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A convenient cooking method for oatmeal is to prepare it in a rice cooker, but only if using steel cut oats. Steel cut oats are a less-processed version of traditional rolled oats that offer a chunkier texture and higher nutritional values. The downside of steel cut oats is that they require a long soaking period before cooking. The cooking process depends upon having the correct type of rice cooker, timing the soaking process, and accounting for the water content of stir-in ingredients. Overall, it will require some practice in order to achieve the desired results for the best oatmeal.
The proper type of rice cooker will have a porridge setting that allows for the oats to cook slowly in a low, even heat. A measuring cup, calibrated differently than a typical measuring cup, should come with the cooker and should be used when following manufacturer’s instructions. It’s important when cooking oatmeal in a rice cooker that there’s a built-in timer to monitor cooking.
Deciding when to start the oatmeal cooking depends on when it’s being served, as the oatmeal needs to soak for a long period of time. The most convenient method is to setup the oatmeal in a rice cooker before going to bed to allow it to soak. Turn it on upon waking and the oatmeal will be cooked a short time later.
The exact amount of water that needs to be added depends on the amount of steel cut oats used. Rely on manufacturer’s instructions for guidance. Due to the long cooking time of oatmeal in a rice cooker, it will look like there’s too much water initially. Much of the water will evaporate, however, or be absorbed by the oats during cooking.
You can easily customize your oatmeal in a rice cooker with stir-in ingredients as long as you pay careful attention to the water content. Chopped fruits can be added, but the amount of water may need to be adjusted if a watery fruit, such as apples, is used. Any powdered spices, such as cinnamon or nutmeg, should be stirred in with the oats before the water is added to ensure that the spices don’t separate during cooking.
Cooked oatmeal in a rice cooker should be stirred thoroughly before serving. The remaining water will settle to the top, making it look like the mixture will be too wet. A quick, deep stir will properly combine the ingredients so that it resembles oatmeal. The oatmeal should be served immediately, as it should be the right temperature already.
Preparing oatmeal in a rice cooker may require some trial-and-error. You can practice by adjusting the levels of water slightly to make the oats thicker or thinner, depending on preference. Stir-in ingredients will also be an experimental process in order to adjust the water content to balance out the fruit and spices.