Today I’m going to share two ways to make perfect Instant Pot steel cut oatmeal. Once you see how easy cooking steel cut oats in an Instant Pot is, you’ll be making them all the time!
I’ve always loved oatmeal – in fact it’s been my go-to breakfast for years now. While I often just go for overnight oats, every now and then I’d take my time to make a batch of my vegan steel cut oatmeal, and top it with berries, banana slices, cinnamon, etc.
One thing that’s always held me back from making steel cut oatmeal more often is the fact that it can be a pretty hands-on process. The milk (I usually use almond milk) can boil over. The oats can splatter all over the stove if the pot is left uncovered. The oatmeal can stick to the bottom of the pan if not stirred often. Who wants to deal with all that?
Thankfully, all these issues disappear if you use an Instant Pot! You can’t beat steel cut oatmeal when looking for a healthy Instant Pot breakfast. This nifty gadget makes cooking my favorite vegan steel cut oatmeal a breeze.
Today I’ll show you two ways to make it, and better yet, both of those are ridiculously easy!
When talking about steel cut oats, a few questions usually arise. Let’s go through each of them.
This recipe is featured in my list of 15 kid friendly vegan recipes that my 2 year-old daughter loves.
What are health benefits of steel cut oats?
Oats are a fantastic source of plant-based nutrition. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, protein (as much as 7 grams in 1/4 cup uncooked steel cut oats), B vitamins, manganese, iron, phosphorus, etc.
Soluble fiber in oats is absorbed by our digestive tract, and ‘cleans up’ unnecessary things like cholesterol. It also feeds good bacteria in our gut. Insoluble fiber stays within the digestive tract, adding bulk to our stools and helping things to move along smoothly.
Another benefit of fiber in steel cut oats – it prevents blood sugar spikes, which gives oats a fairly low glycemic index. The less our blood sugar goes up during a meal, the longer we can stay full.
In addition to that, oats are naturally gluten-free. However, in the process of growing and harvesting oats, they often get contaminated with grains of wheat. So if you want to make 100% sure your oats are free of wheat and gluten, buy certified gluten-free steel cut oats. (See more info on this subject here.)
What’s the difference between steel cut oats and old-fashioned rolled oats?
The main difference between steel cut oats and the traditional old-fashioned rolled oats is the way the oat groats (whole oat grains) are processed.
For steel cut oats, the oat groats are cut in two or three pieces using a sharp steel blade. For old-fashioned rolled oats, the groats are flattened and steamed.
Both resulting types of oats are healthy, but the steel cut oats haven’t been treated with steam, so they may be more appealing to those of us looking for the least processed version of every food.
When both types of oats are compared by volume, steel cut oats tend to contain a little less calories and a little more fiber than old-fashioned rolled oats. However, the amounts of carbohydrates, fat and fiber are the same.
Steel cut oats also have a lower glycemic index thanks to a higher fiber content.
How do I make steel cut oats in an Instant Pot?
To make basic Instant Pot steel cut oatmeal, you’ll need only 3 components:
- 1 part uncooked steel cut oats,
- 3 parts liquid (my go-to combination is almond milk and water in 1:1 proportion),
- a pinch of salt.
There are two main ways you can go about cooking the oats: a slower one that produces great-tasting, slightly softer oats, and a quicker one that yields slightly chewier but still delicious oats. But honestly, the difference in chewiness is minimal, so feel free to use whatever method you like.
If you’re new to Instant Pot cooking, check out my foolproof 5-step guide to using an Instant Pot.
You’ll notice below that the quicker method calls for 10 minutes of pressure cooking, and the slower method – for 3 minutes. How come? When you add up the time it takes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure, then release it after cooking, you’ll see that the 10-minute method is in fact quicker.
What about the Porridge setting on my Instant Pot? This button is set to cook things at high pressure for 20 minutes (here’s a more thorough explanation of Instant Pot buttons). However, you’ll see that it’s an overkill for my cooking method below.
Quicker method for cooking steel cut oats in the Instant Pot:
Add all ingredients into the bowl of your pressure cooker. Lock the lid, make sure the vent is closed. Press Manual; set the timer for 10 minutes.
The pressure will start building up inside the pot. Once the pressure is reached, the timer will start counting down.
After the pressure gets down to zero and the Instant Pot beeps, press Cancel and do the quick release opening method: carefully turn the pressure knob to Venting position, and allow the steam to escape.
Once the metal pin on top of the lid drops, open the lid carefully.
From beginning to end, this method usually takes about 15-17 minutes.
Slower method for pressure cooking steel cut oats:
Add all ingredients into the bowl of your Instant Pot. Lock the lid, make sure the vent is closed. Press Manual; set the timer for 3 minutes.
After the pressure timer runs out, let the pressure come down naturally (i.e. do the natural release) until the metal pin drops on its own. The oats will continue cooking in the residual steam inside the pot. Note that it may take a while before the pressure comes down – I often wait for 20-25 minutes.
Once the pin drops, press Cancel, and open the lid carefully.
From beginning to end, this method usually takes me about 30 minutes.
What to do with the steel cut oatmeal once pressure cooking is done
When you first open the lid of your Instant Pot, things won’t necessarily look very pretty. You’ll see some goopy-looking mass of oatmeal with extra liquid pooling on top:
Don’t let this view scare you – everything is just fine. What you need to do is stir everything until the oatmeal looks homogenous.
It will still be a bit runny, but once again, this is fine.
Your delicious and healthy steel cut oats recipe concludes at this point. However, it’s worth noting that your oats will thicken quite a bit as they cool. That’s why we want them to be a little runny when they’re first done.
In the picture below I let my oatmeal sit in my pressure cooker a bit longer with the lid on, and the power turned off. You can see how much thicker it looks after 20 minutes:
How do I store steel cut oatmeal?
Steel cut oatmeal will keep well in the refrigerator for 5-7 days in an airtight container. Note that it will continue to thicken, so you’ll need to add a bit of milk (I usually use some almond milk for this).
If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Give it a star rating below, pin it to Pinterest, tag @vegan_runner_eats on Instagram, or leave a comment.
If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Tag @vegan_runner_eats on Instagram, rate this recipe above, or leave a comment.
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