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Can I Use Steel Cut Oats Instead of Rolled Oats in Cookies?

When it comes to baking cookies, oatmeal is often a popular ingredient, adding a delightful texture and nutty flavor. But what if your pantry is stocked with steel-cut oats instead? Are they a suitable substitute? In this article, we’ll dive into the world of oat baking and explore whether steel-cut oats can be used in cookies. Get ready to discover the potential for a delicious twist on your favorite cookie recipes!

Understanding Oat Varieties

Before we delve into using steel cut oats in cookies, let’s distinguish between rolled oats and steel cut oats. Rolled oats, also known as old-fashioned oats, are steamed and then flattened with large rollers, resulting in their familiar flat shape. They are a common choice for baking because of their softer texture. Steel-cut oats, on the other hand, are whole oats that have been chopped into smaller pieces, resulting in a heartier, chewier texture.

Texture Considerations

One of the main differences between rolled oats and steel-cut oats is their texture. Rolled oats are more tender and give cookies a softer, melt-in-your-mouth quality. Steel-cut oats, with their coarser texture, provide a heartier and chewier bite. If you prefer a more rustic and substantial texture in your cookies, steel cut oats can be a fantastic alternative.

Preparing Steel Cut Oats for Baking

For best results when using steel cut oats in cookies, it’s important to pre-cook or pre-soak them before incorporating them into your recipe. Unlike rolled oats, steel cut oats require additional moisture to soften during the baking process. You have a few options:

Pre-Cooking Method

Cook steel-cut oats according to package instructions to ensure they are fully tender. Allow them to cool before adding them to your cookie dough. Pre-cooking will help soften the oats and prevent them from being too hard or crunchy in the final baked cookies.

Pre-Soaking Method

Alternatively, you can soak the steel-cut oats in a liquid of your choice (water, milk, or even apple juice) for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. This process hydrates the oats and softens their texture, making them more suitable for baking.

Recipe Adjustments and Ratios

When substituting steel-cut oats for rolled oats in a cookie recipe, it’s important to adjust the ratios to account for the difference in texture. Follow these guidelines:

Use a 1:1 conversion

Replace the rolled oats with an equal amount of pre-cooked or pre-soaked steel-cut oats. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of rolled oats, substitute 1 cup of cooked or soaked steel-cut oats.

Add extra moisture

Because of their heartier texture, steel cut oats can absorb more moisture during baking. To compensate, consider adding an extra tablespoon or two of liquid ingredients such as milk, oil, or melted butter to the batter to maintain the desired consistency.

Adjusting baking time

Keep in mind that cookies made with steel-cut oats may require a slightly longer baking time than those made with rolled oats. Monitor the cookies closely and extend the baking time if necessary until they are golden brown and the desired doneness is achieved.

Exploring Flavor Combinations

Steel-cut oats can bring a distinct nutty flavor and hearty quality to your cookies. Embrace this unique characteristic and experiment with flavor combinations that complement the oats. Consider adding ingredients such as dried fruit, chopped nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg or even a drizzle of maple syrup to enhance the overall flavor profile.

Nutritional Benefits

Steel cut oats are known for their higher fiber content than rolled oats. By incorporating steel cut oats into your cookies, you’re adding an extra dose of fiber to your baked treats, which can contribute to a healthier digestive system and promote a feeling of fullness.

Flavor variation

Steel-cut oats have a distinct nutty flavor that can add depth and complexity to your cookies. They offer a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the cookie dough and can create a more robust flavor profile. If you enjoy a more pronounced oat flavor in your cookies, steel-cut oats can be an excellent choice.

Texture variation

The chewy and hearty texture of steel-cut oats can provide a pleasant contrast to the softness of the cookie dough. The oats retain some of their texture after baking, providing a satisfying bite and interesting mouthfeel. This variation in texture can make your cookies more interesting and enjoyable to eat.

Health conscious option

If you’re looking to make your cookies a little healthier, using steel-cut oats can be a great option. Their higher fiber content and lower glycemic index compared to oatmeal can contribute to better blood sugar control and longer lasting satiety. This can make your cookies a more satisfying treat, especially for those who are watching their sugar intake or trying to maintain stable energy levels.

Experimentation and creativity

Baking is all about experimentation and creativity. Trying new ingredients and variations can lead to exciting discoveries and unique flavor combinations. Using steel-cut oats in your cookies allows you to break away from the traditional and explore a different texture and taste experience.

The bottom line

While oatmeal is the traditional choice for cookies, don’t hesitate to explore the possibilities of steel-cut oats. With their sturdy texture and nutty flavor, steel-cut oats can add a delightful twist to your favorite cookie recipes. By pre-cooking or pre-soaking the oats and adjusting the proportions accordingly, you can create cookies with a heartier, chewier bite. So give steel-cut oats a try in your next batch of cookies and enjoy the delicious results!


Can I use steel cut oats instead of rolled oats in cookies?

While it is technically possible to use steel-cut oats instead of rolled oats in cookies, the texture and overall result may be quite different. Steel-cut oats are whole oats that have been chopped into smaller pieces, while rolled oats are steamed and then flattened. The main difference between them is texture and cooking time.

Steel-cut oats have a chewy and nutty texture that can result in a denser and crispier cookie. They take longer to cook and require more liquid than rolled oats. If you choose to use steel-cut oats in cookies, it’s a good idea to soak or partially cook them first to soften them before incorporating them into the cookie dough. This can help prevent the cookies from becoming too hard and dry.

However, for a more traditional cookie texture, it is generally best to use rolled oats. Rolled oats provide a softer and more tender texture because they absorb moisture easily and blend well with other ingredients. They are the preferred choice in most cookie recipes. If you don’t have rolled oats on hand, you can try pulsing steel-cut oats in a food processor a few times to break them down into smaller pieces that are closer to the texture of rolled oats.

Can I substitute steel cut oats for rolled oats in cookie recipes?

While it is possible to use steel cut oats instead of rolled oats in cookies, there are a few things to keep in mind.

What is the main difference between steel cut oats and rolled oats?

The main difference is in texture and processing. Steel cut oats are whole oats that have been chopped into smaller pieces, while rolled oats are steamed and then flattened with large rollers.

How does using steel cut oats affect the texture of the cookies?

Steel cut oats have a chewier and coarser texture than rolled oats. Using them in cookies may result in a heartier and crispier texture.

Can I use steel cut oats as a 1:1 substitute for rolled oats in cookie recipes?

It is not recommended to substitute steel cut oats for rolled oats in a 1:1 ratio. The differences in texture and moisture absorption can affect the final cookie. It’s best to use a recipe specifically for steel cut oats or make adjustments to the recipe to account for the difference in texture.

Do I need to cook steel cut oats before using them in cookies?

Yes, steel cut oats must be cooked before being used in cookies. Unlike rolled oats, which are pre-steamed and partially cooked during processing, steel cut oats are typically boiled or simmered to soften them. Using uncooked steel cut oats in cookies will result in a very hard and unpleasant texture.

How do I prepare steel cut oats for use in cookies?

To prepare steel cut oats for use in cookies, follow the cooking instructions on the package. Typically, you’ll need to bring water or milk to a boil, add the oats, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Once cooked, let the oats cool before using them in your cookie recipe.

Are there any adjustments I should make to the cookie recipe if I use steel cut oats?

Yes, adjustments may be necessary. Since steel cut oats absorb more liquid than rolled oats, you may need to increase the moisture content of the recipe by adding additional wet ingredients such as butter, oil or eggs. You may also consider soaking the steel cut oats in liquid for a short period of time before incorporating them into the dough.

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