The Oatmeal Compendium - Bob's Red Mill Blog
The Oatmeal Compendium
Healthy Living on June 13, 2013 by

The Oatmeal Compendium

Oats come in such a dizzying array of cuts and rolls, it's easy to get lost and confused. I mean, what is the difference between Scottish and Steel Cut Oats? What is an oat groat? And what makes the gluten free oats different from regular oats? Wonder no more, here is a comprehensive breakdown on oats.

Generally speaking, we're going to start with the least processed and go towards the most processed oat product. I'm going to leave oat flour out of this conversation, since most folks don't eat it as a cereal. Other items that I won't be covering are granola and muesli. We're talking just plain oats, folks.

Oat Groats: Quite simply, "groat" is the old Scottish word for the entire oat kernel minus the husk. These are the basis of every oat product that follows. You can take a groat and cook it like a chewy hot cereal or turn it into a luscious pilaf. Oats are high in soluble fiber, making them creamy when cooked.

Steel Cut Oats: Steel cut oats are whole oat groats that have been cut into two or three pieces. That's it. They take longer to cook than a rolled oat, but have a wonderful chewiness that often surprises folks who have sworn off whole grain oatmeal. This is not gruel. We can't tell you how many times we've heard stories of people converted to oatmeal after a lifetime of hating it. Our steel cut oats won the Golden Spurtle in the 2009 World Porridge Championships in Carrbridge, Scotland, earning them the title of World's Best Oats.

Steel Cut Oats

Quick-Cooking Steel Cut Oats: These are steel cut oats that have had some pieces rolled flat. They are a hybrid between rolled and steel cut oats, giving them the chewiness of a steel cut oat while cooking a bit more quickly than traditional steel cut oats.

Scottish Oats: Scottish oats are made in true Scottish style: we take whole oat groats and mill them on our stone mills. This produces a creamy, fine oatmeal that is closer to what we think of as porridge. Scottish oats cook up quickly and are a great addition to baked goods. Try our recipe for Scottish Oatcakes, one of Bob's all-time favorite snacks. Gluten free Scottish oats are also included in our delicious Organic and Gluten Free Oatmeal Cups, along with gluten free rolled oats, flaxseed and chia.

Rolled Oats: From Extra Thick to Instant, rolled oats are whole oat groats that have been steamed and flattened (or rolled) to varying thicknesses. In order of the thickest to thinnest, the order goes Extra Thick, Old Fashioned Regular, Quick Cooking and Instant. Extra thick and old fashioned taste best when cooked on the stove top, quick and instant can be ready in a matter of minutes when combined with boiling water or cooked in the microwave.

Oatmeal Cup Lineup

Organic Oats: We are proud to offer organic versions of many of our oats, including Organic Oat Groats, Organic Old Fashioned, Extra Thick and Quick Cooking Rolled Oats, Organic Steel Cut and Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats, and Organic Scottish Oatmeal.

Gluten Free Oats: The main thing that makes gluten free oats special is the way they are grown and handled. Our Gluten Free Rolled Oats are made from oats grown by farmers who know and care about growing oats that are free from gluten. Each farm delivery is sampled and tested with an R5 ELISA gluten test to ensure the absence of gluten. Advanced color-sorting removes undetected impurities. Finally, the oats are packaged in our 100% gluten free facility and tested for gluten again to ensure their purity. We offer these as Old Fashioned, Steel Cut, Extra Thick and Quick Cooking. Our Organic and Gluten Free Oatmeal Cups are also gluten free and are available in eight fantastic flavors that are ready in five minutes.

Gluten Free Organic Oats: Yes, oats can be gluten free and organic! We currently offer Gluten Free Organic Old Fashioned, Extra Thick and Quick Cooking Rolled Oats, and Gluten Free Organic Steel Cut Oats, as well as Organic Oatmeal Cups that are also gluten free.

Oat Bran: Finally, the most processed oat product we offer, but one that is incredibly nutritious and versatile—Oat Bran. Unlike wheat bran, oat bran offers some of the bran and the germ. It can be cooked like a hot cereal or added to baked goods to add the wonderful nuttiness of oats and boost the fiber content. Oat bran is incredibly high in fiber and a good source of protein.

No matter what preparation you choose, oats are an incredibly nutritious food that can be served sweet or savory for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Browse oatmeal recipes for hot cereal, baked goods and more.

47 Comments

  1. Kaitlyn
    Thank You Cassidy! Great Post!
    Reply
  2. Jenny smith
    What is the difference of steel cut oatmeal vs your high fiber oat bran. Is the oat bran a steel cut oatmeal? Thanks jenny
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      Hi Jenny,

      Great question. Oat bran is the bran and germ of the oat groat (i.e. only part of the grain), whereas steel cut oat is a whole oat groat that has been chopped into several pieces (i.e. the whole grain). Oat bran will be more like a creamy porridge, where steel cut oats will be chewier. Nutritionally, oat bran will be higher in fiber, because it's a higher concentration of the fibrous part of the oat.
      Reply
  3. Don Leitner
    What oatmeal is non-hybrid in your cereals?
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      We use conventional oats in our cereals.
      Reply
  4. Keisha Brewster
    Keisha Brewster
    I love the Scottish Oats! They are the "Key" to a great creamy style of oatmeal.
    Reply
  5. J.Tiedemann
    So essentially there is no difference genetically in GF vs. non-GF oats? The only difference between the 2 is the special methods used to ensure they are not contaminated with rouge gluten from other grains that naturally contain gluten, correct?
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      Yes, the only difference is how they are grown and processed. Gluten free oats have a few extra measures in place to ensure they stay gluten free.
      Reply
  6. Bill
    Thanks for the helpful information on oats...not explained anywhere else that I could find. But what about the differences in nutritional value? What does one process lack or the other gain in contributing to our health?
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      Hi Bill,

      All of our oats (except oat bran) will give you the same nutritional benefits, as they are all made with whole grain oats.
      Reply
  7. Walt Eager
    Question: Can steel cut oats be stored without refrigeration without becoming rancid? Can oat groats be stored with going rancid? Can rolled oats be stored without going rancid?
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      Yes, all three of those types of oats- steel cut, groats, rolled- can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place without going rancid. They'll last about 18 months that way.
      Reply
  8. Howard Weinberg
    Is there any difference in milling between the product labelled Oat Bran and the product labelled Oat Bran Cereal?
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      No, there is no difference between our two products that are oat bran. It's likely just a labeling update.
      Reply
  9. Carolyn Hoganson
    Carolyn Hoganson
    Are the oats grown and processed in the U.S./Canada? Is a foreign country (i.e.China) involved in either of these 2 things?
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      Yes, all of our oats are grown and processed in the United States and Canada. No other country is involved.
      Reply
  10. Howard Weinberg
    Umm...actually there appears to be a difference between the product labelled "Oat Bran" and the product labelled "Oat Bran Hot Cereal". The grind of the Hot Cereal is clearly coarser. I bought the Oat Bran Hot Cereal because the retail price I paid was half the price of the Oat Bran. I mix it in yogurt for breakfast, so the grind doesn't make much difference to me, but those two products are clearly milled differently.
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      Howard,

      I'm not sure, but we only carry one product. The packaging may have changed, and I'm not sure why the grind would appear different.
      Reply
  11. ben smith
    Is there no combination of gluten free and organic in any of your oat products?
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      Hi Ben,

      We just launched Gluten Free Organic Oats! This post is a bit out of date. You can view these new products here: http://www.bobsredmill.com/shop/oats/gluten-free.html
      Reply
  12. Rami
    What is the glycemic index of each of these categories ? Thanks !
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      I'm sorry, but we do not have that info for these Rami. They would be pretty similar from category to category, though.
      Reply
    2. kevin mckay
      I would also like to know the glycemic index, usually I buy steel cut but recently bought quick cooking steel cut by accident.
      Reply
  13. Debbie
    I am making baked oatmeal with your quick cooking steel cut oats and wondered if I should be cooking it less time and if I should alter the liquid to oats ratio? Thank you.
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      Depending on what type of oats the original recipe calls for, you may not need to change anything at all. If the recipe uses old fashioned rolled oats, you really do not need to make any major changes, although I would recommend keeping an eye on it. It may cook faster. If the recipe calls for traditional steel cut oats, it will definitely cook faster, though the water should be about the same.
      Reply
  14. Kathleen Miller
    When you say your oat bran is "the most processed" of your products, what do you mean? The organic oat bran is processed? Please explain.
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      By processed, we mean that it has had some of the endosperm of the grain removed. Oat bran is, by nature, only part of the whole oat grain- the bran layer. It often has a bit of germ, as well, but distinctly less of the endosperm.
      Reply
  15. Kathleen Miller
    In other words, how is it both "organic" and "processed" ? I thought processed was a negative thing.
    Reply
    1. Cassidy Stockton
      Processed does not have to be a negative word. It simply means that something was done to it to change it from the way it was grown. In this case, processed means that the oats have been rolled, cut or ground. That is all.
      Reply
  16. Sunny
    Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran is definitely creamier & whiter than other oat brans. Is it because you steam it first like with rolled oats? If not steam, what makes the creaminess?
    Reply
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      Our milling process is what makes it so creamy.
      Reply
  17. allen thompson
    When will Bob's offer oat bran that's both organic and gluten free?
    Reply
  18. Cynthia
    I have several autoimmune diseases. I need the glycemic index and glycemic load values for Bob's products - right now I need those values for his extra thick rolled oats. That product is the lowest for carbohydrate if I make my meal with 1/4 cup dry = 16 carbs. Plus, I enjoy the texture.
    Reply
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      Hi Cynthia, we suggest you contact our customer service department to get specific information on the products you're looking for. The number is 800-349-2173.
      Reply
  19. Jennifer
    I bought some BRM oat flour, but can you tell me the difference between oat flour and oat bran?
    Reply
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      Whole Grain Oat Flour is freshly milled from whole grain oat groats, and including all of the nutritious germ, bran and endosperm. Nothing is added and nothing is removed. Oat flour can be used to replace up to 20% of the flour in most baked goods for unique flavor and increased nutrition. Oat bran is the outer layer of the oat grain.Our Gluten Free Oat Bran makes a wonderful hot cereal or addition to baked goods. Oat bran is terrific in muffins, where it adds a very distinctive texture and rich, nutty flavor. Try adding some oat bran to bread dough to increase the fiber content, or sprinkle some on top of a finished loaf before baking for a nutty topping.
      Reply
  20. Kayla
    Hi there, I am just wondering what does it mean when it says "old-fashioned" on the steel cut and rolled oat packages. How is this different then the regular oats?
    Reply
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      Hi Kayla, that is a great question. The term old fashioned just says that it's the way it's always been done. It's not new and fancy, just good old fashioned oatmeal. We hope that helps.
      Reply
  21. Paula
    Why does oat bran have the same number of carbs to fiber as whole oats?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Paula, Oats are mainly made of carbohydrates by nature. When comparing Whole Oat Groats to Oat Bran by weight, the carbohydrate count will be similar because of this. A single serving of our Organic Whole Oat Groats is 46 grams and contains 31 grams of carbohydrates. A single serving of our Oat Bran Cereal is 40 grams and contains 26 grams of carbohydrates.
      Reply
  22. Joyce
    Wow!!! Finally I am educated on what I OAT to have known long ago!!! I just knew Red Bob would have help me and have something written down somewhere about all this Oat info. Thank you! And thank you Red Bob for how you’ve handled and managed your company! I Love your products! I’m so very grateful and thought you OAT to know!!! Kind regards! Joyce
    Reply
  23. Melissa
    I purchased Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Organic Rolled Oats. For a 1/2 cup dry serving, the calorie count is 210 calories. Other brands are 150 or 160 calories for a 1/2 cup dry serving. Can you explain what is going on?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Melissa, while we can't speak to other brands' nutritional profiles and/or their testing methods, we frequently analyze our products for their nutritional value. When those values change we update our packaging to reflect those numbers. It's important to us to have accurate information and we know it's important to our customers as well.

      If you have more questions, please contact our Customer Service team at 1-800-349-2173 or [email protected]
      Reply
  24. Joyce
    Oat Groats cook wonderfully well in a Rice Cooker set on "grains".
    Check it about 40 minutes into cooking to see how it is doing--for your doness level. Gotta go check o my Oat Groats right now.
    Reply
  25. Ashley
    If I wanted to add your oat bran to my steelcut oats (cooked on the stove) for more fiber, would you suggest adding the oat bran in during the last 3 minutes of cooking?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Ashley - Yes, I'd recommend stirring in the Oat Bran towards the end of the cook time. Enjoy!
      Reply
  26. Jeffrey Langlois
    Jeffrey Langlois
    The label on Bob's Redmill oatmeal shows 5 grams of fiber per 48 gram serving. That comes to .104 grams of fiber per gram of oatmeal. The label on their oat bran shows 4 grams of fiber per 40 grams of oat bran, which comes to exactly .1 gram of fiber per gram of oat bran. The difference is tiny indeed. This is in direct contradiction to the idea that oat bran is higher in fiber than oatmeal.
    Reply

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