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Jan 7, 2009 05:56 AM

Steel Cut Oats, are they the same as Large Flake Oats

I see Quaker Steel Cut Oats are available in the USA. We have Large Flake Oats in CANADA. So, do you know if the two products are actually the same oats?
I noticed, the Steel Cut Oats container has a claim printed on it saying "Oatmeal Helps Remove Cholesterol". Our Quaker Large Flake Oats do not have such a claim printed on the package.

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  1. No, they're not the same. Oats that are like "flakes" are rolled, which is additional processing. Steel cut oats look like tiny little pellets almost. They still have the hull which means additional fiber, which is better for you. That being said, even the rolled oats are good for you, they just process a little quicker/turn to sugar in your system faster because of the additional processing of the grain/hull.

    5 Replies
    1. re: rockandroller1

      This is my understanding of the difference (we buy both, and your description is exactly as they appear). I'll add that the steel cut can take quite a bit longer to cook. And, the poster should take it seriously that there is more fiber in the steel cut - too much for our toddler.

      1. re: Cachetes

        Cook steel cut in water for 45 minutes. Can also look for the name pinhead oats.

      2. re: rockandroller1

        Thanks! I have heard 25 mins. or 30 for cooking time. You say 45 mins., is this on a simmering heat?

        1. re: Miroma

          It takes 30 minutes on a simmer for steel-cut oats for me. Four cups liquid to one cup steel-cut oats... I like two cups of milk and two cups of buttermilk, with two tablespoons of brown sugar, a little nutmeg, a little vanilla, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of orange zest.

          1. re: Miroma

            I use a slow cooker, 1 to 4 or 5 oaks to water ratio. Just leave it on low overnight. I cook up a batch and microwave as I need it.

        2. The cholesterol removal claim is endorsed by the American Heart Association, which is why it's allowed on the US but not Canadian packaging.

          15 Replies
          1. re: Caralien

            I would like to know who carries Quaker Steel Cut Oats for the purpose of ordering. I am interested in lowering cholesterol. Which retailers might carry this product? Preferably someone close to the Manitoba, Canada border.

            1. re: Miroma

              All oats--steel cut, minute, quick, etc.--from any manufacturer can lower your cholesterol. The steel cut take longer to cook, and you may want to soak them overnight to soften the bran so that it's easier and faster to cook some in the morning.

              I'd avoid the instant varieties, however, as they have a lot of salt, sugar, and other ingredients.

              1. re: Caralien

                Yes I have noticed a lot of sugar, my wife enjoys the instant oats. Regarding taste,
                I think the instant oats can not be compared to the large flake oats which I use. I stir-in raisins and/or walnuts instead of sugar.

              2. re: Miroma

                Just buy any high fiber cereal. Not necessary to specifically buy steel cut oats.

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  Oats contain both insoluble and soluble fiber, which is why they're more heart-healthful than other whole grains. That's not to detract from the health benefits of other whole grains but rather to point out that oats are unique.

                2. re: Miroma

                  I get my steel cut oaks from a grocer who carries them in open bins.

                  1. re: PeterL

                    Yes, ok, I will call my local "Scoop & Weigh" vender. I enjoy the taste of oats and I heard Steel Cut Oats could possibly be the best in oatmeal taste.

                    1. re: Miroma

                      I think they taste better.

                      I add a bit of honey and some cinnamon to mine.


                      1. re: Davwud

                        Yes there are many choices as far as adding flavor to your oatmeal incl. a variety of fruits which I add before cooking.

                        1. re: Davwud

                          I have seen Scotch Oats at my super market. I'll pick up some coarse cut oats later today.

                    2. re: Miroma

                      Don't know about Quaker.

                      We get Bob's Red Mill from the grocery store with no problem.


                      1. re: Davwud

                        Steel Cut Oats must be here in CANADA but not under that label. We have mostly Quaker products at our grocers when it comes to oats, but no Steel Cut.

                        1. re: Miroma

                          If you live in Winnipeg, Eat It has steel cut oats for C$5.50/kg.

                          603 Wall St.
                          Winnipeg, MB R3G 2T5

                            1. re: Miroma

                              I am not sure about Wiinipeg. I live in Ottawa and our grocery stores have steel cut oats as do health food stores. Bulk Barn has it. Tell your store manager that you would like them to carry it.

                  2. Steel-cut oats are also sold as coarse-cut oats, pinhead oats, Scotch oats, or Irish oats. It's my understanding that both steel-cut oats and rolled oats are whole-grain products. Neither contains the inedible hull (or chaff), but both contain the high-fiber bran.

                    Rolled oats are just steel-cut oats (or whole oat groats) that have been passed through a set of rollers. Whole oat groats rolled at the thickest settings produce regular oatmeal. Smaller pieces rolled thinner make quick-cooking oatmeal. The smallest pieces, rolled extremely thin, make instant oatmeal. So in the absence of additives, all oatmeals will have the same nutritional value.

                    That doesn't mean they taste the same. IMHO the texture of steel-cut oats is far superior to that of rolled oats. And if you toast them lightly before cooking, the flavor is out of this world.

                    Unfortunately, steel-cut oats can be a pain in the neck to cook. Depending on the size of the pieces, they need to be simmered for half an hour to an hour. And when I wake up in the morning, I don't want to wait that long for my breakfast.

                    There are two easy ways to have steel-cut oats soon after you wake up: the slow cooker and the pressure cooker. To make a cup of oats (feeds 2-4) in the slow cooker, add 4 cups of water before you go to bed, set the cooker to low, and cook for 8 to 9 hours. In the pressure cooker, use 3 cups of water, bring to 15 psi, cook for 5-7 minutes, and allow the pressure to release naturally. (Safety note: never fill your pressure cooker more than 1/3 full when cooking foamy stuff like oatmeal. If the foam blocks the steam vent, you've got a major problem.)

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      Whole oats (groats) are another option. They are easiest to find in the bulk section of a health-foods coop. Boil them for a bit at night, and let sit overnight, and finish in the morning.

                      The heart-health business has to do with a soluble fiber in oats. I think this is apparent when I compare cooked whole oats with cooked whole wheat (berries). The wheat grains remain separate, the oat grains have a binding 'glue' just like cooked rolled oats.

                      My advise is to try different oats (whole, cut, rolled), and go with the texture that you like. Don't worry too much about the relative health benefits.

                      And don't worry about the brand either, whether it be Quaker, McCann's (as advertized with this thread), or generic.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        I believe I have seen Scotch Oats at the super market in 1 pound packages. So if that's the same product as Steel Cut Oats then i'll pick-up some coarse cut oats today.

                        1. re: Miroma

                          I get McCann's Quick & Easy Steel-Cut Irish Oats. The texture is close to regular steel cut, but they only take about 5 minutes to cook. It's a nice compromise if you don't like the mushy texture of rolled oats. I also usually cook mine in bacon fat or butter to make sure I off-set any potential health benefits.

                          1. re: BrianJC

                            BrianJC, did you say bacon fat, butter and health benefits in the same sentence... no way.
                            Just josh'n ya.
                            I'm not sure that McCann's Oatmeal products are here in Winnipeg,CANADA.

                            1. re: Miroma

                              Trying to buy Irish oats in Manitoba is a bit like 'bringing coals to Newcastle'; according to your government, Manitoba is an ideal place to grow oats. So the question is, can consumers buy any of those oats locally? A natural foods coop is the best bet. How about the bulk foods section of your regular groceries? Some BC chains have decent bulk foods sections, though I have not had occasion to look for any form of oats there.

                      2. The first steel-cut oats I cooked were from a can a friend brought back from Scotland. I followed the microwave instructions on the label, which resulted in barely-softened pellets sloshing in coudy water. It took quite a bit longer to cook properly. When I bought an equivalent product (Country Kitchen brand?) in a green/white cardboard canister at Trader Joe's, I noticed the same insufficient microwave cooking instructions. I've never looked at the label on McCann's, which is the best-known brand of steel-cut oats in the Northeastern US. Just a heads up to allow extra time making breakfast!

                        Steel-cut oats can be used like barley/bulgur/kasha in many applications. I use it straight from the canister for part of the oatmeal in oatmeal cookies, where it imparts a nutty crunch indistinguishable from finely-chopped nuts.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: greygarious

                          If you soak the oats overnight, the microwave directions work better, but honestly the very best way to make steel-cut oats is to stir them with a wooden spoon, the way they do it in Scotland. The starch comes off the oats and creates a very, very creamy consistency that can't be done (it can't!) in a microwave.

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            I thought you were supposed to use a spurtle, which is more like a thick handle of a wooden spoon :)

                            1. re: paulj

                              The Vermont Bowl Company has what look to be nice spurtles at a reasonable price: (at least they're not made in China).

                              FWIW, "Scottish oatmeal" usually consists of oats that have been stone-ground to a sort of...well...meal; it's different from pinhead/steel-cut oatmeal and cooks up kinda like Wheatena. I've never seen an Irish counterpart to this kind of oatmeal but Bob's Red Meal has one: .
                              "Porridge oats" in Ireland and Scotland are what we usually think of here as oatmeal, i.e., various grades of rolled oat flakes. And just to make things more confusing, Scottish pinhead oatmeal is often stone-ground rather than steel-cut, unlike its Irish and American counterparts (it cooks up somewhat mushier, too).
                              Personally, I like oats any way but instant. :)

                              1. re: MacGuffin

                                I like to make Parkin, a Yorkshire gingerbread that uses equal parts flour and oats. Usually I've used rolled oats, but my guess is that the Red Mill Scottish oats are closer to the authentic version.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I love gingerbread. The recipes for parkin online sound yummy (right up my alley, in fact). I'd give the Scottish oatmeal a try in it.
                                  "Bob's Red Meal." Oy. And no edit possible. :(

                                  1. re: MacGuffin

                                    I'm not familiar with that, other than what I can see on the Grasmere web page. Parkin is more like a hearty cake, a little on the dry side, but ages well. Some recipes call for keeping it wrapped in a tin for a week or more. The main ingredients are flour, oats and molasses.

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