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Oatmeal with blueberries and slivered almonds in a blue bowl

Instant Pot steel-cut oatmeal

Oatmeal always tastes better than it looks. Image credit: John Williams

Although the original craze was some years ago, we make regular use of our Instant Pot. This time of the year I use it a lot to make oatmeal. Making oatmeal in the pot is pretty straightforward:

  • 1 cup of steel-cut “traditional” (not quick) oatmeal
  • 2½ cups of water
  • Pinch of salt

If you haven’t had steel-cut oatmeal it’s worth a try; steel-cut oats have a chewier, more interesting texture. Save the rolled oats for cookies.

I set the Instant Pot for ten minutes and then let it sit for a natural release. Since it’s an Instant Pot and not a pressure cooker or pot on the stove, I can walk away from it and do something else. Like blog about how to make oatmeal (for example).

I tend to dress the oatmeal up a bit, though. Before I start the Instant Pot I will add small dried fruit. Our local Aldi has a good selection of these, so sometimes it’s blueberries, sometimes it’s cherries, and I have some cranberries here as well.

If I have fresh fruit instead, I put it in the pot after cooking. Dried fruit, however, gets nicely re-hydrated during cooking and loses the chewy raisin texture.

After the oatmeal is done, I will then add the following. No real measurements here because I just eyeball it and oatmeal tends to be very forgiving.

  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon
  • Almond extract, ¼ teaspoon
  • ½ tablespoon or so of kirsch, also called “kirschwasser” or “cherry brandy”
  • A small handful of slivered almonds

I bring half & half, ground cinnamon, salt, and sugar to the table so we can add these to individual taste.

I’m convinced the kirsh unlocks some additional flavor and it’s not nearly enough to get even slightly buzzed. When you add it to hot oatmeal you will probably get a considerable whiff of alcohol that might make you think you’ve added too much, but I’ve never tasted alcohol in the oatmeal. You don’t need my permission to leave it out, of course. It’s your oatmeal.

These are just the things I like; I know some other folks sweeten the oatmeal with maple syrup, which sounds good. Other fruits and nuts and any of the “pumpkin spice” flavors are probably good bets as well. Just save everything except dried fruits for after the Instant Pot is done.