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Is it OK to blend uncooked oats?

Oats are an incredibly versatile and nutritious cereal grain that can be prepared in many different ways. One popular preparation method is to blend uncooked oats into a flour for use in baking or to create a powder for smoothies and other drinks. But is it safe and advisable to blend up raw oats? Let’s take a comprehensive look at the pros, cons, and recommendations around blending uncooked oats.

Pros of Blending Uncooked Oats

There are some potential benefits to blending oats rather than cooking them:

  • Saves time – Blending oats into a flour or meal takes just minutes compared to the time needed to cook a pot of oatmeal.
  • Retains nutrients – The heat from cooking can destroy some heat-sensitive vitamins and antioxidants in oats. Blending raw oats retains more nutrients.
  • Adds fiber to recipes – Blended oats can boost the fiber content of baked goods, smoothies, and other items.
  • Increases flexibility – Oat flour or meal can be added to a wide range of recipes for added nutrition.

For those with busy schedules or looking to get the maximum nutrition from oats, blending them uncooked can be an appealing choice over cooking them.

Cons of Blending Uncooked Oats

However, there are also some drawbacks and risks to consider when blending oats instead of cooking them:

  • Unpleasant texture – Raw oats have a dry, chalky texture that can be off-putting in smoothies or baked goods.
  • Digestibility issues – The starch in uncooked oats is more difficult for our bodies to break down and digest compared to cooked oatmeal.
  • Phytic acid content – Oats contain phytic acid, which can block the absorption of key minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium. Cooking neutralizes phytic acid.
  • Higher glycemic index – Uncooked oats have a higher GI, meaning they cause a sharper spike in blood sugar levels compared to cooked oatmeal and steel-cut oats.

For some people, blending and consuming raw oat flour or meal can lead to some unwanted digestive and nutritional side effects compared to cooked oats.

Oat Blending Recommendations

If you want to blend oats at home, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use thick-rolled or steel-cut oats – Old fashioned and quick oats turn into powder more easily. The thicker oat varieties blend better.
  • Blend in short pulses – Don’t over-blend into a super fine powder. Leave some texture.
  • Limit raw oat flour to 25% of flour in recipes – Substitute no more than 1/4 of the regular flour called for in baking recipes to maintain decent texture.
  • Soak oats first – Soaking oats in yogurt or milk overnight helps improve digestibility and nutrient absorption.
  • Mix with fruits and liquids – Blend oats with bananas, berries, apple sauce, milk, or yogurt to improve flavor and texture in smoothies.

Following these tips can lead to better results and minimize any potential downsides when blending uncooked oats at home.

Nutrition Comparison of Raw vs. Cooked Oats

How much does cooking oats alter their nutritional profile? Here is a comparison of the main nutrients in uncooked oats versus cooked oatmeal per 1/2 cup serving:

Nutrient Uncooked Oats Cooked Oatmeal
Calories 150 83
Protein (g) 5.5 3
Carbs (g) 27 14
Fat (g) 3 2
Fiber (g) 4 2

As this nutrition data shows, raw oats are higher in calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber compared to cooked oatmeal. However, the phytic acid in uncooked oats lowers the bioavailability of those nutrients. Overall, cooking improves net nutrient absorption from oats.

Impact of Cooking on Oat Nutrients

Here is a more in-depth look at how cooking affects the different vitamins, minerals, and other compounds found in oats:


The indigestible fiber content remains intact when oats are cooked. However, the soluble fiber becomes gelatinized, which improves its cholesterol-lowering effects.


Cooking denatures and coagulates the protein in oats, making it easier to digest. But over-cooking for long periods can damage the protein quality.

Healthy Fats

The beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in oats are heat stable and preserved during cooking.

B Vitamins

The B vitamins thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, and biotin are all water-soluble and susceptible to leaching out during cooking. Extended boiling leads to the greatest losses.

Vitamin E

This fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin is relatively stable to heat. However, vitamin E levels can drop when cooking oats in large volumes of water.


Heat helps break down and deactivate phytic acid, increasing absorption of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium from oats that would otherwise be inhibited if consuming raw oats.


The soluble fibers beta-glucan and inulin provide many health benefits but are concentrated in raw oat bran. Cooking reduces total beta-glucan levels by degrading some of these heat-sensitive compounds.

In summary, cooking has varying effects on different nutrients in oats. It improves the absorption of protein and minerals but can reduce some heat-sensitive vitamins and beta-glucan. Light cooking for a short time is ideal to get the best of both worlds.

Does Cooking Destroy Nutrients in Oats?

Based on the nutrient changes outlined above, does cooking oats destroy their nutritional value? Here are some key takeaways:

  • Light cooking increases nutrient absorption – Gentle boiling or steaming helps counteract phytic acid without major nutrient losses.
  • Prolonged boiling has biggest impact – Limiting boiling to just 3-5 minutes preserves more heat-sensitive nutrients vs. longer cooking times.
  • Steel-cut less affected – The less processed steel-cut oats retain more nutrients with cooking than rolled or instant oats.
  • Baked goods use raw oats – Nutrients are preserved when oats are used in uncooked applications like muesli, granola bars, and oat muffins.

Overall, cooking does not destroy oats’ nutrition when done with care, and even enhances the bioavailability of many nutrients. Raw oats are not clearly superior from a nutritional standpoint, especially given their drawbacks for digestibility and phytic acid.

Nutritional Pros and Cons of Raw Oats

Here is a concise summary comparing the nutritional upsides and downsides of consuming uncooked oats versus cooked oatmeal:

Pros Cons
  • Higher fiber content
  • More protein per serving
  • Higher levels of heat-sensitive vitamins
  • Phytic acid inhibits mineral absorption
  • Lower protein digestibility
  • Higher glycemic impact

In many cases, the cons of raw oats outweigh the pros. Light cooking strikes a good balance between maintaining nutrition and improving digestibility and mineral absorption.

Possible Benefits of Raw Oats

While raw and cooked oats have comparable nutritional profiles, are there any additional benefits attributed specifically to uncooked oats?

Higher Antioxidant Activity

Some research has found raw oats have stronger antioxidant activity compared to cooked oatmeal. Antioxidants like avenanthramides and phenolic acids get partially destroyed by heat. The higher antioxidants in raw oats may provide added protection against oxidative stress and inflammation.

More Active Enzymes

Raw oats contain active enzymes like amylase, lipase, and protease. Enzymes start to denature when heated over 118°F. Consuming active enzymes from raw foods may support better digestion.

Potential Probiotic Effect

One study found oats fermented at low temperatures for 24 hours showed probiotic properties, with bacteria producing lactic and acetic acid. More research is needed to confirm if raw oats work as a prebiotic or probiotic.

While these potential benefits of uncooked oats show some promise, keep in mind they need to be weighed against the likely drawbacks of poor mineral absorption, digestibility, and texture.


Based on a detailed look at the evidence, here are the key conclusions on whether it’s OK and advisable to blend and consume raw oats:

  • Lightly cooking improves nutrient absorption – Gentle steaming or boiling helps counteract phytic acid while preserving most nutrients.
  • Limit raw oats in recipes – Blending small amounts of raw oats into baked goods or smoothies is fine, but don’t use raw oat flour as the main ingredient.
  • Don’t rely on raw oats as your sole source – Get the benefits of both raw and cooked oats by enjoying a variety of preparations like overnight oats, muesli, oat muffins, etc.
  • Take care with digestibility – Those with sensitivities may find raw oats hard to break down and cause discomfort or indigestion.
  • Balance pros and cons – Raw oats offer some nutritional pluses but also minuses that can be minimized with light cooking methods like steaming.

In moderation, enjoying blended raw oats occasionally can add beneficial fiber, texture, and nutrients to your diet. But cooking remains the best preparation method for getting the most health benefits from oats for most people.