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. I don’t understand what this column it giving me?

    Steel cut says 1/4 oats and 3/4 cup liquid. What thes the 3 cups next to that tell me?


    1. For every cup of dry oats, u need 3 cups water. For one svg, its 1/4cup oats and 3/4c water.

    2. so the first column give you a single serving, 1/4 cup oats to 3/4 cup water…the column you are referring to is for larger quantities…if you use one cup of steel cut oats, you use 3 cups of liquid (water, milk, etc) Does that make sense to you

  2. Thanks for the replies. I now get it.
    Steel cut oats, the first thing I made in my new DUO60, well after the obligatory water boil.
    They came out great, off to a good start.

  3. So glad I found this recipe on your site. Made steel cuts oats one time but used one cup oats and ate leftovers for days. Will try the one serving size. Ordered the cookbook but hasn’t yet been delivered.

  4. Your instructions say “high pressure” which on Instant Pot would be the “Manual” button. In comments you say “Steam Button.” You state either will work. I am wondering what is the difference and which is best as a practice?

    1. According to Instant Pot, both “steam” and “manual” pressure cook at the same temperature. However, “manual” has burn protection which means the pressure cooker will turn off if the temperature of the contents is too thick to boil. “steam” assumes you only have water in the base (as is the case with this technique). For this particular use the programs can be used interchangeably but “steam” is handy because it starts at 10 minutes instead of 30. ; )



      1. Thank you so much! I used your recipe and instructions and it came out PERFECT!

  5. I needed a larger amount, so used a 7 cup pyrex bowl, 1 cup steel cut oats, and 3 cups liquid ( I used half raw goat milk), salt and teaspoon butter. I followed directions exactly, but my oatmeal was not done. I added 3 minutes and slow released again…perfect. Are there any safety reasons I cannot increase the recipe in the ratios shown in the larger bowl? Thank you.

    1. The oatmeal times were tested as single servings in individual containers. As the container grows, it will need more time to warm-up enough to “cook” the oatmeal. There is no danger in making more – it’s just not as convenient as it will take longer.

      This is an exception to the “quantity doesn’t change the cooking time” rule because “size does” and a larger container will take longer to pressure cook than a smaller one (just like a roast : ).



  6. I cook my oatmeal every 5 days. I add 1 1/2 c water to the electric pressure cooker. Then in my small metal mixer bowl I add 4 c water, a heaping cup steel cut oatmeal, 2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t salt and a little butter. Put the bowl into the pressure cooker and cook it at high pressure for 13 minutes turn it off and let it sit while I get ready for the day. It can sit for 30 minutes or more. I lift the bowl out of the pressure cooker, stir it well and scoop out one serving. I put the rest in a plastic container and store it in the refrigerator. The next day I cut the contents of the container into fourths and take out one of the fourths and microwave it for 1 minute and 40 seconds. I mix in some dried cranberries and cherries and milk. I wouldn’t want to cook oatmeal every day. Takes too much time. This works well for me.

    1. I use 6c water n 2c steelcut oats to make mine. We must like them alot thicker! Lol

      1. It’s still a three to one ratio, so more but not thicker.
        1 cup oats – 3 cups water
        2 cups oats – 6 cups water

        1. Helene’s ratio is thicker than the original comment to which she was replying which was–

          1 cup oats – 4 cups of water

          Margie’s is not three:one.

          1. Margie’s is “4 c water, a heaping cup steel cut oatmeal”. Sounds like a rough 3:1 to me.

  7. This worked perfectly for me this morning in my Instapot! I used Trader Joe’s organic steel cut oats, made two servings and topped with warm dates, pears and toasted pecans with a bit of maple syrup. Thank you for the time you’ve put into developing the ratios! (I am a total newbie so really appreciate the info!)

    1. Stacey, that is a GORGEOUS breakfast – thanks for sharking the photo with us!



  8. I tried this with four 250 mL mason jars in an InstaPot using the steam setting and ended up with oatmeal splattered everywhere inside the InstaPot!

    Is it possible that they were too tall? What else could have gone wrong?

    1. The splattering only happens if you didn’t put enough liquid in the base to reach the minimum liquid requirement or the pressure was released through the valve (aka not Natural Release).



  9. Try different Coffee Mate flavors (I use powdered) in the water, it’s great.

  10. If you use the delay function to set up the pot the night before, you leave your oats to sit in the water overnight. Does that affect taste?

    1. This is my question, too. Wouldn’t 7-8 hours of soaking regular steel cut grains in liquid, affect their cooking time?

      1. It could, but it would also affect the amount of liquid left “free” to cook them in.



  11. Is it two cups of water in the bottom of the pot no matter how large an amount of oats in a bowl on the trivet?

    1. Yes. There water there is just to provide steam/pressure. It is what does the cooking.

      You also add liquid to the bowl. This is done by ratio.
      e.g. (from the table)
      For rolled oats, add two cups of liquid for every cup of oats you use.
      If you use 1/4 cup of oats, use 1/2 cup of liquid. If you use 6 cups of oats (I hope you have a BIG PC) use 12 cups of liquid.

      Laura, I am not seeing the embedded table on my computer. Mac running OSX 10.6.11 and using Firefox as a browser. It is fine on the iPad running Safari.

      1. I also don’t see the table. Instead I see:

        [table id=25 datatables_fixedheader=top/]

        I’m on a Mac — OS X 10.11.6 in Safari 10.0.1

        1. Oops Yes. OSX 10.11.6
          I also see that bit of code. and this one further down:
          [thumbnailgrid cat=’657′ height=’180px’ width=’180px’ posts_per_page=’999′]

          And FF version is 50.0

          It is looking like OSX is the common denominator.

        2. Bev and Greg, this is a side-effect of the website optimization. Whenever the main URL of the article is changed, such as after leaving a comment for example, tables and recipes “hide”. Whenever you are faced with something like this, look at the URL bar. If there is anything with questions marks or has signs after the slash that is the cause. Just delete that part of the URL and load the page and everything will be back to normal. Next year we’re going to do another major upgrade and this will be one of the issues that will be addressed. The upgrade should be less painful than other moves/upgrades because our server is already on the right platform with the right provider and it “should” be just a matter of toggling a few switches.



      2. I see the table correctly this morning with Safari, Firefox & Chrome browsers.

  12. On the InstantPot website the porridge recipe with a similar set-up says to use quick release. Is there a reason to use natural in this one?

    1. It is not a safe suggestion, many of the recipes on the Instant Pot website are, or were, written by amateurs with little attention by the manufacturer as to whether the meet the maximum fill requirement, use tricky ingredients or cause safety issues. If you use a quick release, the oatmeal will boil out of the bowl and splatter all over the pressure cooker. This is a safety issue because the oatmeal could cover the main and/or safety valves.

      When it comes to disagreements between what I say and what is in the manual, the manufacturer’s manual always wins. When there are disagreements with recipes that are posted by home cooks without careful considerations for pressure cookery, I recommend you defer to an expert.

      My goal is to inform you and ensure you pressure cook safetly, what you ultimately do at home with your own pressure cooker is up to you. At least, now you know. : )



  13. My new 8 quart Instant Pot was just delivered and I’m extremely excited for easy oatmeal! Since my whole family eats it every day I want to make a large batch. Do you know of any guidelines for making larger amounts? I’d love to do 4 cups of rolled oats at once. I’m worried about putting too much in and winding up with a big mess!

    Thanks for your excellent info.

    1. How many individual portions are you making? Since my recommendation is to use the pan-in-pot method, I can only advise to add more mugs. But read the comments here as there is a lady who does large batches with pan-in-pot and has adjusted the cooking time accordingly.



  14. Hi – I just tried out your 1 serving for quick cooking steel cut oats and the oats cooked but there was a lot of milk left which made it watery. 1/4 cup oats with 3/5 cup milk then I did manual high for 3 min and natural release for 10 min. Am I doing something wrong?

  15. Love making steel cut oats in my Fagor LUX. Have always made it right in the insert. Per manufacturer directions add a little vege oil to deal with foam. Have never had a problem.

  16. I routinely make steel cut oats in my pressure cooker. I use 6 cups water to 1 1/2 cups steel oats, adding 1 tsp salt, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. I pressure cook on the brown rice setting. I let the pressure release naturally. Then I stir and add 4 apples chopped, a handful of walnuts and a scant handful of dried cranberries. This makes 9-1 cup servings. I don’t cook the fruit first. It makes a satisfying crunch with the nuts. Have never had a problem with cooking the oats this way.

  17. I love that you include adding a drop of butter! I have always done this when making oatmeal and I truly believe it makes or breaks the taste. So much richer tasting with a dab of butter!

    1. I’m a big fan of using “Bavarian” butter, now. It’s made with ferments – and although they don’t survive the pressure cooking the extra flavor they leave behind- wow!! It’s a little bit tarty, like cream cheese. 8)



  18. I took these comments for inspiration. Yesterday I put two cups of steel cut oats–quick cook kind–into my instantpot, along with 6 cups of water, and three tablespoons of evoo. I put have of the oil on the bottom first. When done after 4 minutes and natural release, I open the pot. At first I thought there was too much water. But a quick stirring mixed it all up.

    There was some clean up of the pot but a soaking with soap and some vigorous rubbing took care of it.

    A question. Has anyone taken the finished product no after it cooled, shaped them into clumps and baked them? My bride ask me to give it a try and to insert flavors such as cinnamon sugar, rasins , small fruit bits. I’m going to give a try. I’ll do a couple batches at say 400 for various times: 15/25/40 minutes.

    Any thoughts?

  19. I am in love with those bowls, where are they from?

    1. Rachel, I love them too! You can’t see it in the photo but they are translucent pressed glass. They have no markings on the bottom. I got them at a second-hand store in Italy. They call these types/sizes bowls “appetizer sets” here. : )



  20. If I choose to cook my oats in a buttermilk/water mix can I leave it in the pot overnight and use time cook so they are ready in the morning? Or will the buttermilk spoil?

    1. Well, according to the USDA “buttermilk” is considered a diary and should not be left out at room temperature. I would say to read the buttermilk instructions – since there are “real” (already spoiled) and “flavored” buttermilks. If the instructions say to refrigerate after opening, then you should not leave it out overnight in the pressure cooker.



  21. I don’t have my 8qt gourmia yet, but one of the things I wanted it for was to make large quantities of oatbran with chopped dates, craisins, cinnamon and clove. I mix in baked sweet potato when I cook it in the microwave, and still plan on baking those separately. What would be the max amounts (bran, liquid, dried fruit) for that size, and what settings and times?

    1. Debbie, I’m sorry I can’t recommend pressure cooking oatmeal directly in the pressure cooker bowl – it goes against your pressure cooker’s safety instructions.



      1. So oatmeal and oat bran would be the same?

  22. As an after cooking modification to oatmeal, I like savory oats, having tired of sweet oatmeal. I cook my steel cut oats with 1/3 coconut milk from a can, and 2/3 water and some salt. I do a larger batch and then mix up daily, adding a tablespoon of cream cheese and grated cheddar to taste, and either rosemary or green chili. It’s almost like macaroni and cheese, with a flavor twist, and it’s oatmeal instead of pasta!

    1. Wow, your savory oats sound delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe!!



  23. So I’ve been cooking my steel cut oats directly on the PC bowl for years. Always have to clean the lid because of the crazy action that goes on in there. Knew it made a mess, disappointed in myself to admit I never considered it a safety issue. This morning I tried this method and although there was much less mess on the lid, something still went wonky. One cup oats and three cups water. 15 minutes high with natural release. Maybe my bowl wasn’t big enough to begin with?

    1. Was there any water in the base of the pressure cooker? It’s hard to tell, but it looks like not really, or not enough. Also, ideally, you don’t want to fill the bowl more half-way (there is no set rule or safety issue when using this method, maybe 2/3 will work) you definitely want to give the oatmeal room to expand. Lastly, be patient. This type of scene can also happen if pressure was released with anything but Natural Release – all the other methods even sneaky ones, (the oatmeal will know) get too much action going in the porridge.



      1. Yes, there was water left in the base. What you’re seeing in the picture is the oatmeal on top of my steamer basket. This bowl was likely overfilled. The next day I tried this again using 1/3c oats, 1 cup water in a 2cup capacity bowl. I measured 2 cups of water into the base of the PC and used a steamer basket again (green one this time). I still wound up with over topping. Both times the unit was allowed to naturally come down from pressure. I’m going to keep trying though especially since the second attempt yielded oats cooked exactly like I like them and the resulting mess was definitely less than the first time. Maybe the third time will be a charm!

        Also note…I like to add 2T pecorino, lots of fresh cracked black pepper, and a nice drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to my oats. Highly recommend trying out that savory combination. If I have fresh baby spinach I’ll throw some of that in as well allowing the residual heat to wilt it.

  24. If I cook in four 1-pint jars, how full can each jar be? Is there swelling while cooking which would cause an over-flow?

  25. So much better than waiting an hour for groats to cook when you’re hungry!

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