6 Relative Benefits Of Steel-Cut Oats Versus Quick Oats

Steel cut oats versus quick oats

Oats are a source of whole grains, which means they come packed with a bunch of beneficial nutrients including fiber, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants. They gain part of their distinctive nutty flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ, allowing them to retain their fiber and nutrients.

The Difference Between Quick And Steel-Cut Oats

The difference between steel-cut, rolled, and instant oats is simply in how much the oat groat has been processed. This results in each variety having a distinct texture, nutritional levels, and varying cook times. Steel-cut oats, also called Irish or Scottish oats, are cut and not rolled. They look like chopped-up rice, take the longest time to cook, and have a slightly chewy consistency.


Quick oats or instant oats are pre-cooked, dried, and then rolled. They cook in a few minutes when added to hot water and have a mushy texture. Listed below are the relative benefits and uses of each variant.

 1. Quick Oats Make For A Better Baking Ingredient

Quick oats are better for baking


Although you might prefer steel-cut oats to oatmeal, quick oats are usually better for baking cookies or muffins. In baked goods, steel-cut oats retain their rough texture while quick oats give soft, yet chewy, results. Quick oats can also be easily ground into oat flour in a blender or food processor. Steel-cut oats create a coarser flour. Rolled oats and quick oats can be used interchangeably. However, do not use steel-cut oats for baking unless a recipe specifically calls for it.1

2. Quick Oats Cook Much Faster

Quick oats cook faster


The main advantage quick oats have over steel-cut oats is convenience. You can cook quick oats on the stove top or in the microwave in 2–3 minutes. Steel-cut oats cook in 20–30 minutes on the stove top. You can soak steel-cut oats overnight to cut the cooking time down to 10 minutes.

3. Steel-Cut Oats Are Not As Processed As Quick Oats

Steel-cut oats are less processed


Steel-cut oats tend to be the least-processed and refined of all the oat types. The oat grains in steel-cut oats are simply cut into smaller chunks and take slightly longer to cook than other oat types. Less processing means that the oats retain more of their nutrients and fiber. This means they will keep you feeling fuller for longer, which can assist with weight management. Quick/instant oats are more processed and have a slightly reduced fiber content.2

4. Steel-Cut Oats Have A Lower Glycemic Index

Steel-cut oats have a lower glycemic index


Steel-cut and rolled oats have a lower glycemic index. This means they have a slower release of sugar and energy into your blood and keep you fuller for longer as opposed to more processed oats, which can provide a quicker burst of energy.3 Steel-cut oats also usually have less added sugars. We often find that instant/quick oats have added flavors and it is important to keep an eye out for added sugars if you are on a low-sugar or weight management program.

5. Steel-Cut Oats Have More Fiber

Steel-cut oats have more fiber in them


Steel-cut oats are whole grains and thus high in fiber. The insoluble fiber in steel-cut oats helps you maintain digestive regularity. Insoluble fiber passes through your digestive system largely undigested and adds bulk to your stool, which makes it easier to pass. If you routinely suffer from constipation, adding steel-cut oats to your diet can help to minimize the symptoms. Insoluble fiber also helps control the level of unhealthy LDL cholesterol in the blood.

6. Steel-Cut Oats Have More Nutrition

Steel-cut oats have more nutrition


Steel-cut oats have a distinct, natural, crunchy flavor with a hearty, slightly nutty taste. If you prefer your oatmeal slightly chewier, you might prefer steel-cut oatmeal. Adding fruits such as peaches, blueberries, or bananas can further up the nutritional value of steel-cut oats without adding unnecessary sugars. Packages of instant oatmeal can be highly refined and have added sugars that increase the calorie count, which means they are not as nutritious as plain steel-cut oats.

As you can see, both quick oats and steel-cut oats have benefits of their own. Steel-cut oats are better nutrition-wise, and quick oats are faster to cook with and have wider applications. So which kind of oatmeal will you choose to add to your diet today?