Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal

Sure, who doesn’t want to have CAKE FOR BREAKFAST?!? Most days though, and especially this time of year, starting out the day on a healthy note just feels great- as who knows what’s coming next!

BUT let me tell you, this slow cooker oatmeal is as close to GINGERBREAD cake as you can get — though using comforting, healthy oats instead! Plus, it’s done all in your crock pot… easy as pie!


I got a slow cooker a few years back, and to be honest, it took me a while to come around to it. In fact its first several months were spent on the shelf collecting dust!

You see, as a chef I had a hard time getting on board with the “set it and forget it” mentality… I’m used to being in the kitchen stirring!

Oatmeal in slow cooker

But as kids got older, I saw how beneficial it could be on those nights where they have a late practice or after school activity… or when I’m just too burned out to get back in the kitchen.

After using it a few times, my eyes were opened to how slow cooking food can be a really great cooking method for all sorts of foods. AND especially oatmeal!

Pouring maple syrup

The holidays are looming large, and that means company is coming! Put this slow cooker oatmeal recipe in your back pocket for when you have a full house to feed, and would rather not spend your morning flipping pancakes.

Oatmeal in ramekin

This dish feeds a crowd…

EXCEPT, of course, if any of your house guests are like me and CANNOT stop eating it!

During recipe testing, I went back for seconds… and then for thirds! OMG you are going to feel like you are in some alternate universe. It is seriously like dessert for breakfast, but in an awesome, healthy way!!

Oatmeal in ramekin in child's hands

So here’s how it goes… this recipe couldn’t be simpler. Add ingredients to the pot, set the temp and time, and in the morning just be sure to give it a vigorous stir, since the oatmeal will set up in the slow cooker. Nothing a little elbow grease won’t fix! ? Top and enjoy!

Oatmeal in ramekin

How Much Milk Do I Add At The End?

This is up to you. I find that everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to oatmeal. Some like theirs thick, others prefer it creamy. You can even use half and half or cream, but it will become a little more decadent, a little less “healthy breakfast.” 

It’s also totally fine to skip the milk altogether, and just add a little more water if it is too thick.

Oatmeal in ramekin in child's hands

Oatmeal in ramekin

It’s Just Two Of Us, But I Really Want To Try This Oatmeal

  1. The recipe can be scaled down by half and still be made in the slow cooker (serving 4), but I wouldn’t make this in the slow cooker for only two people, unless you have a small size slow cooker. Instead, use one cup oats, two cups of water, adjust the spices and molasses accordingly, and cook everything together on the stove top. You will need less water on the stove than in a slow cooker, it will be a 1-2 ratio, but the spices can be scaled down accordingly.
  2. A further note on serving sizes, generally ½ cup of dry oatmeal per adult is the suggested portion. Every time we make this it seems like it makes a TON. I certainly don’t mind having the leftovers! But just a heads up that the portion size given for the recipe is generous. 

Multiple ramekins with oatmeal

Oatmeal in ramekin

Are There Any Substitutions?

Not really, but there are some toppings I can suggest!

  • Diced Pear 
  • A pat of butter
  • Chopped, toasted nuts – I recommend walnuts, but if you have a different favorite go for it!
  • You could try adding peeled, diced apple to the oats before they cook. The result will be like an apple gingerbread cake!
  • Pure maple syrup is the way to go for drizzling, but you could do honey or brown sugar if you prefer.

Oatmeal in ramekin in child's hands

Watch me make this slow cooker oatmeal recipe


Make Ahead Healthy Quick & Easy Mid-Week


Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Servings: 8


  • 3 ½ cups Whole Oats not instant
  • 10 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • cup molasses
  • Milk of choice such as almond milk, soy milk, or whole milk for finishing, optional
  • Walnuts and pure maple syrup for serving


  • The night before you plan to serve this, put the oats, water, salt and spices in a slow cooker. Set it to low, and set the timer for at least 8 hours. Mine automatically switches to the “warm” setting after the timer is done, so I have an extra two hours of keeping it toasty if I sleep in. If yours doesn’t have this feature, you can set it for up to 9 hours.
  • In the morning, give it a good stir to break up any clumps and add the molasses. If it’s very thick, you can add some milk or more water to get it to your desired consistency, and set the heat to high for a few minutes so it doesn’t cool off too much. Spoon into bowls, top with nuts and maple syrup. The molasses does not give this enough “sweet”, so be sure to use pure maple syrup for the best flavor, or you could do brown sugar if you prefer.


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  • Stephen says:

    Can you use steel cut oats instead of whole oats?

    • KeyLimeLexi says:

      Hi Stephen! Thanks for the question – I love steel cut oats too! But I haven’t tested the recipe with them. While I imagine they would work, I’m not certain of the ratio of water to oats you’d need. I’ll try and find some time to test it out soon and let you know!

      • KeyLimeLexi says:

        I haven’t tested it myself yet, but I researched making steel cut oats in slow cookers, and it looks like the ratio would be 2 cups steel cut oats to 6 cups water. That will give you 8 servings. It was noted that steel cut oats can stick to the slow cooker, and some people recommend coating the interior with a little coconut oil or other vegetable oil. Let me know if you make it and how it turns out!

  • Joan K McCabe says:

    Looks DELICIOUS !
    Please clarify on WHOLE OATS – May I USE QUICK Oats that’s what’s in the pantry.
    Than you .

    • KeyLimeLexi says:

      Thanks! I think you’ll love it! You can use quick oats, but probably want to skip the slow cooker in that case and just make it on the stovetop in the morning since they will cook up quickly!

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