Steel Cut Oats Nutritional Value - Bob's Red Mill Blog
Steel Cut Oats Nutritional Value

Steel Cut Oats Nutritional Value

Oats have been around virtually since time began and pack quite the nutritional wallop. However, oats didn't start to get cultivated for consumption and use until about 1000 BC.

Originally, oats were fed mostly to animals and shunned as "barbarian food" by ancient Rome and Greece. Eventually, however, the Roman empire fell and tribes that did consume oats passed on their knowledge and heritage to the rest of the world.

Oats began to be more routinely incorporated into the human diet and today are used in everything from puddings and baked goods to oatmeal porridges.

What Are Oats?

Oats are considered a "whole grain" and are chock full of valuable nutrients and soluble fiber that are good for the body. For this reason, oats are a great way to increase your intake of dietary fiber. An oat kernel, also sometimes called an oat groat, is made up of three distinct parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.

"Oat groats" are simply a whole grain oat kernel with its husk, or chaff, removed.

When discussing steel cut oats, they are basically oat groats that have been sliced with a steel blade into two or three small pieces.

Steel cut vs. rolled oats have a chewy, heartier texture. Because of their distinct shape, steel cut oats must be simmered or soaked for longer, so that they soften up enough to eat.

The Nutritional Value of Oats

All types of oats can be a significant contribution to a healthy diet, especially for people who may have heart concerns or that suffer from ailments like diabetes.

The nutritional value of oats is significant and offers many health benefits, such as lowering bad cholesterol levels (LDL levels) and decreasing your risks of developing heart disease. Oats can help decrease high blood pressure, as well as lower your risk of developing type-2 diabetes. This is due to the high content of soluble fiber that is found in oats, especially steel cut oats.

If you struggle with weight gain or with losing weight, the high fiber content can also help you feel satiated for a longer period of time, reducing snacking and your overall caloric intake for the day.

Steel cut oats, rolled oats, and even instant oats are all fairly well-balanced in their nutritional makeup. Oats are made up of roughly 66% carbohydrate, 17% protein, 11% fiber, and 7% fat.

In terms of raw oats, 100 grams boasts about 10.6 grams of fiber and 16.9 grams of protein.

One of the healthiest fibers found in oats is a fiber called beta glucan. In low concentrations, beta glucans are unique in that they form a gel-like substance that seems to lower cholesterol, reduce blood sugar and insulin levels after eating carbohydrates, and increase the excretion of bile acids.

Beta glucans are thought to be associated with a myriad of health benefits, and it's what makes steel cut oats vs. rolled oats or instant oats so much more desirable.

Types of Oats

There are different types of oats. Though their general makeup is very similar in terms of nutrition, the way they are processed and made ready for human consumption varies.

Instant Oats

Instant oats, though they may be somewhat beneficial, are the most processed of oats and contain the least amount of fiber per serving.  

These are the oats used in prepackaged instant oatmeal. Though this type of oatmeal is popular, it can easily become mushy the longer you cook it, and most brands have added salt and sugar that makes them the least healthy choice when trying to increase your grain intake.

Quick Cooking Oats

The next step up on the health ladder is "quick cooking" oats. These oats have been rolled thin and cut into small pieces. This is so they will cook faster while still retaining most of their nutritional value. These oats are often used to make oatmeal as well, and can also become somewhat mushy in texture if cooked too long.

Rolled Oats

Rolled oats, sometimes referred to as “old-fashioned” rolled oats, are oats that have been harvested, steamed, and flattened between rollers. Rolled oats are the same oats that are used to make quick cooking oats, and they are also great for use in cooking and baking or adding to things like yogurt and smoothies.

You can prepare them with water or milk, and the resulting texture is soft and creamy. Rolled oats tend to keep their rounded shape and are frequently used in everything from cookies to granola bars, cereals, and breakfast bowls.

Steel Cut Oats

Steel cut oats are sometimes also called Irish oats. These oats are coarser, and the kernel of the oat is cut into only two or three pieces, using a steel blade. This is where they get the name "steel cut."

These oats take longer to cook and may require some soaking beforehand. Steel cut oats are often used for porridge and cut oatmeal.

Steel Cut Oats Nutrition Facts

When it comes to nutritional value, metric by metric, steel cut oats are very similar to rolled oats and instant oats. The differences lie in the dietary fiber content of steel cut oats, as well as their density. The ratio of liquid steel cut oats is cooked with is higher than that of rolled oats, so the portion is larger. This means you can eat less of them and reduce your caloric intake, but still get the same level of nutrition as you would from rolled oats or instant oats. Plus, the density of the oats helps keep you feeling full.

Another benefit of steel cut oats is that they take longer to digest, reducing their glycemic load. Because of how they rank on the glycemic index, they are great for people who suffer from diabetes, or who may be prediabetic. This is because unlike rolled oats, they don’t cause a big spike in blood sugar when eaten.

When someone consumes foods that are considered low glycemic, it means that the rate the sugar is introduced to the body has been slowed down considerably. When someone consumes foods that are high on the glycemic index, it makes their blood sugar levels and insulin levels shoot up quickly. This causes cravings for even more sugar when the glucose levels begin to drop.

When cooking steel cut oats, its is important to know what you're consuming. Steel cut oats are low calorie, weighing in at only 170 calories per 1/4 cup serving of dry oats. They contain about 3g of fat and are low in saturated fat. They also contain no cholesterol and no sodium.

Steel cut oats provide 5g of fiber per 1/4 cup serving of dry oats, which is about double the amount of fiber you can get from rolled oats.

They contain 29g of carbs and also provide a healthy amount of calcium, magnesium, iron, antioxidants, and B vitamins. They also provide 158mg of potassium.

As you can see, there are a variety of reasons why steel cut oats make a wonderful addition to a healthy and balanced diet.

Steel cut oats nutrition is largely same as other oats in every way except the fiber content and density. The fiber content and density of steel cut oats are what makes them so filling and beneficial.

The nice thing about steel cut oats is you can dress them up in several different ways. You can prepare them with water or milk and add a sweetener or spice of your choice to jazz them up. They are also great for a quick breakfast like overnight oats.

If you really want to ramp up the nutritional punch, you can also include nuts, dried fruits, fresh fruits, and even things like chia seeds and Greek yogurt into the mix. No matter how you prepare them, you can't escape the goodness!


40 Comments

  1. Swan
    Are your steel cut oats GMO free
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Yes! Every single product from Bob's Red Mill is Non-GMO :)
      Reply
  2. Mike
    The article says that steel cut oats have a healthy amount of magnesium, but magnesium doesn't show up on the nutrition label. (At least for your quick cooking steel cut oats.) How come? Thanks.
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Mike! They are a good source of magnesium, but there isn't always room on the labels to list everything or it's not expected per FDA nutrition panel regulations. There is 61mg of magnesium in one serving (44 grams or 1/4 cup uncooked) of our Steel Cut Oats.
      Reply
  3. Barbara Disner
    Disturbing facts about glyphosate in steel cut oats we have been eating! Do you need a disclaimer on package? Can you explain.
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Barbara, here at Bob's Red Mill, quality and safety are fundamental to our mission to make the world a healthier place with whole grain foods. Our products have always met and exceeded all regulatory safety standards based on scientific research, and we are continuously striving to deliver the highest quality products. We’re committed to working with our farmers to end the use of glyphosate in the cultivation of all oats used in Bob’s Red Mill products.

      We vet the farmers who supply our raw grains and other ingredients carefully to ensure each meets our high standards for quality. For those who are looking for different options, we have a full line of products certified organic by the USDA. The use of glyphosate is absolutely forbidden in the cultivation and processing of organic oats.
      Reply
  4. Peter Skura
    CAN YOU REDUCE THE POTASSIUM LEVELS OF STEEL CUT OATMEAL BY LEACHING BEFORE COOKING?
    Thanks
    Pete
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Pete, unfortunately we don't have any information about that.
      Reply
  5. Margaret Blickenderfer
    Bob's Red Mill products are all fantastic! Thank you! My question is, why are some oats soaked the night before cooking/eating and some not? Thank you for your time!
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Margaret, soaking overnight just shortens the cook time. Since the oats have already absorbed all the liquid, they cook quickly and evenly.
      Reply
  6. Leo
    Wonderfully informative article! To those having an Instant Pot pressure cooker mix two parts liquid to one part steel cut oats and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes natural release, no muss, no fuss. Milk will burn, unsweetened almond milk will not. Make a bunch - they freeze well.
    Reply
  7. Camille Pendery
    Camille Pendery
    How does the nutritional content of quick-cooking steel cut oats rank? Just below steel cut?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Camille - the nutritional profile is very similar. The only difference is that Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats are milled to a smaller particle size. Smaller size = faster cooking time. There are no other differences between the two :)
      Reply
  8. Sam Watson
    what is the glycemic index and load of your oats?

    Thanks.
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Sam! Steel Cut Oats are known to generally have a lower glycemic index number as it takes longer for your body to break it down. Unfortunately we do not test our specific products for glycemic index and do not have rating available.
      Reply
  9. Deane
    Is there a nutritional difference between your regular steel cut oats verses your quick cook steel cut oats
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Deane - no, just a difference in how they are cut; Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats are cut into smaller pieces which equals a quicker cooking time. Enjoy!
      Reply
  10. Kerri
    How much is a cooked serving of the 1/4 cup dry serving?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Kerri! The cooked volume can vary; it depends on any other ingredients you use and the amount of water added and water evaporation. Roughly the oats double in size but the best way to test would be to cook 1/4 of a cup your normal way then measure the cooked volume.
      Reply
  11. Jodi
    Hi! can you tell me how much mg of phosphorus if any is in your steel cut oats? Thanks!
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Jodi - there are 149 mg of phosphorus per serving (44 grams/1/4 cup) in our Organic Steel Cut Oats.
      Reply
  12. Cynthia
    How much protein is in a cooked serving of your slower cooking steel cut oat?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Cynthia, we don't test the cooked product for the nutritional analysis but rather the dry uncooked product. One dry uncooked serving of Organic Steel Cut Oats is 1/4 cup or 44 grams has 4 grams of protein. If you only add water, the final nutrition would remain the same. If you add other ingredients (milk, sugar, fruits, nuts) the nutrition will change.
      Reply
  13. Nancy Freestone
    Nancy Freestone
    Are your nutrition serving size measured dry or cooked. Thanks!
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Nancy, our nutritional information is all based on the dry uncooked product.
      Reply
  14. Pat
    Why has the protein count in your steel cut owns dropped from 7 to 4?
    And why have the amount of carbohydrates increased and the amount of fiber decreased?

    Are you using different oats?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Pat - as an agricultural product, sometimes the nutritional values change. We keep our labels up to date with the most current nutritional information we have available. We do this because it's important to us and it's important to our customers. If you have more questions please contact our Customer Service team at 1-800-349-2173 or customerservice@bobsredmill.com
      Reply
  15. Rachel
    Are steel cut oats bad for low calorie diets or trying to lose weight?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Rachel - that really just depends on your body's particular needs. A serving of our Organic Steel Cut Oats has 3.5 grams of fat, 170 calories, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. I'd suggest speaking with your doctor or nutritionist to determine whether or not oats are a good fit.
      Reply
  16. Josh
    Hi there,

    Can you tell me if steel cut oats contain any Vitamin A? Or carotenoids such he as leutine or zeaxanthin?

    Thank you
    Josh
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Josh, our Customer Service team is happy to help with this request and will follow up directly.
      Reply
  17. Maggie Weiss
    Happy New Year! I'm weaning myself from sugar slowly. Please tell me how many grams of sugar in the 31 grams of carbohydrates listed in one serving of steel cut oats. This figure will help me measure my sugar intake. Thanks very much, Maggie
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Maggie, you can find the full nutritional panel (including sugars and added sugars) on our website. In a single 44 gram serving of Steel Cut Oats there are 31 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of sugar.

      Bob's Red Mill: Steel Cut Oats
      Reply
  18. Kayla
    Love both the steel cut oats and rolled oats. I pressure cook the steel cut oats in multicooker (aka insta pot), which is delicious and fast. From America’s Test Kitchen Multicooker Cookbook: STEEL-CUT OATMEAL
    serves 8

    pressure cook total time
    45 minutes

    slow cook total time
    2 hours 15 minutes

    why this recipe works We love the chewy texture and fuller flavor of steel-cut oats, but careful monitoring for 40 minutes of stovetop simmering makes them a nonstarter on busy mornings. The multicooker made the process mostly hands-off and guaranteed creamy, hearty steel-cut oatmeal. We first toasted the oats in butter using the sauté function, which brought out their nutty flavor and took only a couple of minutes. Then, we locked on the lid and let the oats pressure or slow cook to tenderness. A bit of salt added to the cooking liquid seasoned them nicely. At the end of cooking, the oats were perfectly chewy, but our oatmeal was on the thin side, and much too hot to eat. Letting the oatmeal sit for 10 minutes before serving solved both problems: The porridge thickened to a pleasantly thick consistency as it cooled. This oatmeal reheats well, so we could easily serve it again later in the week. Serve with your favorite toppings such as brown sugar, butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, dried fruit, and nuts.

    ATK logo
    Steel-cut Oatmeal (Recipe)
    PHOTO CREDIT: CARL TREMBLAY
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    2 cups steel-cut oats

    6 cups water, plus extra as needed

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 Using highest sauté or browning function, melt butter in multicooker. Add oats and cook, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in water and salt.

    2A to pressure cook Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 1 minute. Turn off multicooker and let pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Quick-release any remaining pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
    Reply
  19. Kevin
    Do I need to look for “100% whole grain” in the package, or are all steel cut oats whole grain?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Kevin, all of our Steel Cut Oats are Whole Grain! :)
      Reply
  20. Anie
    Does cooking steel-cut oats for 40 minutes instead of the recommended 20 minutes reduce the amount of fiber per serving? Thank you.
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Anie - No, additional cooking time will only affect the texture.
      Reply
  21. Jane Nocito
    I love Bob's Organic Steel Cut Oats. My latest recipe is making a cup of them following the instructions on the package and then adding the following:

    - 1/2 tsp. Turmeric
    - 1 tsp. Cinnamon
    - a splash of vanilla extract
    - a quick drizzle of olive oil

    After the oats are cooked, I add either fresh berries and walnuts OR dried cranberries and walnuts. The are delicious warm or cold!!
    Reply
  22. daisies
    Just got acquainted with Steel Cut Oats terminology and then searched on Google and hit into your article. Thanks for sharing all the detailed information about these oats!!!
    Reply

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