Instant Pot Oatmeal (Fool Proof!)

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Instant Pot Oatmeal is an easy, hands-off breakfast. All you have to do is press a button and walk away, while the pressure cooker does the work!

Instant Pot oatmeal topped with fruit in bowl

How To Cook Oatmeal in the Instant Pot

There are two ways to cook oatmeal in the Instant Pot. For this tutorial, I’m using old-fashioned rolled oats. If you would prefer to use steel cut oats, check out my post on Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats instead.

  1. Add everything to the bottom of your pot. This is the easiest and fastest method, but if your machine tends to give you a “burn” error when cooking, or you’re worried about the oats getting stuck to the bottom of your pot, you’ll want to use the second method instead. This method is great for cooks who are in a hurry, or if you need to make a large portion of oats all at once.
  2. Cook the oatmeal in a separate bowl. This is called pot-in-pot cooking, and it’s the most fool-proof for cooking old-fashioned rolled oats or quick cooking oats. It’s also the method you should use if you want to cook a smaller portion of oats.

Today I’ll show you both methods and walk you through the process step-by-step! If you prefer to watch a video demonstration, I’ve got you covered with all of my tips and tricks for perfect Instant Pot Oatmeal below.

Ratio of Water to Oats

What is the ratio of water to oatmeal? For stove top cooking, the ratio is usually 1:2 for oats to water, but in the Instant Pot there’s no evaporation, so you don’t need to use quite as much water. I use a ratio of 1:1.5 with success. (So, that’s 1 cup rolled oats to 1.5 cups water.)

The oatmeal won’t turn out too runny this way, and you can always add extra milk or water later, to loosen up the texture.

Method #1: Cooking Oats Directly in the Pot

To cook the oatmeal in the bottom of your Instant Pot, you’ll add the oats and water to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Don’t use less than 1 cup of oats and 1.5 cups of water for this method, or you might not have enough liquid to bring the pot to pressure.

oatmeal and water in the Instant pot

Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Cook at high pressure for zero minutes. Yes, zero minutes is a real setting!

When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. When the screen reads L0:10, you can move the steam release valve to Venting, to release any remaining pressure.

natural release for 10 minutes

When the floating valve in the lid drops, it’s safe to remove the lid. The oatmeal should be perfectly cooked, and it won’t be stuck to the bottom of your Instant Pot, because you didn’t have the heat on for too long.

The longer you let the oatmeal sit there on the “keep warm” setting, however, the more likely it will be to eventually start to stick.

Method #2: Cooking the Oatmeal in a Separate Bowl

Cooking your oatmeal in a separate bowl is a fool-proof way to make sure you don’t get a burn error during the cooking cycle, and it’s perfect when you want to cook a single serving of oats.

With this method, you’ll start by pouring 1 cup of water into the bottom of your Instant Pot. Set a trivet on top of that. (I use the one that came with my machine, but others are also available online.)

water and trivet in pressure cooker

This will keep your bowl of oatmeal lifted up and out of the water, and the water on the bottom is what will boil and bring your machine to pressure.

You will use the same ratio of oats to water with this cooking method (1:1.5) but you can make a smaller portion, using only 1/2 cup of oats with 3/4 cup water, if you want to.

separate bowl of oats in pressure cooker

Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing.

Cook at high pressure for 1 minute, then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. That means you don’t have to do anything to your Instant Pot until the screen reads L0:10.

Move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve drops, it’s safe to open the lid.

Use oven mitts to remove the bowl of oatmeal from your pressure cooker, as it will be very hot to the touch! I like to transfer the oats to a separate bowl for serving, so I don’t have to hold a hot bowl.

What kind of bowl can you use in the Instant Pot?

If you are using a 6-quart Instant Pot, it needs to be 7-inches or less in diameter. If you have an 8-quart Instant pot, you can use a bowl that is up to 8-inches in diameter, but I still use a 7-inch bowl in that size, too.

That way there’s still room around the bowl when it’s placed in your Instant Pot for steam to build up against the lid. Don’t use a bowl that fits snugly in your Instant Pot, or it could be dangerous, with pressure building up under the bowl. 

The bowl you use also needs to be oven-safe. I’ve used porcelain, tempered glass, and metal cake pans in my machine with success, and I’ve never had anything shatter on me. (I’ve literally used this method hundreds of times while writing my healthy Instant Pot cookbook, so I’m pretty confident in my experiments at this point.)

cooked oatmeal in separate bowl

Troubleshooting Burn Errors

If you see a “burn” error on your Instant Pot screen (sometimes it will say “hot” instead), there are 3 common reasons this happens.

  1. The pot didn’t seal. If you forget to move the steam release valve to Sealing, your Instant Pot won’t seal, and the oats will eventually start to burn on the bottom. This can also happen if there’s an issue with the sealing ring in your lid. Be sure to check it every time you use your Instant Pot, to make sure it’s not stuck or damaged. It should be properly seated and have some wiggle room, so that it can expand and seal your pot properly.
  2. Water wasn’t added to the bottom of the pot. Sometimes people forget to add water to the bottom of the pot with pot-in-pot cooking. Remember, the water you add to your oatmeal in the separate bowl will not bring your pot to pressure. It needs the extra water on the bottom, too! I also don’t recommend cooking the oats in milk if you’re cooking them directly in the bottom of the pan, as it’s not always thin enough to help build pressure before triggering a burn error.
  3. A seasoning is stuck to the bottom of the pot. This commonly happens if you sauté something first in the pot (like onions or garlic) and don’t totally scrape the bottom of the pot before pressure cooking. This can also happen if you add maple syrup or cinnamon to your oatmeal. That’s why I recommend seasoning your oats AFTER they are cooked.

I hope this tutorial will help you have perfect Instant Pot Oatmeal every time!

How to Make Larger Servings

If you need to double or triple this recipe, I recommend using Method #1, as long as you don’t fill the pot more than halfway full with oats and water. Cooking starchy foods, like oats, can create a lot of foam in the pot as it comes to pressure, and you don’t want that starchy water to clog anything in the lid.

When you increase the recipe, you do NOT have to change the cooking time. It will take longer for the pot to pressurize, so the overall time that the oats are in the Instant pot will be longer, but you don’t need to add any additional minutes.

cooked oatmeal with fruit and maple syrup on top

Instant Pot Oatmeal (Fool Proof!)

Here's how to cook oatmeal in your Instant Pot! Instant Pot Oatmeal turns out perfectly every time when you follow these tips.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Instant Pot
Keyword Instant Pot Oatmeal
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Pressurization Time: 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 153kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

Method #1: Cooking Directly in the Pot

  • Pour the oats and water into the bottom of the Instant Pot. You can add a pinch of salt if you want to at this point, but don't add any other seasonings until after the oats are cooked.
    oatmeal and water in the Instant pot
  • Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button to cook at high pressure for zero minutes. (Yes, zero is a real setting!)
    zero minute cook cycle
  • When the cooking cycle is compete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. When the screen reads L0:10, you can move the steam release valve to Venting, to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve in the lid drops, it's safe to remove the lid.
  • Serve the oatmeal warm, with your favorite toppings. I usually add some almond milk to help loosen the texture at this point, along with maple syrup and cinnamon, to taste.
    finished oatmeal

Method #2: Pot-in-Pot Cooking

  • Pour 1 extra cup of water into the bottom of your Instant Pot, and place a trivet over that.
    water and trivet in pressure cooker
  • In an oven-safe bowl that is 7-inches in diameter or less, stir together the oats and water. (You can use milk for this method, if you prefer.) Place the bowl on top of the trivet, then secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button to cook at high pressure for 1 minute.
    separate bowl of oats in pressure cooker
  • When the cooking cycle is compete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. When the screen reads L0:10, you can move the steam release valve to Venting, to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve in the lid drops, it's safe to remove the lid.
    cooked oatmeal in separate bowl
  • Use oven mitts to remove the bowl of cooked oatmeal, as it will be very hot. Transfer the oatmeal to a serving bowl, so you don't have to worry about burning your hands, then add your favorite toppings and serve warm.
    finished oatmeal

Video

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 of 2 servings. This information is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee. Toppings are not included.
If you’re using Method #1, do not replace the water with milk, as it may trigger a burn error. You can usually replace up to half of the water with milk, if you’d like more creaminess, but you can also add milk to the oatmeal after the oats are cooked, to loosen the texture. You can cook the oats in 100% milk with Method #2 if you’d like to, since the oats will be cooked in a separate bowl, but you’ll still want to use only water on the bottom of the pot for that method.

Nutrition

Calories: 153kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg

More Instant Pot Tutorials

Need more Instant Pot guidance? Check out my other tutorials here!

If you try this Instant Pot Oatmeal, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too!


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Comments

Erin

I often get the burn warning, so excited to try the pot in pot method! I have steel cut oats on hand, would that method work with them as well at a different cook time? Thank you, love your site!

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