How Are Oats Made? (Steel cut, rolled, and quick)


How you get from a wild oat plant like this:

wild oats

To the boxes of oats that you see in stores?

It’s not too complicated, so let me break down the main steps for you as simply as possible.

The Basic 5 Step Process of Making Steel Cut Oats

Processing oats really isn’t all that different from most grains.

While it will differ based on the facility, there are typically 5 main steps:

  1. Washing and cleaning – The raw oats are put on moving trays and sprayed using high-pressure water. Any debris or non-oat materials are filtered out.
  2. Steaming – The raw oats are steamed (moist heat) in order to loosen up the plant fibers.
  3. Rolling/Cutting – Those steamed oats are either cut (for steel cut oats) or rolled using large rollers. This is where the inedible hulls are removed (not always entirely for steel cut oats).
  4. Pre-cooking – It varies based on brand, but most oats are lightly pre-cooked using a pressure cooker. This reduces the necessary cooking time later on, without degrading the quality of the oats.
  5. Packaging – The oats are put into the manufacturer’s packaging to be shipped to stores.

Quick oats are made very similarly to rolled oats, the only difference is that they’re cut even thinner, and sometimes pre-cooked more. Being thinner makes them cook faster, since it increases the overall surface area.

That’s really all there is to it.

Note that many companies make pre-packaged flavors, like Quaker. The ingredients vary widely. Some Quaker instant oatmeal is vegan friendly, and some is not.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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