Whats The Difference Between Steel Cut Oats And Oatmeal

Oatmeal and steel-cut oats are both made from whole oat groats, but their processing and properties differ. Steel-cut oats require a longer cooking time due to their chewy texture and nutty flavor. Steel-cut oats are oat groats chopped into small bits. Oatmeal is often rolled or instant oats that have been flattened and treated to give a smoother texture and a faster heating time. Each provides a unique oatmeal experience, catering to personal preferences and culinary needs. This article, will explain what is the difference between steel cut oats and oatmeal.

What Is Oatmeal?

Oatmeal is a refined oat-based hot cereal. It is available in various forms, including steel-cut, rolled, and rapid. Cooked oats are renowned for their creamy texture and are frequently ingested for breakfast. Garnishes such as fruits, nuts, and sweeteners can be added for added flavor.

What Is Cut Steel Oats?

Steel-cut oats are a minimally processed variety created by chopping whole oat groats with steel blades into tiny pieces. They possess a distinct gummy consistency and nutty flavor. Compared to rolled or instant oats, steel-cut oats require a lengthier cooking time but are valued for their hearty and whole-grain qualities.

How To Choose

As the benefits of steel-cut and rolled oats are comparable, the most critical factors for the average individual to consider when choosing between the two are cooking time and texture.

  • Depending on the cooking technique, steel-cut oats can take 15–30 minutes or longer to cook due to their tough exterior.
  • In contrast, the manufacturing procedure reduces the particle size of rolled oats. During cooking, they absorb more liquid and cook more quickly, requiring approximately 5–10 minutes to complete.
  • Another factor that a person may desire to consider is texture. Steel-cut oats tend to have a firmer, chewier consistency even when thoroughly cooked. Unlike fast oats, rolled oats have a more consistent texture, although they may still be chewier.
  • Both types of oats can be used to produce breakfast cereal. For other applications, such as substituting rice or other cereals, the texture of steel-cut oats may be preferable.
  • Rolled oats, such as baked products, may be preferable for foods where consistency is essential.
  • Consider steel-cut oats if you’re seeking to satisfy your hunger. Due to the large, unbroken portions, steel-cut oats are more difficult to digest, reducing appetite.

Whats The Difference Between Steel Cut Oats And Oatmeal

1. Processing

Steel-Cut Oats

The least refined variety of oats is steel-cut oats. They begin with whole oat groats, which are the unhulled oat grains. These groats are chopped into tiny pieces with steel blades to create steel-cut oats. This minimal processing ensures that the bran and endosperm layers are preserved to a significant degree.


Oatmeal is a more general term that can refer to various oat varieties with varying degrees of processing. In common usage, “oatmeal” refers to rolled or instant oats. The production of rolled oats involves steaming oat groats, flattening them with large rollers, and then dehydrating them. Instant oats are processed further by being precooked and then dehydrated.

2. Texture

Steel-Cut Oats 

Steel-cut oats have a distinct texture that is glutinous and grainy. The individual oat pieces retain shape when cooked and acquire a faint crunch. They are frequently described as having a more substantial, heartier texture.


Rolled and instant oats have a smoother and creamier texture when prepared than other oats. They tend to incorporate liquid more readily and become softer, with fewer distinguishable oat pieces.

3. Preparation Time

Steel-Cut Oats

Because steel-cut oats are less processed, they require a prolonged cooking time. They can take between 20 and 30 minutes to simmer on the cooktop, making them unsuitable for those seeking a speedy breakfast.


Rolled oats and instant oats are formulated for faster heating. Instant oats can be prepared in minutes by adding boiling water or microwaving, whereas rolled oats require 5 to 10 minutes to cook on the stovetop.

4. Nutritional Profile

Steel-Cut Oats

Steel-cut oats are more nutritious than their refined counterparts. They preserve more of the oat’s bran and endosperm layers, which are abundant in fiber and nutrients. This can provide a sustained, slower energy discharge and aid in satiety.


Due to their refining, rolled and instant oats may have a slightly lower fiber content than whole oats. Nonetheless, they remain an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Steel-cut oatsOatmeal
Protein5 g5 g
Fat2.5 g2.5 g
Carbohydrate27 g27 g
Fiber4 g4 g
Sugar0 g0 g

5. Flavor

Steel-Cut Oats

The flavor of steel-cut oats is distinct, robust, and earthy. Those who prefer a more substantial, whole-grain experience will appreciate their texture and flavor.


Rolled and instant oats have a subtler, more neutral flavor than rolled oats. This makes them versatile and adaptable to more flavorings and garnishes, so they are frequently used in oatmeal recipes.


Oatmeal and steel-cut oats provide numerous health benefits due to their nutrient content:


  • Heart Health: Oatmeal has a lot of soluble fiber, which can help lower LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Weight Management: Oatmeal’s fiber promotes feelings of satiety, which helps with weight management.
  • Digestive Health: The fiber in oatmeal promotes healthy digestion and may help prevent constipation.
  • Stable Blood Sugar: Oatmeal has a low glycemic index, helping regulate blood sugar levels.

Cut-Off Oats

  • High Fiber: Steel-cut oats contain even more fiber than rolled oats, which promotes satiety and digestive health.
  • Sustained Energy: Their complex carbohydrates provide a steady discharge of energy throughout the day.
  • Nutrient Density: Due to the minimal processing, they retain more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Lower Glycemic Index: Steel-cut oats have a reduced glycemic index, which reduces the risk of blood sugar spikes.

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