The Real Reason It Takes So Long To Cook Steel-Cut Oats

It's said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Starting your day off with a healthy and tasty treat is a key part of any morning — and one of the best foods to help do that is oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a highly nutritious and versatile option for any time of day, but it mostly gets reserved for breakfast. According to Medical News Today, the type of fiber found in oatmeal can help improve heart health and even lower cholesterol. They're also a good source of antioxidants and have been known to help manage weight and blood sugar levels. University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School also notes that oatmeal can be served as a savory dish. The cooked grains make a great palette for you to express any kind of culinary desire onto. They can even be mixed up with eggs to add a punch of extra protein.

There are a few different varieties of oatmeal available, with rolled or old-fashioned oats, quick oats, and steel-cut oats being some of the most common. But it is steel-cut that are most known for their chewy texture, high fiber, and unfortunately, their long cooking times.

Steel-cut oats are less processed

While oatmeal is a nutritious option, not all oatmeals are created equally. Steel-cut oats and rolled oats tend to have the most nutrition because they are less processed than their speedier counterpart, and therefore contain more of that highly-desired fiber (via SFGATE). According to University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, it's that fiber that lends oatmeal much of its nutritional benefits. The reason steel-cut oats take longer to cook than other forms is that they are mostly unprocessed.

According to Love to Know, all oatmeal originally comes in the form of a grain called a groat. If you're making steel-cut oats, all you do is give each groat a quick chop and you're finished. Rolled oats, on the other hand, are steamed and then rolled between two rollers to flatten them. Quick oats follow a similar procedure, but are often pre-cooked first, which reduces some of their nutritional content (via SFGATE).

Because steel-cut oats are essentially whole grains, they take much longer to cook down. There are some quick-cooking steel-cut oats on the market though (via University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School). These are just steel-cut oats that have been cut into smaller pieces so they will cook slightly faster, but regular rolled oats make a great substitute as well.