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Steel cut oats -- rice cooker vs slow cooker?

The cooling weather turned my thoughts to porridge, which we had this morning to great satisfaction -- my daughter (2) literally gobbled it down. We've always saved this for the weekend because of the cooking time, but I'd thought I'd try the overnight version. My problem is that our slow cooker is quite large, so i wondered whether the rice cooker would do. When we bought our rice cooker, however, I recall stern warnings about cooking anything other than rice in it. (It's a Japanese brand, beginning with Z...) Any thoughts or wisdom? The search also came up with one person who boiled the oats the night before, let them sit, and finished them off in the morning...


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  1. Apparently a lot of people are cooking a wide variety of recipes using their rice cookers (even chicken and rice). It is, after all, a vessel inside of which food items can be cooked. If you're concerned about it then perhaps it would be best if you didn't try it. I'm more adventurous I guess; I'd give it a shot.


    1. I've done both and it's fine. For mornings, though, I find it easier to make a big batch and keep it refrigerated. I microwave a serving in the morning (with added milk because I like it thinner). The biggest problem I've had in the rice cooker, and it's been a while, is that it can spill over if you're not careful. And, with the rice cooker, you need to turn it on and wait while with the crockpot, it's ready when you are.

      1. I have long had an on/off/warm rice cooker. Recently I bought a programmable rice cooker. I am blown away by how versatile it is! I let my oats (McCann's Scottish oats) soak overnight in the rice cooker with the setting on porridge. I can set the timer for it to be all done at whatever time I want. I find that we like it best if we allow it to sit for 30-60 minutes on the warm cycle before eating. At night I measure out the oats and water, add raisins and walnuts, some cinnamon, and we have the most outstanding oatmeal waiting for us in the morning. I just purchased The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook to pursue many more options.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Jane917

          What brand of programmable rice cooker did u get? Is it working well? Thank you.

          1. re: pinkheart_5

            This is an old thread, but I have a programmable Sanyo rice cooker and love it. I've had it about 5 years. You put the rice and water in, set the time you want the rice to be ready, and go. I set it in the morning before I go to work and it's ready for dinner when I get home.

            It also had setting for other types of rice (mixed, brown, etc) as well as a soup setting. I've only made rice in it (including rice with "things" like pandan leaves, sliced ginger, sliced lap cheong, etc).

            1. re: boogiebaby

              Thank you boogiebaby for your reply.

        2. Honestly if you have a microwave try the version on McCanns website. I use it 3-4 mornings a week for delicious oatmeal in 10 minutes the only think I would say is play with the water ratio if you like your oats a little loose

          1. I also have an overnight version, however it's stove top.

            Boil the water, dump in the oats, give it a stir, cover, and instantly take it off the heat. If you have an electric stove like me, don't just turn it off, move the pan off the burner.

            kitchen notes:

            My pans are heavy bottomed so they retain the heat.
            Use a larger pot than you'd think, against possible boil up.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Louise

              i do that too. works fine.
              and i make extra, which i reheat on the other mornings.
              oats are more resilient than you think!

              1. re: Louise

                Discovering this method was a life saver for me last winter when I had to haul my carcass out of bed in the pitch dark. No more groggily nursing a pan of oats at 5:00 a.m.

                I've also done the big batch on the weekends and I find I much prefer the [boil - let sit overnight - reheat] method.

              2. During a recent dieting experience, I developed a method for cooking steel cut oats that might interest you. It isn’t a “quickie” method - but the end product is worth the thirty minute prep. time.

                I use ¼ cup dry oats to 1 cup water per serving in this method.

                Four servings:
                1 cup steel cut oats
                4 cups boiling water
                2 cups heated 2% milk
                4 Tbsp honey

                Bring water to a boil, add the steel cut oats and return to boil.
                Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook uncovered, stirring periodically, twenty minutes. Add the hot milk, return to slow boil and leave the heat reduced to simmer for another five to seven minutes, stirring about every minute or so while the oats thicken.
                Stir in the honey, turn off the heat, let stand five minutes and serve.
                Thick, creamy, only about 285 calories per serving and a rib sticking tasty breakfast.

                1 Reply
                1. re: todao

                  I also lost weight on "no white carbs". For us carb addicts: make with water and add butter for taste, and so it won't stick. Add some cream or half and half after it's done. Even as a kid, with milk, I added the milk after the oatmeal was cooked, but milk is full of sugar. Use a little stevia or agave, instead of honey. I also add any kind of fruit, any kind of nut, as long as they are natural, especially no sugar added.

                  For a period of time with no income, I had the steele cut oats every morning, as much as I wanted. I cooked up a large pot of beans with fat ham. Froze the extra. Ate homemade whole wheat cornbread (I don't even like sugar in it, so I don't add it) with as much real butter as I wanted. You can have the oatmeal because beans block carbs. I also cooked a large pot of fatty beef vegetable soup (I like cabbage in it, which is great for weight loss), and froze the extra. I had bought extra ham, cubed and froze it for occasional meal with eggs, squash. A favorite: butternut squash, pecans and ham. I like butter in that, too. Butter fights osteoporosis.