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What are Oat Groats?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Oat groats are whole, minimally processed oats. Because they have not been extensively processed, they retain a high nutritional value, and they can be used in a variety of ways. However, they also take a long time to prepare and cook, requiring hours of soaking and cooking before they are usable.

Oats have been cultivated for thousands of years and used in a variety of ways. Archaeological evidence at various sites of early human activity shows that people have been making a form of gruel from oats and other grains for a very long time. Oat groats would have been familiar to early humans, and they are a sound addition to the modern diet as well, being high in fiber and various minerals.

When oat groats are produced, the oats are first hulled, removing the inedible outer husk. What remains is a whole grain, containing the fiber-rich bran, nutritious germ, and the bulk of the grain, the endosperm. The groats are typically heat treated to make them more shelf stable, and then they can be processed into a range of products including rolled oats and oat flour, or they can be packaged for sale as is. In some cases, they are lightly crushed, making them cook more quickly.

Oat groats can be soaked and cooked into a porridge or gruel, and they can also be cooked before being added to breads and other baked goods, where they will create a nutty flavor and add to the nutritional content of the finished product. You can also use these oats in soups and stews, much as the early humans did. The relatively bland flavor of oats can be enhanced with a number of additions, making both sweet and savory foods.

You may also see oat groats labeled as “cleaned oats,” referencing the fact that they are simply oats which have been treated to remove their outer layers and then left alone. Store the groats in a cool, dry place out of sunlight, ideally in an airtight container. You can also freeze them if you like to extend the life of the grain in storage. When you know that you will want to use your oat groats, soak them in several changes of water before cooking to make them cook more quickly.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon1001101 — On Mar 06, 2019

For a hardy meal, I start by cooking a cup or two of the oats with olive oil and minced garlic. Costco sells dehydrated mushrooms, add one cup with the soaking liquid right in with the oats.

Add onions, a little dried wasabi, sun dried tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and flavorful broth. Simmer low heat for 75 minutes.

Let it rest 10 minutes and scope with some chopped green onion on top.

By anon995156 — On Apr 07, 2016

Can I feed oat groats to my chickens?

By anon926905 — On Jan 21, 2014

I use my Vitamix and my Vitamix recipe for oat groat porridge. I use 1 cup groats and blend in my dry blade Vitamix for about seven seconds. Then add it to four cups boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. I stir it with a wire whisk about every seven or eight minutes. Make sure you use a large pot to cook in and keep a close eye on it at first or it will boil over and make a huge mess (I wish someone would of told me this).

When finished, I add a bit of skim milk, cinnamon, walnuts and brown sugar. This makes about three servings. It's so nummy; hope you enjoy it! By the way, I have nothing to do with the Vitamix corporation, but if you are into eating healthy you have to get one. They are wonderful!

By anon344451 — On Aug 09, 2013

I process the groats in a vitamix just before adding it to a fruit based smoothie. It provides the smoothie with a nice thick milkshake-like texture.

By anon221479 — On Oct 12, 2011

simply use a large thermos to cook your groats: add hot water leave over night.

By anon178942 — On May 22, 2011

I have a small (3 cup) rice cooker with a porridge setting and a timer that I've been using for a while to cook steel cut oats early in the morning so they are ready for me before work. I bought oat groats in the bulk section and just tested them in the rice cooker They came out perfectly with the same setting at steel cut oats. I use the cup that came with the cooker and use a half of oats then 1 1/2 water and it's perfect. This is a rice cooker with fuzzy logic.

By anon159559 — On Mar 12, 2011

I put 2 cups of oat groats with 4 cups of water in a pot and brought it to a boil. Turned it down and cooked for only 5 minutes. Let set for another 10 minutes and it was ready for hot cereal. Next time I will add some raisins or other dried fruit. It was really good but a little chewy. My family loved it.

By anon138581 — On Jan 01, 2011

Here is my favorite groat recipe:

3 cups groats and 1 cup wild brown rice

soak together for two to three hours

rinse and drain, place in resealable bowl. Add 1/4 small onion finely chopped, 1 large celery stalk finely chopped and 1/2 small carrot finely chopped. Mix groats, rice and vegies together. If you have a large rice cooker, place the entire mixture into the ricer. Add water up to the -4- line. I have a small one, so I measure two cups of the mixture into my ricer, then add water up to the -2- line.

Add pepper liberally and some dried basil, just a few pinches. Add a finely chopped glove of garlic. If you like, you can add a rounded teaspoon of dried or concentrated soup base at this time (beef, chicken, ham or vegetable). Turn ricer on to cook. Cooking time is based on the size of your ricer. Do not let it sit on "warm" too long, as that will over cook it and make the groats mushy.

Once the machine signifies that it is cooked, take a small test taste. If so, turn the machine off, it it needs more time, keep it on warm for another 15-20 minutes. I hope you enjoy this!

By anon130295 — On Nov 28, 2010

Oat groats can be cooked overnight in a slow cooker to make a very nutritious and filling porridge.

By anon104932 — On Aug 18, 2010

I just bought about three pounds of oat groats and did not know what they were or how to use them. The help in the store where I purchased were of no help at all.

I bought them, since I saw them among oatmeal and oat bran, which I eat. Thank you for the answer. --JJG

By anon97166 — On Jul 18, 2010

Oat groats do not need soaking. Without soaking they can be cooked in simmering water in one hour or, if you want more tender grains, 90 minutes. Use one cup goats. Pour into four cups boiling water. Turn down heat to simmer uncovered.

By anon84871 — On May 17, 2010

Use blender. husks float to top.

By anon73426 — On Mar 27, 2010

Whole, unprocessed oat groats don't take hours to soak and cook before they're edible. It takes me less than half an hour to prepare them.

By anon72528 — On Mar 23, 2010

I need to know if I can grind groats to get bran for a recipe?

By wjkrostek — On Jan 13, 2009

Can you say how to get the husk off the whole grain oats. I grow oats and would like to eat them myself. Now I only use them for horse feed.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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