Steel Cut Oats Vs. Rolled Oats Vs. Instant Oats: Which Is Best?

bowl of oatmeal with blueberries

In the quest for a healthy mind and body, many people wonder about steel cut oats vs. rolled oats vs. instant oats. What’s the difference between the three?

Is one more nutritious? Does one give more health benefits? Which one is best?

In this article, the experts at The Soulfull Project will answer those questions to help you understand the difference between steel cut oats vs. rolled oats vs. instant oats.

We’ll also let you in on how you can be a part of The Soulfull Project’s unique community efforts to supply servings of our hot cereal to food banks in your area.

What Are Steel Cut Oats?

The Soulfull Project steel cut oats

Grab a stalk of oats from the field, remove the kernels, and place them in a pile. What have you got? Oat groats!

“That’s great,” you say, “but what do oat groats have to do with steel cut oats vs. rolled oats vs. instant oats?” To that, we say, “Everything, my foodie friend. Everything.” Here’s how.

Take an oat groat in one hand, a large steel blade in the other, and proceed to chop the oat groat into small pieces. Congrats! You’ve just made your very own steel cut oats.

Steel cut oats (a.k.a. Irish oatmeal) are as close to the natural oat groat as you can get without actually eating the kernels right off the stalk.

Because of this, they have a coarser feel, chewier texture, and nuttier flavor than other types of oatmeal. They also take longer to prepare (anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes) because they’re much denser and thicker than either rolled or instant oats.

Unless, that is, you choose The Soulfull Project’s Quick Cook Irish Oatmeal Hot Cereal, which is ready in as little as three minutes.

What Are Rolled Oats?

The Soulful Project Rolled Oats

To continue our investigation of steel cut oats vs. rolled oats vs. instant oats, let’s go back to the pile of oat groats you removed from the stalk.

Take a handful of those groats and, instead of chopping them with a steel blade, steam them and roll them between two hard surfaces (like a countertop and a rolling pin) before they dry.

Now you’ve got rolled oats (or old-fashioned oats).

Rolled oats are partially cooked because of the steam, so they take much less time to prepare (two to five minutes) and have a milder flavor and softer texture than steel cut oats.

What Are Instant Oats?

The Soulfull Project Instant Oats

That brings us to the final entry in the steel cut oats vs. rolled oats vs. instant oats comparison.

Take the last of the pile of oat groats you removed from the stalk, steam them, and roll them as thin as possible — thinner than the rolled oats — before they dry. The end result is instant oats.

Because of this extra rolling, instant oats cook in one to two minutes and have a very mild flavor and a soft, mushy texture.

Now that you know what makes these oats different from one another, let’s examine how they affect your body when you eat them.

Steel Cut Oats Vs. Rolled Oats Vs. Instant Oats

Benefits In Every Bowl

bowl of blueberries and almonds in Steel Cut Oats Vs. Rolled Oats Vs. Instant Oats

When asking about the difference between steel cut oats, rolled oats, and instant oats, it’s important to remember that all three offer plenty of benefits in every bowl!

Oats — and oatmeal in general — are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants including:

  • Thiamin
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Beta-glucan

The last entry on this list — the antioxidant beta-glucan — is effective at lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol in your bloodstream. That combined with a balanced diet can keep your body fueled, help you stay healthy, and make it easier to lose weight.

All Kinds Of Nutrition

Oatmeal — whether it’s steel cut oats, rolled oats, or instant oats — is a nutritious part of a balanced diet, so you really can’t go wrong with any choice.

Scientists, doctors, and dieticians look at six variables when comparing food to determine their health value. Those variables are:

  • Calories
  • Carbs
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Sugar

By examining the three types of oats side-by-side, we can see that each offers all kinds of nutrition when included as part of a balanced diet. Take a look:

chart of steel cut oats vs rolled oats vs instant oats

There’s very little nutritional difference between steel cut, rolled, and instant oats — they’re all three good for you!

Skip The Gluten

Oats are naturally gluten-free. Mills and manufacturers, however, often make oatmeal with the same equipment they use to make other grain products. This leads to cross-contamination and the false assumption that oatmeal contains gluten.

Rest assured that the oatmeal itself doesn’t, but if you’re worried about consuming gluten in your diet, always check the label and packaging before you buy.

The Soulfull Project gluten free multigrain packages of Steel Cut Oats Vs. Rolled Oats Vs. Instant Oats

For example, you can see the gluten-free label at the top of The Soulfull Project’s Cinnamon Spice Multigrain Cereal. Rest easy and enjoy a hearty bowl of this hot cereal without the discomfort that comes after eating a gluten-filled product!

Good For Your Gut

Gut health has become a very serious issue in recent years. And for good reason.

If your stomach doesn’t properly digest the food you eat, your body won’t get the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it needs to operate at 100%.

The fiber in oats helps maintain and grow the good bacteria in your stomach and intestines. When your digestive tract is healthy, it’s much easier for the rest of your body to follow suit.

Slow To Digest

Oatmeal is a hearty food.

So when you include oatmeal — be it steel cut oats vs. rolled oats vs. instant oats — in your balanced diet, your stomach digests the oatmeal slowly over a longer period of time (when compared to, say, a doughnut).

That means you stay full longer and you’ll be less tempted to snack on junk food between meals.

Steel Cut Oats Vs. Rolled Oats Vs. Instant Oats: Which Is Best?

The Soulfull Quick Cook Irish Oatmeal Steal Cut Oats

So, steel cut oats vs. rolled oats vs. instant oats: which is best? The answer to that question may surprise you.

As you can see from the details above, all three types of oats are very similar in terms of:

  • Health benefits
  • Nutrition
  • Gut health
  • Digestibility

The main difference lies in how they’re prepared for consumers — be it cut, steamed, rolled, or milled.

If there’s little difference between steel cut oats vs. rolled oats vs. instant oats, then the choice of which is best is entirely up to you!

With The Soulfull Project, you’re free to choose your oatmeal based on flavor, texture, cook time, and other variables — without sacrificing nutrition and health benefits.

You can even amplify your oatmeal’s inherent nutrition and health benefits by adding other grains to the mix to make hot cereal.

When you include ingredients such as flax, chia, and quinoa in your hot cereal, you gain even more fiber, good carbs, and protein than your oatmeal can provide on its own. Talk about a great start to your day!

Oatmeal For All

Oatmeal with strawberries

At The Soulfull Project, we believe that oatmeal is for all.

That’s why we make a variety of hot cereal products for every taste and preference. Our flavors include:

No matter which hot cereal you choose, you’ll get hearty — and heart-healthy — ingredients, including:

  • Rye
  • Quinoa
  • Flax
  • Chia
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Almonds
  • Pecans

You can also add your own ingredients to our filling hot cereals for a truly unique and delicious meal.

When you experience what hot cereal can do for you, you’ll want to share what you’ve found with others. With The Soulfull Project, you can!

For every serving you purchase, The Soulfull Project will provide a serving of our hot cereal to a regional food bank in your area.

Our hope is that The Soulfull Project’s oatmeals and hot cereals will help make it easy for all of us to have an impact on the health and happiness of our neighbors. That’s peace of mind and body you can’t find anywhere else.

For more information on the serving-for-serving program and to check out our delicious hot cereal flavors, visit TheSoulfullProject.com today.