Oatmeal is an undeniable breakfast favorite—it’s cheap, easy, healthy and filling. Really, there’s nothing to dislike about it. But can it be improved? Steel-cut oats aren’t as popular as our typical rolled oats, but steel-cut oats are said to be even healthier and contain even more fiber. We’ll see whether or not this is true.
So once again, the battle of the breakfasts rages on in this Food Fight, this time featuring the classic rolled oats vs. steel-cut oats.
Defending Champion: Rolled Oats
Background: Rolled oats are made when the whole grain oat is steamed until soft and then compressed in a roller until fully dried. This process allows rolled oats to cook very quickly.
Opponent: Steel-Cut Oats
Background: Steel-cut oats, on the other hand, is when the whole grain oat groat (no I didn’t just combine the words, groat is a real thing) is split into pieces. Since they aren’t steamed prior to packaging like rolled oats, steel-cut oats take much longer to cook.
Round 1: Nutrition
Nutrition-wise, steel-cut oats are better (barely). Oats are almost equal in nutrition no matter how they are processed, and so rolled oats and steel-cut oats have the same fat content, carbohydrate count, fiber, protein, calcium and iron. This also means that those instant oats you buy (if they don’t have added sugar) are just as healthy as normal rolled oats and steel-cut oats, they just cook faster.
Winner: Steel-Cut Oats
Round 2: Taste
Rolled Oats: I’ve grown up eating oatmeal, and rolled oats are easy to make too mushy. Cooked right, however, they have a wonderfully chewy texture. You practically feel how much fiber is in each bite, and after a bowl, you’re full. Rolled oats absorb liquids easily, so if they’re cooked with vanilla almond milk, they taste even better.
Steel-Cut Oats: When dry, they look a little like quinoa, and when cooked, have a similar nutty taste. The taste isn’t what I dislike about steel-cut oats, however; it’s the texture. In order for the oats to be throughly cooked, it takes more time than I would like in the morning, and still, it’s like eating half-cooked grains of rice.
Winner: Rolled Oats
Round 3: Price
Rolled Oats: $3.99 for 32 oz at Trader Joe’s*
Steel-Cut Oats: $5.99 for 28 oz at Trader Joe’s*
*prices may differ according to location
Winner: Rolled Oats
Rolled oats win this one! They’re cheaper, easier to cook and taste better as well. If you prefer the taste of steel-cut oats (it’s an acquired one) and don’t mind paying a little extra, go for it. Otherwise, stick with the tried and true.
Can’t get enough oatmeal? Try these recipes: