Kim is a holistic health coach and a toxic-free lifestyle consultant. She obtained her studies from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Steel-Cut Oats Versus Rolled Oats
My family and friends always ask me the typical question, “What is the difference between steel-cut oats and regular rolled oats?” I will give you a quick rundown of the two types of oats.
Read on to learn about steel-cut oats' nutrition and explore the truth about the difference between the processing method of steel-cut oats and rolled oats.
People who eat steel-cut oats will tell you that they are more nutritious than rolled oats. People who eat rolled oats probably haven’t even heard of or paid any attention to steel-cut oats. After learning the real difference between the two, you can decide which one is worth eating.
Different Terms for Oats
Irish oats, Scottish oats, pin head oats, coarse-cut oats, porridge oats
old-fashioned oats, rolled oats, flaked oats, oatflakes
Quick-cooking oats, instant oats, easy oats
Differences in Processing
Traditionally grown in Ireland, steel-cut oats are processed from whole grain groats, the inner portion of the oat kernel. They are often called Irish or Scottish Oats.
- Old fashioned rolled oats are made by steaming the groats, rolled, re-steamed and finally toasted. With all the extra processing steps, they have lost some of their natural taste, texture, and fiber.
- Steel-cut oats are the least processed, made simply by removing the outer layers and cutting into pieces.
- Steel-cut oats still contain more of its fiber content, which requires your body more time to digest. Steel-cut oats have a lower glycemic load index, aiding in the stabilization of blood sugar levels.
Note: Instant oatmeal (packaged) are the most heavily processed among all the oats. The groats are chopped, flattened, pre-cooked, dehydrated, with added sugar and salt.
Difference in Taste
When it comes to the taste and texture, there is a huge difference between steel-cut oats and rolled oats.
- If you’ve eaten regular oats, particularly the instant oatmeal packages, you’re familiar with the soft, mushy texture. Steel cuts to rolled oats are like the "al-dente" version. It has a nuttier taste to it, as well as a firm consistency.
- Depending on how long you cook the oats, the softer it becomes. I like the firm texture, so I cut the cooking time by 10 minutes.
- Some people prefer steel cuts over rolled oats simply because of the more palatable taste and texture. I’ve introduced this oatmeal to friends who hate oatmeal, and surprisingly they prefer to eat this!
- My aunt has diabetes and high cholesterol, yet she hates the mushy texture of regular oatmeal. She now eats steel-cut oatmeal every morning to control her diabetes and cholesterol.
Steel Cut Oats Nutrition
This whole grain is not only hearty, but it also packs fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates which don’t raise blood sugar. Even Oprah mentioned on her show that steel-cut oatmeal is her favorite whole grain.
Read More From Delishably
You can find the following nutrients in 1/4 cup of steel-cut oatmeal:
- High in protein
- High in fiber
- Low sodium and fat
- Low Glycemic load index
- Vitamins (all B vitamins, folate)
- Minerals (Calcium, magnesium, fluoride, mineral, copper, phosphorus)
According to the USDA, here the benefits of steel-cut oats:
- Reduces cholesterol
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Helps prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
How to Cook Steel-Cut Oats
Steel-cut oats take a much longer time to cook compared to regular oats. I usually cook a pot full on Sunday and divide the servings into individual bowls. In the morning, all I have to do is heat it in the microwave for 1 minute, add my favorite toppings, and voila I have a nutritious breakfast.
- Put a ratio of 1 cup steel cut oats to 4 cups water in a large pot. Wait until it boils and then lower the heat to medium, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from scorching! Scoop off the top layer of bubbles.
- If you prefer runnier oatmeal, add 1 extra cup of water.
- Cook it in a crockpot! Some people like to use this method. Just set it on low heat at night and wake up to the smell of a delicious wholesome breakfast.
Steel-Cut Oats Recipe
If you want to eat more oatmeal using steel cut oats, you'd be surprised at how many options you have. It's quite easy to incorporate this type of oatmeal into your health plan. The simplest way to eat it is by mixing in your favorite topping! Some of my suggestions are:
- Peanut butter, almond butter
- Dried fruits
- Fresh fruits
- Sweetener (honey, maple syrup,
- Spice (cinnamon, sea salt)
- Milk, almond milk, half and half, organic butter
- Chia seeds, flaxseed
- Egg whites (yes, extra protein!)
To sum it up, steel-cut oats are a less processed version of regular rolled oats. Both versions are similar when it comes to nutrition. Steel-cut oats do have more fiber and a lower glycemic load index. It really comes down to a matter of preference in taste and texture. I prefer steel-cut oats since they are easier to eat and I prefer a nuttier and chewier texture. I can eat steel-cut oatmeal every day, yet can't seem to do the same with regular rolled oats.
What about you? What type of oatmeal do you prefer?
Questions & Answers
Question: Can you make steel cut oats in the microwave?
Answer: Steel cut oats take longer to break down, so I would use the stove.