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

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)111HighNatural
Oat Groat1/3 cup groats &
1/3 cup liquid
1 cup (250 ml)222018HighNatural
Rolled Oats1/3 cup oats &
2/3 cup liquid
2 cups (500 ml)101010HighNatural
Steel-cut Oats (quick)1/4 cup oats &
3/4 cup liquid
3 cups (750 ml)333HighNatural
Steel-cut Oats1/4 cup oats &
3/4 cup liquid
3 cups (750 ml)181512HighNatural
Porridge Oats (see Quick Oats)
Quick Oats
1/3 cup oats &
2/3 cup liquid
2 cups (500ml)111HighNatural
Quick Oats
1/4 cup oats &
3/4 cup liquid
3 cups (750ml)111HighNatural
Scottish Oats (see Stone Ground Oats)
Stone-ground Oats1/4 cup oats &
3/4 cup liquid
3 cups (750 ml)753HighNatural
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. A suggestion for people who find their rolled or quick oats cooked enough but still watery, do like my great-aunt always did. Instead of cooking more to evaporate the liquid, stir in a handful or two (or more, depending on amount of excess liquid) of bran flakes or wheat flakes to the oats just before serving. Delicious flavor, especially when sweetened with brown sugar!

    She often deliberately added extra water so she could add the flakes. Now I do the same occasionally, hubby loves it! If you like chewy raisins, you can use raisin bran.

    I haven’t tried oats in my electric cooker yet, but plan to soon.

    1. Thanks for sharing your great-aunt’s delicious health tip for oatmeal!



  2. Hope I’m not beating a dead horse, but I’m puzzled about the discrepancy between your recipe and the directions that came with my IP. The booklet calls for 1 2/3 c. water per cup of oats and 10 minutes cooking time vs. 3 cups of water per cup of oats and 3 minutes cooking time in your recipe. I use steel cut oats just as in your recipe. What accounts for the significantly different ratios and cooking time?

    1. The times in the booklet were tested by Instant Pot, the times in this article were tested by me. If Instant Pot’s ratio and cooking time work for you, that’s great!



  3. I made 2 servings of steel-cut directly in pot prior to reading your post. Lots of spattering, so I opened Instant Pot and added a circle of parchment paper over the mix. Next time, I’ll try one serving per mason jar.

    1. The wax paper could get shoved into the pressure valve – blocking it and causing a dangerous situation- so please don’t do that again.



      1. Just to note, Laura, parchment paper isn’t the same as waxed paper.
        The point, that paper could get pushed up into the safety valves, stands true, none the less.
        I’m a fan of your method, less mess, no scorching, fast cleanups.
        Timed PC oats and fresh ground coffee on timer = wakeup heaven.

  4. There are a couple things I don’t agree with here. First, I’ve cooked oatmeal in my Instant Pot directly, not in a water bath, several dozen times. I’ve lived to tell the tale. I believe that poses no safety risk whatsoever. And it’s easy to clean up.

    Second, I understand the guidance warning against cooking oatmeal in milk to be widespread…. but I believe unwarranted. I’ve cooked oatmeal in the IP with milk now multiple times and it’s fine. Caveats are that I’ve cut it 50/50 with water, and that since I’m in Denver certainly the IP steam happens at a lower temp. But oatmeal cooked in an IP milk bath is awesome. You ought to at least try it once to see if it works for your climate/elevation.

    1. Jed, You don’t HAVE to agree with everything that is posted here – however, you should not make judgements about safety for all pressure cookers in all situations based on your limited personal experience with one pressure cooker at a non-standard altitude.

      If after being told by your pressure cooker manual that pressure cooking oatmeal directly in your pressure cooker is unsafe, and then seeing the same recommendation here – along with an explanation as to WHY it is unsafe and you still do not “agree” you are free to risk your life and follow your own “beliefs” in your own home.

      However, it is foolish to recommend to others to try it at least once.

      I don’t.


  5. Also, I cannot understand the direction to cook rolled oats for 10 minutes but steel cut only for 3 minutes. Steel cut oats require more cooking than rolled. Rolled cut oat take only 5 minutes on stovetop. Certainly should be less in an IP. Rolled cut oats left in room temperature liquid for 10 minutes are ready to eat without any heat or pressure applied. (true, try it! It’s musili)

    1. Jed,
      Frankly I find your stove top recommendation of 5 minutes bizarre. Personally I cook rolled oats in a saucepan. The way I do it takes about an hour. Almost completely unattended — I go back to bed with my cuppa. And yes I use all milk.
      I am aware that soaking rolled oats (and a few extras) for 10 minutes makes for a very delicious muesli. I make that too. But it is a VERY different beast to porridge which is thick and creamy. It’s a bit like saying you only need to cook beef bourginonne for 5 minutes because a hamburger made from the same meat only takes that long to cook.

      1. Greg

        Five minutes cooking rolled oats added to a pot of water at a rolling boil has been the instructions on the Quaker box for decades. Steel cut oats prepared the same way take longer, because they have been processed less.

        I don’t recommend the stovetop method, as provided for on the package, but neither do I find those instructions bizarre. Myself, I prefer pressure cooker preparation. I am making the point that regardless of cooking method, rolled will generally need less cooking time than steel cut.


        1. Quaker brand oats have NOT been available in my area for decades. I vaguely recall seeing a box about 30 years ago. So I will have to take your word on it.
          My Method in Full:
          Add a quarter cup of Rolled oats to a Pyrex Saucepan (Specifically a Corningware Sauce Maker P-55 – sadly no longer made), toss in a handful of sultanas and 6 dates cut in thirds. Fill to the “12” mark on the pot with whole milk. Crank the heat to max on the Electric hotplate (This doesn’t work on gas). fill the kettle and set it to boil. Make the tea. Turn the hotplate for the oats down to minimum, stir and cover. Go back to bed. Drink tea and listen to the radio. In about an hour (by no means critical but the bottom can begin to burn if it is left for more than two hours) get up and serve porridge. Serves 2.

  6. I note that the instructions on the box of Old Fashioned Quaker Oats says to cook 5 minutes on the stovetop using 2 parts milk or water to 1 part oats.

    1. Joniejaya, when you pressure cook oatmeal in the bowl – as described above – you can use all milk. Since the oatmeal cannot scorch and it’s be less likely to foam under pressure this way.



      1. I make a giant batch in a metal bowl and then divide it into 1/2 cup containers and freeze it. Not only do I use milk but for extra richness I use Carnation evaporated milk, undiluted.
        400 grams oats, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 or 3 cans evaporated milk + 1 can coconut milk
        Total liquid is 1400 grams. 18 minutes in pc, bain marie, LOW; ½ cup water in outer pot.

        What comes out is quite stiff; I then use an electric hand mixer to mix it all together before I freeze it; you might prefer more liquid. The brand of Thai canned coconut milk I use has a lot of fat in it, so much that I have to soak the can in hot water to get the glob of fat in the center to completely melt.

        1. Rusty, how do you reheat your make-ahead oatmeal?



  7. I think you must have mixed up some times here — steel-cut oats get 3 minutes at high pressure while rolled oats get 10? I think you’ve mixed up the two times. I tried pressure cooking steel-cut oats for three minutes at high pressure and they ended up just crunchy.

  8. I cooked rolled oats per your instructions above. I used 2 mugs (for 2 servings) and they both boiled over into the ‘bath.’ What did I do wrong?

    1. This happens when pressure is released too quickly OR there is not enough liquid in the base of the cooker. Make sure to add two cups of liquid, and to open using natural release. Here’s how to do it, and why:



  9. I think I’ve figured out the problem with so many people not being able to cook steel-cut oats in three minutes. There are two kinds of steel-cut oats — quick cooking (which have been parboiled and cook on the stovetop in 5-7 minutes) and regular, which cook in 25 minutes on the stovetop. Your timing of 3 minutes in the pressure cooked must be for the quick-cooking version. Bob’s Red Mill produces both types of steel-cut oats. I’m guessing that when you’re back in the states and go pick up the Bob’s Red Mill product you used to make your steel-cut oats, you’ll find you were using the quick-cooking product. The quick-cooking product does indeed cook in 3 minutes in the pressure cooker. The regular product takes 12-15 minutes of pressure and absolutely will NOT be edible in 3 minutes — the result is barely-softened oats in water.

    1. Thanks Valerie and Jen! I will order a pack of non-quick to confirm the timing. What pressure cooker did you use with the 12-15 min timing that works for you and at what altitude are you located?



      1. Laura, I use an Instant Pot Smart. I’ve cooked Flahavan’s and McCann’s this way; 12 minutes gives me a bit of chew, 15 gives me a soft cooked cereal that is barely chewy, 20 minutes (the ‘porridge’ setting) gives me a bowl of steel-cut oats that is very soft and porridgey. I am in Cincinnati, elevation probably ~600 feet. I use 1:3 oats to water; the packages both specify 1:4 for a stovetop preparation, but I’ve found 1:4 gives me a much thinner oatmeal than I prefer, even if I let it have a natural release. I usually use a 10-minute release but have occasionally used a natural release, which of course does cook the oatmeal a bit further.

  10. Thanks, I am happy someone figured this out. I for one will continue to cook my stealies in a regular stove top pot.

    1. In this case, the advantage is only if you have an electric pressure cooker with timer/delay function where you can set-up your bowl to start cooking before you wake up.



  11. I use REGULAR Bob’s Red Mill steel-cut oats (NOT the quick-cooking variety) and cook them for 3 minutes (1 cup oats + 3 cups liquid directly in a 4 quart BRK PC, not in a bowl, with natural release). I’ve been doing this for years.

    1. Joaniejaya, I’ll have to try some Bob’s Red Mill. I’ve made them before, but not since I started using the pressure cooker for oatmeal.

  12. I do the same as Joanie directly in my Instat Pot. I’m going to experiment with doubling the recipe.

  13. I don’t have a rack to set my mug of steel cut oats onto. Can I simply put the mug on the bottom and put the mug in that, like a water bath? Probably a dumb question. I’m a newbie to having an electric pressure cooker. Thanks!

    1. I think you muddled your words here. What you said doesn’t make sense.

      However, reading between the lines…
      The idea is to keep the mug off the bottom. If you don’t have a steamer basket (they are pretty cheap and VERY handy!) you could use some bottle caps to make a stand. Or scrunch up some aluminium foil or…

  14. Pls change the chart to reflect that QUICK steelcut oats take 3 min and regular steelcut oats take 12. Thats the consensus in my fb group and I just made them with it needing 12 min for me.
    I also covered my dish for fear of clogging the valve. Why do you say not to cover? Any certain reason? Could we maybe 10 min NR if we cover?

    1. Thanks Helene I will make the changes for now – I do have a box of NOT quick steel-cut oats on its way to me so I’ll be able to confirm and make any adjustments to your recommended 12 minute time.

      If you cover the dish, it will slow down the cooking time – one of our readers puts an upside-down steamer basket over their oats. Maybe if you only tent the tin foil it should both protect the valve and allow for quick cooking. The best way NOT to get the oatmeal to spurt is to make sure you have enough water in the base of the cooker and ALWAYS open using natural release!



  15. We’ve tested NON quick-cooking steel-cut oats and updated the pressure cooking time in the table to 15 minutes – apologies for not testing this correctly sooner!



    1. Hmmm– I’ve successfully followed your directions for 3 minutes using NON-quick-cooking steel cut oats for quite some time. I’ve never had undercooked oats or any other issue.

      1. I really think there is a big difference between brands and processing – if it works keep doing it, at least you can’t really overcook oats! ; )



        1. You could also just let the oats soak in their cooking liquid overnight in the fridge.

  16. FWIW, I have found that 3 minutes for non quick-cooking steel cuts oats will work if you leave it on keep warm for a while — they’re completely cooked any time after the keep-warm timer gets past about 30 minutes and will still be good at over an hour on the keep-warm. It does make GREAT oats this way; the grains remain separate and a bit chewy, while using the porridge setting gives a texture more like a rolled-oat oatmeal. I prefer the 3-minutes/long keep-warm version when I do have the time, and it’s really useful when I want to be able to serve at multiple times (such as when various family members will be having breakfast at various times.)

    1. Thanks for sharing your system, Valerie!



  17. Hello, I always cook a batch of steel cut oats directly in the pot with no issue. I use 1c oats to 3 c water. Cook for 3 minutes then a 10 minute natural release. For creamier results you can up the water to 4 cups.

    Thanks for your great website, and I love your cookbook!
    Teddie Potter

    1. Personally, I don’t recommend cooking oats directly in the pressure cooker base – and neither does your pressure cooker manual. How do I know, without knowing what kind of pressure cooker you have? Because every pressure cooker manual is required to tell you not to pressure cook oats – AT ALL. This in-bowl method reduces some of the foaming which is the major reason why it is not recommended.



      1. Hi Laura, I am using the 6q Instant Pot, using Flavahan’s or McCanns steel cut oats. Cooked on the stovetop, these types take 30+ minutes of cooking. I follow a recipe I found in another popular pressure cooker cook book. Frankly I am extremely puzzled by this whole thread, as my results are consistently excellent, I get no foaming at all, and I cook a batch every week. I actuallly was not aware of any oatmeal warnings until I saw them here (so much for reading the manual!)

        I am certainly not telling anyone to not follow the manufacturer’s directions; just sharing my experiences.

      2. My Instant pot comes with a recipe for steel cut oats done directly in the pot with a note to substitute non dairy for milk. I use soy milk and the results are great! I like to make a full recipe and save the other potions for next day quick breakfasts

  18. What about stacking two bowls of steelcut oats? Will this cause clogging? Or will the bowl underneath not cook right? The coffee cup size is not big enough for a serving here and I need more than 1 svg made, 3-4 actually. Without doing it in the pot itself, Im wondering what to do.

    1. Helene, If your bowls are wider at the top and thinner at the base (like most bowls) you can stack them but you’ll need a rack or a couple of chopsticks between them. If the bowls are square just off-set the squares and you won’t need a rack for that.

      As long as the steam can enter unencumbered stacking bowls this way won’t slow down the cooking time of the oatmeal.



      1. Solved my diilemma …by using pint jars! Narrow enough for up to 4 at a time, yet hold full svgs. They werent done at 18 min even (with a 10min NR) so ive got to figure out timing still. Plus I want to soak them so that will require me playing with timing too.
        And yeeeeah, dont get too near the top of the jar or they overflow lol

        1. I just reread the part Use TWO Cups Of Water in base. Whoops, that may have caused the boilover too!
          It took 23 min total to get the oats to absorb the liquid. But i had frzn strwberries in there too so that may have been why. The berries melted :0

  19. I came to your site looking for an IP recipe for oat groats. I think your ratios for groats and water are wrong. You have 1/3 c groats and 1/3 c. water. Did you mean 1 1/3 c. water? On the stovetop it’s a 1:4 ratio groats:water…It seems like most of your readers are steel cut oats people so maybe this hasn’t been noticed yet?

    1. I know the 1:1 ratio doesn’t sound right given that the conventional one for oat groats is so much higher, but it works. I actually tested the cooking times and water ratios for a reader, and you can read our discussion and see the photos of the results here:

      This is typical of longer-cooking foods in the pressure cooker. For example, brown rice needs less than or only as much water as white rice. Why?!? Well, when you simmer something on the stovetop for a long time there is A LOT of evaporation and the starting liquid for that grain/rice/groat in a conventional recipe is already planning for that. As you know, the pressure cooker has very little evaporation (less than a tablespoon vs. 1 cup in the same time period) so the liquid for the pressure cooker recipes needs to be reduced accordingly.

      Let me know if you have any more questions, and please, try it!



      1. Thinking about this,, why do the smaller pieces, like steelcut, need as much water as on a stovetop, whereas the whole pieces, like oat groats, do not? Im puzzled.

        1. I think it’s the overall water difference is more about the availability of the starch. Where the starch safely tucked away in the hull in the groats, in rolled or cut-up oats you’re going to have the starch exposed and it will absorb more water and to make the customary “cream”.



      2. Your explanation makes sense, especially once I realized that the texture of the finished groats is a chewy ‘rice’ like consistency. We are accustomed to a more ‘porridge’ like consistency but I tried it according to your recipe and it was good :) Thanks!

  20. Is there a way you can make the table a graphic so I can easily print it. I will only be doing regular oatmeal, I did not like the texture of steel cut. But I want to print it and laminate it and put it on the wall near the cooker…

    I am considering doing 4 jars at a time on Sundays, that will give me breakfasts for almost a week.

    Just curious, have you ever tried to do baked oatmeal the same way? I am guessing the recipe ratios would stay the same?

    Thanks for the awesome post.

  21. Just found your website while looking for ways to make steel cut oats in my Instant Pot. Am I glad I did! This is by far the best way to cook steel cut oats – set it and forget it….then come back to perfectly cooked, creamy steel cut oats. Thank you also for taking the time to create the Oatmeal Pressure Cooking Times and Ratios table…it’s simple and very helpful. FYI, that creamy liquid on top of your cooked oats makes a great pore cleanser for your face. Just scoop some out, let it cool and spread it on your face. Leave it on for 10 minutes or so, then wash it off with warm water. Your skin will be be radiant.

  22. This AM I made steel cut in the pressure cooker. 1:4 ratio of oats to liquid. I used a mix of almond milk, whole milk, applesauce and water without foaming problems — although at least half of my liquid is water to be safe.

    I toasted my oats with about a teaspoon of butter on the bottom of the cooker prior to adding the liquid and sealing.

    I also cut up an apple from my father’s apple tree, put in a couple teaspoons of orange marmalade, a bunch of cinnamon, and a touch of coriander.

    Pretty good, if I say so myself.

  23. Is it safe to set this up the night before with milk and leave at room temperature until the morning when the pressure cooker begins to cook?

    1. No, you should not leave cow’s milk sitting in the cooker overnight. Any other non-dairy milk is OK. I do water and a pat of butter – and that can sit overnight without problems. ; )



  24. Your table calls for only 1 cup of liquid to 1 cup of Whole Oat Groats, yet the amount of water for steel-cut oats is 3 to 1. Is that an error? I cook a combination of steel-cut oats and whole oats in my pressure cooker regularly, and I use the 3 to 1 ratio with success.

  25. Hi! Laura, I, too, wondered about leaving cow’s milk out overnight. I saw your answer, but what do you think about canned evaporated milk? I actually cook my rolled oats on the stovetop with this. Do you think it would be unwise to set evaporated milk out overnight?

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