Convenient Cooking Hack: Rice Cooker Oatmeal

Lentine Alexis
by Lentine Alexis
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Convenient Cooking Hack: Rice Cooker Oatmeal

Oatmeal isn’t the hardest thing in the world to make, but, some mornings, those few extra minutes of stirring and attention that it requires are the difference between having a warm breakfast or not. So we’re letting you in on a little secret: Your rice cooker can double as an exceptional tool for making oatmeal and porridge. That means a power-packed breakfast is within reach, no matter how busy your day.


A rice cooker is handy because it automates everything for you — simply combine the water or milk, grains and any additions into the nonstick bowl, place it in the rice cooker and push the button. The rice cooker will rapidly warm the liquid to a boil, then a sensor inside is triggered that immediately shuts off the heat and allows the contents of the cooker to continue steaming and resting. Fancier models even have a sensor that will let you know when all of the liquid has been absorbed for a specific kind of grain, and will adjust the cooking times for you. Voilà! A satisfying meal!


While a rice cooker doesn’t necessarily speed up the process of cooking oats or porridge, it does offer a foolproof way for you to cook your grains — just push the button and walk away. The rice cooker will cook your oats or porridge and keep them warm for you until you return to open the lid and enjoy. With a rice cooker, you can cook smaller quantities of grains (whereas most slow cookers have very large capacities and don’t intuit moisture as sensitively, sometimes resulting in burned grains at the bottom of your cooker.)

But you’re not limited to oats. A rice cooker can make multi-grain meals a snap. Whole grains such as quinoa, farro, barley, amaranth and millet all require different ratios of water to grain. But cooking them with ample amounts of water in a rice cooker guarantees that steam is an agent in the cooking process. If the rice cooker has a porridge or whole-grain function, it will let you know when all of the water has been absorbed, and you’ll never find yourself with some grains swimming in water, while others are still solidly al dente.


Every rice cooker will be a little bit different, so making oatmeal or porridge in your machine may take a little trial and error. The following formula is a great place to start:

For oatmeal: Combine 1 cup of whole oats or old-fashioned oats with 3/4 cups of water or milk, or 1 cup of steel-cut oats with 2 1/2 cups of water or milk. Add a pinch of salt. Close the lid, and hit the start button. Walk away. When the cooker beeps, the oatmeal is done!

For multi-grain porridge: Combine 1 cup of grains (a combination of oats, quinoa, amaranth, millet, barley, etc.) with 2 1/2 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt, give the mixture a stir, close the lid and hit the start button. Walk away, and, when the cooker beeps, the porridge is done!

Optional: Adorn your bowl of oats or porridge with crunchy nuts, fruits and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, and you’ve got a great, comforting start to a busy day.

About the Author

Lentine Alexis
Lentine Alexis
Lentine is a curious, classically trained chef and former pro athlete. She uses her bicycle, raw life and travel experiences and organic ingredients to inspire athletes and everyone to explore, connect and expand their human experiences through food. She previously worked as a Chef/Recipe Developer/Content Creator and Culinary Director at Skratch Labs – a sports nutrition company dedicated to making real food alternatives to modern “energy foods.” Today, she writes, cooks, speaks and shares ideas for nourishing sport and life with whole, simple, delicious foods.


4 responses to “Convenient Cooking Hack: Rice Cooker Oatmeal”

  1. Avatar D Lee says:

    For breakfast, I always eat steel cut oats made in a rice cooker. Steel cut oats has helped me control my diet and lose weight. I use 1 cup of steel cut oats to 3 1/2 cups of water using the BROWN rice cook setting. I turn it on before I go to bed. It cooks and turns off automatically, but the steel cut oats continue to cook and absorb the water. Eight plus hours later, the steel cut oats are perfectly cooked for breakfast. I top the steel cut oats with cinnamon, raisins, and chia seeds (soaked) before eating. There’s usually enough Ieftover steel cut oats for several days of breakfast using a microwave to reheat.

  2. Avatar cynthiabrunk says:

    I make oatmeal in my slow cooker overnight. Place a bowl that is large enough to hold your cooked oatmeal and liquid and will fit into the bottom of the slow cooker (I use a souffle). Fill slow cooker with water up to mid to 2/3 sides of your oatmeal bowl. Place lid on slow cooker and set on low for 8-10 hours.

  3. Avatar Brenda Stefka says:

    Since I do not have a rice cooker, and do not get my slow cooker down a lot, I’ve found another solution. I turn my oven on to 350 degrees’ fill an oven proof (usually CorningWare) dish to about .5 to .75 inches deep of preferred oats (steel/old fashioned/multi-grain) and add about 2 (or a little more) of water; stir it and put it into the heated over. I cook it for about 1 hour (or until water is soaked up) and remove it from the oven to cool. After I cool it, I put it into the refrigerator until the next morning. The next morning, I cut the portion of oats that I want, add flavorings, a little water and microwave it for about 1 minute; stir again and microwave for about 30 more seconds (watching it closely for the last 30 seconds). I find that this cuts down on it spilling over in the microwave. It also gets me the better quality oats/multi-grain hot cereal in a short time. Also, clean up is easier for my “CorningWare” dish that does not burn and I only have to do it every 4-6 days (depending on the portion size). Of course, I do have to clean the bowl I eat out of (without any burn on cereal).

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