Instant Pot Coconut Steel Cut Oatmeal

Instant Pot Coconut Steel Cut Oatmeal | A Sweet Spoonful

February in Seattle: despite the fact that it’s literally the shortest month, it always feels never ending to me. It’s that bridge month between winter and a tiny glimpse of spring, when we all start counting down the days until daylight savings time. Or said another way, it’s a major oatmeal, cocoa and hunker-down month and this year is proving to be no exception. Except now with two small people instead of just one, I’m all about taking as many shortcuts as possible, so hellllooooo Instant Pot oats!

My sisters badgered me for a long time to get an Instant Pot and I resisted and resisted. I’m a kitchen luddite, I’d say. We don’t have the space. Seriously, I have a slow cooker — who needs it? Well it turns out, they and virtually everyone else I know was right: pressure cookers are pretty great.

This winter we’ve been making Instant Pot soups, stews and chili as well as braised meat and velvety oats. Right before Frances was born I started making Coco Morante’s  Pressure Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal to get us through the cold mornings, and began thinking of ways to tweak the recipe using coconut milk, coconut sugar and real coconut. So here we are.

Making Perfect Instant Pot Oats

For this recipe you want to be sure to choose steel cut oats versus rolled oats or instant oats — they have a heartier, more toothsome texture and cook up really well in the pressure cooker. And of course, making the perfect pot of oats has so much to do with personal preference. so while this recipe is a great guide, if you end up liking a much looser oatmeal simply stir in additional liquid at the end.

Instant Pot Coconut Steel Cut Oatmeal | A Sweet Spoonful

Experiment with Cook Time

While I like my steel cut oats to cook for about 9 minutes, I’ve heard from many people who cook them in as little as 4 minutes so it really depends on how chewy or creamy you like them (keep in mind the machine takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure and then you’ll naturally vent it for 10 minutes, so consider that when thinking about total time spent here). I’d say if this is your first time cooking oats in the Instant Pot, follow the recipe below but after that, feel free to tweak the cooking time based on your preferred texture (decrease the cook time for super chewy oats and increase it just a touch and add 1/4 – 1/2 cup additional liquid for creamier oats).

Make Ahead & Reheat

One of the great things about making a big pot of oats is having leftovers as they reheat so well. I love making a big batch on the weekend and then Oliver and I have a few breakfasts to kick off the week together. To reheat, I generally add a splash of liquid and microwave for about 1 minutes (time depends on serving size), stopping halfway through to stir.

If you want to enjoy your oatmeal and then freeze the rest for later, I occasionally use this cool muffin pan trick (I did this before Frances was born so we had easy single-serve portions at the ready). Once frozen you simply take these straight from the freezer, add a splash of liquid and microwave them until soft and warm. The best!

Serving Your Oatmeal

Again, the way you like your oatmeal is such a personal thing so feel free to adapt and go your own way here. This recipe is quite low in sugar — you can certainly add more after tasting it or sprinkle additional sugar (or maple syrup) on top; I just prefer to add it later should you desire rather than sweetening the whole pot.

And while I call for serving this recipe with extra coconut and Diamond Nuts’ Heirloom Fruit and Nut blend, you can use any dried fruits and nuts that you like here.

Instant Pot Coconut Steel Cut Oatmeal

Instant Pot Coconut Steel Cut Oatmeal

  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Prep time: 5 mins
  • Cook time: 10 mins
  • Inactive time: 20 mins
  • Total time: 30 mins

One of the secrets to better oatmeal is toasting your oats and coconut in a little coconut oil before cooking: this will give the whole pot a slightly nutty, toasty flavor that you’ll come to really love. If you’d rather use butter instead of coconut oil, feel free (it just obviously wouldn’t be dairy free or vegan in that case). While you can play around with many of the ingredients here, don’t substitute real dairy for the coconut milk as the dairy can scorch in the Instant Pot.


2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 1/2 cups (240g) steel cut oats
1 cup (60g) unsweetened coconut flakes, plus more to top
3 1/2 cups water
1 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup (30g) coconut sugar (or turbinado or brown sugar), plus more to top
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Diamond Nuts Heirloom Pecan Blend


Select the Sauté setting on your Instant Pot and melt the coconut oil. Add the oats and coconut and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant.

Cancel the Saute program. Stir the water, coconut milk, sugar and salt into the oats.

Making sure the pressure release is set to its sealing position, place the lid on the pressure cooker. Press Manual setting and set the cooking time for 9 minutes at high pressure (do note that it’ll take 8-10 minutes to come up to pressure first before the actual cooking begins).

Once done cooking, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes then vent.

Stir well. If oats are a bit liquidy at this point that’s ok: they’ll continue to soak up some liquid as they sit for a few minutes.

To serve: Spoon the oatmeal into bowls and top with extra coconut, coconut sugar, and nut and fruit blend.

Note: If the oatmeal firms up more than you’d like for it to, simply stir in additional water, coconut milk or dairy milk until the consistency makes you happy.


  1. Beth

    Would I be ok to substitute a nut milk for the coconut milk? Looks fantastic!

    1. megang

      Yes! Nut milk but not dairy as it can scorch. Enjoy!

  2. Margo

    This looks great, I can't wait to try it. I've just been starting to saute my oats before cooking them. It does make a difference!

    1. megang

      Yay! I agree! Hope you enjoy the recipe :)

  3. di

    similar question - would it be ok to substitute normal full fat cow's milk for the coconut milk?

    1. megang

      Nut milks are ok, but regular dairy can actually scorch in the Instant Pot. If you'd prefer, you can use 4 1/2 cups water and call it a day (i.e. forget the milk altogether). Enjoy!

  4. Teresa

    Sounds wonderful! As I am temporarily in an apt. (thanks to the Tubbs fire), space is at a premium so no Instant Pot. Can you please give a brief rundown on cooking time for this on the stovetop? Same as for a steelcut oatmeal in your breakfast book?

    1. megang

      Hi, Teresa! So sorry to hear about your relocation. Yes as far as stovetop, I'd use the same time instructions as the recipe in my book. Perfect. Just make sure you're looking at the steel cut oats, not the rolled oat recipe :) Enjoy!

  5. Carole

    This sounds yum. I am, however, hooked on your steel cut oats recipe from years ago with the cranberry, orange compote on top. I buy extra cranberries in November and December so that we can enjoy it all through the chilly remaining months of winter.

    1. megang

      Aw that makes me so happy, Carole. So glad you're still loving that recipe (I do, too!) xox

  6. Corrie Duffy

    This recipe is definitely going in my regular rotation. I was out of coconut milk, so I substituted a can of coconut cream. How much milk and water would I need for 2 people?

    1. megang

      Hi, Corrie. If you're using coconut cream instead of coconut milk, I'd add another 1/2 cup of water for the recipe as written. Then you may end up needing to add a little water at the very end should you like it a looser consistency. Keep in mind, the oatmeal will firm up as it cools a bit. Enjoy!


        Thanks Megan :)

  7. Bree

    I love this recipe. It seems infinitely adaptable. The first time I made it I followed the recipe almost exactly except I had a half can of leftover coconut cream from another recipe so I filled the rest of the can with water and used that in place of the coconut milk. (It had the same texture if not the same taste.) I topped the finished oatmeal with dried apricots and spice pecans that we received as a Christmas gift. It tasted decadent.

    The second time, I looked up your spiced steel cut oatmeal recipe that someone else referenced in the comments and used that recipe’s spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg) with this recipes liquid ratios, (omitting the flaked coconut, subbing almond for the coconut milk, upping the oats to 250g, using the same sugar amount). I intended to make the compote before realizing I didn’t have any oranges so I mixed in homemade apple butter, dried cranberries, and roasted pepitas to keep the fall/winter vibes.

    A couple notes:
    1. Both times, after I take the lid off the instant pot, there is a lot of liquid left. I just turn the instant pot to sauté to reduce it, but next time I think I would decrease the water by 1/2 cup.
    2. For my personal taste, I could omit the sugar in the recipe (especially since I always include a topping that brings sweetness). My husband would disagree. So, adapt to your tastes.

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