You can make apple cinnamon steel cut oats in the Instant Pot in just 30 minutes! Instant pot oatmeal is great for breakfast and meal prep and is super easy to customize.
If you’re like me and love cozy but simple breakfasts in the cooler months, then you are going to love making Instant Pot steel cut oats!
- Dietary features: dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free optional, nut-free
- Lightly sweetened and filled with apple cinnamon flavor
- Ready in just 30 minutes
- Makes 4-5 servings and can easily be doubled
In the quick 30 minutes cook time the apples break down, making the oatmeal sweet and full of natural apple flavor. Cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon add warmth and make this meal perfect for fall!
What you’ll need
- Steel cut oats, not to be confused with rolled oats or instant oats.
- Apples: I like to use sweet apples like Gala or Honeycrisp but any kind works. I leave the peel on but you can remove it if you prefer. The peel will soften and be unnoticeable after pressure cooking.
- Milk and water: Because cow’s milk can scald/burn in the Instant Pot, I use non-dairy milk which make this recipe totally dairy free! Unsweetened, unflavored soy milk is my go-to but oat milk, almond milk, etc. are all great options.
- Cinnamon sticks add an extra punch of cinnamon-y goodness to the steel cut oats. Feel free to omit cinnamon sticks if you don’t have any on hand.
- Sweetener: Light brown sugar is my go-to sweetener but any kind works here. Maple syrup, white sugar, honey, agave syrup, etc.
How to cook steel cut oats
Pro tip: This apple slicer makes preparing diced apples so much easier and can cut down on prep time.
Combine all ingredients (diced apples, cinnamon, steel-cut oats, liquid) in the Instant Pot. You can use water or non-dairy milk, such as soy or almond milk. Careful, dairy milk may scald in the Instant Pot!
Press the "manual" button and set to high pressure for 4 minutes.
Allow the pressure to release naturally, which takes about 10-12 minutes.
Carefully remove the lid and give the apple cinnamon oatmeal a stir.
Top with additional apple, cinnamon, and pecans or walnuts. Add a pinch of salt or extra dash of brown sugar for added sweetness.
Steel-cut oats are slightly higher in fiber due to their density and minimal processing, though both rolled and steel-cut oats are a good source of soluble fiber. Because steel-cut oats are high in soluble fiber, they are a healthy option that can help keep you satisfied until your next meal.
Steel cut oats are great for meal prep! I love making oatmeal for a week of breakfast meal prep. I usually store oatmeal portioned out in separate meal-prep containers with pre-portioned toppings and add-ins.
For best quality, keep leftover steel cut oats refrigerated for 3-4 days in a closed container. You may need to add an extra splash of milk to loosen the oats when reheating. I usually reheat them in the microwave in 1-2 minutes, but you can also reheat them over medium/medium-low on the stove top.
Yes, using 100% water works well. Milk is used because it adds an extra creamy texture and adds extra nutrition like protein and vitamins.
No, cow’s milk and/or cream do not work here because dairy milk is at risk of scalding when cooked at high pressure in the Instant Pot.
- Toppings: Fresh apple, toasted pecans or walnuts, and a dollop of nut butter (almond butter is a great option here) are all good ways to make steel cut oats more filling and nutritious.
- If your oats aren’t cooked all the way through, simply cook them for 1 more minute. Let the pressure release manually. You can add an extra splash of milk or water if the oats seem dry.
- Adjust sweetness to taste. The apple adds a lot of natural sweetness, so I recommend adding sweetener to taste.
- Flavor varieties: You can make basic steel cut oats instead of apple cinnamon flavor by omitting the apple and cinnamon. Feel free to add frozen berries, etc. to make this recipe your own.
How to prevent the burn error
Personally, I’ve never had the burn error when making steel cut oats in the Instant Pot. But I know that some readers do get it so these are my main tips for preventing and fixing the dreaded burn error (you can hopefully carry these tips across other Instant Pot recipes).
These are the two main ways to prevent the burn error:
- The Instant Pot container should be 100% clean. The most common cause of the burn error is bits of food getting stuck on the bottom of the pot, though this is more common if you are sautéing in the pot.
- Don’t stir the ingredients. Just add them in the listed order then put the lid on – don’t stir!
What to do if you get the burn error:
- Carefully do a quick pressure release. Carefully remove the lid and check for any stuck-on bits on the bottom of the pot. Remove them and return to cooking.
- Add an extra ½ cup of liquid, then return to cooking.
Replace the lid and resume cooking where the timer left off.
Looking for more breakfast recipes?
If you like this recipe you'll want to try apple cinnamon overnight oats. Here are a few more of my favorite fall breakfast ideas:
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Instant Pot Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats
- 4 and ½ cups water or non-dairy milk see note #1
- 2 cups steel cut oats see note #2
- 2 medium apples diced; see note #3
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar optional
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Add the water or non-dairy milk to your Instant Pot. Next sprinkle in the steel cut oats, apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks. Don't stir together. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock into place. Set the steam release valve to "sealing".
- Press the manual button and set to high pressure for 4 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure.
- Once the 4 minutes are up, allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally. This will take another 10-12 minutes. The oats are ready when the float valve drops down. Carefully remove the lid and stir the oatmeal.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks before serving. Top with additional cinnamon and diced apple. Add a splash of milk if you like a looser oatmeal.
- Milk: I do not recommend using dairy milk in this recipe, as it may scald in the Instant Pot. If you don't have non-dairy milk (soy milk, almond, oat) you can use water.
- Steel cut oats: This recipe does not work with rolled/old fashioned oats or instant oatmeal.
- Apples: I usually use a Gala or Honeycrisp apple. This apple slicer makes preparing diced apples so much easier.
- Leftovers: For best quality, keep leftovers refrigerated for 3-4 days. You may need to add an extra splash of milk to loosen the oats up prior to reheating.
- Meal prep: Store in individual meal prep containers (these are the kind that I use) in the fridge for an easy grab and go breakfast.
Author's note: This recipe was originally shared September 2018. It was updated September 2021 with new photos, a video and more tips. The recipe remains the same.