Oatmeal is a hearty, traditional breakfast that warms and fills the stomachs of all ages, all year round.
While instant oatmeal may be convenient, it’s not as healthy, filling, or customizable as making your own porridge from raw oats. On the flip side, making your own porridge from raw oats takes time that many of us don’t have, especially in the morning.
The solution is oatmeal cookers. Much like rice cookers, these automated devices will cook your oatmeal any way you like it while you’re busy doing other things.
What are the best oatmeal cookers? The best oatmeal cookers can be specially designed for oatmeal or can rice cookers with specific settings for foods like oatmeal or porridge that ensure oats are cooked to the right texture and consistency.
In this article, we’ve shared exactly what you want to look for when you’re on the search for an oatmeal cooker, and we’ve offered our top picks for the 7 best oatmeal cookers.
What is an Oatmeal Cooker?
Some cookers are dedicated solely to oatmeal or hot breakfasts, but the vast majority are either rice cookers, pressure cookers, or slow cookers that have a setting that works perfectly for making oatmeal.
An oatmeal cooker is so much like a rice cooker that they’re often one and the same machine.
The machine may have an “oatmeal” (or “porridge”) setting, or you may be able to adjust the temperature and cook time to suit the needs of your preferred style of oats. Either way, it’s much more convenient than watching a pot of oats bubble.
On that note, the one thing you do always need to be conscious of when you cook oatmeal in a cooker is to make sure you leave enough room for the oatmeal to rise and bubble.
The pots are typically quite steep, specifically for this purpose, as rice acts very similar. Just don’t try to cook too many oats at once, relative to the size of your cooker.
Using a Rice Cooker With Oatmeal/Porridge Setting
If your preferred oatmeal is made with steel-cut oats, you’ll want to find a cooker that has a specific oatmeal setting.
This allows your oats to cook longer at a lower temperature. You will still have to do some trial and error because everyone enjoys their oatmeal made slightly differently, but the setting should cook it properly.
What you’ll want to adjust is your oat to water ratio. A good place to start is using the same ratio as you would if you were cooking stovetop.
If you’re not sure how you like your oats best, simply follow the instructions on the package and adjust to your preferences as you experiment.
Cooking oatmeal in a rice cooker with a porridge setting should be roughly the equivalent of cooking oats on a stove at the perfect temperature without the need to constantly stir and monitor.
Using a Rice Cooker with No Oatmeal/Porridge Setting
Even without a specific setting, making oatmeal in a rice cooker is simple.
The process of cooking oats is much the same as cooking rice. They both require a set ratio of water to grains, and then you simply let the grains cook until the water is absorbed and your meal is tender and ready to eat.
If there is no specific setting, you may have to watch your porridge a little more closely, but once you’ve cooked it perfectly once or twice, you’ll know exactly how long to let the oats cook. If this is the case, check the instructions on your oats package and use it as a guide.
Rice cookers tend to cook at a higher temperature than is ideal for oats, so if your cooker doesn’t have adjustable settings, we recommend avoiding cooking steel-cut oats, as they need to cook longer at a lower temperature.
With rolled oats, the cooking time listed on your oats package should be relatively close, but you’ll want to check on it 5 minutes early to be sure you don’t overcook your porridge so that it goes dry and sticky.
Very basic cookers won’t even have the option to change the temperature, they simply have on and off settings. Again, you’ll want to refer to the instructions on your oats as a guide.
Best Oatmeal Cookers
As we’ve said before, the best oatmeal cookers often are not exclusively for cooking oatmeal. Many are multi-purpose cookers like instant pots or even rice cookers with or without oatmeal-specific settings.
For our list, we’ve just looked for the best cookers which will do your oatmeal justice:
|Instant Pot Duo Nova Pressure Cooker
|Steel-cut oatmeal cooker
|Sistema Microwave Breakfast Bowl
|Microwave oatmeal cooker
|Aroma Housewares Digital Food Steamer
|Automatic oatmeal cooker
|Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker
|Creamy oatmeal cooker
|Zojirushi Rice Cooker
|Small porridge cooker
|Procter Silex Rice Cooker & Food Steamer
|Rapid Brands Rapid Oatmeal Cooker
Whether you’re looking for an easier way to make steel-cut oats that stay warm for hours, rolled oats for two, or even instant oats on the go, there is an oatmeal cooker on this list that will suit your needs.
Read on for more about each of these fabulous oatmeal (and other food) cookers!
1. Instant Pot Duo Nova Pressure Cooker
Instant Pots are the savior of many busy kitchens and they can be used for cooking almost anything, including oatmeal of all varieties. They’re highly versatile, nearly fool-proof, and the internet is overflowing with recipes that you can experiment with, not just daily, but for every single meal.
- Best steel-cut oatmeal cooker
- Mini model combines 7 appliances in 1 while still being compact and convenient
- Built-in “smart lid” makes cooking easier and safer
Biggest Drawback: The Duo Novo model is great for beginners and works perfectly well for oatmeal, but it doesn’t come with all the features of the other models.
If you’re going to invest in an Instant Pot for more than just oatmeal, you may want to opt for the fancier Duo Plus version to make your machine even more versatile.
2. Sistema Microwave Breakfast Bowl
If you’re searching for quick, inexpensive, and easy, the Sistema bowl not only cooks your oatmeal in minutes, but also keeps you from having to dirty any extra dishes in the process! Eat it straight from the bowl it was cooked in, using the steam-release lid to keep it warm if you want to bring it with you on your commute to work.
- Best microwave oatmeal cooker
- Made from BPA and phthalate-free plastic
- Microwave, dishwasher, and freezer-safe
Biggest Drawback: Oatmeal is well-known for expanding as it cooks, which is why it’s often made in a pot many times larger than the amount of oats and water you are cooking.
If you are only cooking in a single-serving sized bowl, you will have to adjust your portion size accordingly. No more than a ½-cup of oats should or can be cooked in these bowls without having the porridge overflow.
3. Aroma Housewares Digital Food Steamer
This rice cooker has a great selection of settings, including a specific oatmeal setting. You can also choose another setting to better suit different kinds of oats, such as using the quick rice setting for quick-cooking oats. It also comes with a delay timer, so you can prepare your steel-cut oats the night before, and have them cook more quickly for you, ready to be eaten when you wake up.
- Best automatic oatmeal cooker with timer
- Very versatile cooker with user-friendly settings
- Comes with a steam tray so you can steam fruit or berries to add to your oatmeal without turning them into mush
Biggest Drawback: As with any cooker, whenever you make oatmeal you need to be careful to leave a lot of space for the expansion of your porridge. So do not overfill this unit! If it bubbles over, it is difficult to clean.
4. Aroma Housewares Stainless Steel Rice Cooker
This is a basic rice cooker with few features, but it is inexpensive and easy to use. If you aren’t a fan of steel-cut oats, but rather preferred your rolled oats creamy and very tender, this cooker will work great for you as long as you only make a few servings at a time.
- Best creamy oatmeal cooker
- Stainless steel pot with tempered glass lid
- Compact and easy to use with a single switch to warm or cook
Biggest Drawback: The lid does not have a tight seal so if the bubbles from any type of cooking get too close to the top, you may have to deal with hot water popping out from under the lid. If you have children in your kitchen, this could be a concern, so make sure you watch the unit for safety.
5. Zojirushi Rice Cooker
Another very simple rice cooker with little more than an on/off switch, this is a great machine for cooking small portions of oatmeal, including steel-cut oats.
The non-stick pot cleans quickly and easily and the entire size of the machine is compact, so you can hide it away in your cupboards more efficiently than some of the larger models on this list.
- Best small porridge cooker
- Includes a glass lid and stay-cool handles
- Automatically switches to warm setting when cooked
Biggest Drawback: The automatic warming function is great protection against overcooked oats but it can also be frustrating if the single-setting doesn’t cook your oats as much as you like. Once the machine turns to warm, you cannot return it to cooking temperature until its entirely cooled.
6. Procter Silex Rice Cooker & Food Steamer
This simple rice cooker is great at cooking all types of grains. So if you like to fill your oatmeal with a variety of alternative grains or seeds, this unit will cook everything together nicely. Or you can simply cook multiple meals in it.
If you have any additions that cook more quickly than your oats, you can add them to the steamer tray and mix them into your porridge when everything is cooked and ready.
- Best steel-cut oatmeal maker
- 350 watts cooks more quickly than lower-powered, budget-friendly units
- Includes steamer basket, rice cup, and spatula
Biggest Drawback: The rice cup provided with the machine is what the directions refer to as a cup, but it is considerably smaller than the U.S. ‘cup’ as a measuring unit. If you use your own measuring tools to prepare your oatmeal or other grains, be aware of the true capacity of your cooker.
7. Rapid Brands Rapid Oatmeal Cooker
The quickest and easiest way to make a single serving of oatmeal is in your microwave, using this rapid oatmeal cooker.
It will cook both instant oats and old-fashioned oats, though it would be too much to expect perfectly cooked steel-cut oats from such a rapid cooker. It’s ideal for kids or college students in dorm rooms with limited cooking space or appliances.
- Best for making instant oatmeal
- BPA-free, dishwasher, and microwave-safe
- Includes built-in portion control measurements for your oats and water
Biggest Drawback: This will not work for steel-cut oats and, if you overfill the bowl with either too many oats or too much water it will overflow into your microwave. There is no lid, so it’s not the easiest item to transport. It’s heat-resistant though, so it’s safe to touch.
How Do You Make Oatmeal With Milk?
You can make oatmeal with milk, water, or a combination of the two as long as the oat to liquid ratio stays the same.
For old-fashioned oats, the ratio is always ½ cup of oats to 1 cup of liquid.
The higher the fat content in your milk, the thicker your oatmeal will be. Many people split their liquid between water and milk which brings in some of the creaminess from the milk but without creating a thick, sticky porridge.
You may also want to try adding cream or milk to your cooked oatmeal, which can be easier to customize to your liking and also helps cool your hot breakfast down so that it’s ready to eat more quickly.
How Do You Make Oatmeal Without Milk?
As mentioned, as long as the liquid to oats ratio remains constant, you can use either milk or water in your oats. Simply follow the instructions on your oatmeal package using water instead of milk.
If you can’t have dairy but want some creaminess to your oatmeal, you can swap the water for any type of milk alternative, including oat milk.
Be aware that if you used canned coconut milk, however, it does have a much higher fat content and can be thicker than real milk. It likely won’t cook the same as a thinner milk alternative or water. Most coconut milks, however, are much thinner, like water, so this can often be a good substitute.
Again, you can also cook your oatmeal with water and add cream, milk, or a dairy alternative to taste once your breakfast is cooked.
Can You Cook Oatmeal Overnight?
Overnight oats can be eaten cooked or not (after they’ve soaked!), depending on your preferences. Most people prepare overnight oats so that they’re ready to grab and go in the morning, without the need to cook their breakfast.
If you prefer hot cereal, however, you can simply warm up your overnight oatmeal quickly in the microwave or stovetop. It doesn’t need to cook like regular oatmeal, just a couple of minutes.
If you have an oatmeal cooker, you can place all your ingredients, including any nuts, seeds, or berries, into the cooker before you go to bed.
You can then either set a timer or simply turn your cooker on in the morning. This works particularly well for steel-cut oats.
If you are using milk in your overnight oats, it must be stored in the fridge overnight.
Up Next: The Best Oats For Overnight Oats