What's healthier: rolled or steel-cut oats?

Oats are a very popular ingredient in breakfasts and desserts, as they are versatile, healthy, and easy to prepare. Which are the differences between rolled and steel-cut oats? 

Oats refer to whole grain oats that are cylindrical in shape and are raw and unprocessed. They are often fed to livestock. When it comes to human consumption, oats are typically rolled or steel-cut so they can be cooked easily and quickly.

Rolled oats are steamed and rolled into thin flakes. The result of this process is a softer texture and a partially cooked oat. They are ideal for breakfast oatmeal, to bake cookies, granola or granola bars, or to make your own oat flour for a gluten-free flour alternative.  

Rolled oats are ideal for granola cookies.

Steel-cut oats, also known as Irish oatmeal, are whole oats that have been chopped into two or three small pieces by a sharp metal blade. As they're less processed, they tend to be heavier than rolled oats. They also need longer cooking time as the pieces are thicker, although you can reduce it by soaking the steel-cut oats some minutes in advance. If you use these in oatmeal, you may notice that they're chewier and denser than rolled oats. They're a good ingredient to prepare veggie "meatballs" or to use instead of rice for congee.

Oatmeal with steel-cut oats is chewier.

Which one should you choose?

As oats have a wide range of health benefits, you should include them in your diet. It has been shown that whole grains contribute to your heart health and lower your cholesterol levels. The nutritional facts are similar: both contain fiber, plant-based protein, magnesium, iron, and zinc. 

Whether it's rolled or steel-cut oats, you can choose the one that fits the best your cooking needs. It's all about the flavor, texture, and preparation time. You may say that rolled oats are better for baking, while steel-cut oats are more adequate for oatmeal, but it's a personal choice and there are no written rules about it. 

Peter O Brien

Peter started out his professional life as a restaurant critic but ended up moving to the kitchen, realizing that his passion didn’t only lie in tasting the food, but MAKING it. Follow his delicious recipes, as well as useful articles about the many benefits healthy and delicious food will bring to your life.+ info

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