Slow-Cooker Whole-Grain Breakfasts

These three, sweet-but-savory, slow-cooker porridges will set you up right for the day ahead.
Slow-Cooker Breakfast

Everybody wants to eat more whole grains. But there’s one problem: They can take a long time to cook. Thankfully, a slow cooker solves that problem. Its low, slow heat mellows steel-cut oats, millet, farro, and quinoa to perfection, and requires not much more than a stir the night before.

So fire up the slow cooker — then set your alarm. Breakfast will be ready when you roll out of bed. (With two warnings: One, these recipes are not designed for a giant 6 1/2- or 7-quart slow cooker. Who wants to make 12 servings of breakfast? And two, modern slow cookers flip to a “keep warm” setting after they’ve finished cooking — a boon to those who oversleep! However, no whole-grain cereal will keep warm for more than a couple of hours without getting gummy. So the early bird gets the worm. Or the cereal, as the case might be.)

You’ll want to stock up on whole grains for lots of comforting breakfasts as the weather gets chilly. Store these grains in a cool, dark place — like a pantry far from the heat of the kitchen. Some small grains — like millet — should be stored in the freezer after opening to keep them fresh. Always smell a package of whole grains before you use them to check if they’ve gone rancid. No one wants that for breakfast!

Slow-Cooker Oatmeal with Dried Cherries

Steel-cut oats (sometimes called “Irish oats”) are about as “whole grain” as you can get. They’re just the oat groats, sliced into bits to become a hearty, healthy meal. Even better, the slow cooker’s long, slow heat softens the oats to perfection with nary a worry. If you know you’re going to hit the snooze alarm more than once, consider increasing the water by 1/4 cup.

Makes 6 servings
PointsPlus® value | 5 per serving

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups steel-cut oats (do not use rolled oats or quick-cooking oats)
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. 1. Stir water, steel-cut oats, chopped dried cherries, honey, cinnamon, and salt in a 4- to 5 1/2-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. (The porridge can keep on warm setting for 1 hour.)
Serving size: about 3/4 cup

Vanilla-Almond Quinoa and Millet Porridge

Here’s an unusual but sophisticated porridge, even a little savory despite the maple syrup. Read the package of quinoa carefully: Some quinoa has been rinsed; others need rinsing. Follow the directions on your package. And watch out for that millet. Among the smallest grains in the supermarket, millet is a nightmare to sweep up if you spill any. Measure it over the sink, just in case.

Makes 6 servings
PointsPlus® value | 5 per serving

Ingredients

  • 5 cups plain, unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp white quinoa
  • 1/2 cup millet (do not use millet grits)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. 1. Stir almond milk, quinoa, millet, maple syrup, raisins, and vanilla in a 4- to 5 1/2-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. (The porridge can keep on warm setting for 1 hour.)
Serving size: 1 cup

Oat and Farro Porridge with Dates and Coconut

Mixing grains like these in the slow cooker adds more texture and flavor to a comforting, warm, morning porridge. If you intend to sleep a little later — or if you’re making this for a weekend morning — add up to 1/4 cup additional water with the other ingredients.

Makes 6 servings
PointsPlus® value | 6 per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups fat-free milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup steel-cut oats (do not use regular rolled oats or quick-cooking oats)
  • 2/3 cup farro
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped, pitted dates
  • 3 Tbsp unpacked brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

Instructions

  1. 1. Stir milk, water, steel-cut oats, farro, coconut, dates, brown sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a 4- to 5 1/2-quart slow cooker until the brown sugar dissolves. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. (The porridge can keep on warm setting for 1 hour.)
Serving size: 1 cup

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