Product Review: Wendy’s Steel Cut Oatmeal

This is an unsponsored, unsolicited review brought to you courtesy of a *Free w/Additional Purchase* coupon I received in the mail.

When I received the aforementioned Wendy’s coupon flyer in the mail recently and saw that it was for breakfast items only, I almost threw it away. I’ve already reviewed the oatmeal bar, and I knew the other offerings didn’t fit my needs. But then the very last coupon on the flyer caught my eye: Steel-cut Oatmeal.

Well, you know what comes next. Never mind that McD’s foray into the land of oatmeal was a bitter disappointment. And never mind that I have a pound or more of Bob’s Red Mill Steel-Cut Oats in my pantry. Life isn’t always about me; sometimes you have to put others first. Today I chose YOU, dear readers, and risked life and belly cramps to take these oats for a taste drive.

Besides, they were free, and I didn’t have to slave over a hot microwave to cook them.

At my local Wendy’s (the only one in Memphis serving breakfast), I had two options: oats with cranberries and pecans or oats with berries (blue and straw, to be specific). I chose the former because I don’t care for strawberries in my oatmeal. Unless we’re talking muffins, of course.

My serving:

wendys steel cut oatmeal

– The portion size is excellent. Just about what I’d serve at home, minus a good tablespoon of the cranberries piled on top. If I have this again, I’ll remove some berries before I stir. I can always add them back later, if needed.

– Love that the pecans and brown sugar are served on the side so that we can choose how much (or little) to add.

– When I opened the container, the first thing I smelled was cinnamon and then…wait for it…oats. Real oats.

– My first bite was oatmeal only, and it was really tasty on its own. Dense and chewy, just like real oatmeal should be. That said, I wouldn’t want to eat a whole bowl of plain oats, either at home or at Wendy’s, so I stirred in about one gram of the 13-gram serving of brown sugar. (I know this because I weighed the rest of the packet when I got home. Cammy=Genius.) That was all it needed, because these oats went from being good to seriously good with just that sprinkle of brown sugar.

– Later I stirred in some of the pecans, which are the same sugared pecans Wendy’s offers with it’s Apple Chicken Salad, and those were good also but totally not necessary. I’d skip them next time and add the pecan packet to the stash in my fridge waiting for Christmas cookie-baking time.

Nutritional Info:
From the Wendy’s website

Wendys steel cut oats

(Click to enlarge)

With 33 grams of sugar, as served, the Cranberries and Pecans version has too much sugar, in my opinion. Four Krispy Kreme Donut holes only have 17g of sugar. Of course, they have virtually no protein or fiber and a lot more fat, but you get my point.

Still, there are choices. The cranberry-pecan oatmeal can be ordered without the dried sweetened cranberries (or you can take some off the top), and you can control how much sugar and/or pecan topping to add. I could easily get this down to 15-20g of sugar and still have a flavorful meal with a similar nutritional makeup as what I’d have at home. (At home, I’d probably add a boiled egg and/or some chia seeds for a boost.) Or as an alternative, the oatmeal with berries has about a third of the sugar as what I ordered. Or you could just have plain oatmeal.

On another note: After the McD’s brouhaha, I was leery about the ingredients. The Wendy’s website didn’t include the ingredients for their breakfast products, so I called their Customer Relations Department and was told that the base oatmeal includes the following: water, steel-cut oat groats, cane juice, rolled oats, sea salt, and cinnamon. Ingredients for the add-on items are listed on the website.

My ultimate verdict is that I’ve put the Wendy’s Oatmeal on my list of Emergency Road Food Breakfast Possibilities. It’s tasty and filling, and if I watch the sugary add-ons, it’s not bad nutritionally. (I could always stir in some protein powder from my travel stash to bump up the protein.)

I’ll wrap up with a note to anyone from Wendy’s who might have stumbled on this entry: Props on what seems to be a legitimate effort to offer somewhat healthier menu options, but I’d be so ever so grateful if you’d offer non-sugary pecans. Pecans are lovely all by themselves, and you wouldn’t have the expense of all that processing! Think about it. And while you’re at it, you have apples in house anyway, so why not offer cranberries OR apples as a topping? Just an idea…

19 thoughts on “Product Review: Wendy’s Steel Cut Oatmeal

  1. Wow, I had no idea Wendy’s was even serving breakfast. Gotta check it out and see if the trend has moved east on the tailwinds of one of those severe storms you keep sending us. I LOVE steel cut oats and so far, none of the fast food offerings (except Panera which I don’t count as fast food) have anything except regular mushmeal. Wonder when I’ll get my coupon???

  2. Bravo to Wendy’s. It is nice to see restaurants really making an effort to provide a good healthy breakfast – even though they still sweeten them up.

    This made me want steel cuts and I am now soaking some to cook for breakfast tomorrow! 😀

    • I didn’t know Starbuck’s had oatmeal. :) I happen to have a Starbuck’s in the same shopping strip as the Wendy’s, so I’ll have to try out their oatmeal. Purely for research purposes. :)

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  4. I would also prefer – if anyone is listening, that there be no cane juice – just another name for sugar – added to the basic ingredients. I love plain oatmeal and there is no reason to sugar up the base. Let people add in the sugar if they wish.

    • I agree, even though I don’t care for just-plain-oats. Still, I didn’t find the itsy bit of plain oatmeal I taste-tested to be overly sweet, though. In fact, I only learned it had added sweetener after the fact. But if they had to add a sweetener, I’d rather it be cane juice (which I equate more to sucanat than white sugar) than the dreaded HFCS. :)

  5. Interesting. I guess they add cane juice for the same reason everybody else adds cane juice to their products. Is there cane juice in their burgers?

    Good to know anyway. I have had the steel cut oats at Jamba Juice, and I go frequently to Starbuck’s but have not tried theirs yet.

  6. Hi Cammie! This is so good to know, I’m another person who had no idea Wendy’s even served breakfast. I will definitely keep this in mind in case I need it.

  7. Lover your disclaimer, Cammy, :)
    Do you really have a pecan packet stash in your fridge waiting for Christmas cookie-baking time??????????!!!

    • Sahar, it’s very sad, but I do have a pecan stash in the fridge. I don’t always have the extra calories available to include the sugared pecans in my salad, and I hate to throw food away. I’ve probably got 1/4 cup of these already! (Which tells you how many times I go ahead and add them to my salad. :) )

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