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What are Irish oats?

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Oats are known for being a healthy, nutritious breakfast with many health benefits, but did you know that there is more than one type of oats? Irish oats are different than regular oats, so if you are wondering how, just read on.

The first order of business, naturally, is to define exactly what Irish oats are. After all, how can you know everything you need to know about something if you don’t know what that something is?

Irish oats are oat groats that have been cut in half by large steel blades. Irish oats have also been called “pinhead” or “coarse cut” oatmeal, and they are generally regarded as less processed than other kinds of oats.

Oats and oatmeal are often consumed by those looking to improve their health or lose weight, and they are relatively easy to make. This post covers the answer to everything you need to know about Irish oats.

Are Irish oats the same as steel cut oats?

If you have ever perused the oatmeal section at a grocery store, you may have noticed steel cut, rolled and quick oats. Earlier, it was mentioned that Irish oats are oat kernels that have been through the steel cut process. 

Are Irish oats the same thing as steel cut oats? The answer is, yes. Steel cut oats are just another name for Irish oats.

Are Irish oats healthy?

So you are probably aware that regular oats are a healthy food. Maybe you are wondering if Irish oats are also healthy. 

They are. Irish oats are considered one of the healthier grains in the world, with numerous dietary advantages.

Apart from that, there are so many health benefits of oats. Well, oats can lower the risk of heart disease by regulating your LDL cholesterol level. 

What’s more, it even improves the insulin sensitivity of your body and helps reduce the blood sugar levels. That’s why this whole grain will be appropriate for those people that are suffering from diabetes and excessive blood sugar problems.

Irish oats nutrition

Irish oats nutrition facts

Oats are high in fiber, vegan protein and healthy fats. Furthermore, oats are naturally gluten free, which makes that a valuable source of nutrition for anyone that suffers from celiac disease. 

Whole grain oats are a rich source of many essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. For instance, it contains phosphorus, Manganese, Copper, Magnesium, Zinc, Folate, and also Iron.

In addition, if you are concerned about your heart health and looking for a perfect recipe that doesn’t induce increased cholesterol levels, then oats are a go to. 

What’s more, the grain will be quite suitable for those people who are figure conscious or who follow a strict weight loss regime. That’s because Irish oatmeal will keep your appetite and stomach full and avoid unwanted hunger pains.

Are Irish oats good for you?

Irish oats, being a healthy whole grain, are very good for the human body and come with numerous health benefits. Steel cut oats, being one of the less processed types of oats, are also known for being more dense and fiber-heavy than other kinds of oats. 

Fiber is necessary for healthy digestion processes. As a result, this means that Irish oats fill you up faster and keep you satiated longer. 

Irish oats are also known for being a high protein food, with seven grams of protein per quarter of a cup serving of dry oats. 

Irish oats are also a complex carbohydrate that provides a longer lasting source of energy with low saturated fat, and thus good for those struggling with weight loss. 

Irish oats, like normal oats, are also gluten free and a good food for those who want to avoid spiking their blood pressure levels. Needless to say, Irish oats are definitely good for you.

Can Irish oats be eaten raw?

Regular oats, quick oats and instant oats, can be eaten raw. This is because the oats undergo a preparation process that includes a pre-steaming and pre-heating step that kills harmful germs and partially cooks the grain. 

Irish oats are not processed the same way; they do not undergo steam and heat treatment, and thus the harmful germs may still be present. Therefore, Irish oats are not guaranteed to be safe to eat raw.

What is the difference between oats and Irish oats?

The type of oats that are commonly referred to as “regular” and “normal,” are really rolled oats, the most frequently eaten kind of oats; you may also know them as “old-fashioned” oats. 

What makes Irish oats and regular oats different is ultimately the way they are processed. As mentioned earlier, Irish oats go through a steel cut treatment

Regular oats, after being chopped up, have their groats steamed, rolled, flattened and dried. This makes regular oats “more processed,” and changes their original shape to that of flakes, unlike Irish oats which mostly stay the same shape. 


The processing also leads to other differences between regular oats and Irish oats. One of the major differences is in cooking times: 

  • Regular oats are known for their fast cooking times. Regular oats can be cooked on the stovetop in about five minutes.
  • Irish oatmeal, being much thicker, takes a considerably longer time to cook. The time to cook Irish oats may exceed half an hour.

Taste and Texture

There is also a noticeable difference in texture and flavor between Irish oats and regular oats:

  • Regular oats are softer and mushier. Regular oats also have the benefit of being slightly cheaper, though the more processed factor may make them just the tiniest bit less nutritious than Irish oats.
  • Irish oats are chewier, with more texture and even crunchiness, due to being in their natural shape, as well as having a slight nutty flavor.

Can I substitute Irish oats for rolled oats?

Since Irish oats and “normal”, or rolled, oats are both just oats processed in different manners, you may be wondering whether or not they can be interchanged in a recipe. 

As far as cooked oatmeal porridge is concerned, I prefer Irish oats. However, not everyone have 45 minutes to slowly simmer a pot of steel cut oats on the stovetop.

In most baked goods recipes, Irish oats can not be substituted for rolled oats. The course texture makes the oats too thick to be used in flour or meal based recipe preparations.

I have seen oven baked recipes that call for quick-cooking Irish oats, but this is not something I have experimented with. I will keep you updated!

What are Irish oats in a recipe?

Now comes the final piece of the puzzle that was Irish oats before you read this article. What are Irish oats in a recipe?

Well, Irish oats are generally cooked with water and/or milk, and a dash of salt, boiled on a stove top, just like regular oats, though they do, of course, take much longer to cook. It is recommended they be allowed to simmer for approximately twenty to thirty minutes. 

There is the option of adding in extra ingredients such as nutmeg, cinnamon, or other spices, fruit, nuts, honey, maple syrup or brown sugar for an extra bit of flavor. 

Porridge style recipes using Irish oats are generally similar to those using regular or rolled oats.

So there you have it, everything you need to know about Irish oats. So why not go try some Irish oats for your next breakfast?

What is Irish oatmeal

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Friday 29th of April 2022

I substitute Irish oats for quick oats in my leatloaf. There is not much of a difference in texture and taste. And if you're afraid the oats will not have enough liquid, feel free to add a heavy splash of milk or buttermilk.


Wednesday 4th of May 2022

This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing :)