slow cooker porridge

Okay, for all you gourmands out there, skip this one and check back soon. But for you parents who feel that school mornings might just make you start to scream hysterically one of these days, I’ve got a secret.
Do you have a slow cooker? Is it dusty? If you don’t have one, buy one today. If you happen to be tag-saling soon, you’ll be sure to find one, or you can by one new for next to nothing. And trust me, the thing is worth its weight in gold.
This is what you do. Before you go to sleep, pull out the slow cooker. Put grains in cooker. Put water in cooker. Don’t forget to turn it on. I’ve forgotten, and it’s very sad. In the morning, breakfast is sitting on your counter, hot and ready. And you are free to panic over the fact that you need to make lunches for picky children, or that you can’t find the hairbrush and your daughter looks like like she has a bird’s nest on her head, or even that your child might accept the ultimatum that “If you don’t get dressed right now young lady, you’re going to school in your pajamas!” (I have to say this one doesn’t usually work. My kids view this option with glee). Anyway, take your pick on the subject of panic. It just doesn’t have to be making breakfast. Here are the details:
Basically, go for 1 1/2 cups of grain to 6 cups of water. It’s important to fill your slow cooker more that half way so that the porridge won’t burn. The above measurements will feel 4 to 6 hungry people. If you have a smaller family, get a smaller slow cooker, or save some for reheating tomorrow. The most basic foolproof porridge is steel cut oats, which will be creamy and fabulous in the slow cooker. But you can experiment and mix any of the following grains.

brown rice
white rice
arborio rice (super creamy)

Go wild. Have a ball, and if you have any suggestions for dealing with the other morning panic topics, I would be so grateful.


  1. Elizabeth says

    I have just discovered your blog and have been transfixed for the last hour. You are a girl after my own heart! We have been making slow cooker oatmeal for years and thought I’d share how we do it. We use a full size slow cooker and fill it about 1/4 full of water. We put around 1 cup of grains (whole oats, whole barley, red fife wheat, etc – whatever combination I feel like putting together) in a 4 cup pyrex measuring glass with about 2.5 cups of water. Oat groats will absorb all the water, but if you use a combination of grains, you can get by with about 2.25 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt. Put the pyrex glass into the water bath in your slow cooker. We have found that cooking it on low all night will turn the grains a bit gooey by morning. I like it to be soft, but still have a bit of texture. We use one of those timers you can get for setting your lamps to go on and off when you are away. We set it to turn on the cooker (on low) about 4-5 hours before we wake up and it is so lovely to wake up to a perfectly cooked breakfast. We find that 1 kind of heaping cup of groats feeds 4 people.

  2. Maggie Alton says

    I am so trying this!!! I bought your book and have been slowly working my way through the recipes, and decided tonight to explore your blog. Your recipes and your personality are such a comfort. I grew up in a family where food (and where it comes from) was such a huge part of our lives, and I am trying to bring that back into my life after losing it for a few years in this hectic world. Thank you for the inspiration that your blog and book bring.

    • alana says

      Oh yes- do! We’ve found it’s been a life saver for school mornings. And thanks so much for your kind words–so glad you’re feeling inspired to bring food inspiration back in :)

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