Steel-cut vs. rolled oats have their differences, but both varieties are complete whole grains with the bran and germ intact. Whole-grain rolled oats are more heavily processed than steel-cut oats and the two have differences in taste and texture.
However, steel-cut oats benefits and rolled oats nutrition are similar, and mirror those of quick-cooking oats and even instant oats.
Read more: The 4 Best Instant Oatmeals (and 5 to Avoid)
Steel-Cut Vs Rolled Oats Nutrition
Rolled oats are processed for ease of cooking. the outer skin, or hull, is removed. The oats are then cooked by steaming or toasting, then rolled flat. According to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, steel-cut oats have a higher soluble fiber content because they are not processed like whole grain rolled oats — which can help you feel fuller, longer.
Steel-cut oats cook up to be bulkier than rolled oats, so 1/4 dry cup of each variety yields different nutritional facts when the oats are cooked. However, when measured by weight, the two types have the same nutritional values.
A quarter-cup of dry rolled oats will yield just under a cup of cooked oats and has 100 calories, 3.5 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbohydrates and 2.5 grams of fiber, according to the USDA. A quarter-cup of steel-cut oats will yield about 1 cup when cooked and has 150 calories, 5 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber and no sugar.
Compare Taste and Texture
The differences in taste and texture between steel-cut oats and rolled oats are largely due to processing variations. Rolled outs are flattened, steamed and toasted, so they're lighter and fluffier. As they cook, rolled oats soften further and develop a thick, gummy texture.
Steel-cut oats are whole grain oat kernels that have been split into two or three pieces but are not further processed. They're thicker, nuttier tasting and a bit firmer to chew.
Preparing Steel-Cut Oats Vs Whole Grain Oats
Rolled oats are easier to prepare than steel-cut oats and have a reduced cooking time. To make them, combine one part oats and two parts water in a cooking pot, set the pot over medium heat and simmer the oats for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and thick.
For steel-cut oats, combine one part oats and four parts water. Add the ingredients to a pot and cook the mixture over medium heat for at least 25 minutes or until the oats have softened to your preferred amount of softness.
Read more: What is the Nutritional Value of Oatmeal?
Add Some Variety
Steel-cut oats and rolled oats are both very plain-tasting when prepared with water, but you can sweeten them and add flavor variation with a number of add-ons. Try maple syrup, brown sugar, agave nectar or honey to add sweet notes.
For a creamy texture, stir in milk or cream. To boost nutritional value and vary the oats' texture, serve with fresh or dried fruit and nuts.