Are you looking for a simple breakfast inspired by warm fall spices? This Instant Pot Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oats recipe is just what you are looking for. Let me show you how to make this easy breakfast perfect for busy mornings!
What's not to love about oatmeal? It's hearty, filling, and easily customized with your favorite flavors. Pumpkin spice steel-cut oats are the perfect way to enjoy all the fall flavors in one delicious bowl.
The warm spices pair perfectly with the savory pumpkin puree. Top it off with a drizzle of maple syrup and crunchy toasted nuts, and you've got a cozy, filling, and satisfying breakfast.
While steel-cut oats are a great breakfast option, they can take 20 minutes to cook on the stove; you have to watch them and stir them to ensure they come out correctly.
While the total cook time is similar, the Instant Pot makes this recipe much less hands-on. Cooking it in an Instant Pot reduces the active cooking time so that you can enjoy a bowl of piping hot pumpkin spice steel-cut oats in no time! Don't worry if you've never used your Instant Pot; I'll break it down so you can enjoy this delicious breakfast any time you want.
Why this recipe works
These instant pot steel-cut oats are the perfect, no-stress, low prep time, breakfast option. The Instant Pot keeps this dish hands-off for those busy mornings when you have too much going on to worry about cooking breakfast.
These oats have the best fall flavors. The combination of pumpkin and warming spices is all you need for the perfect fall breakfast.
If you have leftovers, this makes the best meal prep. Steel-cut oats are easy to reheat in the microwave. You could even store them in separate containers in the fridge, so when it's time to eat, you can simply grab one, microwave it until warm, and be on your way!
What Are Steel Cut Oats?
Steel-cut oats are a naturally gluten-free type of coarse-cut oatmeal. They are also called Irish oats and pinhead oats. They vary quite a bit from other kinds of oats such as old-fashioned oats in how they are processed. The differences in their processing change their texture and cooking time compared to rolled oats, old-fashioned oats, or quick-cooking oats.
Steel-cut oats are the least processed out of the popular types you might see at the store. Rather than rolling the oats flat, the entire oat groat is chopped into small pieces with a steel blade. Cutting the whole oat into pieces, rather than rolling flat, produces a coarser oat piece that requires a longer cooking time.
Rolled oats are thin and readily absorb water, so they cook faster. However, since steel-cut oats are thick pieces, they traditionally require about 20 minutes of cooking time. That can feel like a lot when you're busy in the morning!
As far as taste and texture, they're more gritty than rolled oats but in a good way. Steel-cut oats are hearty and filling; you might find that you prefer them to rolled oats.
- Milk- You can use the milk of your choice including dairy-free and vegan options. Unsweetened almond milk will work in this recipe as will oat milk and soy milk. I used 2% cow milk for this recipe but if you like creamier oatmeal try using 5% milk, or whole milk.
- Steel-cut oats- Make sure these are steel-cut oats and not old-fashioned or quick-cooking. Those types of oats cook too quickly in the Instant Pot and will turn mushy with the cooking time listed in this recipe. Steel-cut oatmeal should have a firm, chewy texture when fully cooked.
- Salt- Salt is oatmeal's best friend, not everyone realizes how important it is. A dash of salt brings your meal's delicious flavors to life and balances the sweetness in the dish.
- Ground Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom, and Cloves- These are the aromatic spices I use in this recipe. If you prefer, you can use a store-bought pumpkin pie spice blend instead.
- Pumpkin Puree- This pumpkin oatmeal recipe calls for canned pumpkin puree, which is 100% pure pumpkin. Pumpkin puree is not to be confused with pumpkin pie mix, which has other ingredients mixed in. They're often next to each other in the store, so check the label if you're unsure.
- Maple Syrup- I love maple syrup to top my pumpkin oatmeal. Maple syrup works for this recipe because it's a natural sweetener and a great way to cut down on processed sugar. If you do use maple syrup, look for 100% pure syrup, not artificially flavored ones. If the syrup isn't your thing, feel free to use your sweetener of choice. Granulated sugar and brown sugar will both work.
- Walnuts- I love to add toasted walnuts to top my oatmeal because it adds a nice crunch. You can also use toasted pecans.
- Butter- I have recently started using butter to top my oats, and I don't think I will ever go back. It adds richness and flavor, which I love.
- Currants or Raisins- My hubby loves to top his oats with either of these. They're an excellent pantry staple that can be used to garnish just about any bowl of oatmeal and mix in with a variety of flavors.
How To Make
First, you'll want to spray the inner pot with cooking spray. I have found that this prevents the oatmeal from burning and sticking to the bottom. If you don't have any cooking spray, use a bit of oil on a paper towel to rub around the inside of the inner pot.
Add all of your ingredients, except the toppings, to the inner pot of the Instant Pot or whatever electric pressure cooker you are using- the process is the same. Mix the ingredients until well combined.
Place the lid on the pressure cooker, then turn the lid to lock into place. Press the manual button and set the timer for 4 minutes. It will take a few minutes to build up pressure, then it will begin counting down.
When the timer beeps, allow the pot to do a natural release. For the Instant Pot, a natural release means that you do not manually release the pressure by pressing the button. Instead, you simply allow the Instant Pot timer to beep, then let it be. The display will begin counting upwards. Once the screen says it has been 15-18 minutes, you may press the pressure release button. Once the pressure indicator pin drops, you are done.
This pumpkin spice steel-cut oatmeal is best served warm with your favorite toppings. If you prefer looser oatmeal, stir in an extra tablespoon of milk or cream to reach your desired consistency. See, I told you this was a simple recipe!
Using An Instant Pot
If this is your first time using a pressure cooker, let me share some tips. I have only owned a pressure cooker for a few years now. My sister gave me one quite a while ago, but I was too scared to use it for at least four months. The first time I used it, I kept myself in the other room until it was finished cooking and released. So funny, right?? Now I use it all the time without concern.
Learning to use the Instant Pot can feel intimidating if you are anything like me. But don't worry! I learned to feel confident using my Instant Pot, and you can learn too.
The key is to start with simple recipes like this pumpkin spice oatmeal and work up to more complex recipes like my Instant Pot Peanut Butter Cheesecake. You'll be a pro in no time!
I use the Instant Pot Duo 7-1 Electric pressure cooker, which I love and recommend. No matter what model you have, the first step is always to read the instruction booklet first and do a water test. The water test, explained in the manual, helps you familiarize yourself with the appliance and understand how it works.
This pumpkin oatmeal recipe is excellent for beginners. It's a dump-and-go recipe meaning that you just toss all the ingredients into the inner pot and mix. Ensure that the inner pot, the removable steel pot, is inside the Instant pot heating element before adding any ingredients.
I've seen many horror stories of people forgetting to place their inner pot into the Instant Pot and accidentally dumping milk all over their heating element- yikes!
Add the ingredients to the inner pot and close the lid
Once you have added your ingredients to the Instant pot, place the lid on top of the pot and turn it to click closed. Some older models make a louder click sound than others, but all models will have a sound indicating that it's closed. To ensure the lid is closed, you can also check to see if the arrows are on the pot and if the lid is lined up.
Adjust the Instant Pot's settings
This recipe uses the manual button. For some models, this will say "manual," and for others, it may say "pressure cook" -both buttons function the same. First, press the program button, then use the arrows to adjust the timer. For this recipe, it is 4 minutes. You may have to press the start button for some models, and other models will automatically begin the program after a few seconds.
The Instant Pot will often beep once it is ready to build pressure. This time can vary based on what you're cooking and how full the pot is. When the pressure is building, the silver indicator pin will be down. Once the pot is nearing full pressure, it may begin spitting steam, and the pin will start to come up. Hearing steam is normal!
It usually takes around a minute for the pin to fully pop up. Once pressure is reached, you will hear another beep and see the timer begin to count down on the screen. If for some reason, your Instant Pot continues struggling to come to pressure, you may have to troubleshoot.
Once the Instant Pot beeps and the cooking is done, you will use natural release. What that means is you just leave it alone. The pressure cooker will naturally start to release pressure. The Instant Pot has a timer, so you can see how long it has been released.
Once you have reached 15-20 minutes, finish releasing by pressing the pressure release button, then remove the lid. That is it! Give it a good stir, and it is ready to serve warm.
- Make sure your ingredients are combined before cooking. You don't need to layer them for this recipe.
- The natural release is essential. Do not release the pressure right away. The oatmeal continues to cook while the pressure is naturally releasing, and letting the pressure out manually will result in undercooked oatmeal.
- I don't add my sweeteners until the end, after cooking. This allows everyone to adjust sweetness as they like it. If you're using granular or brown sugar, it's best to add them to the pot so heat can break them down.
- Get creative with your toppings. You can choose roasted chopped nuts, dried fruits, or even top things off with a little drizzle of honey.
Other Instant Pot Recipes
Instant Pot Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oats
- pressure cooker
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup milk of choice
- 1 cup+1 tablespoon steel-cut oats
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon In place of the cinnamon and next 3 spices, you can also use 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice if you prefer.
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- maple syrup for topping
- butter optional, but I really like it on mine.
- half and half again, optional, but also really good.
- walnuts optional for topping. You can also use any other nut or seed you like here!
- currants or raisins my hubby loves these for topping, but this optional.
- Spray your pan with spray release or rub it lightly with oil. This will keep the oatmeal from burning on the pan. Add all ingredients for the steel-cut oats to your pressure cooker. Secure the lid and set it for seal.
- Set for pressure cooking high for 4 minutes. It will take time for it to come up to temperature and pressure.
- Once the time is done, allow it to natural release for 15-18 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir. If you need to cook it a little more, set the temperature to saute or low. Cook, stirring consistently until it is thick enough. I personally like this recipe a little thinner than usual, but cook how you like it!
- Top as you like and enjoy.
- Whatever you don't finish, you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 7 days. When you are ready, reheat in the microwave.
- That is it. You are done and this could not be more simple!
- Make sure your ingredients are mixed in before cooking. This recipe has enough water to prevent your pressure cooker from showing the "burn" error but mix to make sure.
- The natural release is really important. Do not release the pressure right away, let it continue to cook with the natural release.
- I don't add my sweeteners until the end, after cooking. This allows everyone to adjust sweetness as they like it.
- Topping ideas are endless here. I gave a few of my suggestions, but just know, there are plenty of others.
- You can use any seed or nut you like. Dried fruits are really good as toppings as well. Half and half or even heavy cream are also really yummy!