Steel-cut oats

Oats are a healthy breakfast cereal that is versatile, delicious, and nutritious. The oat comes in various forms. It might be crushed or rolled or made into a powder.

They have high fiber and protein with minerals and vitamins but are low in fats. There are quick oats, steel-cut oats, and rolled oats. What is the difference between these types? Which is most nutritious?

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Oats and their types

Oats are an easy breakfast cereal that is simple and quick to cook. They have a lot of healthy nutrients in them and also taste good. Oats are cereal grain that comes in several forms.

It can be quick oats, steel-cut oats, or rolled oats. The powdered form of oats finds use in the baking field where they can be mixed with other grain flour to make bread, cakes, cookies, etc.

The nutrient profile, as well as the processing methods of these oats types, are different.

Steel-cut oats
Oat groats (Source: 123RF)

When the hulls (outer tough layer) of oats are removed, they are oat kernels or oat groats. To make these oats last longer, the producers expose them to heat and moisture. They are then differently processed to produce different kinds of oats.

Steel-cut oats vs rolled oats vs quick oats

Steel-cut oats have another name, the Irish oatmeal. They resemble more closely the original unprocessed oat groats. To manufacture this kind of oats, large steel blades are used to cut the oat groats into smaller pieces.

Hence, they are coarser than the other two types. They have a nuttier flavor and chewier texture. Due to the relatively larger size, they require more time to get soft and be cooked.

At least 15 to 30 minutes on average is the time that it takes to cook. If one soaks the oat before cooking, the cooking time gets reduced.

Steel-cut oats
Steel-cut oats (Source: Pinterest)

Rolled oats are oats that have been steamed and later pressed and flattened. Their flavor is milder and their texture is softer.

They also take less time than steel-cut oats for cooking and to go soft. Anything from 2 to 5 minutes would be enough to cook them. These can form part of cookies, bread, cakes, and such bakery products.

When rolled oats are further processed, they become quick oats. Their cooking time is lesser and the rolling is more intense to give them a thinner shape after steaming.

They have a mild flavor and in addition to water get mushy and soft soon. When these have other ingredients such as sugar, flavoring, and milk powder added to it, it becomes instant oats.

Which type is more nutritious?

If we compare the nutritive value of each oat type, quick oats have 208 calories, 38 g carbs, 8 g protein, 4 g fats, 5 g fiber, and 1 g sugar.

In the case of rolled oats, it is 212 calories, 39 g carbs, 7 g protein, 4 g fats, 5 g fiber, and 1 g sugar. And in steel-cut oats, it is 208 calories, 37 g carbs, 9 g protein, 4 g fats, 6 g fiber, and 0 sugar.

Steel-cut oats
Rolled and quick oats (Source: The spruce eats)

Read more: Easy way to make Steel Cut Oats Recipe at home

As noticed, the nutritional values of these three types of oats vary slightly. Since steel-cut are the least processed, their fiber is bound to be high.

This is good for gut health, heart health, and bowel movements. Their glycemic index is also lower than the other two types of oats. Due to this, they help better in the stabilization of blood sugars, especially in diabetics.

Hence, steel-cut oats might be a better option and a healthier option for diabetic patients. For others, the difference would be less and one can choose any that they prefer.