You can make this overnight the and enjoy it for breakfast the following day, or make a whole batch ahead and eat it throughout the week.
*To do this overnight, choose the LOW heat option and cook time.
Chopped walnuts, cashews, nut butter, yogurt, and/or milk to top as desired
Coat the bowl of the slow cooker with nonstick spray or rub with butter.
Stir together all ingredients into a 4-5 quart slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for about 3-4 hours. (It's okay if they sit on warm for a bit.)
Remove cover and stir.
Top with additional apples, a drizzle of honey or milk, or nuts, as desired.
Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Warm individual servings in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, adding milk or water to thin as needed. Add a little water or milk when you heat them up and stir to create the desired consistency.
Use any apple you like such as Pink Lady, Jonathan, Cortland, or Granny Smith.
Use unsweetened applesauce and unsweetened nondairy milk if your baby is under 1.
If there appears to be any separation after you take the lid off of the slow cooker, stir it well and it should resolve.
To make this on the stovetop: Add 5 cups of water to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add the oats, reduce to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped apple, cinnamon, and vanilla, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until soft. Stir in a little applesauce and milk as desired to flavor. Stir often while cooking as the oats can stick to the bottom of the pan if you don't stir regularly.
Gluten-free: Use certified gluten-free steel cut oats.
Stir leftover cold oats into plain whole milk yogurt for another baby or toddler (or mama!) breakfast or snack