If you need me, you can find me eating this breakfast every day for the rest of the winter.
Though I enjoy variety when it comes to dinner (and often find inspiration in this vegetarian dinner calendar), I am all about consistency for quick and easy breakfasts. In the wintertime, I’m particularly predictable—I eat the same steel-cut oats pretty much every weekday during the cold-weather months.
You likely know that oats are a healthy whole-grain breakfast option, and more satiating than a granola bar or bowl of sugary cereal. But you shouldn’t have to opt for a breakfast solution simply because you know it's good for you. It’s possible for a recipe to be both healthful and crave-worthy, and that’s where this one comes in. Plus, it gives you major hygge points.
What I enjoy even more than the nutrition facts is that these oats are packed with flavor—so much so it surprises me every time I take the first bite. I’ve had more than my fair share of thick, gummy, flavor-less bowls of oatmeal, so I understand why it gets a bad rap. But cooking steel-cut oats in the slow-cooker makes them perfectly tender—ridiculously creamy with just a bit of bite. The addition of apples, golden raisins, warm spices, and maple syrup will warm you to your core. Here’s what to do:
Coat the insert of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray (trust me, stuck-on oats are no fun to scrub). Add 6 cups water, 1 ½ cups steel-cut oats (don't use rolled; they will break down too quickly), 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, 1/3 cup golden raisins (you won't believe how deliciously plump these get!), 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom. Stir in two chopped sweet-tart apples. Cook, covered, on high for 3 to 3 ½ hours or on low for 6 to 7 hours, until the oats are tender but still intact. If your oats are how you like them but the mixture seems a bit liquid-y, fret not: it will thicken up significantly in the fridge.
This batch makes at least 6 servings of oats—perfect for prepping on Sunday and eating all week. I find I don’t even need to add a splash of milk when I re-heat, but of course, if you want to thin it out a bit, add some milk, microwave until warm, and top with more apples and toasted nuts, if you like. Get ready to feel instantly warmer and cozier.
RELATED: How to Cook Steel-Cut Oats
If you prefer pears, use them in place of apples. In fact, here’s the recipe that inspired my version.