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What kind of oats do you use for smoothies?

Oats are a nutritious and versatile ingredient that can be used to make delicious and healthy smoothies. However, not all oats are created equal when it comes to blending up in the blender. The kind of oats you use will impact the texture and consistency of your smoothie.

Quick Oats

Quick oats are the most common type of oats used to make smoothies. As the name suggests, quick oats are designed to cook faster than other oat varieties. They are made by chopping up whole oat groats into smaller pieces and then rolling them flat. This increases the surface area which allows them to soak up liquid and soften more quickly.

The pros of using quick oats for smoothies:

  • They blend very smoothly due to their finely chopped texture.
  • They mix into liquids easily and quickly absorb moisture.
  • They create a creamy, thick texture.
  • They are inexpensive and widely available.

The cons of quick oats:

  • They can create a gluey or gummy texture if not blended properly.
  • They lack the hearty, chewy texture of steel cut or rolled oats.
  • Some brands use more processed grains.

As long as you soak the quick oats in your liquid ingredients for 5-10 minutes before blending, they make an easy, smooth and delicious addition to smoothies. The key is allowing time for the oats to soften and absorb the liquid to prevent a gummy consistency.

Steel Cut Oats

Steel cut oats, also sometimes called Irish oats, are oat groats that have been chopped into smaller pieces rather than rolled. This makes them retain more of their shape and texture when cooked.

The pros of using steel cut oats for smoothies:

  • They have a pleasant, chewy texture.
  • They are less processed than rolled or quick oats.
  • They contain more fiber due to less processing.
  • They have a nutty, rich oat flavor.

The cons of steel cut oats:

  • They take longer to soften and blend smoothly.
  • They can leave tiny oat pieces in the smoothie if not soaked well.
  • The texture may be too chewy or grainy for some smoothie drinkers.
  • They are harder to find and more expensive than quick oats.

For the best results using steel cut oats in smoothies, it’s ideal to soak them overnight in the fridge in your milk or liquid of choice. This allows time for them to fully hydrate and soften. Soaking for at least 30 minutes to an hour before blending can also work.

Rolled Oats

Rolled oats, also called old fashioned oats, are made by steaming whole oat groats and then rolling them flat between rollers into flaky flakes. Rolled oats are versatile oats that work well in smoothies.

The pros of using rolled oats for smoothies:

  • They blend up creamy and smooth.
  • They thicken and add body to smoothies.
  • They have a pleasant, mildly chewy texture.
  • They are widely available and affordable.

The cons of rolled oats:

  • Some brands are more processed than steel cut oats.
  • If under soaked, they can contribute a grainy texture.
  • They lack the rich oat flavor of less processed steel cut oats.

Rolled oats are a great middle ground between quick oats and steel cut oats. They blend smoothly while still retaining some texture. Soaking them for 10-20 minutes prior to blending allows time for rehydration while not taking as long as steel cut oats.

Oat Flour

Oat flour is made from ground rolled oats into a fine powder. Some people opt to use oat flour when making smoothies in order to achieve an ultra creamy, smooth texture.

The pros of using oat flour for smoothies:

  • Creates an incredibly smooth, creamy texture.
  • Blends into the liquid easily with no soaking required.
  • Adds nutrition without altering the flavor.

The cons of oat flour:

  • Can thicken the smoothie too much if overused.
  • Loses the pleasant chewiness of oats.
  • Has a higher glycemic index due to how finely it’s ground.

Oat flour is best used sparingly in smoothies, no more than 1-2 tablespoons per smoothie. This provides creaminess while still allowing the texture of other oats to come through. It combines well with rolled or quick oats.

Oat Milk

In addition to oats, some smoothie-makers opt to use oat milk as the liquid base. Oat milk provides the oat flavor and some creaminess while adding only a subtle oat texture.

The pros of using oat milk in smoothies:

  • Provides creamy texture and neutral flavor.
  • Blends perfectly smooth with no noticeable graininess.
  • No need to soak oats ahead of time.
  • Provides nutrition and thickness of oats without the texture.

The cons of oat milk:

  • Does not provide the chewy oat texture that some enjoy.
  • Has less protein than dairy milk or soy milk.
  • Some brands contain gums or stabilizers.
  • Lower in nutrients than intact oats blended into smoothies.

Oat milk can be used in conjunction with oats in smoothies or on its own. It provides creaminess, flavor and some nutrition from oats without altering the texture.

Best Oat Types for Smoothies

In summary, here are some recommendations for the best types of oats to use for smoothies:

Oat Type Texture Best Use
Quick Oats Smooth, creamy Main oat ingredient when you want a silky smooth texture. Soak 5-10 minutes before blending.
Steel Cut Oats Toothsome, chewy Soak overnight or 1 hour minimum for chewy texture. Combine with quick oats or oat flour.
Rolled Oats Mildly chewy Good middle ground oat. Soak 10-20 minutes before use.
Oat Flour Smooth, creamy Use 1-2 Tbsp maximum for creaminess without over-thickening.
Oat Milk Smooth, creamy Use as all or part of the liquid for subtle oat flavor and creaminess.

Experiment to find your perfect oat smoothie texture! Soaking the oats first is the key to smooth, lump-free blending.

Adding Oats to Smoothies

Here are some tips for successfully adding oats to your smoothies:

  • Soak oats ahead of time – Soaking allows the oats to soften and blend more smoothly. The soaking time depends on the type of oat used.
  • Use thick liquids – Blending oats with thick liquids like yogurt, kefir or banana makes a smoother consistency than watery liquids.
  • Blend on high speed – Use your blender’s highest speed setting to fully break down the oats into a smooth texture.
  • Add seeds, nuts or nut butters – These ingredients help add creamy thickness to balance out the addition of oats.
  • Refrigerate soaked oats – Soaking oats overnight in the fridge allows them to hydrate while staying fresh.
  • Start small – Add just 1-2 tablespoons oats per smoothie until you find the right amount for your blender.

Smoothie Recipes with Oats

Oats pair deliciously with both fruits and vegetables in smoothies. They provide a nutrition boost while creating a thick, creamy and satisfying texture. Here are some delicious oat smoothie recipes to try:

Berry Oat Smoothie

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-4 ice cubes

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Smoothie

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 tablespoons quick oats
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • 3-5 ice cubes

Green Oat Smoothie

  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 cup ice

Get creative with your own oat smoothie recipes! Oats pair well with both sweet and savory ingredients.

Storing Oat Smoothies

Oat smoothies will thicken up even more as they sit in the fridge. For best texture, drink oat smoothies right after making them. But you can store them 1-2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To help oat smoothies last longer, consider:

  • Adding a bit of lemon juice to help inhibit microbial growth.
  • Using frozen fruit instead of ice to avoid dilution as the ice melts.
  • Giving it a good stir or quick blend before drinking to re-incorporate any separation.

Oat smoothies reheat well in the microwave or on the stovetop, though the texture may become a bit thicker after reheating. Add milk or water to thin it out as needed.

Are Oats Good for You?

Oats are highly nutritious and make a great addition to smoothies. Here are some of the health benefits of oats:

  • Fiber – Oats contain both soluble and insoluble fiber to promote good digestion and heart health.
  • Protein – Oats contain plant-based protein to help build muscle and keep you full.
  • Vitamins and minerals – Oats provide B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and antioxidant compounds.
  • Heart health – The fiber in oats can help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol.
  • Blood sugar control – The fiber helps moderate blood sugar spikes after eating.

Oats are gluten-free, though they are often processed alongside gluten grains. Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats if gluten is a concern.

Since oats lack some amino acids, pair them with nuts, seeds or nut butters to form a complete protein. This makes oat smoothies a nutritious plant-based meal or snack.

Potential Drawbacks of Oats in Smoothies

Oats are a healthy addition to smoothies for most people, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Texture – Oats can create grainy or uneven textures if not blended well. Make sure to soak oats first and blend thoroughly.
  • Allergies – Oats contain avenin proteins that can cause allergic reactions similar to wheat allergies in sensitive individuals.
  • Bloating – Due to their fiber content, oats may cause bloating or gas in some people, especially in large amounts.
  • Nutrient inhibitors – Compounds in oats such as phytic acid can partially inhibit the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium.

Start with small amounts of oats in your smoothies and discontinue use if any digestive discomfort occurs. Otherwise, oats make a beneficial addition to smoothies for most people.

Are Oats Keto?

Oats are relatively high in net carbs, so they are not considered keto-friendly. A half cup serving of dry oats contains about 24 grams of total carbs and 4 grams of fiber. So the net carbs come out to around 20 grams per half cup. This makes oats too high in carbs to fit into a strict keto diet.

If following a keto diet, consider using lower carb nuts like almonds, macadamia nuts or coconut instead of oats to add thickness and nutrients to smoothies without significantly impacting blood sugar or ketosis.


Oats are a versatile and healthy addition to smoothies, depending on the type used. Quick oats provide a smooth texture, while steel cut oats offer more chewiness. Rolled oats and oat flour are good compromises between the two textures. Oat milk also blended well in smoothies.

Soaking oats before blending allows them to integrate smoothly into the drink. Oats add nutrition, thickness and a pleasant grainy flavor that complements both sweet and savory smoothies.

Experiment with different types of oats and soaking times to find your perfect smoothie consistency. Oats provide a great way to add satisfying texture and nutrition to your blended beverages.