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How to Cook Pinhead Oatmeal

author image Maria Christensen
Since 1997, Maria Christensen has written about business, history, food, culture and travel for diverse publications, including the "Savannah Morning News" and "Art Voices Magazine." She authored a guidebook to Seattle and works as the business team lead for a software company. Christensen studied communications at the University of Washington and history at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
How to Cook Pinhead Oatmeal
Pinhead oatmeal makes a healthy breakfast. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

A bowl of pinhead oatmeal is a healthy and hearty breakfast choice. With 150 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein in each quarter-cup serving, it provides the fuel your body needs to start the day. Pinhead oatmeal cooks differently than rolled oats and you need to plan if you want to include it in a quick breakfast on busy mornings.


When the outer hull of oats is removed but the bran is left on the grain, this is known as groats. The groats are cut into two to four pieces by steel cutters to make pinhead oats. The oats look like small grains, but because they are not steamed and flattened like rolled oats, they take longer to cook. Pinhead oats are a staple of Scottish cooking but are also known as steel-cut oats or Irish oats. If you purchase any type of steel-cut oats you will end up with pinhead oatmeal.

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Pinhead oatmeal takes 30 to 40 minutes to cook, depending on the amount of oats you are cooking and the desired consistency. A shorter cooking time results in chewier oats. The healthiest method is to cook the oats in plain water, which adds no fat. You can also use a mixture of equal parts of water and low-fat milk in which to cook the oats. Bring the liquid to a boil with a little salt in a saucepan and then add the oats. Lower the heat so that the oatmeal is simmering and cover the pot. Stir the oatmeal once in a while to prevent sticking. Add dried fruit as a sweetener halfway through the cooking process.

Overnight Method

With a little preparation the night before, you can enjoy a bowl of oatmeal within 10 to 15 minutes in the morning. Bring the liquid to a boil in a pot with a tight-fitting lid and then add the oats. Let the mixture boil for a minute and then turn off the heat and put the lid on the pot. Leave the pot to sit overnight, allowing the oats to slowly absorb the liquid. In the morning, add dried fruit to the oats if desired and turn the heat to medium-low so that the oatmeal simmers until it is heated through.


Pinhead oatmeal keeps well in a refrigerator for up to a week, so make a large batch and store it in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Add a little liquid to the cold oatmeal to thin it and heat it in a microwave or in a pot on the stove for a quick breakfast. The fiber content in pinhead oatmeal can help lower your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes and can help with a weight-loss regimen. Including it in your daily diet is a healthy choice.

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