Considered one of the healthiest whole grains, easy recipes made with oats (like Steel Cut Overnight Oats and Almond Milk Oatmeal) have become all the rage. But did you ever wonder which is better for you and your lifestyle?
With all the different types of oats to choose from, it’s important to know the unique characteristics of each one. Let’s dive deep into the world of regular oats vs. steel-cut oats to discover which option is best for you and your family.
What Are Steel Cut Oats and Rolled Oats? And What Do They Look Like?
Raw oats begin as any whole grain, with their hulls and stalks attached. After harvest, these inedible hulls are removed, resulting in whole oat groats (or oat kernels). You can purchase whole oat groats at many health food stores, but they take the longest to cook, which is why their cut and rolled alternatives are preferred.
Steel Cut Oats
Steel Cut Oats, also known as Irish Oats, are whole oat groats that have been cut into 2-3 smaller pieces with large steel blades, hence the name ‘steel-cut.’ This allows more water to penetrate into the oat kernels, resulting in a shorter cooking time when compared to whole oat kernels. It is considered one of the least processed forms of oats.
Rolled Oats, also known as Old Fashioned Rolled Oats or Regular Oats, are whole oat groats that have been steamed and then rolled into flakes. This rolling process stabilizes the grain, creating a longer shelf life and shorter cooking time.
Other Types of Oats
If you browse grocery store shelves, you may also come across these two different types of oats:
- Scottish Oats: Scottish oats are oat groats that have been stone ground as opposed to cut with a blade. This creates pieces of varying sizes and, some say, a creamier texture once cooked.
- Quick Oats / Instant Oats: The more the oats are either steamed or rolled, the faster the cooking time and softer the texture. This results in quick-cooking oats or instant oatmeal. If you want to know more about them, be sure to check our article on Rolled Oats vs. Quick Cooking Oats for more information.
What is the Difference Between Steel Cut Oatmeal and Regular Oatmeal?
First things first, oatmeal or porridge is the cooked version of the oats themselves. But because steel cut and old-fashioned oats vary in shape and texture, the end result is different too.
Steel Cut Oatmeal: Steel cut oatmeal will have a coarser texture and chewier bite with a nutty flavor, but they also take longer to cook. I like to think I have mastered the art of steel-cut oats at home with Steel Cut Oats in a Pressure Cooker, Overnight Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats and Savory Steel Cut Oats.
Old Fashioned Oatmeal: Regular oatmeal is much quicker to cook because of the greater surface area of the oat flakes, and the texture is softer and creamier. Because old-fashioned oats are so versatile, flavor and texture will vary based on their method of preparation.
Steel Cut Oats vs Old Fashioned Oats Nutrition Comparison
The nutritional value of both steel-cut and old-fashioned oats varies. According to Nutrition Value, here are their key nutrition facts broken down in the table below:
|Nutrition Facts per 2 oz (56 grams)||Steel Cut Oats||Rolled Oats|
|Protein||6.4 g||7.4 g|
|Carbs||40 g||40 g|
|Fiber||6.5 g||6.3 g|
|Net Carbs||33.5 g||33.7 g|
|Fat||3.2 g||3.7 g|
|Sugar||1.3 g||1.1 g|
Shopping and Storing
Look for both the steel-cut variety and rolled oats in the breakfast cereal aisle of grocery stores, or purchase a bag or two online.
- Shopping: When selecting oats, opt for unsweetened oats with no added sugar or preservatives. Whole oats (also referred to as Whole Grain Oats) should be the only ingredient.
- Storage: Once opened, both can be stored in the pantry for up to 4 months or in the freezer for up to 8 months.