September 18, 2023 4 min read

When it comes to breakfast or healthy baking, oats have established themselves as a dietary staple. Versatile and nutritious, oats come in various forms, with rolled oats being one of the most popular. But did you know that not all rolled oats are created equal? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of rolled oats available and delve into their unique characteristics, benefits, and the best ways to use them in your kitchen. So, let's roll into the world of rolled oats and discover which variety is the perfect fit for your culinary adventures.

1. Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats:

Old-fashioned rolled oats, also known as regular rolled oats, are perhaps the most recognizable form of rolled oats. They are created by steaming oat groats and then rolling them flat to produce those familiar round, flattened oat flakes. These oats are a kitchen staple and offer various benefits:

  • Nutritional Profile: Old-fashioned rolled oats retain a substantial amount of their natural oat bran, making them a good source of dietary fiber, especially beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber known for its heart-healthy properties.
  • Texture: They maintain their shape and a slightly chewy texture when cooked, making them ideal for oatmeal, cookies, granola bars, and more.
  • Cooking Time: These oats require a bit more cooking time compared to quick oats, typically around 5-7 minutes to prepare a creamy bowl of oatmeal.

2. Quick Rolled Oats:

Quick rolled oats, often referred to as quick oats, are similar to old-fashioned rolled oats but undergo further processing to reduce their cooking time. Here's what you need to know about them:

  • Processing: Quick oats are pre-cooked and then rolled thinner than old-fashioned oats, which accelerates their cooking time.
  • Texture: They have a softer, smoother texture when cooked, which some people prefer for creamier oatmeal or recipes where a finer texture is desired.
  • Cooking Time: Quick oats can be ready in just 1-3 minutes, making them a convenient choice for busy mornings.

3. Instant Rolled Oats:

Instant rolled oats are the most processed and fastest-cooking type of rolled oats available. They are precooked, dried, and rolled into very thin flakes. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Speedy Preparation: Instant oats are designed for quick and effortless cooking. Simply add hot water, and they are ready to eat in seconds.
  • Texture: They yield a softer, more delicate texture, almost like a porridge, which some individuals find appealing.
  • Versatility: While they are often enjoyed as instant oatmeal, they can also be used in recipes like smoothies, no-bake energy bars, or as a thickening agent in soups and stews.

4. Thick Rolled Oats:

Thick rolled oats, also known as jumbo rolled oats, fall between old-fashioned and steel-cut oats in terms of processing and texture:

  • Processing: These oats are thicker and heartier than old-fashioned rolled oats. They are not rolled as thin, retaining more of the oat's natural texture and nutrients.
  • Texture: They have a robust, chewy texture when cooked, making them an excellent choice for oatmeal lovers who prefer a heartier consistency.
  • Cooking Time: Thick rolled oats require a bit longer cooking time than quick oats, typically around 10-15 minutes.

5. Extra Thick Rolled Oats:

Extra thick rolled oats take the heartiness of thick rolled oats to another level. They are processed less than thick rolled oats and offer a truly hearty oatmeal experience:

  • Processing: These oats are the least processed among rolled oat varieties, preserving most of the oat's natural texture and flavor.
  • Texture: Extra thick rolled oats are exceptionally chewy and offer a delightful, satisfying bite when cooked.
  • Cooking Time: Due to their thickness, they require a longer cooking time, usually around 15-20 minutes.

Comparing Nutritional Profiles:

Each type of rolled oat offers a similar nutritional foundation but with slight variations:

  • Calories: All types of rolled oats provide around 150-170 calories per 1/2 cup dry serving.
  • Protein: They contain approximately 5-7 grams of protein per serving, making them a decent plant-based protein source.
  • Fiber: Rolled oats are rich in dietary fiber, with about 4-5 grams per serving, mainly soluble fiber that aids in digestion.
  • Carbohydrates: Expect roughly 27-30 grams of carbohydrates, primarily complex carbs, per serving.
  • Fat: Rolled oats are low in fat, with approximately 2-3 grams of total fat per serving.
  • Micronutrients: They contain essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese, along with B vitamins, particularly thiamine (B1) and pantothenic acid (B5).

Best Uses for Each Type:

  1. Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats: These are ideal for classic oatmeal, baked oatmeal, cookies, and granola.
  2. Quick Rolled Oats: Perfect for quick oatmeal, smoothies, and recipes where a softer texture is desired.
  3. Instant Rolled Oats: Great for on-the-go oatmeal and recipes where oats need to dissolve quickly.
  4. Thick Rolled Oats: Best for a heartier oatmeal texture, granola, or recipes where you want oats to maintain their shape.
  5. Extra Thick Rolled Oats: Use these for the heartiest oatmeal, overnight oats, and recipes that require a substantial oat presence.

In the world of rolled oats, the choice comes down to personal preference and culinary needs. Old-fashioned, quick, instant, thick, and extra thick rolled oats all offer wholesome nutrition and can be enjoyed in a variety of recipes. Whether you prefer a hearty morning oatmeal or a quick and convenient option, rolled oats have you covered. So, embrace the versatility of rolled oats and elevate your breakfasts, snacks, and baked goods with these nutritious, satisfying grains.

 Try our USDA certified organic Oats 

Yummy Rolled Oats Recipes

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Cathie Stewart
Cathie Stewart


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