Steel-cut oats, also known as Scottish oats, pinhead oats, and Irish steel-cut oatmeal, are made from whole oat groats (cleaned, toasted, and hulled oat grains) that are cut with steel blades (regular and old-fashioned oats are steamed and flattened with a roller rather than cut). They have a nutty flavor and a pleasantly chewy texture not found in rolled or instant oats.
Because of their density, Irish oats require about 30 minutes of simmering and frequent stirring.
Because they are cut—not rolled flat into flakes—they retain a chewy texture. They must be cooked before eating, but you can soak them in water first to reduce their 30-minute cooking time. There are also quick-cooking and even instant versions available.
Toasting the oats before you cook them enhances their nutty flavor.
You can cut the cooking time in half by soaking them in their cooking liquid overnight.
Seal the oats in an airtight container and keep in a cool, dry place for up to six months or freeze for up to one year.