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Pressure cooking oatmeal is convenient and hands-off.  The pressure will squeeze the creaminess right out of the cereal making a cozy and nutritious breakfast.  Here’s my technique for the perfect  bowl of pressure cooked oatmeal.

This is one of those pressure cooker techniques that does not take less time but is still more convenient for other reasons.  While microwaving oatmeal is quick, the gruel-like texture is not that appetizing – unless you want to open the microwave and stir every 30 seconds. Making oatmeal from scratch requires you to stand there and constantly stir the porridge until it’s ready and creamy.  If you’re not careful the oatmeal might burn, splatter or boil over.

Cooking oatmeal in the pressure cooker is totally hands-off – no burning, no boil-overs and no stirring to worry about.

But wait, there’s more!

If you have an electric pressure cooker with a timer or delay function  – you can set everything up the night before so breakfast can pressure cook itself in the morning!

Safely Pressure Cooking Oatmeal

I do not recommend pressure cooking oatmeal directly in the pressure cooker’s base for both safety and convenience reasons.

All pressure cooker manuals advise against pressure cooking oatmeal,  and that’s because cooking oatmeal directly in the base will cause the oatmeal to foam, splatter and clog the pressure release valves, which is a safety concern. Using a bowl cooks the oatmeal more delicately, in that it ensures that pressure builds in the cooker before the oatmeal itself is boiling.  This reduces foam and splatters because pressurized steam will actually be pushing down on the oatmeal preventing it from actively boiling (making bubbles that ultimately generate splatters and foam).

Another issue is that the amount of oatmeal you can pressure cook directly in the pressure cooker is dictated by your cooker’s minimum liquid requirement- making it impossible to make oatmeal for just 1. And even then, the only liquid you can use for the oatmeal is water because milk will scorch and burn  -you can use whatever, and however much, liquid you with the oatmeal-in-the-bowl method – as long as the contents of the bowl(s) do not go over the 1/2 full mark, of course. ; )

Basic Pressure Cooker Oatmeal Preparation

  1. Prepare the pressure cooker with 2 cups (500ml) water in the base.
  2. Add the steamer basket, or rack.
  3. Prepare a small heat-proof container, like cereal bowl or mug, with the correct ratio of oatmeal to liquid (see table, below).
  4. If your bowl, or steamer basket,  does not have handles make a small aluminum foil sling to easily lower and lift the bowl into the pressure cooker.
  5. Do not cover the bowl with foil.  Cook it uncovered.
  6. Pressure cook at high pressure according to oatmeal type (see table, below) – the cooking time is the same if you’re pressure cooking one bowl or six mugs.
  7. Open the pressure cooker with Natural Pressure Release  which can take anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes – seriously, don’t mess around. Wait for it .

 

Oatmeal Pressure Cooking Times & Liquid Ratios

TYPEsingle
serving
liquid ratio
per 1 cup (250ml)
ceral
INSTANTPOT
/ELECTRIC
pressure
cooker
(10-12psi)
stovetop
pressure
cooker
(13-15psi)
pressure
selection
opening
method
Irish Oats (see Oats, steel-cut)
Old Fashioned Oats (see Rolled Oats)
Oat Bran1/3 cup bran &
1 cup liquid
3 cups (750 ml)11HighNatural
Oat Groat1/3 cup groats &
1/3 cup liquid
1 cup (250 ml)2018HighNatural
Rolled Oats1/3 cup oats &
2/3 cup liquid
2 cups (500 ml)1010HighNatural
Steel-cut Oats (quick)1/4 cup oats &
3/4 cup liquid
3 cups (750 ml)33HighNatural
Steel-cut Oats1/4 cup oats &
3/4 cup liquid
3 cups (750 ml)1512HighNatural
Porridge Oats (see Quick Oats)
Quick Oats
(pudding-y)
1/3 cup oats &
2/3 cup liquid
2 cups (500ml)11HighNatural
Quick Oats
(creamy)
1/4 cup oats &
3/4 cup liquid
3 cups (750ml)11HighNatural
Scottish Oats (see Stone Ground Oats)
Stone-ground Oats1/4 cup oats &
3/4 cup liquid
3 cups (750 ml)53HighNatural
Whole Oat (see Oat Groat)

NOTE:Oats are a plant product and there will be variances in the age, drying, toasting and processing between brands. These above cooking times and ratios will work for most oatmeal brands. Should you experience unsatisfactory results, follow the ratio as given on the package of your oats, and use the same conventional cooking time at pressure.

Two Kinds of Steel-Cut Oats

Steel-cut oats
From left to right: Quick-cooking Steel-cut Oats, Steel-cut Oats

When this guide first launched a number of cooks were getting unsatisfactory results with steel-cut oats.  That’s because I had inadvertently only tested the time for the “quick-cooking” steel-cut oats which have a conventional cooking time of five minutes and not the plain steel-cut oats which usually take 30 minutes.  As you can see from the picture above, the difference between the grains is how finely they were “cut.”  I finally got my hands on both kinds and have updated the cooking times accordingly.

Pressure Cooker Oatmeal Tips

  • Replace the liquid to hydrate the oatmeal with: milk, soy milk, rice milk, 50% coconut milk 50% water, fruit juice, bone broth or water.
  • Add a small pinch of salt to accentuate the flavor (don’t worry, it won’t taste “salty”).
  • Add a drop of butter or oil to encourage the oatmeal to release the fat-soluble vitamins (like Vitamin E)1 – this is optional.
  • If your electric pressure cooker has a delay or timer function, you can set-up the pressure cooker the evening before to start pressure cooking your breakfast before you wake up. Program the cooker to start cooking your oatmeal about 30 minutes before breakfast. Make a test bowl first, to make sure that the ratios and cooking times work for your particular brand of oatmeal.
  • Add any sweeteners after pressure cooking – to use less and taste more of them.

Pressure Cooker Oatmeal Recipes

Please leave comment to share your favorite oatmeal recipes and photos!

pressure cooker oatmeal primer

Reference
1. Tremblay, Sylvie, MSc. “What Are the Vitamin Components of Oatmeal?” Healthy Eating. SFGATE. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.

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220 Comments

  1. Hi – I have made oatmeal in the pot 3x using this over-water method, and it’s been easy and fine. When I checked the Instant Pot manual for delayed cooking, however, I see there’s a big danger danger warning: because oatmeal is frothy and gummy and can clog the release, don’t ever ever use the delayed cooking for oatmeal!!! Is that a thing? So far all my oatmeal excperiments have been unmessy. I also don’t know that I would notice or know what to do if gummy oatmeal clogged the vent (wouldn’t it just not release the pressure?) even if I was there, so what would be the difference pre-scheduling?

    Please let me know – I am very much looking forward to setting up oatmeal that will be ready when we get out of bed on exercise days when we have to get up, eat, and get out of the house quickly and very early. But I don’t want to blow up the house.

    Thanks!

    1. Melanie, it’s true. All pressure cooker manuals have a warning against cooking frothy foods like oatmeal.

      The “gotcha” here is that, in fact, cooking the oatmeal directly in the pot CAN cause the oatmeal to froth and splatter and cover the valve (you would see the valve dirty when you check it before pressure cooking – you’re checking it, right? ; ).

      My in-the-bowl method, as you’ve seen, reduces the frothing and bubbling. Although some bloggers, and even Instant Pot themselves, recommend pressure cooking oatmeal directly in the pressure cooker – I do not. Safety is my top priority. I don’t want to put any of my readers in danger by recommending something where there are clear legitimate reasons not to do. Maybe I’m too conservative on this, but I don’t take my recipe testing or your safety lightly!

      So, don’t worry, as long as you don’t over-fill the pressure cooker to the point where the valves are clogged and it keeps building pressure, you will not blow up the house with oatmeal, or anything else.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Great news! I’m so glad I can eat oatmeal without fuss or danger. Thanks for the quick response.

      2. Does setting this up overnight cause the oats to get too gummy! Seems like allowing them to soak in lukewarm water for hours would lead to bad results. And what do you do if you want to use milk or almond milk? Do you just allow those products to stay at room temp overnight?

        1. When they sit overnight the oats absorb most of the liquid and then they pressure cook to heat-up. I have not noticed a texture difference between making them this way on-the-spot and overnight. For nut and dairy milks, I would follow the same safety guidelines as you normally would – if it needs to be refrigerated then it shouldn’t stand overnight. You could always pull back a tad on the water, and then mix-in some fresh milk when you’re ready to eat. : )

          Ciao,

          L

      3. Laura,
        Pot in pot is absolutely not necessary when steel cut oats are cooked on LOW pressure for 16 minutes and a NPR. No frothing. No clogging. No spurting. Perfect oatmeal in my safe kitchen every single time.
        Teddie.

        1. Actually, when the cooker is reaching pressure, and the oatmeal is boiling in the base so the cooker can build pressure, it will foam and sputter. That’s why the warning page at the front of your instruction manual tells you not to pressure cook oatmeal.

          Using a separate container heats the oatmeal more gradually and evenly reducing both of these phenomena.

          Ciao,

          L

          1. Foaming and sputtering: This has never ever happened to me using low pressure, and I’ve been using this method weekly for over a year. (Pasta can also foam and sputter. So can potatoes). I have read the manual and I understand what it says, and it’s simply a liability disclaimer. Thanks for listening.

            1. Teddie, you sound like a reasonable person so I will pose this question to you: why do you think manufacturers have the need to put a disclaimer for those ingredients?

              Also, although it is true that pasta can sputter too, when you follow my method (just-covering with liquid) the pasta absorbs all of the cooking liquid by the time the pressure cooking is done and there is no liquid left to sputter. However, with oatmeal you wouldn’t want it to absorb all of the liquid or it would be rock-hard, so the possibility of sputtering with a quick release is still there.

              My position has always been, that the foods they warn you about in the disclaimer can be safely cooked following precautions, so for the oatmeal the precautions are the use of a separate bowl and natural release.

              Ciao,

              L

  2. I keep a 2 qt. Cook’s Essentials PC on my counter top, as it is perfect size for two.

    I use it regularly for my steel cut oats. I put a little extra virgin coconut oil, maybe 1/2-3/4 tsp., in the bottom of the pot, turn it on to start melting it. Pour in 1/2 cup steel cut oats and stir to lightly toast the oats. Add 1-3/4 cup water. Pressure cook on high for 7 min. Turn off, to allow pressure to release naturally. Open and stir.

    Sometimes, I put in a cinnamon and dehydrated or fresh apples pieces, and/or raisins or cransins, when I cook it. After cooking, sometimes I add bananas and toasted walnuts or pecans. I sweeten it after cooking with maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar.

    I have never had any issue with clogging. Even my lid is barely splattered. I am wondering if the coating of the grains with the coconut oil, and toasting of the grains causes less frothing? The oats do not taste like coconut, but I would not mind if it did. Terry

  3. Awesome recipe, thank you! I used regular steel cut oats (30 mins for stovetop kind) and followed the container directions: 1/2 cup oats and 2 cups liquid (used 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup water). Also, added 1 1/2 tbsp of sugar, 1 small pinch of salt, 1 tsp of butter, and one sliced fresh apple. Should have added a bit of cinnamon but forgot.

    I divided the ingredients between two coffee mugs, for two portions. Used porridge setting and adjusted to 15 minutes. Let it sit for 1 hour, to release the steam naturally.

    Since I used milk, I would not let it sit overnight. However, it takes only a few minutes to put together so I would get it going first thing, after I wake up. Then perfect breakfast will be waiting once I am ready to leave for work.

    Creamy, delicious, and filling breakfast! Thank you so much!

  4. i made steel cut oatmeal just now, i used 13 min (i like mine a bit chewy but not much) i cleaned the kitchen and viola it was done! i just ate it with a bit of butter, splenda and cinnamon, it was perfect! i love that i didnt dirty my pressure cooker insert, just the bowl i ate out of.

    thank you for the recipe!

  5. I have oats meat in the morning alternatively days.i like to eat it with variety additionals
    some times i will add little indian spice ingredients,with vegetables and it will be like poridge, as this summer if we add some juicy fruits as it gives good and relaxed food item. we can dry fruits as it additonal taste while chewing.

  6. I wanted to know how to make oatmeal that is creamy as if it was made on the stove top. Would you just pressure cook for longer?

    1. place 1/3 c steel cut oats, pinch salt, pat of butter and 1 C water in a bowl, 2 C water in your instant pot, place bowl on trivet, and pressure cook (Manual) 15 minutes high pressure. Natural release (that is do nothing, let it cool down on its own).

      Simple, delicious healthy.

  7. Thank you for the recipe…
    I have the IP Ultra…and am just starting to learn how to use it. BIG question: I put the oats and milk in the large mug and water in the IP, etc…I put the lid on and push the black button down. It just stays on “preheating” forever while shooting out steam. Then, after a while, i thought that can’t be right, so I pushed the lever sideways to seal it and it stopped shooting steam and then started the counter. SO, Im confused. about the initial mechanics of the IP. Please help..I think once I know this seal button thing, I will take off with my IP Ultra into heaven (I Pray). Thanks!

    1. When the cooker takes a long time to reach pressure, such as with the valve open or because of some other reason (worn gasket, too little water, etc.), OR the wrong opening method is used (anything but Natural Release) then the contents in the mug will boil violently thus splashing out of it.

      Try it again, but this time jiggle the valve closed, first. : )

      Ciao,

      L

    2. I have the ultra and when I put the lid on it automatically closes the valve for you. Hope this helps.

  8. I should have waited to give the result. When I finally opened the pot, the oversized cappuccino-type mug had the oats in it and was 2/3 full. The milk, I guessed mixed with whatever water was left, was in the liner. So I guess it must have overflowed at some point. The oats were not quite done…still chewy. I will be so happy if I can perfect oatmeal. Thanks for your help in advance!

  9. What is an ideal vessel for cooking this in inside an IP at High Pressure? A ceramic microwave safe bowl? A mug? Amazon link would help me get an idea. Thanks!!

  10. You are awesome!!

  11. Best oatmeal ever – Bobs quick steel cut oats, PIP in according to your directions – perfect, quick, clean and delish! Thanks!!

  12. How can I tell if a mug from my pantry are safe for insta pot??
    Your idea for using them for single or 2 portions is a great idea but I dont want them to blow up?
    Kindest Regards
    Marg Doggett

    1. If it’s ceramic, glass, stainless steel or silicone it’s safe to use in the pressure cooker.

      Ciao,

      L

  13. This is a great resource for cooking a BOWL or MUG or 2 or 4. But what would you suggest for those of us who want to cook a full POT of oatmeal in our multicooker, without having to monitor the cooking?

    Currently we cook a pot of steel cut oats in the microwave, standing there for the 15 or so minutes, monitoring for spill over, stiring, adding additional water if necessary (usually while watching tv on Sunday night!).

    Depending on how many people eat it, the pot can last all 5 work days. Each day a serving is spooned out into a bowl, a bit of water added, and microwaved for a about a minute. It’s a big time saver on work days versus cooking steel cut from scratch every day.

    Thanks.

    1. Barry, I explain why there are no instructions for cooking straight in the bowl in the article, above. It’s the part that starts with…
      “I do not recommend pressure cooking oatmeal directly in the pressure cooker’s base for both safety and convenience reasons.”
      …then the article continues with the reasons.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Ok, thanks, now I see it.
        Since I posted my question I have found a way to cook a large amount (4-6 cups) of steel cut oats at a time in my Fagor Lux 8 quart multi-cooker’s pot with no splattering or valve clogging at all. The key is to add some oil to the oats at the start.

  14. Just making sure I m doing this correctly. I have a steamer basket and a rack. I just put the oats and water in the bowl and set them in the basket, not the rack, down in the container with the water. It seems to be working but wasn’t sure if I needed to use the rack as well. Thanks!

  15. I used the porridge program on my IP Ultra when I cooked oatmeal. I put 1 cup water in the steel liner, 2 cups water and 1 cup oatmeal in the ceramic bowl. (I used pot in pot method). The porridge program defaults to 20 min; I set it to 17 min.
    When the cooking cycle was done, I let it sit to release pressure naturally. When I opened up the ip, there was some overflow into the ip steel liner. Therefore I had 2 things to clean: steel liner and ceramic bowl. How do I prevent this overflow?

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your negative experience with the method.

      However, my method calls for putting two cups of water in the base, not one. Your cooker struggled to reach pressure (the minimum liquid requirement for Instant Pot is 1 1/2 cups) and because of that the contents of the bowl began to boil before there was enough steam inside to hold it down.

      Please also note ratios given in the recipe for rolled oats and water – what you wrote above is not what I recommend with my method.

      Don’t be discouraged to try again, many people have had success with this, and you will too if you put the proper amount of liquid in the base, and the proper amount of water and oats in the bowl.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Then I think I’m reading your chart incorrectly. In the column « liquid ratio per one cup cereal », it states that for one cup cereal (rolled oats), I need 2 cups liquid. That is exactly what I did. I cup rolled oats, two cups water in the ceramic bowl. Am I reading your chart incorrectly?

        1. Apologies for the confusion Viv, you posted your request also in the forums and there you may have inadvertently reversed the proportions of the oatmeal. I copied my reply from there and used it to reply to your comment here.

          What you stated here, in the comment above, is correct. You can use whatever liquid-oatmeal ratio you want to get the effects you would like but the key issue here is that there wasn’t enough liquid in the base for the cooker to easily build pressure.

          Ciao,

          L

          P.S. Your forum post for reference:
          https://www.hippressurecooking.com/forums/topic/cook-rolled-oats-using-pot-in-pot-method/

          P.P.S. Next time please just post in one place. ; )

      2. Laura, you are awesome. Your instructions are perfectly clear. I’m going to cook some oatmeal for the first time in my new Pressure Cooker XL.
        I will be checking your site regularly. Thank you!

  16. Hello!

    This was a wonderful method for making oats—thank you!

    I like my oats with a bit of bite so I used large oat flakes and added a few more than the ratio suggested. Maybe 1/8 cup more oats to two cups of liquid. I substituted 1 cup of water with milk. I also set the pressure time for 9 min and used quick release. The result was oats that remained separate (instead of mushy) and had some structure left in them. Exactly to my taste! I’m so happy to have this easy and reliable recipe to reach for on cold winter mornings. Thanks again!

    Wendy

  17. Laura, these are great instructions.

    One thing to add is that in the Instant Pot, you can use the pressure steam mode (“steam” button) instead of the manual pressure cooking mode. The difference is that the steam mode runs the heating element continuously until pressure is reached, which means it gets up to pressure faster. You should only use the steam mode with water in the pot, because anything else can scorch.

    Another thing is that for short cooks you don’t need two cups of water in the pot. You only need enough water to keep the bottom covered, which for a short cook is 1 to 1-1/4 cups in a 6-quart Instant Pot. Using less water will mean it boils and gets up to pressure more quickly and with less energy. A multi-hour cook needs a little bit more water to compensate for vapor loss.

    Finally, you don’t always need to wait for the pressure valve to naturally drop. You need to wait at least 10 minutes or so, because the food is still cooking. After that, you can release the pressure, but it must be done slowly, to prevent splattering as the oatmeal boils. For a small bowl of oatmeal, after 10 minutes there’s very little pressure left and you can just open the valve all the way.

    1. Jacob, When the seals start to wear 1 – 1 1/4 cups of liquid is not enough for Instant Pot to reach pressure – two cups is my recommendation as it will work for all pressure cookers in all conditions. Although I see that your goal is to shorten the time even more, there is no time saved for someone who has to do even more cleanup because their cooker is not reaching pressure as easily as before and splattered oatmeal everywhere.

      I don’t recommend the 10-minute release because my tested recommended cooking times for the oatmeal include the time the oatmeal will continue to cook during natural release.

      I’m glad to read that you’ve found a system for making oatmeal that works for you, thanks for sharing it and welcome!

      Ciao,

      L

  18. Perfect!!!! I added some diced apples and cinnamon and used a little milk with the water-Best Oatmeal ever. Thank you!

  19. I have been cooking oatmeal directly in the pot for 3 years with no issues at alll
    and perfect cereal. I often cook with add ins like dried fruit, cinnamon stick stc,
    in the pot..

    1 cup rolled oats /2 cups water / sealed vent, LOW pressure for 2 min NPR

    1 cup steel cut oats /2 cups water plus 1 cup non dairy milk /sealed vent, HIGH pressure for 10 min NPR

  20. I just got an Instant Pot Ultra yesterday and made rolled oats this morning for my wife following these instructions. With the 1 part oatmeal, 1 part water, and 1 part coconut milk as suggested, I made what she described as the best oatmeal she’s ever had. Thank you for the precise instructions and cooking times for all different types of oats!

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