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Instant Pot Oatmeal Recipe (with rolled or steel oats)

Make a hearty breakfast of perfectly creamy, healthy, comforting instant pot oatmeal with rolled oats or steel-cut oats. And, avoid the dreaded burn message, get inspired with yummy toppings and amp up the nutrition for you and your kids.

Just 3 simple ingredients – oats, water, salt. We’ve done the research and testing to gather all the tips and tricks for you.

2 bowls of oatmeal, one with berries, one with bananas and raisins and nuts

Why bother making oatmeal in an instant pot?

Is the instant pot method faster than the stove top?

  • For rolled oats, no (stove top 5-10 minutes, instant pot 20 minutes).
  • For steel oats, yes (stove top 30-40 minutes, instant pot 20 minutes)

When you factor in the time it takes for the instant pot to come to pressure and do a partial natural release, there is no time advantage for rolled oats (there is for steel cut oats). Keep in mind, we’re not talking about instant oats here.

So what’s the deal?

3 advantages to using an instant pot for oatmeal

  1. No babysitting while it cooks, meaning you don’t have to change the heat levels and stir.
  2. It’s quicker for steel-cut oats.
  3. For a larger group, you can leave the oatmeal on ‘warm’ for 90 minutes without affecting the taste or texture while you take care of other stuff.

Tailor to your taste

There are a few variations and substitutions for this nutritious breakfast, the main one being how you dress up your oatmeal with toppings or nutritional extras.

Oatmeal on its own is a super healthy natural food. Certain toppings like brown sugar or maple syrup can alter that. But are they good!

Choose your oats – Steel-cut or rolled oats

Steel cut oats are chewier, nuttier and more dense with slightly more fiber (6 grams vs 5 grams). Old fashioned rolled oats have a milder, creamier smooth consistency. The instant pot process and cooking time is the same for both. Don’t use quick oats or instant oats for this recipe as they may become too mushy or gluey.

Liquid options

I use water since I like to add cream afterwards 🙂 You can also use half water and half non-dairy milk like almond milk or soy milk. I suggest you don’t use regular cows milk as some say it causes the instant pot to burn.

Flavor combinations

Add any toppings you love – healthy or splurge-y. My dad loved oatmeal with salt and a splash of cream. I’m a cream and brown sugar fan. Here’s a few ideas for inspiration.

  • Fresh fruit and nuts – blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, bananas, apples, pears, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Fall version – sprinkle on pumpkin pie spice and a splash of maple syrup
  • Tropical version – banana slices, kiwi slices and grated coconut
  • Carrot cake oatmeal – mix in finely grated carrot, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins then top with maple syrup and a dollop of yogurt.
  • Banana bread-ish – sliced bananas, cinnamon, chopped nuts.
  • Simple decadence – half and half cream + brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon
  • Other toppings – chopped dates, chocolate chips, peanut butter, almond butter, granola.

Make an even healthier version for you or your toddler

Add one or more of these simple ingredients while cooking the oatmeal:

  • 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds (packed with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids). Add a little extra water too.
  • 1/2 tablespoon flax seeds (high in fiber, good protein and excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids).
  • Chopped prunes (good fiber). My grandson loved this as a baby as the prunes have a natural sweetness.
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin purée.

How to make instant pot oatmeal

rolled oats, water, salt
Ingredients: rolled oats (or steel oats), water, pinch of salt
water, oats and salt in instant pot
Place oats, water salt into instant pot. Pressure cook for 2 minutes. Do a natural release for 10 minutes.
oatmeal in instant pot not yet stirred
The oatmeal looks like this after cooking and before stirring.
creamy oatmeal in instant pot
Stir the oatmeal to a creamy finish. If too thick, add a splash of water or milk or cream.
bowl of oatmeal topped with bananas raisins maple syrup nuts
Add your favorite toppings and dig in. This oatmeal has bananas, walnuts, raisins and maple syrup.
5 mini bowls of oatmeal with various toppings
bowl of oatmeal topped with bananas raisins maple syrup nuts p

Recipe FAQ

What kind of oats should I use?

There are two types of oats – rolled oats and steel-cut oats. They are both whole grain oats (groats) but manufactured differently. Rolled oats are steamed, rolled and flattened (so they cook more quickly). Steel oats, also called Irish oatmeal, are cut into small grains and are chewier and nuttier. There are 3 types of rolled oats – old fashioned, quick-cooking oats and instant oats. For this recipe, it’s best to use old fashioned rolled oats or steel cut oats. If you only have quick oats, use a bit less water.

Which kind of oats are healthiest?

According to healthline, oats are nutrient-dense whole grains that are rich in soluble fiber and a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. And, gluten-free (check to package though). Old fashioned oats, quick oats and steel-cut oats all have similar nutritional content. Steel cut oats have a slight edge on fiber. Instant oatmeal is the least nutritious as packages often contain added salt and sugar.

How do you keep oatmeal from burning in the instant pot?

I have made this recipe many times and never had a burn message. Since some readers on other sites have mentioned this problem, I found 4 ways to prevent the burn message. 1) Don’t use cow’s milk. Only use water or non dairy milk like almond milk or soy milk. 2) Make sure the seal ring is properly in place on the lid. 3) if using an 8 quart pot, double the recipe. 4) Someone suggested spraying the bottom of the pot with oil.

What is the ratio of liquid to oats for instant pot oatmeal?

Rolled oats – 2:1 (2 cups of water to 1 cup oats)
Steel-cut oats – 3:1 (3 cups of water to 1 cup oats)
In both cases, if you like your oatmeal a little looser or wetter, add 1/4 cup/59 ml extra liquid.

Can I cut the recipe in half or double the recipe?

In a 6 quart pot, you can double or halve the recipe without any change to the time. In an 8 quart pot, you can double the recipe using the same time. Do NOT halve the recipe in an 8 quart pot. Note that if you double the recipe, it will take longer for the instant pot to come to pressure.

Make ahead, freeze, store

  • Make 60-90 minutes ahead and leave it sit on ‘warm’ without affecting the taste or texture. Stir and serve. Add a bit of extra liquid if it becomes too thick.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
  • Oatmeal can also be frozen for 2-3 months in ready-to-eat portions in sealed containers or ziploc bags. Great option for easy meal prep.
  • Reheat oatmeal in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of milk or water to loosen it up.

Other healthy breakfast choices

2 bowls of oatmeal, one with berries, one with bananas and raisins and nuts
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Instant Pot Oatmeal Recipe (with rolled or steel oats)

Make perfectly creamy, healthy, comforting instant pot oatmeal with rolled oats or steel-cut oats. And, avoid the dreaded burn message, get inspired with yummy toppings and amp up the nutrition for you and your kids.
Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time2 mins
pressure build and release16 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings: 3 (or 2 larger servings)
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker I use a 6 quart pot

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cup rolled oats or steel-cut oats, Note 1
  • 2 cups water (use 3 cups for steel cut oats), Note 2
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping options

  • fruits, nuts, brown sugar, maple syrup, dates, cinnamon, milk, cream (see Note 3 for more options)

Instructions

  • MAKE INSTANT POT OATMEAL: Place oats, water (or substitute) and salt in instant pot. Note 4 for add-ins. Stir. Place lid on pot, Lock in place. Turn knob to Sealing.
    °Set to High Pressure for 2 minutes. It will take 5-6 minutes to build the pressure before the 2-minute countdown starts.
    °When finished, you will see an "L" on the face of the instant pot. Do a 10 minute natural release (L will reach 10). Turn knob on lid to Venting with a spoon, keeping your hands and face away, to do a final quick release. Open when the button on top drops.
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Open lid. Stir. Oatmeal will thick on standing. If too thick, stir in a splash of water or milk. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Notes

  1. Oats to use: It is best to use steel cut oats or old-fashioned oats (rolled oats) for this recipe. You can use quick oats with less water (NOT instant oats- too mushy/glue-y) but they may become very soft. Steel cut oats are chewier, nuttier and more dense with slightly more fiber (6 grams vs 5 grams). Old fashioned rolled oats have a milder, creamier smooth consistency. The instant pot process and cooking time is the same for both. 
  2. How much water/milk to use: To make the oatmeal exactly to your preference you will need to experiment a bit.
    • If you like your oatmeal a bit looser or wetter, try adding and extra 1/4 cup/59 ml water. You can always add more after it’s cooked as well. 
    • You can also use half milk, half water, but only use non dairy milk like almond milk or soy milk.
  3. Oatmeal toppings and flavor combos
    • Fresh fruit and nuts – blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, bananas, apples, pears, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
    • Fall version – sprinkle on pumpkin pie spice and a splash of maple syrup
    • Tropical version – banana slices, kiwi slices and grated coconut
    • Carrot cake oatmeal – mix in finely grated carrot, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins then top with maple syrup and a dollop of yogurt.
    • Banana bread-ish – sliced bananas, cinnamon, chopped nuts.
    • Simple decadence – half and half cream + brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon
    • Other toppings – chopped dates, chocolate chips, peanut butter or nut butter, granola.
  4. Add-ins to make the oatmeal even more nutritious: Add one or more of these simple ingredients while cooking the oatmeal:
    • 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds (packed with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids). Add a little extra water too.
    • 1/2 tablespoon flax seeds (high in fiber, good protein and excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids).
    • Chopped prunes (good fiber). My grandson loved this as a baby as the prunes have a natural sweetness.
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin purée.
  5. How to prevent oatmeal from burning
    • I have made this recipe many times and never had a burn message. Since some apparently do, I found 4 ways to prevent the burn message.
      1. Don’t use cow’s milk. Only use water or non dairy milk like almond milk or soy milk.
      2. Make sure the seal ring is properly in place on the lid.
      3. If using an 8 quart pot, double the recipe.
      4. Someone suggested using cooking spray to spray the bottom of the pot.
  6. Can I halve or double the recipe? 
    • In a 6 quart pot, you can double or halve the recipe without any change to the time.
    • In an 8 quart pot, you can double the recipe using the same time. Do NOT halve the recipe in an 8 quart pot.
    • Note that if you double the recipe, it will take longer for the instant pot to come to pressure.
  7. Make ahead
    • Make 60-90 minutes ahead and leave it sit on ‘warm’ without affecting the taste or texture. Stir and serve. Add a bit of extra liquid if it becomes too thick.
    • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
    • Oatmeal can also be frozen for 2-3 months in ready-to-eat portions in sealed containers or ziploc bags.
    • Reheat oatmeal in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of milk or water to loosen it up.
 
Nutrition values are estimated for 2/3 cup/54 grams rolled oats made with water. Toppings are not included. The recipe makes 2 cups of cooked oatmeal (rolled oats). Nutrition values will increase if you make a 1-cup/160 grams serving. 

Nutrition

Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
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