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Steel cut oats

I see these mentioned frequently as the ultimate in oatmeal. How are they different from, say Quaker oats? Does it really make a difference in how the oats are cut or chopped?
Thanks.....I love oatmeal in the morning and may be on to something new.

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  1. Oh yes a big difference! They are larger in cut, not rolled into flat bits. They take longer to cook and have much better tooth and taste! I go for the MaCann's myself and cook a larger batch and reheat a bit as I want, each time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Quine

      We also love McCanns.... the cooked meal is much heartier (I guess chewier). We add dried cranberries. My wife hates regular oatmeal but loves McCanns.

    2. My favorite oatmeal is McCann's Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal. I note that nowhere on the package does is say "steelcut". However they look different from Quaker oats; I have always assumed they were steel cut. They cook up heartier, not as gluey. I encourage you to try Mc Cann's.

      Somwhere I have read to use Quaker oats for oatmeal cookies; but to use Irish oatmeal for eating.

      5 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        Quick cooking is not steel cut. It's rolled oats. Steel cut oats are chopped whole grains, not flattened by rolling.

        You can get steel cut oats more cheaply than McCanns - TJs, Bob's Red Mill, et cet.

        1. re: sueatmo

          You can quicker cooking steel cut McCann's:


          I find it easier to make a large portion, refrigerate and microwave when I want some. I've used steal cut for baking but I soak it in milk first for half an hour and then put it in the food processor. It gives the cookie/muffins a nice nuttiness.

          As people have said, it's hard to eat regular oatmeal once you've had steel cut. The regular has a mushy gumminess to it, like paste.

          1. re: chowser

            Interesting! Thanks for the link...I'll look for these...I wonder if that wonderful chewy texture is retained...have you tried them yet?

            1. re: ChowFun_derek

              Yes--they taste the same to me with the hearty nuttiness. I still make the long cooking ones for the most part but these are great in a pinch. They do cost more than buying a large can.

        2. I much prefer to eat steel cut oats in the morning instead of rolled oats. I think that because it is less processed, it takes longer for the body to digest, and thus keeps the stomach feeling full for longer.
          Because steel cuts oats take so long to cook, I typically cook up a batch once a week and get 3 to 4 breakfasts out of 1 cup of oats. I cook them overnight in a crock pot. 1 cup oats: 4 to 4.5 cups of water. On low for 6 to 7 hours. I store leftovers in the fridge and reheat a portion in the microwave in the morning. Once you start eating steel cut oats, it hard to eat the rolled oats again. Total different texture and mouthfeel.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mightycheesehead

            The STEEL CUT OATMEAL does taste better and takes longer to cook.
            But the best part is it takes LONGER to digest and therefore keeps the Blood Suger level normal longer, and decreases the appetite over a longer period of time with better energy. Also the whole oat called Oat Groats can be cooked the same way with the same benefits!
            Ever notice or did you know a horse can work all day eating a bucket of oats in the morning?
            All instant or quick cooking oats and foods are more processed resulting in rapid digestion and often Hypogycemia or low blood sugar creating hunger.

          2. As you can see by the responses so far, yes, it really makes a difference. A big difference.
            I personally won't touch oatmeal in any other way. I put some honey and cinnamon on mine to taste and away I go.

            Go ahead and buy some and give 'em a try. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.


            1. Oh, steel cut oats are just the best. The best. Really. I use Cook's Illustrated's method, which I highly recommend. Which is, by volume, three parts water to one part oats to one part milk and a pinch of salt. First toast the dry oats in butter for about 30 seconds until they smell wonderous. Then put them into boiling water and cook on low for about 10 minutes, then add the milk and salt and cook for a few minutes more until thick and wonderful. The toasting and the milk really do it for me. I like to put maple syrup and flax seeds in it sometimes... Try it. Really.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rockyraccoon07

                Glad to see you use it too, Rocky, it's the best! In 2001 on a trip to the Scottish Highlands I bought a pound of stone ground oats and made them that way when I got home....the best. Cinnamon and Brown Sugar usually are the adulterants for me.

                1. re: MsDiPesto

                  Cinnamon keeps the blood sugar normal, so there is less hunger over a longer period of time. But I don't understand why they put so much sugar icing on cinnamon buns and other pastry to cause hypoglycemia! The cinnamon helps prevent the lowered blood sugar.
                  I sprinkle cinnamon with a bit of salt on Popcorn! It works nicely.
                  Costco sells excellent Saigon Cinnamon in large shaker bottles, so I use it on fruit, yogurt, toast, etc.

              2. I switched over to steel cut oats a few weeks ago and won't be going back. The longer cooking time doesn't even bother me. One trick is to pour some boiling water onto the oats and let them sit for a while (maybe while you're showering and stuff). They'll be A LOT softer and easier to cook afterwards.

                OR you can soak a bunch overnight and use for the week. I love mixing in some homemade jam and nuts... yum!



                1. Has anyone ever tried the Griddled Steel Cut Oatcakes that was in Bon Appetit recently? Described as part pancake part oatmeal, I am curious to try them. A nice change from too much oatmeal!


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Susan627

                    My mom used to fry up left over oatmeal like this - topped with butter and sugar it was one of my favorite breakfasts. I haven't tried it with cut oats. The added cream and sweeteners would good, but probably not necessary.

                    Conceptually it's not all that different from fried polenta (or corn meal mush, or scrapple).

                  2. It's what we in Scotland call porridge. It is as another poster noted the Scottish equivalent of polenta or grits, etc. Steel cut oats taste better than rolled oats and stone ground (the kind most used back home) are even better.

                    6 Replies
                      1. re: Davwud

                        Sorry, you'll have to help me out here. I've been racking my brains trying to figure out where is NA?

                        1. re: JockY

                          North America? USA and Canada? The question may be, is there a source for stone ground oats in the USA?.

                          1. re: paulj

                            Bob's Red Mill.


                            Stone-ground oats are not rolled, but cracked up into chips of varying sizes (unlike the uniform chipping of steel-cut oats). They cook with less water and time than steel cut.

                            1. re: Karl S

                              I second the scottish style oats, and will often stock up on them when I see them.

                      2. re: JockY

                        I'm reminded of that Flanders and Swan verse:

                        The Scotsman is mean as we're all well aware
                        He's boney and blotchy and covered with hair
                        He eats salty porridge, he works all the day
                        And hasn't got bishops to show him the way


                        A simple dish, made of boiled oatmeal. It needs to be boiled slowly and stirred continuously with the traditional spirtle - a wooden stick which is about 30cm (or 12") long - to avoid the formation of lumps!

                        Porridge should be thick and wholesome, not thin like gruel. It has remarkable properties for preventing hunger. Today it is often eaten for breakfast, with the addition of milk, and a small plate keeps you feeling full until lunchtime.

                        Traditionally crofters in the Highlands of Scotland would make a large pot of porridge at the beginning of the week. Once allowed to cool, it would be cut into slices, and the crofter would places a slice in his pocket eack day for lunch.

                        Porridge must be cooked with salt to obtain the correct flavour. Those eating porridge outside Scotland have been know to cook it without salt and indeed eat it with sugar or even syrup, which is a habit which would turn the stomach of any Scotsman (or Scots-woman). "

                        Article on the golden spurtle competition


                      3. Still suffering from the childhood trauma of morning after morning of watery oatmeal, I hate rolled oats. But, man, do I look forward to winter weekend breakfasts of steel-cut oats. Fabulous texture and a deliciously nutty taste. There's really no comparison.

                        1. Steel cut oats are much nuttier and flavorful then rolled oats and have a nice popping crunch. Once you've tried them you'll have a hard time going back to rolled unless you're in a bind for time. One thing to avoid like the plague is "quick cook" oatmeal. The 2 minute cook time is accomplished because the oats are par cooked and pulverized to sawdust. If you ever get a chance to try plain quick cook oats, it has the texture of mealy paste and the flavor of wet newspaper.

                          1. I love steel cut oats. I've converted 5 or 6 of my friends into steel cut oat eaters. As others have said, you won't go back--there is more of a bite--it's like comparing Wonder Bread to a really hearty whole grain bread. It has enough flavor for me that I've gradually weaned myself from adding any sugar (though on occasion, I still eat it w/ maple syrup). I cook it w/ a whole cinnamon stick, and then grate fresh nutmeg on top and mix with chopped up nuts, etc. And as someone else said, b/c it takes longer to cook, I usually make a week's worth at once. I've never tried, but my friend has made "risotto" with it and raves about it.

                            1. Am I the only fan of thick-cut rolled oats? Like steel-cut oats, they have more flavor and chewiness than standard rolled oats, but they're faster to cook. But I have to admit, I like the 'glueiness' of oatmeal, so to me, the thick-cut oats give me the best of both world, flavor and texture.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                I like both! Different animals.

                                The only oats I wouldn't touch are instant oatmeal.

                              2. I've never tried them either so I'm interested? What mixtures of ingredients do you like to add?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sunkissedbabe43

                                  My entire life I've always had oatmeal with 2 things - milk and a little but of sugar or brown sugar.

                                2. OMG these are delish! I made my first batch overnight following the CH recipe for the crockpot. I added vanilla and grated nutmeg and cinnamon. Brown sugar and maple syrup were added toward the end. The flavor and texture are wonderful. I'm definitely a convert!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: gabby29

                                    Alton Brown has a crockpot recipe that wonderfully rich -- it uses half-n-half and dried fruit and is to die for.

                                    1. re: sebetti

                                      For maximum health producting quality,
                                      Vanilla flavored Soymilk and Organic natural brown sugar if preferred!

                                      No need for half&half to clog the arteries and increase the calories.

                                      1. re: sebetti

                                        I thought I was being extravagant when I added cream to my oats. Thanks for the advice. I'll check out his recipe.

                                    2. I discovered Steel cut oats just last week and have been waiting to go back to Trader Joe's this weekend to restock. I LOVE it. I've only tried the frozen, pre-made kind at TJ's and will stick with that when short on time. I'm sure it'll be cheaper to just buy the oats and make it myself this weekend. I can't wait.. with a drizzle of dark maple syrup too of course.