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When I cook oatmeal, I usually do steel-cut oats in the slow-cooker overnight.

They are tasty, etc., but invariably there is a layer of oats stuck/burned on to the side walls of the ceramic slow-cooker pot.

Given that each experiment is an overnight job, I am wondering if anybody else has had this problem, and if so, how you solved it?

Would it be worth greasing the sides with butter - or will that impart some taste as it cooks for so long?

Other ideas?

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Try the butter: butter + oatmeal is good eats, a common topping a few decades ago. –  Bruce Alderson Nov 10 '10 at 0:33
    
Is there enough liquid left by morning? TFD's too long/too hot guess sounds likely. –  Jefromi Nov 10 '10 at 1:49
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3 Answers

Are you cooking too long or too hot?

Oats shouldn't burn; stuck oats should just soak off.

Crock Pot Tips:

  • Often the slow cooker's ceramic pot gets quite rough and can have cracks in the glaze. Try an oven proof glass pot inside the ceramic pot (or instead of it if it fits OK).
  • A hardware-store drill-speed-controller, or heater thermostat/controllers, can be used on slow cookers to reduce their heat. Also, a plugin timer can be used to time the cooking cycle.

Different Methods:

  • You can bring the oats to the boil and pour into a preheated thermos flask (with a wide opening) and leave overnight. Traditional oats or other grains were brought to the boil on the evening fire, and then the pot was put into a hay box* for breakfast and lunch the next day
  • Personally I cannot tell much difference between slow cooker oats and a serving of oats that were blasted in the microwave for three minutes. Just compensate with a little extra milk, and let stand five minutes before serving

* Large wooden box lined with dry straw or hay, with a cavity big enough for the lidded cooking, pot. More hay and a heavy lid placed on top (to keep the animals out)

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The recipe, such as it is, calls for the low setting, which I am using. There does seem to be enough liquid (i.e. the oats are not dry). They do indeed soak off - so not a huge problem, just a fine tuning. I'll try the butter... :-) –  sdg Nov 11 '10 at 2:57
    
@mfg nice edit, two years late though :-) –  TFD Aug 4 '12 at 23:28
    
The question was just ahead of its time –  mfg Aug 6 '12 at 13:32
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Two ideas:

1) From my own experience, not having the water/steel cut oats ratio correct results in it sticking more readily to the ceramic pot. What is your water/oats ratio? I do 9/2 in the slow cooker for about 8.5 hours.

2) After cooling the oatmeal in the ceramic dish, stick it in the fridge. When it is thoroughly chilled, use a plastic rice cooker spoon* to scrape the oatmeal out. It comes out quite cleanly. The little oatmeal that remains stuck to the inside is easy to clean out after a good few hours of soaking.

*The plastic rice scraper is perfect for the job because it will not damage the coating on your cooker, its design is perfect for scraping food out of round containers, and is robust enough to use some force without breaking.

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For most crock pot cooking I don't use these, but oatmeal is a terrific candidate for a crock pot liner like these. They are probably available at your local grocers. When your done, you just lift out the liner and throw it away. I use them for queso and they work wonderfully.

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