Understand the different types of Oatmeal

Author: FITivate_B | Published date: September 26, 2022 | Category: Nutrition
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After we have given an in-depth differentiation between rice and oats, in this article, we will dwell into the different types of oatmeal available in the market, how they are manufactured and help readers identify which variety might be best suited for their taste buds.

There are 5 common types of oatmeal available on our store shelves, namely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)  : 

  1. Whole Oat Groats
  2. Steel-cut Oats (Irish Oats)
  3. Rolled Oats
  4. Quick Oats
  5. Instant Oats

Whole Oat Groats

Harvested oats are cleaned and the inedible hulls removed. Also known as “oat berries”, these oats are considered to be the least processed. As they still retain their grain form, getting them to cook will take the longest, typically up to 50 minutes. It has the closest consistency to rice or barley and gives off a nutty flavour.

Steel-cut Oats   

Steel-cut oats are also known as Irish oats. As the name goes, oat groats grains are cut into small pieces by steel blades. Each grain is sliced into 3 to 4 parts with the appearance that resembles coarse grains of sand. They take a shorter time to cook as compared to whole groats, typically between 20 to 30 minutes, with a chewier consistency.

Rolled Oats

Rolled oats are called old-fashioned oats, can be considered one of the most popular variation in the oatmeal family. They are made by steaming the oat groats, and flattened as they pass through steel rollers. Their thickness varies based on the pre-determined distance between the rollers. The flat oats are then dried, producing a flaky texture before cooking. The entire process stabilises the healthy oils that exist naturally in the oats and gives them a long shelf life. 

Rolled oats tend to take about 5 to 20 minutes of cooking time (depending on their thickness). They have a softer texture and milder flavour as compared to steel cut oats. They are also typically used in cookies, biscuits, granola bars etc.

Quick Oats

Ouick oats are processed similarly to rolled oats in that they are steamed and rolled, but required to go through a longer steaming process and rolled into thinner slices. This ensures that the oats are able to be cooked in a much shorter period (typically under 3 minutes). They are also frequently used in granola bars, cereals and smoothie mixtures. This sort of oatmeal tend to have a mushier consistency.

Instant Oats

These version of oatmeal goes through the most processing. In additional to the rolling and steaming process, they are chopped into small bits and further pre cooked. This oatmeal cooks the quickest, with only the need to add boiling water or a short stint in the microwave oven. Do note that these oatmeal are also frequently further processed with additivities and sugar to make it into a more palatable beverage. Always take notice of the ingredient list before considering which instant oats to buy. Also, as they are chopped more finely than the rest, they tend to be the least filling when consumed.


Do take note that the more processed and oat meal is, the less filling it will be when consumed. However, they can be cooked mush faster and tend to be mushier in texture. When purchasing oatmeal, please take a good read of the ingredient list, for healthier versions, go for the ones that have little or no additives and avoid added sugars.

 Oat meal can be great carbohydrate alternatives to rice as they fill you up quicker with much lesser calories.

By : Alvin Ho

B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)



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