Oat Groats – The Complete Guide (& The Best To Buy)
When it comes to breakfast, oatmeal always hits the spot. It’s hearty, filling, endlessly customizable, and pretty easy to make in the mornings.
There are lots of varieties of oats available to try that range from unprocessed oat groats to quick oats.
As we start to focus more on the deliciousness of whole grains, oat groats are starting to show up on grocery store shelves as the less processed sibling of instant or quick oats.
If you’ve never seen or heard of an oat groat before you might be wondering what they are and how they compare to other oat styles.
So, what are oat groats? They are the whole oat kernel that has had the husk removed, but is otherwise unprocessed. This grain takes a little longer to cook, but the flavor is nutty, rich, and chewy and it goes great with tons of delicious toppings.
Read on to discover the difference between oat groats and other types of oatmeal, what oat groats are, their nutritional breakdown, how to cook them, the best toppings for a decadent bowl of oats, and where to buy the best oat groats!
What Are Oat Groats?
Like most grains, oats grow as seeds on a specific type of grass, aptly named oat grass.
When this grass is allowed to continue growing to produce seeds, those seeds are harvested, processed, and turned into the various types of oat varieties you see on the shelf.
Oat groats are the least processed variety of the oat seed. These have basically been picked and dried, and not much else has been done to them aside from being husked to remove the outer shell.
You are then left with the pure oat groat!
The outer shell of the oat grain is inedible, so it is always removed, regardless of the type of oatmeal you enjoy.
Otherwise, oat groats are basically a complete whole grain, and so they contain the most fiber and nutrition of any variety of oatmeal that you’ll see at the grocery store.
With that being said, oat groats take the most time to prepare out of any type of oatmeal.
The reason they take so long to cook is because you are basically doing all the processing in your kitchen. This cooking process gives you a ton of control over the texture of your final oats, but it can take a while.
That’s why I suggest investing in something like an Instant Pot if you plan to cook a lot of hearty whole grains, like oat groats. This is the Instant Pot that never leaves my kitchen counter!
What Is The Nutritional Break Down Of Oat Groats?
When it comes to nutrient density, typically the more unrefined a grain, like oats, is, the richer it will be in nutrients like fiber, protein, and other vitamins and minerals.
Per 45 grams of dry oat groats, you get a whopping 5 grams of dietary fiber and 6 grams of protein, which makes them an awesome choice for a hearty, filling, and delicious breakfast!
They also contain vitamins, minerals, and soluble fiber to help with digestion. Some of these other nutrients found oat groats include:
- A variety of B-vitamins
- Vitamin E
And small amounts of these trace minerals:
In terms of calories, oat groats have about 180 calories per 1/4 cup of dry groats. Remember that they expand a lot once cooked, so 1/4-1/2 cup of uncooked groats will likely fill you right up!
What Do Oat Groats Taste Like?
Since they are a whole grain, oat groats taste different than some more processed versions of oatmeal.
They have a delicious nutty and slightly sweet flavor and a chewy, firm texture, which is miles away from some softer, more processed oatmeal styles on this list.
And I’m not knocking mushy oatmeal—sometimes it hits the spot perfectly! But if you’re looking for something a little more textural, oat groats could be a great new variety to try out.
Oat groats are great for people who are looking for a little more chew and texture to their morning oatmeal and a richer, deeper flavor.
You can even try toasting your oat groats before cooking them to add another layer of richness to your morning bowl of comfort.
Oat groats complement soft fruits and delicious toppings really well and since they soak up a lot of liquid as they cook, there are a lot of opportunities to infuse them with flavor.
I’ll get into more detail in the section about the best toppings for oat groats below, but there’s a lot you can do with them!
How Do You Cook Oat Groats?
Now that you know all about oat groats, how they taste, and how they differ from other types of oatmeal, it’s time to figure out how to prepare them for the most delicious, rich, nutty, and chewy breakfast you’ve ever had.
To prepare the best oat groats follow the instructions written below. A little trick to reduce cooking time is to soak them overnight in water and then rinse them off before following the cooking instructions:
- To reduce cooking time, start by soaking 1 cup of oat groats overnight. Add them to a large bowl and cover the groats completely with water.
- The next morning, rinse your oat groats thoroughly and then add to a pot with 3 cups of water, milk, dairy alternatives, or a combination of water and milk/dairy-free alternative.
- Add 1/2 a teaspoon of sea salt and stir everything together.
- Bring your water and oats to a boil and stir once again. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Loosely cover the pot with a lid so that some steam can escape and let the oat groats simmer for about 25 minutes. You’ll want to stir them occasionally to prevent them from clumping together.
- After 25 minutes have passed, fully cover the pot, turn the stove off, and let the oat groats steam for 10 minutes with the lid on. This step is very important when it comes to attaining the perfect texture!
- Once your oat groats have steamed, add your toppings such as maple syrup, brown sugar, coconut, nuts, seeds, apple, banana, rich cream, yogurt, or anything else that you like.
What’s The Difference Between Oat Groats, Oatmeal, And Steel Cut Oats?
When it comes to types of oatmeal that you’ll see on the shelves, there is a pretty broad range.
I want to compare oat groats to two of the most popular styles in terms of their taste, texture, how they’re processed, and their nutritional breakdown.
Oat Groats Vs. Steel Cut Oats
Steel-cut or Irish oats are next on the list since they are basically oat groats that have been cut 2-3 times to make them slightly smaller than the whole groat.
Like oat groats, steel-cut oats also have the husk removed, but otherwise remain intact, aside from being chopped slightly smaller.
They have the same nutritional profile as oat groats, so they make a great choice for folks who want the nutrition of groats, without the lengthy cooking time.
They do have a slightly lower calorie count than oat groats, coming in at 150 calories per 1/4 cup of dried oats, versus 180 for groats.
Steel-cut oats taste pretty much the exact same as oat groats. They have a nutty, slightly sweet flavor that is rich and delicious.
They are also a little chewy and slightly firm, even when cooked, but not quite as much as the oat groats since they have been cut a little smaller.
I love cooking steel-cut oats overnight in a slow cooker for a creamy, delicious breakfast!
Oat Groats Vs. Rolled Oats
Rolled oats might be the most common style of oatmeal on this list and the easiest to find at the grocery store. To prepare rolled oats, the groats are steamed and then rolled flat using large disks or drums.
This process breaks the oat groat apart so it absorbs water easier and cooks faster.
These oats also have less fiber and protein than steel-cut or oat groats Per 1/4 cup of serving of dried rolled oats you get about 4 grams of fiber (half soluble and half insoluble) and 5 grams of protein, so it’s pretty close.
When it comes to calorie breakdown, a 1/4 cup of dried rolled oats has about 150 calories, so roughly 30 calories less than the same amount of oat groats.
You will still get plenty of vitamins and minerals in your rolled oats, so it comes down to a texture and taste preference.
Thanks to the processing of these oats, they have a milder flavor than oat groats and steel-cut oats. They are also creamier and softer in texture and tend to cook a lot quicker than oat groats and steel-cut oats.
What Are The Best Toppings For Oat Groats?
When it comes to topping your oat groats, the sky is really the limit. They have a nutty and slightly sweet flavor and a chewy, firm texture which complements pretty much anything you would want to top them with.
Below are some of my favorite ways to jazz up your oat groats:
- Fresh or cooked fruits like apples, pears, berries, peaches, figs, plums, apricots, nectarines, rhubarb (cooked only), or banana slices.
- Dried fruits like raisins, dried cranberries, dates, currants, dried blueberries, apricots, and others can be used whole or chopped up and added to your oat groats for a little burst of sweetness and texture.
- Yogurt (regular or dairy-free) adds another layer of richness and that subtle tang from the fermentation. You can use sweetened, unsweetened, regular, or Greek depending on preference, but one with about 2% milk fat at least is going to taste best.
- Cream is another way to add some fat and richness to your bowl of oat groats. Since they are fat-free, it’s nice to add something fatty to the meal to keep you full and add a satisfying flavor.
- Nuts and seeds add a delicious crunch, extra protein, and healthy fats to fill you up. I love hemp seeds, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, or sunflower seeds. Try toasting hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, or pistachios for another great layer of flavor.
- Shredded coconut might not be for everyone, but it adds a natural sweetness and a yummy texture.
- Maple syrup or brown sugar always tastes great as a sweetener for oatmeal. You could get creative and try honey or coconut palm sugar instead!
Best Liquids To Cook Your Oat Groats In
One of my favorite ways to infuse a layer of flavor into my oat groats is by flavoring the cooking liquid. Since the groat is absorbing so much liquid, it’s an incredible opportunity to fill the groat with deliciousness.
I will usually do a combination of water/tea + some sort of dairy or alternative. This blend gives a ton of flavor and creaminess to your groats.
Some of my favorites are below:
- Milk or Cream: If dairy is no problem for you, I love adding about half cream and half water to my oat groat cooking liquid. It gives such a creamy and delicious texture. If you don’t want it quite as rich, milk is another great choice.
- Macadamia milk: the creamy texture and slightly nutty flavor of this milk alternative taste great with oat groats.
- Coconut milk: I love the rich, slightly sweet, coconutty flavor of full-fat coconut milk combined with the heartiness of oat groats. I like to do about half water, half coconut milk.
- Almond milk: Another great dairy-free choice is almond milk. You can get sweetened or unsweetened, but I also love using vanilla flavor!
- Ginger tea: I know this sounds a little out there, but using infused water to cook your oat groats is an amazing way to add some extra flavor. I love ginger tea if I’m planning to add cinnamon and other spices. Just brew up some ginger tea and add it to your mix.
- Tea blend: If you have a favorite tea blend, it could be really fun to try using that as the water in your oat groat cooking. If you plan to make a fruity oatmeal, then a fruit-forward tea blend would be delicious! Or if you want a pumpkin spice style, try using a chai blend.
Where To Buy Oat Groats
If you want to pick up some oat groats to test out, I’ve linked a few brands below that I enjoy. Basically, you want to look for whole oat groats, not steel cut or Irish oats, since they have been chopped up.
Yupik Organic Oat Groats
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This is definitely our top pick if you’re looking for a bag of oat groats.
This selection comes in a 2.2-pound bag. It’s also non-GMO, sulfite-free, vegetarian, vegan, all-natural, and kosher!
GF Harvest Gluten Free Organic Oat Groats, 5 Pound Bag
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This brand of oat groats is great for people who have Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity since they are certified gluten-free.
Many oats are processed in the same facilities that process wheat, so if you need to avoid gluten make sure they are certified GF!