Oatmeal makes a quick, easy and healthy breakfast meal. Oats are a great staple for your pantry and they store well. But like most everything nowadays, there are lots of oats to choose from at the grocery store.
So what exactly are the options and what oats will cook up to be a tasty oatmeal with a great texture?
In this post, we will discuss why oats make a great breakfast by looking at the health benefits of oats. Then we will explain the different kind of oats you can choose from. And finally, we will answer what are the best oats for oatmeal.
Oats Are Good For You
Oats are a healthy whole grain food meaning they include the entire seed of the plant including the bran, germ and endosperm. They provide our bodies with essential fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
The fiber in oats is mostly a soluble fiber known as beta-glucan. This fiber is known to support heart health and lower cholesterol.
Oats are also rich in antioxidants and are considered a low-glycemic food, with the less processed types being the lowest in glycemic levels.
Paired with a variety of other foods such as fruit, nuts, or cream, oats provide a nutritious and tasty meal.
Different Types Of Oats
All oats come from the same plant, avena sativa, and provide the same nutrition in the types described below. When they are harvested and hulled the remaining whole seed is referred to as the groat.
The difference in the types of oats discussed below is simply the way the oats are processed including being cut, rolled and in some cases, steamed or cooked.
Steel Cut Oats
Steel cut oats, also known as Irish oats, are the least processed oats. They are made by taking whole oats and chopping them up into small pieces with a steel blade.
These oats are thicker than rolled oats and have not undergone any steaming process so they take a bit longer to cook (about 20 minutes).
With a great chewy texture and a nutty flavor, steel cut oats are worth the wait, just make sure you plan ahead!
Old-fashioned oats are also known as rolled oats. They are whole oats that have been hulled, steamed and rolled.
Old-fashioned oats absorb a lot of liquid and cook fairly quickly (about 10-15 minutes).
They are the most common oat used in granola most likely because they hold their shape during the cooking process.
If you want to make overnight oats, old-fashioned oats are the best choice because they will not turn mushy.
Quick oats are more processed than old-fashioned oats and steel cut oats.
They are steamed longer and rolled much thinner than old-fashioned (rolled) oats.
These oats tend to break apart easily and can look as if they’ve been chopped.
Quick oats are softer, milder tasting, and cook quickly (about 5 minutes). This makes them a great choice if your mornings are rushed.
Quick oats are commonly used in cookies and bread.
Instant oats are like quick oats. They are cut and rolled very thin like quick oats but also undergo another process.
Instant oats are pre-cooked and then dried. So all you have to do to cook instant oats is add hot water to them and let them soak for about a minute.
They are a super quick option and often come in single serve packets. Most of them are flavored and have a lot of sugar added to them so watch out if that is a concern. It may be healthier to find unflavored packets and add your own toppings.
Scottish oats are minimally processed in that they are neither steamed nor rolled. The oats are ground between millstones into a powder.
The powder is not as fine as flour but a bit more coarse resembling cream of wheat or cornmeal.
Since they are ground, they work well for Scottish oatcakes, a traditional Scottish cracker.
When cooked (about 10 minutes), Scottish oats turn into a creamy, rich and delicious porridge.
The Best Oats For Oatmeal
What are the best oats for oatmeal?
All of the options above make a really good bowl of oatmeal. They are very comparable in nutritional benefits. So it really depends on your personal taste and preference.
If you like a firmer chunkier texture go for the old-fashioned oats. If a creamy porridge-like meal is your thing, try Scottish oats. Do you prefer chewier oats with a nutty flavor? Then you’ll like steel cut (Irish) oats. Just keep in mind that some oats will have a much longer cooking time.
And if you have no idea… try them all! See what you like and try adding different toppings to create your perfect bowl of oatmeal.
Oats make a hearty healthy breakfast that will keep you going through your day. Adding fruit, nuts, honey, and cream is a good way to add more nutritional benefits.
There are many kinds of oats out there that have the same nutrition, so choose the type that suits you depending on the time you have to cook and the texture and taste you like the best!
Oats will store well in your pantry in an airtight container well over a year. You can use oats for a lot more recipes than oatmeal. Try them in cookies, breads, homemade granola, crumbles, or oatcakes.
Let me know what your favorite type of oats for oatmeal is and what other ways you use oats in the comment section below!
8 thoughts on “Best Oats For Oatmeal – A Quick Guide”
Hi Allie, this is a good overview of all the variations of oats (right now, my favorite is the Old-Fashioned variety)! When I started cooking them a couple of years ago, I remember being so concerned about getting the oats and water ratio exactly right. Now, I’ve not gotten to where I just eyeball the proportions and err on the side of too much water. At the end of the cooking time, if there is still any excess, it is easily remedied by just scooping or pouring it out! All the best, Isabella
Isabella, Thank you for your comment! My favorite is old-fashioned oats also. And I usually eyeball the water now too! Isn’t it great when you get to the point where you don’t need recipes!! Glad you enjoyed the topic, Allie
The article “Best Oats for Oatmeal” provides valuable insights into selecting the right type of oats for making delicious and nutritious oatmeal. Your thorough explanation of the different varieties of oats, such as rolled oats, steel-cut oats, and instant oats, helps readers understand the variations in texture, cooking time, and nutritional content. The inclusion of cooking tips and recommendations for each type of oats adds practicality to the article, making it a useful resource for both beginners and seasoned oatmeal enthusiasts. The article also highlights the health benefits of incorporating oats into one’s diet, including their high fiber content and potential to support heart health. Overall, this article serves as a helpful guide for anyone looking to make the perfect bowl of oatmeal and make informed choices when selecting the best oats for their breakfast routine.
Thank you for your comment, that about sums it up! Do you like oatmeal?
As a child my mom always cooked oats for us for breakfast, but I never realised there were so many different types of oats, so it was very interesting to come across this post. And yes, oats for breakfast will sustain you for many hours, as well as adding many other health benefits to your diet.
I normally buy rolled oats, as I don’t like mushy oats, and I can also use it when making cookies and crumbles. Thank you for enlightening me on the other types of oats available.
Thank you for your comment, I prefer rolled oats as well, then I can bake with them also without having too many kinds in my pantry!
Very interesting article! Old fashioned for me too! I like the texture the best for eating it as cereal and in cookies. My mother-in-law used to put oatmeal as a filler in meatloaf instead of saltine crackers.
Thank you for your comment! Sometimes I put oats in my hamburger meat with an egg to help it stick together when making burgers.