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pressure cooker oatmeal types
From Left to Right: Oat Groats, Steel-cut Oats, Rolled Oats and Quick Oats

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!

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 .

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

Cooking the oatmeal in the pressure cooker base is more likely to splatter and clog the pressure release valves, which is a safety concern.  And then, the only liquid you can use for the oatmeal is water because milk will scorch and burn -you can use whatever you want with the oatmeal-in-the-bowl method I recommend.

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.  Plus, you’ll have to wash the pressure cooker base and bowl – instead of just rinsing out the base and having the cooker ready to cook lunch!

Oatmeal Pressure Cooking Times & Liquid Ratios

liquid ratio
per 1 cup (250ml)
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
1/3 cup oats &
2/3 cup liquid
2 cups (500ml)11HighNatural
Quick Oats
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

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

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  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.


    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.



      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. : )



  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. : )



    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!!

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