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Rolled Oats vs. Steel Cut Oats

I get a ton of emails every day. These emails turn into great posts to help support you in making the best possible food choices.  Sometimes time vs nutrition can be a sticky situation, especially when it comes to oatmeal.  Remember, we're going for the best nutritional value and the least processed food choices.  

Here's the breakdown and truth about one of my favorite breakfasts...Oatmeal.

Oat groats: All types of oat cereals start out as groats, which are hulled, toasted oat grains. (Removing the hull doesn’t remove the bran, by the way.) If you have the patience to cook these down, try them out. For most, they can be challenging because of the chewy-ness factor.

Steel-cut (Irish) oats: These are the least processed type of oat cereal. The toasted oat groats are simply chopped into chunks about the size of a sesame seed. Much easier to chew and still have a creamy texture. These oats take about 45 minutes to cook, but can be easily prepared in a Crockpot over night.

Stone-ground (Scottish) oats: These are the same as Irish oats but they are ground into smaller pieces, closer to the size of a poppy seed. Both Irish and Scottish oats have to be cooked before you eat them. Irish oats take about 45 minutes to cook, Scottish oats about half that long (because they are smaller).

Old-fashioned rolled oats: These are made by steaming the toasted groats and then running them between rollers to create flakes. Rolled oats can be eaten as is or cooked into oatmeal (it takes about ten minutes). If you are stuck for time, this would be your next best options. These are more creamy and have a softer texture vs the Steel-cut or Stone-ground.

Quick-cooking oats: These are simply rolled into thinner flakes, so they cook a little faster.

Instant oats: These are the most heavily processed. The groats have been chopped fine, flattened, pre-cooked, and dehydrated. Instant oatmeal usually has added salt and sugar. (Sneaky!) I suggest leaving the instant oats on the shelf. In the time it takes you to boil the water to make instant oatmeal, you can cook some old-fashioned oats on the stove.

Are Steel Cut Oats Healthier?
Because they go through some extra processing steps, you might assume that rolled oats would be less nutritious than steel-cut oats, but it turns out that the differences are quite minor. Steel cut, stone-ground, old-fashioned, and quick-cooking rolled oats are all made from whole grains and they all have approximately the same amount of fiber, protein, calories, and other nutrients.
In particular, oats are a good source of soluble fiber. This type of soluble fiber can help reduce cholesterol and helps keep blood sugar levels steadier—which is helpful for managing and preventing diabetes and insulin resistance as well as keeping your appetite in check.

References: Nutrition Diva


  1. Thank you for this comprehensive insight into different types of porridge oats, exactly the answer I was looking for :)

  2. This is the all the porridge info I never knew I needed to know. Explains my addiction to rolled oats and why I'm not so happy with the more expensive and less creamy/soft Scottish and steel-cut oats. Pure Porridge Powa!

  3. Yes, this was extremely helpful to me. Thank you!


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