This Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats recipe takes just 5 minutes to prep and is the perfect vegan and gluten free make ahead oatmeal breakfast! Make a larger family size batch or a single serving of oatmeal with the pot in pot method.
We eat these Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats at our house several times a week. They’re incredibly customizable, keep us full until lunch, and about $0.50 a serving!
And if we’re not having these Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats, we’re usually either having a version of overnight oats, like Instant Coffee Overnight Oats or Silken Tofu Scrambled Eggs.
Steel Cut Oats vs. Rolled Oats
The biggest difference between steel cut oats and rolled oats is the way that they are processed. Rolled oats are more processed, and flattened which greatly decreases their cook time.
Although this can be helpful when you are really short on time, or making overnight oats, I prefer steel cut oats in warm oatmeal for several reasons.
- Steel cut oats are more nutritious! This article, Steel Cut Nutrition, by Bob’s Red Mill is a great extensive article on this topic, but in short, they contain more fiber, are slower to digest and are considered a low-glycemic food.
- Steel cut oats are less processed!
- Steel cut oats taste better! This opinion will vary person to person, but because steel cut oats are less processed, they absorb less liquid and retain a better texture than rolled oats. They also have an underlying nutty-flavor that you do not get with rolled oats.
If you prefer rolled oats, try this recipe: Instant Pot Rolled Oats by Running on Real Food.
Why You Should Be Cooking Oatmeal in the Instant Pot
Although cooking steel cut oats in the Instant Pot won’t reduce the cook time (sorry!), there are still a few benefits to cooking your oats this way.
- No burning to the bottom of the pot! This is a big one for me. When making oats on the stove, I almost always have oats that stick to the bottom. Not only is this a waste of food, but it is a pain to clean up!
- No stirring! Using the Instant Pot means making your oats perfectly every time is completely hands free! You can set the pot and then go and get ready for your day or relax!
- Perfect creamy oats every time! When cooking oats on the stove, a lot of the liquid can cook off while it steams, which can cause your oats to be drier than you’d like and even eventually burn to the bottom of the pot. Pressure cooking oats ensures no dry oats. Ever!
- steel cut oats – I buy the Bob’s Red Mill bulk bag at Costco as it’s very affordable! Please note that this recipe is specifically written for steel cut oats and should not be replaced with any other grain.
- unsweetened plant based milk – Any unsweetened plant-based milk will do. I regularly use oat milk, but I’ve also used soy and almond.
- chia seeds – I love adding chia seeds for a boost of nutrition and omegas. You can also use ground flaxseed, however I personally find the texture of flaxseed in oatmeal to be too slimy.
- maple syrup – Optional sweetness. If making these oats for the first time, I recommend adding the maple syrup after cooking to taste. Then once you know how much you like, you can add it to the oats before cooking! This will prevent over-sweetening.
Family Size Serving Step by Step Instructions
This family size Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats method makes 4 servings. Feel free to double or triple the recipe as needed.
If you want to make less than 4 servings, see my pot-in-pot method instructions further down the post. This will allow you to make single servings without risking the oats burning to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the unsweetened plant-based milk, water, salt and maple syrup (if using) to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
- Add the chia seeds. Do not stir!!
- Sprinkle in the steel cut oats. Do not stir! In recipe testing this recipe, I got a burn notice every time I stirred the oats in. Leaving them on top of the water and milk prevents them from sticking to the bottom so trust me and do not stir.
- Secure the lid and cook at manual high pressure for 3 minutes. It will take the pot 7-10 minutes to come to pressure, 3 minutes to cook at high pressure and a minimum of 20 minutes to naturally release pressure.
- After the pot has naturally de-pressurized for at least 20 minutes, release the remaining pressure and remove the lid. Give the oats a good stir and serve immediately with desired toppings!
Pot-in-Pot Single Serving Method Instructions
We use the Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats method more often than the family size method because it allows you to cook the oats in a single serving glass jar that you can take with you on the go!
I use a 6 qt Instant Pot and can comfortably fit two 16 ounce glass jars (equivalent to 2 servings) on the Instant Pot trivet. If you have an 8 qt Instant Pot, you may be able to fit 3 (3 servings).
- Place the Instant Pot trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add in 1 cup of water. This water will help steam the oats in the jar.
- To a 16 ounce single serving glass jar, add the oats, chia seeds, sea salt, maple syrup (if using), water, and unsweetened plant based milk.
- Place the jar on the trivet and secure the Instant Pot lid on the Instant Pot. Make sure you do not screw a lid on your single serving jar – it cooks without a lid!
- Cook the oats at manually high pressure for 6 minutes and allow oats to naturally release pressure (15-20 minutes).
- After the pressure has naturally released, remove the single serve jar with oven mitts as it will be very hot. Allow the jar to cool for a couple of minutes, then enjoy immediately with desired toppings or screw on a lid and bring it with you to work, school, etc!
Why does the single serving method have to cook for longer? Recipes that use a pot-in-pot method generally require a longer cook time than regular recipes because they have to heat up the glass that the recipe is cooking in which elongates the time it takes.
I’m out of milk. Can I replace it with additional water? Yes! Although the oats will be slightly less creamy, this will work perfectly fine and I’ve done this many times myself.
I want to double the family size serving. Do I have to double the cook time? Nope! You can use the same exact cook time! Same goes for if you do 2 single servings instead of 1 with the pot in pot Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats method.
Tips for Successful Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats
- Make sure to allow the pot to naturally release pressure for a minimum of 20 minutes or your oats may be undercooked. Although the official cook time has passed, the oats are still cooking during the pressure release.
- Do not stir!!! Stirring the oats almost guarantees they will burn to the bottom of the pot. Do not do it.
- Make sure the valve on your Instant Pot lid is set to “seal.” If it is set to “vent,” the pot will never come to pressure.
Steel Cut Oatmeal Topping Ideas
The best part about Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats is you can customize them a million ways! Here are a few ideas:
- fresh berries
- cinnamon apples
- banana slices and walnuts
- peanut butter and jelly with peanuts
- slivered almonds
Additional Easy Breakfast Ideas
Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats
Family Size Serving (4 servings)
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1 ⅓ cup steel cut oats
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup - adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
Single Serving (Pot-in-Pot Method)
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup unsweetened plant-based milk
- ⅓ cup steel cut oats
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
Family Size Serving
- Add the water, unsweetened plant-based milk, sea salt, and maple syrup (if using) to pot and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle the chia seeds on the milk mixture. Do not stir.
- Sprinkle the oats on top of the chia seeds. Do not stir at all.
- Secure the Instant Pot lid and cook at manually high pressure for 3 minutes. After cooking, allow the pot to naturally release pressure for a minimum of 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid, stir the oats, and serve immediately with desired toppings.
- Add the steel cut oats, chia seeds, sea salt, maple syrup (if using), unsweetened plant-based milk and water to a 16 ounce glass jar. Leave the lid off.
- Put the trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot along with a cup of water.
- Put the jar with the oats on the trivet and secure the Instant Pot lid. Cook at manually high pressure for 6 minutes. After cooking, allow the pot to naturally release pressure completely, about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the jar(s) with oven mitts as they will be very hot, then serve immediately with desired toppings. Alternatively, you can screw the lid on the jar and take the oats to go!
- I use a 6 QT Instant Pot to cook this recipe. If using an 8 QT Instant Pot, it may take longer to come to pressure.
- In my Instant Pot, I can fit two single serving jars. If you use an 8 QT, you may be able to fit 3.
- Not stirring the oats for the family size serving greatly reduces the chance of a burn warning. DO NOT STIR.
- If making this recipe for the first time, I recommend adding the maple syrup after cooking to taste. Then, once you know how much you like to add, you can add it prior to cooking. This will prevent your oats from being too sweet.
- These oats are really creamy when first cooked, but as they cool they really thicken up. If making these ahead for meal prep, add a couple splashes of plant-based milk before re-heating to help make them creamy again.
- If doubling the family size serving, you do not need to alter the cook time.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
Photos by: Stacey Gaar
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