Greek yogurt and red and green sprinkles, served in a ceramic white bowl.

Gingerbread Oatmeal Recipe Tips and Variations

  • This recipe makes about six servings. The recipe can easily be doubled to serve a larger crowd, but make sure you have a large enough slow cooker to accommodate the liquid needs. 
  • For creamier oatmeal, sub half of the water with milk of your choice. You could use regular milk (skim, whole, or 2%) or non-dairy milk like oat milk or almond milk.
  • You can make a pumpkin spice slow cooker oatmeal if you’re craving fall flavor during the holidays. 
  • Steel-cut oats love to stick when cooking, so it’s important that you spray your slow cooker with cooking spray or use a slow cooker liner to prevent sticking (and burning) for easier cleanup.
  • You want to make sure you’re using regular, long-cooking steel cut oats and not quick cooking steel cut or another form of quick oats. Quick cooking oats will not last in the slow cooker and result in total mush – which would ruin anyone’s Christmas morning breakfast plans!
  • You can serve a big batch of slow cooker oatmeal right out of the slow cooker at brunch – just keep your Crockpot on the “warm” setting while serving (not low, which may still be too hot and will burn the oatmeal).
Square side shot of a bowl of Crock Pot gingerbread oatmeal.

Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal

4 from 3 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 253 kcal
This thick, creamy, delicious slow cooker oatmeal is packed with warm spices and the nostalgic flavors of gingerbread cookies. It's the perfect easy, hands-off breakfast for Christmas morning!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups uncooked steel cut oats
  • ½ teaspoon salt or more, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 8 cups water
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • Optional toppings: whipped cream, chopped toasted pecans, dried cranberries, raisins, Greek yogurt

Instructions

  • Spray the inside of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir well. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.

Notes

  • This recipe makes about six servings. The recipe can easily be doubled to serve a larger crowd, but make sure you have a large enough slow cooker to accommodate the liquid needs. 
  • For creamier oatmeal, sub half of the water with milk of your choice. You could use regular milk (skim, whole, or 2%), or non-dairy milk like oat milk or almond milk.
  • You can make a pumpkin spice slow cooker oatmeal if you’re craving fall flavor during the holidays. 
  • Steel-cut oats love to stick when cooking, so it’s important that you spray your slow cooker with cooking spray or use a slow cooker liner to prevent sticking (and burning) for easier cleanup.
  • You want to make sure you’re using regular, long-cooking steel cut oats and not quick cooking steel cut or another form of quick oats. Quick cooking oats will not last in the slow cooker and result in total mush – which would ruin anyone’s Christmas morning breakfast plans!
  • You can serve a big batch of slow cooker oatmeal right out of the slow cooker at brunch – just keep your Crockpot on the “warm” setting while serving (not low, which may still be too hot and will burn the oatmeal).
  • Topping ideas: whipped cream, chopped nuts, like toasted pecans or walnuts, dried cranberries or raisins, chocolate chips, crumbled gingerbread cookies, a dusting of cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or a sprinkle of coarse sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 253kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 9gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 215mgPotassium: 216mgFiber: 7gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 3mg
Keyword: gingerbread breakfast recipe, gingerbread oatmeal, slow cooker breakfast, slow cooker oatmeal
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says:

    This oatmeal looks SO good, Blair! I haven’t had breakfast yet, so my stomach is growling just looking at this. What a festive recipe for the season!

    1. Blair says:

      You need this in your life, Gayle!! 🙂

  2. Jen | Baked by an Introvert says:

    Gingerbread oatmeal?! Where has this been my whole life? I love the idea and the fact that it is made in a slow cooker!

    1. Blair says:

      Yes, Jen!! It’s a THING, and it’s so good. Have fun on your trip, too!

  3. Chrissa - Physical Kitchness says:

    You and all your amazing, festive holiday recipes! I think I’ll skip going to my parents house for Christmas and just come to yours!!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Chrissa! Come on over — we would have SO MUCH fun together (and the boys could play too!). 🙂

  4. Sarah @ The Gold Lining Girl says:

    This looks soooo good, Blair! I am in love with the idea of Gingerbread oatmeal! I’m kind of an oat junkie – I love how versatile oatmeal is! This version is on my must-make list, for sure!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Sarah! Yes — the options are endless with oatmeal, and now that I know how to use my slow cooker I think I’ll be on a roll!

  5. Christy says:

    Any changes if you doubled it? Like the water quantity?

    1. Blair says:

      Hey, Christy! Yep, if you’re going to double the amount of oats, you will also need to double the amount of water (and all other ingredients as well). You just need to keep the proportions the same.

      Hope that helps, and enjoy! 🙂

      1. Stephanie says:

        You don’t have to cook it longer of you double the recipe?
        And will it be too full in the Crock-Pot?

        1. Blair says:

          Hi, Stephanie! No, you shouldn’t have to cook it longer, because the oatmeal will cook in the same amount of time. The fullness of your pot depends on the size that you’re using. This recipe calls for 2 cups of oats and 8 cups of water (plus additional ingredients, obviously). That means that approximately 10 cups+ in your slow cooker is about 2.5+ quarts. If you have a 6-quart slow cooker (like me), doubling the recipe will almost fill the pot. I would just do about 1.5x the ingredients. If you have a bigger slow cooker, however, you can double it. Hope that helps!

  6. Elyse says:

    Hi! This looks great! Could quinoa be substituted following the same directions?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Elyse! No, quinoa has different cooking instructions than steel cut oats.

      I’ve not prepared this recipe with quinoa, but in general you’d cook the quinoa more like rice: with 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa. So for instance, you’d need 3 cups of water for 1.5 cups of quinoa. The quinoa probably needs about 4-6 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high in the slow cooker, but you’d have to keep an eye on it and test it the first time around for exact timing. Hope that helps!

  7. Rico says:

    I’m definitely looking forward to trying this. I’m curious, you mention the possibility of cooking it over night (which is what I plan to do, so it’ll be ready to eat when I get up), but your instructions say to stir it occasionally. Obviously, if cooking overnight, you’re not going to do that. How necessary is that step?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Rico! It will be fine if you don’t stir it throughout the night — just give it a good stir at the end! 🙂

      1. Rico says:

        Thanks! I’ll let you know how it turns out.

        1. Rico says:

          Well, I made it last weekend. As you suggested, it worked fine not stirring it. Interestingly, when I tasted it, it didn’t really have the strong gingerbread taste I expected, until I added some maple syrup to my bowl. Then it was delicious.

          1. Blair says:

            Great, Rico! Thanks for letting me know! The best thing about oatmeal is that it’s a simple base, which can be tailored to just about anyone’s tastebuds. Added sweetener, added spice, added toppings, etc…it all works! 🙂

  8. Emily Kemp says:

    5 stars
    I bet this smells like heaven as it’s cooking, can’t wait to try it!

    1. Blair says:

      It totally does! Just like a cozy holiday!

  9. Becca says:

    Hi there! I was just wondering what type of molasses you used? Is it cooking molasses, fancy molasses…? Thanks!

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Becca! I don’t use anything fancy! 🙂 I typically buy the Grandma’s molasses brand, simply because that’s what my small rural grocery store sells. Here’s the link to the product: https://grandmasmolasses.com/

      Enjoy!

  10. Deborah Rodahaffer says:

    Can you substitute almond milk for part or all of the water?

      1. Debbi says:

        Thanks! Can’t wait to try Christmas Day!

  11. Erin says:

    How many days in the fridge will it last? Can you freeze it?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Erin! It keeps really well in the fridge for at least 5 days. Just add some extra milk and warm it up when you want to reheat it! I’ve never tried freezing it, so I have no idea if that would work or not.

  12. Ellen says:

    5 stars
    We love the Gingerbread Slow Cooker Oatmeal. I tried it first when one of my grands was having a sleepover before Christmas. It was a hit, even tho they often have plain oatmeal at home. This time I added 1 Cup of old fashioned rolled oats because we like the combination. Also 1/2 cup of organic applesauce & used 4 C. water & 4 C. non-dairy milk, instead of 8 C. water. I cooked it on low for 8 hours. Delicious fragrance & flavor in the morning.
    I’ve also put in 2 cups frozen blueberries just because.
    I’m going to try other recipes, too. Thank you!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Sounds great, Ellen. Thank you so much!

  13. Ellen says:

    P.S. I always use slow cooker liners … makes clean up so easy!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      I totally agree — they’re great! 🙂

  14. Greg Nutmeg says:

    2 stars
    I have to say, I found this almost inedible because of the amount of spice. I was noticeably bitter . Is it really a whole teaspoon of nutmeg?