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Savory Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats Recipe with Variations

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This savory Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats Recipe is so easy to make. And since everyone’s tastes are different, I have a few cooking variations that you can try to fit your taste.

The cooking process is simple – all you need to do is cook the steel cut oats, water, and salt for 3 minutes in the Instant Pot on high pressure.

My family likes our steel cut oats with lots of texture and served salted with a dab of butter but you can add your favorite toppings to make it your own.

steel cut oatmeal in a white bowl with a pat of butter in center with raw oats sprinkled around the bowl and some extra pats of butter

Why I Like Cooking Steel Cut Oats in the Instant Pot

I like starting the day with a reasonably healthy breakfast, and a bowl of steel cut oatmeal is something that my whole family enjoys, so I make it quite often.

Before I bought the Instant Pot, I made my steel cut oats on the stove top. If you have ever done this, you know that the cooking time is very long.

This involved lots of stirring, and hawk-like monitoring so the stuff wouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. But given our busy mornings, I was always being pulled in so many directions that I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten distracted and burned breakfast beyond recognition.

So, I was looking for a the best way to make a steel cut oatmeal recipe that is virtually burn free. And I found it by way of the Instant Pot.

If you don’t have an electric pressure cooker yet, you can read my Instant Pot Review here.

What Are Steel Cut Oats?

A stainless steel measuring cup filled with uncooked steel cut oats

There are a few different types of oats that you might be familiar with:

  • Rolled Oats,
  • Instant Oats,
  • Quick Oats (which is what you find in most oatmeal packets) and
  • Steel Cut Oats (sometimes referred to as Irish Oats).

Steel cut oats are the least processed type of oats and are made by cutting whole oat groats – the oat kernels that are still husked – with steel blades. Which is where the name “steel cut” comes from.

Because they are a whole grain and minimally processed, cooking steel-cut oats takes a really long time. This is why pressure cooking is an attractive alternative to a traditional stove top recipe.

3 Simple Ingredients

instant pot in background with a cup of uncooked steel cut oats, a measuring cup of water, and a tiny bowl of salt

My Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats is an easy recipe that requires only 3 simple ingredients.

All you need are:

  • 1 cup of steel cut oats,
  • 3 cups of water,
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

How to Prepare Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal

uncooked steel cut oats inside the inner pot of an Instant Pot

Simply place all the ingredients in the inner pot of either your 6 quart or 3 quart Instant Pot.

pouring water into the inner pot of the instant pot that contains uncooked steel cut oats

Use the manual setting on the Instant Pot and set it to cook at high pressure for 3 minutes.

Instant Pot set to high pressure for 3 minutes

When the cooking cycle is complete, turn off the Keep Warm setting and use a natural pressure release.

This is very important!!! – DO NOT use the quick release! If you use the quick release then hot, thick oatmeal water will spew out of the steam release valve and spray everywhere – spoken from the voice of experience.

Instant pot release valve set to closed.

If you are in a hurry, let the pressure drop naturally for as long as you can (at the very least, 5 minutes) and then place a hand towel or paper towel loosely over the release valve to capture the spray when you dispel the rest of the pressure. Safety first!

steel cut oatmeal inside the inner pot of the instant pot

Once the pressure drops, carefully open the lid, and give the contents a good stir. If the consistency is a bit more watery than you like, simply turn on the sauté function of your Instant Pot and boil off any excess liquid while making sure to stir the mixture so it doesn’t stick.

stirring the cooked steel cut oatmeal in the instant pot with a red silicone spoon

One thing to keep in mind is that as the oatmeal cools, it will get thicker. Sometimes, my kids come down for breakfast a good half hour after the oatmeal is ready, and by that time it has cooled and thickened up quite a bit.

thickened steel cut oatmeal inside the instant pot

I also find that this recipe makes a big batch. So, I store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The next day I transfer it to a microwave safe bowl and pop it into the microwave for a minute or two. The oatmeal is definitely thicker, but still tastes great!

To serve, I usually add a bit more salt to taste and a dab of butter on top.

Even though the liquid in this recipe is water, I think that the texture is quite creamy.

Variations to This Savory Recipe for Your Taste Preference

The key to finding the perfect consistency for your family is a little experimentation to find the:

  • perfect proportions of water to oats and
  • the right cooking time.

Use my Instant Pot steel cut oats recipe as your starting point and the next time that you make it, factor in your adjustments.

Some variations are to increase the cooking time to 4 minutes – or keep it at a 3 minute cooking time and reduce the water to 2 1/2 cups.

As for serving the savory oatmeal, there are so many different ideas!

You can serve it as a side with eggs and toast – similar to a polenta.

Or add any number of toppings. Some things that work well with savory steel cut oats are:

  • shredded cheddar cheese and chives,
  • sautéed mixed vegetables – like chopped asparagus, spinach, broccoli, onions, and garlic,
  • shredded carrots and grated parmesan cheese,
  • and even a little peanut butter

Make It Sweet

If you would like to change things up and serve sweet steel cut oatmeal instead, you can make this recipe in the same manner – but add a pinch of salt instead of a half teaspoon.

When the oatmeal is ready add your toppings – here are some ideas:

  • chopped walunts
  • chia seeds
  • brown sugar
  • a drizzle of honey, pure maple syrup, or vanilla extract
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • fresh fruit like cut strawberries, blueberries, or sliced bananas
  • chocolate chips

And if you want it to be a little creamier you can pour on some fresh cream or a splash of almond milk, coconut milk, or just regular milk.

Do You Have a Steel Cut Oats Recipe That You Love?

Once you start making these savory steel cut oats in the Instant Pot, you will never look back. The best part is that you don’t have to babysit the oatmeal as it cooks.

If you prefer a thicker texture, you can try one of the variations by adding more cooking time to the recipe, or using a little less water.

The simplest way to serve these oats is the way that we love it – with salt and butter. But you could turn a bowl of oatmeal into a hearty lunch by adding sautéed vegetables or a variety of other toppings.

They are so versatile!

Tell me about your favorite steel cut oatmeal recipe in the comments below!

More Instant Pot Recipes You Might Like

steel cut oatmeal in white bowl with pat of butter in center

Steel Cut Oats Recipe for the Instant Pot

Yield: 3 to 4 servings


  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Put steel cut oats, water, and salt in the Instant Pot.
  2. Using the manual mode, set the Instant Pot to 3 minutes on high pressure.
  3. When time is up, turn off the Keep Warm function and let the pressure drop naturally. (Very IMPORTANT - DO NOT use the quick release because hot cooking liquid will spray out of the Instant Pot all over your kitchen.)
  4. When pressure has released, open the Instant Pot carefully. If you would like a thicker consistency, turn the Instant Pot on Sauté and, stirring constantly, boil down the water for a few minutes until the texture is what you prefer.
  5. Serve steel cut oats with additional salt to taste and a dab of butter.

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