Slow Cooker Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats with Cranberry Sauce

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I’ve got two important breakfast tips for you on Thanksgiving morning: (1) make it simple, and (2) don’t deprive yourself trying to “save up” for the big meal. I’ll be eating these pumpkin steel cut oats and highly recommend you do the same for your whole family. Sticking them in the slow cooker makes cooking easy, and my time-saving hack for clean up will keep your kitchen from getting too chaotic on Thanksgiving Day!

My Time-Saving Tip

These pumpkin steel cut oats are so easy to make. My big time-saving tip for this recipe isn’t even using the slow cooker, it’s the fact that there is no clean up involved! Just place a glass bowl in the slow cooker basin and fill the basin with water up to an inch or so below the bowl’s rim. Then put the ingredients in the bowl. Come morning, you won’t have oats crusted on the slow cooker and won’t need to let it soak in the sink. The glass bowl can just go in the dishwasher and you can get on with your day. You’re welcome!

Pre-Workout Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats

Oats probably became a normal Thanksgiving meal for me as a pre-turkey trot meal, because I know they fuel my runs well. This Thanksgiving circuit workout is another great option for getting some movement in on the holiday, and it can be done anywhere. Oats work well pre-workout for most people, so give them a try if you’ll be getting your sweat on Thanksgiving morning! As always, make sure that if you choose to workout you’re doing it for you, not because you feel you “should”. Sometimes working out doesn’t fit in with holiday plans or you’d rather spend that time doing something else you enjoy, which is perfectly fine, too!

Pumpkin Steel Cut Oat Toppings

Even better than the ease of this recipe, you can get a taste of Thanksgiving Dinner if you make the cranberry sauce in advance and add it to your oats in the morning. It’s the perfect combination of fall flavors and colors! In the morning, you can also add your favorite nut or seed butter and any other toppings you desire. This way, everyone can enjoy personalized oats based on what they are craving and you’ll all be feeling satisfied and energized.

Honoring Your Hunger on Thanksgiving Day

Honoring your hunger is important every day, and that applies to holidays, too! Our culture makes many people feel like they need to “save up” for holiday meals, but skipping breakfast or undereating will make it harder to focus on enjoying the day with loved ones. Plus, if you nourish yourself adequately during the day, you’ll be less likely to eat to uncomfortable fullness at dinner and more likely to mindfully eat your favorite Thanksgiving foods to satisfaction. No feelings of deprivation before and no food coma feeling after. By giving yourself permission to eat earlier in the day, you’ll enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and dessert more than ever before, and once you hit that optimal level of fullness and satisfaction, remember that the leftovers will be there tomorrow.


Slow Cooker Cranberry Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats

With a satisfying blend of fall flavors and easy clean up, these cranberry pumpkin oats are the perfect breakfast to fuel up for Thanksgiving Day!
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4



  • Put a large glass bowl in slow cooker basin and fill basin with water up to 1 inch below top of bowl.
  • Add all ingredients except cranberry sauce to bowl.
  • Set on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Add cranberry sauce and choice of nuts, seeds, or nut butter in the morning.
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pumpkin spice steel cut oats


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  1. I often look over breakfast because I do want to “save my calories,” but you’re right it’s a terrible idea! Looks great!