Crock Pot Steel Cut Oats Fail

Unfortunately every recipe can’t be a winner.

I set out to make some creamy banana steel cut oats in the crock pot last night and had high hopes for the end result as I went to sleep.

When I went to scoop the oats into a bowl this morning, they stuck to the sides of the crock pot and looked pretty horrendous. I added a splash of milk and stirred everything up so they were at least salvageable, but they definitely  weren’t something to write home about.

I topped the oats with peanut butter, unsweetened coconut flakes and pecans.

crock pot steel cut oats 006

crock pot steel cut oats 010

The oats actually ended up tasting pretty darn delicious, but at first glance they looked awful. I just scooped around the oats that stuck to the sides and all was fine.

crock pot steel cut oats 007

I’m hoping to give a few more crock pot breakfast recipes a try as the Crock Pot Challenge continues. I’ve seen some phenomenal ones out there! Hopefully they’ll be a little more successful than today’s attempt.


Today’s workout began with 20 minutes on the elliptical before it was time to make my abs burn with a core circuit workout from Tina’s Best Body Boot Camp.

One again, the scorpion exercise absolutely schooled me. Yikes!

Question of the Morning

  • What is the last recipe you attempted that didn’t quite work out the way you thought it would?


  1. says

    It was actually crock-pot oats that I tried and failed! It stuck to the sides and was burnt. No fun! Even the center wasn’t delicious like yours was. Oh well, you live and learn, right? :)


    • says

      i read the comments on a few recipe posts about crock pot steel cut oats on some awesome food blogs and it sounds like this is an issue for a LOT of people. it seems like the temperatures of crock pots vary quite a bit.


      • says

        A friend of mine told me that if you spray the inside with non-stick spray before adding the ingredients, not mixing the ingredients, and putting the crock pot on “warm” rather than “low” or “high”, for about 10 hours makes it perfect. I have yet to try it since I’m still recovering from my failed crock pot oatmeal recipe 😉 But I plan to very soon!


        • Jen Clark says

          Missy that sounds like a good idea. We have had a bad oatmeal dish and I thought it was because the crockpot was too hot. I will have to try this trick!


  2. says

    Even though it didn’t look pretty, it still sounds pretty good! I constantly have problems with omelettes flipping properly. When I’m just making them with no photography intentions, things go beautifully. But it’s like my pan knows when I’m making one for the blog and decides not to cooperate!


  3. Ariana says

    Homemade Turkey Burgers. Like, the kind that you make from ground turkey. Usually, they taste pretty good, but OF COURSE the one time that I have my friends over for dinner and muster up the courage to cook for them (I’m very shy about cooking for other people) we were out of certain ingredients, so at the suggestion of my MOTHER (love her!) I substituted other things and this for that etc. They were dry. And by dry, I mean desert summer, no rain for months, sun never goes down dry. And lumpy/crumbly. And just…bad.


    • says

      “And by dry, I mean desert summer, no rain for months, sun never goes down dry.” < -- that made me laugh out loud! i'm sorry the burgers didn't turn out well, but you described them perfectly. :) ha!


  4. Crystal says

    Vegetarian crock pot lasagna! Worst dish I’ve ever made and one of the only times my husband wasn’t shy about asking me not to make it again. I knew it didn’t have enough seasoning when I looked at the recipe, but I followed it anyway. Also, the pasta didn’t cook evenly. If you find a good crockpot lasagna recipe, please share!


      • Courtney says

        I found this Crock-Pot Lasagna recipe by Jessica Seinfeld:
        Prep time: 20 minutes
        Total time: 3 hours and 50 minutes
        Serves 6-8


        2 28-ounce cans
        crushed tomatoes

        4 cloves
        garlic, finely chopped

        2 tablespoons
        dried oregano

        1/2 teaspoon
        kosher salt

        1/4 teaspoon
        red pepper flakes

        1/4 teaspoon
        freshly ground black pepper

        2 15-ounce containers
        fresh ricotta

        2 cups
        grated mozzarella (8 ounces)

        1/4 cup
        grated Parmesan

        lasagna noodles (about 3/4 of a 1-pound box)

        5 ounces
        baby spinach (about 6 cups packed)

        In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper and black pepper (12 turns on pepper mill). In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella and the Parmesan.

        In the bottom of a 5 to 6-quart slow cooker, spread a thin layer of the sauce. Top with 4 of the noodles (breaking to fit as necessary.) Spread 1 1/2 cups of the sauce over the noodles and layer with 2 cups of the spinach and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture. Repeat twice more with the noodles, sauce, spinach and cheese mixture. Top with the remaining 4 noodles, sauce and 1 cup mozzarella.

        Cook on low, covered, until the noodles are tender—especially in the center of the lasagna, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

        helpful hints
        Be sure to cover the noodles completely with sauce so they don’t dry out
        Break the noodles to fit in the slow cooker as best you can; a little layering is okay
        Test the noodles for doneness by inserting a paring knife in the middle of the lasagna (if it goes in easily it’s done)


  5. says

    Something similar like that happened to me! I made crockpot overnight apple cinnamon oatmeal and parts got stuck to the sides of my crockpot too. Despite the fact that some got stuck, it still tasted fantastic and I would make it again in a heartbeat. I think maybe next time I’ll try spraying the inside with non-stick spray. That might help :)


  6. says

    I’ve definitely had my fair share of cooking flops too! I used to think I could throw anything together to bake desserts but have since learned that following some sort of recipe is pretty vital!


  7. says

    My crockpot oatmeal NEVER turns out, so when I want to make steel cut oats ahead of time, I just make Angela’s (OhSheGlows) make-ahead steel cuts oats. Four servings, not burnt, and you can switch out toppings as you see fit. :-)


  8. says

    Have you tried using a water bath?? You put your oatmeal in a smaller dish inside the crockpot and fill the sides of the crockpot with a few inches of water. It “steams” and cooks the oatmeal but it doesn’t stick to the sides. You can set it on low overnight and then just give a quick stir in the morning. I know some people put a plate on the bottom to lift the dish up away from the hating element too. You should give it a try.


      • Kimberly J says

        I always make my crock pot steel cut oats in a water bath. I put my ingredients in a four-cup glass measuring cup, set that in the crock and put water in around it until it comes halfway up the side of the cup. They come out perfectly every time. I do have to adjust the amounts a recipe calls for sometimes, though.


      • says

        I have to agree with the other two..I found you website looking for a new recipe to fix original recipe advised to do it in a smaller bowl inside the cooker with a water bath. .and I’ve always had excellent results!! Try it again!


  9. PattiR says

    My last new recipe fail was actually dinner last night!! I made lasagna rolls, but followed a new recipe that called for lemon zest mixed in with the ricotta mixture. It was an epic fail as far as my husband and i were concerned. My two daughters loved it though!

    I signed up for Tina’s BBBC this round too (thanks to you!!) and those scorpions whooped my butt this AM too! Last week after the core workout, my butt hurt worse than my core!!


  10. Ashley W says

    I make crockpot oats all the time, but the first few times I had the same issues you did. The trick I found to work is to put the oats and water into small heat safe dish ( I use a glass Pyrex bowl) that has been greased. Sit the bowl directly into the crock pot bowl and cook as usual. I use 1 c oats and 5 c water. It makes about 5 servings so I throw the bowl into the fridge and eat them all week.


  11. Sarah says

    What about the crock pot liners? I’ve tried them a few times and it makes clean up so easy. You just have to make sure your crock pot will be more than half full otherwise the plasticy bag likes to stick to the side of the crock pot.


  12. says

    I attemped “monkey cookies” which are oats, cocoa powder, bananas, and vanilla extract combined together and somehow they turned out awful! I’m not sure how I can mess up something so easy, but they were pretty bad! Hahah!


  13. christy says

    I actually tried your Nutella Granola last night! First off for SOME strange reason they made my oven smoke as they baked for 20 minutes. Perhaps it was because I put them on wax paper? After they were done and cool, they were ROCK hard! I bit a few pieces off and the taste was good but I definitely would have broken some teeth trying to eat those suckers!


      • christy says

        Next time I’ll just go with a greased pan like she says in the directions! I tried getting out of having to wash the pan last night! My laziness punished my belly! lol


    • Sue says

      I had to LOL because my sister forgot to put sugar in her pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and didn’t know why everyone took a piece and only ate a bite. She found out the reason after she took a bite of it herself. I forgot to put sugar in some chocolate cookies before. They couldn’t be fixed either. I tried to put frosting on them and they were still bitter. I bet your relish as a just a “little” sour!!


  14. says

    Well. I think they look great! Maybe it’s just all of the toppings… They make everything better :)

    Fail for me: pureed soup. I don’t like smooth soup. I’m a chunky kind of gal, and the carrot soup that I tried to make- It worked, but it just didn’t “work,” you know?


  15. says

    I am glad your oats ended up tasting good! I have had a few recipe fails in my day, it makes me so upset when it happens too. I did however have a success in the form of your crock pot garam masal chicken, it was delicious and I cannot wait to make it again!


  16. says

    I had a crock pot fail when I got lazy. I made chicken noodle soup in the crock pot, and the chicken, vegetables, and flavor were PERFECT. But I put the noodles in in the morning too because I didn’t want to mess around with that later. Terrible idea :)


  17. Kaelee says

    Could’ve fooled me! Those oats look delicious, but I’ll take your word for it. I’m glad I’m not the only one who really tries to salvage food fails! :)


  18. says

    Crock Pot oatmeal is on my list of things to try, but I’ve feared this happening, too! I’m going to have to remember some of the suggestions in the comments. I don’t want to make the clean up anymore work than it is normally. 😉


  19. alli says

    I had trouble with crock pot oats too! I loved waking up to the smell, but I couldn’t get myself to eat them (too burnt). You win some, you lose some :)


  20. Jen Clark says

    My hubby tried to make oatmeal in the crockpot and it was awful! I think he let it cook for too long. It may be worth it to try again if you find a recipe that works.


  21. Courtney says

    Two tips for oatmeal in the slow cooker: first, make sure you butter the bottom and sides of your crockpot. Use a paper towel and a pat of butter, and really slather the bottom and sides. This helps me enormously with the sticking issue. The second, even on low, my crockpot only needs 4 hours to make steel cut oats. I don’t think this can be an overnight thing unless you have a timer and a delay start on your crockpot!


  22. Sammie says

    I read a recipe online that said it needs to be done in a smaller slow cooker…or double the recipe?? That is what detered me from making it :( Let us know if you perfect the recipe!!


  23. says

    Oh boy, where to begin.. I guess I’d say this carrot/rosemary/lentil soup I made once because it looked so pretty in the magazine I pulled the recipe from. It wasn’t until after I made that I realized I’m not even the biggest fan of mushy carrots OR lentils. I also tried to make this lightened up veggie pot pie not too long ago… I ate it, but it was, as you said, nothing to write home about. When cooking, often things sound soooo much better in my head than the actual execution haha I give kudos to people who develop actually GOOD recipes daily. Needless to say, I’m better at baking. 😉

    ps. My first crockpot meal of the challenge is up on my blog today; Chili, if you’re interested!


  24. Sarah says

    Fail proof overnight steel cuts… One chopped apple, 1 cup oats, 2 cups water, being to boil, remove from heat, cover and sit overnight. In the am add one cup milk of choice while heating. I swear they are perfect every time!!!


  25. says

    Bah! I hate it when a recipe turns out to be a fail, especially when high hopes were involves. Its funny because I’ve heard a lot of people rave about making steel cut oats in the crock pot… maybe you just used a bad recipe? And speaking of which, my last recipe fail was a batch of gingersnap cookies. They actually came out delicious, but not gingersnappy in the least – there was almost no spice or kick to them, so they ended up tasting like plain old sugar cookies. Not a bad thing, but not what I was going for.


  26. says

    Fail Butternut Squash Casserole. I left the squash in the refrigerator, so I couldn’t cut into it -and ended up burning myself trying to soften it in the microwave. When I roasted the squash that I managed to salvage, I left bananas on top of the toaster oven and burnt those, too. My house smelled like rotten bananas for a week.
    The dish ended up coming out tasty, but it wasn’t worth the aggrivation!


  27. says

    That’s good they were at least salvageable! It’s the worst when all is ruined! What do you think went wrong if you don’t mind me asking? I’m glad they still tasted good! The last thing I messed up was pasta when I tried to use greek yogurt for sauce… Apparently it doesn’t hold it’s texture when you heat it up it looks like cottage cheese!


  28. Haley says

    I absolutely love apple cinnamon oatmeal in the crock pot! It’s a great way to get rid of apples that are about to go bad. I sprayed the inside of my crock pot with nonstick spray and some of it still stuck, but it came off easily.

    I used this recipe :)
    I used almond milk and splenda with mine and they turned out delicious. I only cooked them for 7 hours, thankfully my crock pot has a timer so they didn’t overcook.


  29. Emily says

    My recipe fail came from Pinterest (where I get a TON of great recipes). I made Ground Beef Risotto. Oh it was bland. Too much work for no flavor. My poor husband dumped a ton of ketchup on it to make it salvageable. That one went on the Pinterest “Recipe Fail” board. But hey, it never hurts to try something different!


  30. says

    Oh man, I feel like I’m always failing in the kitchen! The last recipe I made that really didn’t turn out and was damn near inedible was my attempt to make “pudding” with avocado and cocoa powder. I just didn’t like it at all…I think I tried using almond milk instead of coconut milk or something. It was pretty gross.


  31. says

    Bummer…at least they look pretty tasty. Glad you were able to salvage them….I hate wasting food. I’ve done steel-cut oats in the crockpot that came out pretty tasty. Maybe I should recreate them for the challenge!


  32. Amber says

    I always use crock pot bags! There are a snap when it comes to clean up time. I recently tried an overnight oatmeal, it looked pretty horrible, but tasted great. Guess looks can be deceiving.


  33. says

    Even though they didn’t turn out as great as you’d hoped they still look really delicious to me!!! A few times, I have made different muffins or breads that have turned out not as sweet as I would have liked but I just top them with PB or something sweet and it saves them :)


  34. says

    Last week, I made bacon-wrapped wienies (we call it “pork on pork” .. lol!) and planned to bring them to my in-laws for a football party. I didn’t have any issue making them..they looked and smelled delicious. But unfortunately..dumb me FORGOT THE CROCK POT on the counter at home when we left. FAIL! Needless to say, we returned home to some veeery burnt wienies.. :(


  35. says

    I tried to cook a roast in the crock pot one time on high but didn’t give it enough time for its size – it was so tough and raw in the middle. The vegetables weren’t even cooked – it was terrible!


  36. says

    Sorry bout your breakfast bummer. I rarely ruin anything because I hardly ever stray from my 15-20 go to recipes. Luckily the Mister likes to stick to his favorites. Makes my life easier and we waste less food on me flubbing all the time (because I probably would!).


  37. says

    There was a spaghetti squash recipe that involved ground turkey and goat cheese with an odd assortment of spices (can’t remember what they were) that seemed so promising.. and after one bite, everyone in my family was BEYOND done!!!


  38. Betsy says

    I’ve had major fails with oatmeal in the slow cooker as well. I’m going to try putting a smaller dish inside the slow cooker, as other readers have suggested. However, here are a few tips that worked for me….

    Make sure you have at least a 5:1 ratio between liquid and steelcut oats. Spray the slow cooker with Pam before you put anything in. Don’t use all milk (soymilk, almond milk) — instead, the liquid should be at least half water. I’ve found that using all almond milk, while making the oatmeal very creamy, also increases the likelihood it’s going to stick/burn. The crockpot should be about 2/3 full. Lastly, consider stirring in some oil, like flaxseed oil or flavored olive oil. In addition to helping with the sticking issue, you get some healthy fats, too!


  39. Rit says

    I have one really bad crock pot fail….orange chicken. Essentially it was breaded chicken with some orange juice concentrate, soy sauce, etc. It came out hard as a ROCK. The chicken was far overcooked and the breading was solid around it. The sad thing is, I ate it all. Me and my post grad budget just couldn’t justify throwing it away :(


  40. Beccalou says

    I am doing this round of Tina’s BBBC as well, and those scorpions are just killer every time! A very humbling exercise, for sure, but SO effective. I’m already feeling the burn in my core and glutes from today’s workout, and I haven’t even done the cardio intervals yet….LOVE IT!


  41. Laura says

    Two tips for crock pot oats!

    1) use a RICE COOKER instead of a crock pot — they are nonstick (the slightly nicer ones are at least) and they do a muuuuuch better job, I promise! :)

    2) if you still want to use a crock pot, try a water bath — put a couple inches of water inside the crock pot, then stick a heat-safe bowl inside so the water comes up around the sides. Then put the oats in the bowl. This doesn’t work for everyone, but I’ve tried it and it came out great!

    Good luck! :)


  42. says

    My mom and I tried crockpot meatballs from Pinterest, and it was a disaster. I don’t think we browned them enough , so when we put them in the crockpot they turned to mush. Our dogs wouldn’t even touch it!


  43. Julie Spence says

    I make crock pot steel cut oats almost every day and you just have to make sure the amount of water you put in is the right amount for the amount of time you’re cooking them! I usually put about 1/2 cup steel cuts in my big crock pot, add about 3 cups water and leave it on low overnight and i’ve never had a problem! I LOVE them!


  44. says

    They look so creamy!! Yum! I’ve had that happen with overnight oats before though, where I don’t add nearly enough liquid so it just ends up being totally solid and chewy. Totally edible though so that’s all that matters right? 😉


  45. says

    I make crock pot cranberry sauce every holiday season that in past years has been delicious! I made it last year and put it away right after making. When I got it out and took a taste, it was awful! I couldn’t figure out what went wrong until I realized I had grabbed and used turmeric instead of cinnamon, and the recipe has LOTS of cinnamon. EPIC FAIL.


  46. says

    Well from the picture, you certainly can’t tell it was a fail! I think the toppings cover it up nicely :) Put peanut butter on anything and it is instantly better.


  47. says

    I tried a butternut squash soup recipe this weekend and, while it was good, it was lacking some flavor. It only had 5 ingredients and only 100 calories (and zero fat!), but I think I’d add something more to it the next time around!


  48. says

    I’m not very adventurous when it comes to new recipes but my dad certainly is. He was watching the Food Network one day and saw them make chipotle coleslaw which he then decided to try and make. Needless to say, he made gallons of it and it was way too hot to eat. It was definitely worth the laugh though!


  49. says

    I have so many failed recipes, haha! The last one I can think of is this ‘special’ oatmeal cookie I wanted to make that ended up becoming chewy granola 0_0 it was probably one of the worst kitchen flops I’ve ever had 😛


  50. says

    I used greaseproof paper in instead of baking parchment in the pan for my baked pancake this morning…it stuck and was completely un-salvageable! Kath over at Kath Eats always makes oats in her crockpot, you should pop her a tweet to see how she does it!


  51. says

    I thought I read the title of your post wrong when I saw these pictures because those look delicious! I always just top my oats with PB but I think I need to start trying just normal nuts/coconuts/granola.

    I definitely learned to try and avoid trying to “healthify” a recipe because sometimes when it calls for 3 TBS. of butter, you just need to suck it up and use the butter.


  52. says

    I LOVE my crockpot! I’m actually making dinner in it tonight :) I know how you feel about the recipe fail though. I’ve had it happen plenty of times. They can’t all be winners, I suppose!


  53. Stephanie Clement says

    Hi Julie!

    I was just wondering why you’ve stopped blogging as much? Haven’t seen many dinner posts in a while and miss hearing about your healthy lifestyle outside of morning breakfast, workout and lunch.

    Hope 2013 is treatin’ ya well!


    • says

      hey stephanie! i am hoping to share some more dinner ideas/recipes in the coming weeks (thanks, in part, to the crock pot challenge)! i’ve actually been focusing a lot on outside projects and am doing my best to step away from the computer at night rather than blog after dinner, but i’m not sure if the change is permanent. thanks for taking the time to comment. i definintely want to blog more about dinner in the future!


  54. says

    I had BIG plans for a roasted butternut squash/apple soup recipe and it was something I’d planned to share on my blog. It SUCKED LOL!!! I ended up throwing it out — I’m not sure where I went wrong but it definitely needs to go through a few more trials before I’ll be sharing it with anyone!


  55. says

    I love my crock pot. In the Winter I use it 3-5 times a week sometimes. Last night I made a delicious rump roast with lots of spices in there with homemade bread. So good!
    I tried making The Pioneer Woman’s meatloaf and it looked awful, tasted awful.. Nothing went right! I’m not a huge meatloaf person anyways so I wasn’t too bummed.


  56. says

    I ALWAYS have that issue with steal cut outs even when I simply boil them in a pot. I think I read that adding a little bit of salt helps keep it from sticking, although I could totally be pulling that out of my butt!


  57. says

    I was making
    CrockPot Hot Fudge Cake and used SALT instead of SUGAR!!!
    It was like licking a salt block!

    It was at my inlaws, too! Everyone was so excited to taste…Oh, grr!
    (My husband’s grandmother puts her baking products in containers (that are unmarked) and I didn’t pay attention.) I am definitely more cautious now….:)


  58. laura says

    i have to be brutally honest and say your chick pea garam masala crock pot recipe from the other day was TERRIBLE when i made it!!! I was so sad, as i was so excited and had to buy all the ingredients especially for that, and it was terrible! I thought it was so bland! are you sure you didn’t mean tablespoons of the garam masala versus teaspoons? I even added more of the spice from the beginning because I do like very flavorful dishes, and still found it extremely bland. My poor boyfriend equated it to hash–and literally choked it down after dousing it in hot sauce to give it any sort of flavor! When thinking about it, I think all the components are really bland–chick peas, cauliflower, chicken, and crushed tomatoes. do you think i did anything wrong?? it literally tasted like mush. I know recipes all can’t be winners but i can’t believe you raved about it so much!! anyone else have the same issues? it was just so bland! sorry julie :)


  59. Kelly says

    I make steel cut oats in my crockpot all the time. When I first started my looked a lot like you described. What I found after a bunch of Googling was that crockpots these days are much different than years ago. Low = high etc. So now I put mine on keep warm overnight and the last 90 minutes of so turn it to high. It makes the perfect consistency and doesn’t get all stuck to the crockpot.



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