Do I have to cook oatmeal before putting in smoothie?

Quick Answer

It is not absolutely necessary to cook oatmeal before adding it to a smoothie. Raw oats contain compounds called phytates which can inhibit nutrient absorption, but the blending and breakdown of the oats in the blender reduces this effect. Cooking the oats first does help improve the texture and makes for a smoother smoothie. Overall, it’s a personal preference – try it both ways and see what you like best!

Exploring the Question in Depth

Oatmeal is a common ingredient found in many smoothie recipes. It provides a nutritious boost of fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates. However, some people wonder if you need to cook the oats first before blending them into your smoothie. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Here is a closer look at whether oats need to be cooked before going into smoothies:

Raw Oats in Smoothies

Using raw oats in smoothies is totally fine and will still provide good nutrition. Here are some of the main considerations with adding raw oats:

  • Convenience – No cooking required, you can just throw the dry oats straight into the blender.
  • Texture – Raw oats will give the smoothie a thicker, heartier texture with more chew.
  • Phytates – Raw oats contain phytic acid (phytates) that can inhibit mineral absorption. However, blending breaks down some of these phytates.
  • Flavor – Raw oats have a heartier, grainier flavor profile.

Overnight oats are made by soaking raw oats in milk or yogurt in the fridge overnight. This softens the oats and partially breaks down the phytic acid while still maintaining some chew. You can also soak oats for 30 minutes to an hour before blending to soften them up.

Cooked Oatmeal in Smoothies

Cooking the oats before adding them to your smoothie offers these benefits:

  • Texture – Cooked oats blend into an ultra smooth and creamy smoothie.
  • Phytates – Cooking further reduces phytic acid and improves mineral absorption.
  • Flavor – Cooked oats have a milder flavor that works well in fruit smoothies.
  • Customizable – Can flavor cooked oatmeal with spices, sweeteners, fruit, etc. before blending.

Any cooking method works – stovetop, microwave, or boiling in milk or water. Let the oats cool completely before blending for best results. Steel cut or old fashioned oats hold their shape better compared to quick oats.

Nutrition Comparison

Both raw and cooked oats are highly nutritious additions to smoothies. Here’s how they compare:

Nutrient Raw Oats Cooked Oats
Fiber 4g per 1/4 cup 2g per 1/4 cup
Protein 5g per 1/4 cup 4g per 1/4 cup
Carbs 15g per 1/4 cup 14g per 1/4 cup
Calories 74 per 1/4 cup 71 per 1/4 cup

As you can see, raw and cooked oats are fairly comparable nutritionally when prepared in 1/4 cup servings. The fiber content decreases slightly with cooking while the other nutrients remain similar.

Ingredients to Use with Oats

Both raw and cooked oats pair well with a variety of other ingredients in smoothies. Consider blending oats with:

  • Milk – Dairy milk or milk alternatives like almond milk, oat milk, etc.
  • Greek yogurt – Adds protein and creaminess.
  • Fruit – Bananas, berries, mangoes, etc.
  • Nut butter – For healthy fats and richness.
  • Vanilla – Enhances the flavor.
  • Cinnamon – Warming spice that complements oats.
  • Honey or maple syrup – For sweetness as desired.
  • Greens – Baby spinach for nutrients.
  • Seeds – Chia, flaxseed, or hemp for crunch.
  • Protein powder – Whey or plant-based options.

Get creative and try oats with your favorite flavors! The possibilities are endless.

Sample Oatmeal Smoothie Recipes

Here are a few delicious sample recipes using cooked and raw oats:

Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Berry Overnight Oats Smoothie

  • 1/4 cup raw oats, soaked overnight in milk
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Tropical Fruit and Oat Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup mango chunks
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp lime juice

Feel free to tailor these recipes based on your own tastes and what you have on hand. Aim for a ratio of 1/4 to 1/2 cup oats per smoothie.

Tips for Making Oatmeal Smoothies

Here are some top tips for blending up smoothies with oats:

  • Use a high speed blender for best results. This breaks down the oats smoothly.
  • Add some liquid to help blend the oats. Milk, yogurt, juice, etc.
  • Freeze any fruit you add for a thicker, colder smoothie.
  • Sweeten to taste with honey, maple syrup, dates, etc. if desired.
  • Start with 1/4 cup oats and add more if you want a thicker smoothie.
  • Blend for 30-60 seconds until the oats are fully broken down.
  • Use quick oats or grind rolled oats for smoother cooked oatmeal smoothies.
  • Soak raw oats for 30+ minutes if you don’t cook them first.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Potential Benefits of Oatmeal Smoothies

Adding oats to your morning smoothie offers many excellent benefits:

  • Keeps you full – The fiber in oats helps you feel satisfied.
  • Provides energy – Great source of slow-burning complex carbs.
  • Nutrient-dense – Packed with B vitamins, zinc, iron, and more.
  • Heart healthy – Oats contain beta-glucan to lower cholesterol.
  • Aids digestion – Soluble fiber in oats promotes good digestion.
  • Blood sugar control – May help manage blood sugar when part of a balanced diet.
  • Plant-based – Dairy-free option suitable for vegans.

Oats are incredibly versatile in smoothies. Feel free to get creative with your own oatmeal smoothie recipes!


Are raw oats safe to eat?

Yes, raw oats are perfectly safe to eat. They may be less digestible or cause mild stomach upset for some people. Soaking, sprouting, or blending raw oats in smoothies can make them easier to digest.

Can I use instant oats in smoothies?

Yes, instant oats work well in smoothies. They blend up very smooth and creamy. Just make sure to account for their smaller volume compared to other oat types when measuring.

Do you need to soak raw oats before a smoothie?

It’s not strictly necessary, but soaking raw oats for 30-60 minutes before blending can help soften them up. This improves the smoothie texture.

How long do oatmeal smoothies last?

Oatmeal smoothies stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator will typically last 3-4 days. Make sure to give them a good stir or shake before drinking.

Can oatmeal smoothies be frozen?

Absolutely! Freezing oatmeal smoothies in individual servings lets you enjoy quick, grab-and-go breakfasts. They thaw well in the fridge overnight or for a few hours at room temperature.

The Bottom Line

While cooking oatmeal first provides the smoothest texture, raw oats can also be used in smoothies with great results. The nutrients remain comparable, so it comes down to your personal preference. Some people even enjoy the heartier chew of raw oats! Feel free to try both methods and see which oatmeal smoothies you prefer.

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