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Rolled or Steel Cut Oats: Everything That You Need to Know

Oats have been a breakfast staple for many years, and for good reason. They are nutritious, filling, and versatile. However, with so many different types of oats available, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Two popular options are rolled oats and steel-cut oats. In this article, we will explore the differences between the two and help you decide which one is right for you.

Rolled Oats

Rolled oats, also known as old-fashioned oats, are made by steaming and flattening oat groats with large rolling pins. This process results in flat, oval-shaped flakes that cook quickly, making them a popular choice for breakfast. Rolled oats are often used in recipes such as oatmeal cookies, granola bars, and bread.

One of the benefits of rolled oats is their convenience. They cook quickly, usually taking only five to ten minutes. They also have a relatively mild taste, making them a versatile ingredient for many different recipes. Rolled oats are also a good source of fibre, containing both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health, while insoluble fibre helps to promote healthy digestion.

However, one downside of rolled oats is that they have a higher glycemic index than steel-cut oats. This means that they can cause a faster spike in blood sugar levels, which can lead to cravings and energy crashes later on in the day. Rolled oats are also more processed than steel-cut oats, which means they may have a slightly lower nutritional value.

Steel-Cut Oats

Steel-cut oats, also known as Irish oats or pinhead oats, are made by chopping oat groats into small pieces with steel blades. This process results in small, chewy grains that take longer to cook than rolled oats. Steel-cut oats are often used in traditional Scottish and Irish dishes such as porridge and haggis.

Due to their chewy texture, they take longer to digest, which means that they release energy slowly throughout the day, helping to prevent cravings and energy crashes. Steel-cut oats are also less processed than rolled oats, which means they retain more of their nutritional value. They are a good source of protein, fibre, and vitamins B and E.

However, one downside of steel-cut oats is their longer cooking time. They usually take around 20 to 30 minutes to cook, which may not be convenient for everyone. They also have a stronger taste than rolled oats, which may not be to everyone's liking.


The choice between rolled oats and steel-cut oats ultimately depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle. If you are looking for a quick and convenient breakfast option, then rolled oats are a good choice. They are easy to cook and have a mild taste that can be adapted to many different recipes. However, if you are looking for a healthier option that will provide sustained energy throughout the day, then steel-cut oats are the better choice. They have a lower glycemic index, more nutritional value, and provide longer-lasting energy.

If you are still unsure which one to choose, there are also some hybrid options available. One popular option is Scottish oats, which are similar to steel-cut oats but have been ground into smaller pieces. This process makes them cook faster than steel-cut oats but still provides the same nutritional benefits.

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