Warm up with the easiest steel cut oats ever! The slow cooker or instant pot does all the work, and you get to enjoy a warm and cozy, super wholesome breakfast.

A beautiful bowl of steel cut oats with almond butter, maple syrup, and fresh berries. Slow cooker or Instant Pot steel cut oats is so easy to make.

Do you ever feel like there is so much to do in the morning that eating a healthy breakfast is a challenge? That happens to me all the time. With packing kids’ school lunches, wrangling dogs, and finding missing shoes (why is there always a missing shoe?!) breakfast sometimes takes a backseat  for me. I usually make up for it with a big green protein smoothie mid-morning, but when the weather is cold we start feeling like warm and cozy meals in place of some of those smoothies. Enter easy steel cut oats, cooked in the slow cooker or instant pot. This recipe is my current go-to breakfast.

On a recent Whole Foods trip, my littlest daughter wanted to try a package of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal. The kind you just have to add hot water to and a minute later it’s ready. I let her try it, but she wasn’t a fan, luckily, because it did have added sugar and who knows what else in it. While the instant oatmeal is crazy easy, making steel cut oats from scratch doesn’t take much more effort. I wanted to show you two easy ways to cook steel cut oats – fast, in the instant pot, and slow, in the slow cooker.

Steel cut oats are so easy to make in the slow cooker crock pot or Instant Pot pressure cooker.

What the heck are steel cut oats?

Also known as Irish or Scottish oats, steel cut oats are less processed than other varieties. Steel cut oats are processed simply by chopping the groats (the whole oat grain), whereas rolled oats are, well, rolled, flattened, and steamed. Quick oats go a step further and are pre-cooked, rolled, and pressed even thinner than rolled oats. Steel cut oats in my opinion taste so much better than quicker cooking varieties. Unlike quick cooking oats that easily turn to mush, steel cut oats retain a bit of a nice chewy bite. The only downside to steel cut oats is that they take much longer to cook. Is this really a problem? Heck no! Just pop those oats in the instant pot or slow cooker and forget about it. I usually use steel cut oats from Bob’s Red Mill, which are certified gluten-free.

Are steel cut oats healthier than rolled oats?

Well, maybe a little. According to Prevention, steel cut oats have about the same nutritional makeup as rolled oats. They do have a slightly lower glycemic index, which means a lower blood sugar spike. Least processed is almost always my preference, and that steel cut oats are. Certainly cooking oatmeal from scratch is healthier than flavored instant oatmeal. Here we can control any added ingredients.

How to Make Steel Cut Oats in the Instant Pot

An easy recipe for steel cut oats made in the Instant Pot pressure cooker.

Cooking steel cut oats in the slow cooker is a great option because you get to wake up to a warm breakfast. However, I’m partial to the Instant Pot pressure cooker method. Steel cut oats in the slow cooker end up softer, because they absorb more water after cooking overnight. In the pressure cooker though, they turn into my perfect porridge. A third option would be to cook the oats in the slow cooker for a shorter time, refrigerate or freeze, and reheat later. As you may remember from last week, I am absolutely loving my Instant Pot pressure cooker.

This bowl of steel cut oats was made in the slow cooker and topped with fresh berries.

A steamy bowl of steel cut oats are great canvas for delicious and nutritious toppings. I usually sweeten mine with a few drops of liquid stevia and add a splash of almond milk. My favorite toppings include: sliced banana, berries, almond butter, hemp, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds. I’ve been adding more pumpkin seeds into my diet lately as they are a good source of protein and minerals like iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc. While I’m sharing the basic method for cooking steel cut oats in the slow cooker or pressure cooker, there are loads of variations. One of my favorites is to add sliced apples and a cinnamon stick to the pot before turning it on.

Are you making this recipe? I’d love to see it so tag me on Instagram @yummymummykitchen!

Yield: serves 4

Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 2 minutes

A bowl of steel cut oats made from scratch is so simple when you use a slow cooker or Instant Pot! Top with your favorite berries, seeds, or nuts for a warm and wholesome breakfast.

Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats


  • 1 cup steel cut oats (certified GF if needed)
  • 3-4 cups water (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats

  1. Pour the oats, 4 cups of water, and salt into a slow cooker crock pot. Put on the top and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

  1. Pour the oats, 3 cups of water, and salt into the electric pressure cooker. Lock the lid and cook on manual for 3 minutes. Depressurize naturally, then carefully remove the lid away from you. The oats will continue to thicken up as they sit, but if it seems too watery, you can put the lid on for a few more minutes.


*Be sure to read through the safety information before using a pressure or slow cooker.
*Though the amount of oats used in both methods is the same, the amount of water differs. The slow cooker method needs much more water for the oats to absorb over a much longer period of time. The slow cooker results in softer oats, which is why I personally prefer the pressure cooker method.
*Serve your oats with milk, fruit, nuts, nut butter, and/or seeds. You can sweeten it with maple syrup, stevia, coconut sugar, etc. One of my favorite variations is to add sliced apple and a dash of cinnamon to the pot before cooking. *Nutrition Information is approximate and based on 1/4 of this recipe and does not include any toppings, milk, or sweeteners.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170

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This easy slow cooker steel cut oats recipe makes a beautiful and wholesome breakfast that's #vegan and #glutenfree. Plus a variation for Instant Pot steel cut oats.