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Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats: Chia Seeds & Cherries

Get a healthy and wholesome start to your day by making steel-cut oats in the Instant Pot. The pressure cooker makes it extra easy, and adding chia seeds packs this hearty breakfast with protein and fiber. Plump, dried cherries offer that special flavor to sweeten your morning.

June 3, 2022

Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats: Chia & Cherries

Nutrient-Packed Steel-Cut Oats with Chia Seeds

This hearty recipe combines steel-cut oats, chia seeds, dried cherries, cinnamon, almond extract, chopped nuts, milk of choice, yogurt, and honey for a make-ahead breakfast that keeps you full until lunch. Oatmeal is a low-calorie and slowly absorbed carbohydrate that contains healthy fat, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Ingredients for steel-cut oats recipe on kitchen counter

What Are Chia Seeds?

These nutrient-packed seeds are a superfood because they are an excellent source of vitamins, and minerals, omega-3, fiber, protein, healthy fat, and have antioxidant properties. Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family. It is best to soak chia seeds in a liquid before consuming them. Web MD outlines Things to Look Out For with chia seeds. If not soaked, they can cause choking. They also can cause digestive issues and medicinal interactions, so read up if this is your first time using them.

Ingredient Notes

  • Grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil provide fats to toast the oats and bloom the cinnamon. If you are following the Mediterranean Diet or eliminating saturated fats from your diet, use olive oil in step one.  
  • Steel-cut oats for fiber, whole grain carbs, protein, and healthy fats
  • Cinnamon enhances the flavor and offers anti-inflammatory properties and other benefits, according to the Cleveland Clinic
  • Milk – use plant or dairy milk; cow milk provides more protein, but I use lactose-free coconut or almond milk
  • Chia seeds add fiber, omega-3, and protein; chia seeds add 4 grams of fiber to this recipe. Note: Adding chia seeds during the cooking allows them to absorb liquid which is more beneficial than using them as a dry topping.
  • Cherries – Vitamin A, natural sweetness, fiber
  • Walnuts – good source of healthy fats – omega-3 and magnesium
  • Greek yogurt adds protein and calcium

Oatmeal is Perfect for Breakfast Meal Prep

Busy mornings need a quick, delicious, and nutritious start to the day. Ready-made oatmeal is a foolproof way to succeed. Make extra oatmeal and store it in single-serve lidded containers to grab in the morning. The porridge is good, hot or cold, and stays fresh in the refrigerator for five days! If you are warming in the microwave, use safe containers. You can place the toppings on the oatmeal before storing it or add them in the morning. Try Apple Cranberry Chia Oatmeal for another superfood breakfast

Make Extra for Your Health

There is lots of information about oatmeal helping lower cholesterol, but this Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats with Chia Seeds and Cherries may help you maintain or lose weight. Healthline, an evidence-based nutrition journal, has an article on Food Combinations for Weight Loss. Having a meal with carbs, proteins, healthy fats, and fiber can help steady blood sugar levels and increase feelings of fullness. This recipe contains all those goodies.

Meal Prep Oatmeal in refrigerator

Steel-Cut Oats Versus Rolled Oats - Is one Preferred?

Steel-cut oats (also called Irish Oats) are cuts from the groat after processing them by cleaning, dehulling, and kilning. Steel-cut oats have a firm texture and hold up well if making extras for leftovers/meal prep throughout the week. Rolled oats (also called Old Fashioned) are steamed and rolled flat from the groat, thus offering a quicker cooking time than steel-cut oats. The difference between steel-cut and rolled oats is the texture and cooking time. They are similar in nutrition. Rolled oats have more versatility because they can be used in baked goods, smoothies, breakfast porridge, and overnight oats. It’s a matter of preference, but I love the texture of the steel-cut, plus the fact that it is slightly less processed than rolled oats. It takes more time to make steel-cut which brings us to the benefits of the pressure cooker.

Steel-Cut and Rolled Oats depicted on a counter

Instant Pot Makes Steel-Cut Oats Easy

Using a Pressure cooker does not save time, but once the ingredients are added to the pot, there is no stirring or babysitting of the pan compared to cooking on the stovetop. It’s also foolproof, but there can be watch-outs. Check out the tips. 

Pressure Cooker Tips

• Do not quick-release, or you may clog the valve; only use natural release when making oatmeal. 

• Making a large batch that goes past the ½ line may clog the steam release pipe because the oatmeal tends to sputter while cooking

• Making a smaller batch – less than four servings, can give a burn notice because there is not enough volume, and it overheats.

• It’s essential to keep the ratio of oats to liquid at 1:3. This recipe has slightly more fluid because the chia seeds and cherries absorb water. You can add liquid but do not reduce it. If you think the porridge is too liquid after cooking, use the sauté mode to continue cooking. 

• Note: Don’t let these precautions scare you. If you get the burn notice, unplug the machine, and let It sit for 10 minutes. You should be able to salvage the porridge and soak the portion that sticks to the pan. I have never received a burn notice for steel-cut but have for rolled oats. I inadvertently used a recipe from another machine with a risotto/oatmeal function on the machine. It did not work because I cooked it on high pressure and the ratios of oat to liquid were not the same. Oopsie.


Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats: Chia & Cherries
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Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats: Chia & Cherries

Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats: Chia Seeds & Cherries

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Karen
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 40
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Classic
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Get a healthy and wholesome start to your day by making steel-cut oats in the Instant Pot. The pressure cooker makes it extra easy and adding chia seeds packs this hearty breakfast with protein and fiber. Plump, dried cherries offer that special flavor to sweeten your morning. This recipe is for a 6 Qt. See notes for Mini and 8 Qt.


Units Scale


  • 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter, coconut oil, or extra virgin olive oil*
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats, NOT QUICK**; See notes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened milk, plant or dairy
  • 2 cups water***
  • 4 Tablesoopns chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt, if butter is unsalted


  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey
  • 8 Tablespoons unsweetened whole milk Greek yogurt


  1. Combine ingredients in the pressure cooker. Melt butter in a 6 Qt Instant Pot**** pan on the SAUTE setting. Add steel-cut oats and cinnamon and stir to mix—toast oats for approximately 2 minutes. This step enhances the flavors of both the oats and cinnamon. Add milk, water, chia seeds, cherries, extract, and salt. Stir to combine and break apart chia seeds since they tend to clump. Push any ingredients that stick to the side into the liquid.
  2. Press the CANCEL or OFF button. Lock the lid in place and check that the valve is on the seal/pressure mode.
  3. Press PRESSURE COOK and set it on high pressure for 15 minutes****. After the cooking timer beeps, let the pressure cooker naturally release by allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. Do not quick-release, or oatmeal may clog the release valve.
  4. Nature release. Allow the oatmeal to sit in the pot for 10 minutes (more is ok since it will stay warm in the pot), and release any remaining steam by setting the pressure valve to VENT or STEAM. When all the moisture is released, remove the lid and stir the ingredients.
  5. Serve oatmeal in four bowls and divide the toppings amongst the bowls. For meal prep, scoop oatmeal into containers/jars with lids and store it in the refrigerator after it has cooled slightly – Good in the fridge for 5 days. Make sure the containers are microwave safe if reheating another day.


* Use extra virgin olive oil if following the Mediterranean diet or omitting saturated fats.

**If using quick-cook steel-cut oats, cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Mini and 8 Qt. cook for 3 minutes, also. All other steps remain the same.

*** The standard ratio of oats to liquid is 1:3. I add 1/2 cup because chia seeds and dried cherries absorb water

**** Ingredients and timing are for a 6 Qt Instant Pot; If using a mini, cook for 18 minutes on high pressure; for 8 Qt, cook for 12 minutes on high pressure. All other steps remain the same.

Note: Do not cut this recipe in half; you may get a burn notice; Doubling the recipe works great but do not triple it because the volume will go passed the halfway mark. Instant Pot advises keeping sputtering foods like oatmeal below the halfway mark, or pieces may clog the steam vent.

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Let me know your thoughts on this post!

2 responses to “Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats: Chia Seeds & Cherries”

  1. Love all the extra goodness you add to this oatmeal, it’s like a treat I look forward to every morning! And having a few serving on hand has made my mornings so much easier. Thanks for sharing!

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Karen the Supper Sanity Home Chef

Welcome to Supper Sanity

Hello, I’m Karen, a very passionate meal planner. As a mother of three, I have been planning family menus for years. When I was diagnosed with a digestive condition, I found it necessary to follow an eating regime that eliminated many ingredients. That made meal planning a health necessity. I’ve learned a lot and want to share my resources to simplify meal planning, shop efficiently and cook affordable homemade meals. If you wish to try new recipes, plan healthier meals, and enjoy a great dinner with your friends and family, Supper Sanity can help.

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