Steel-Cut vs Instant vs Rolled Oats: Key Differences To Know
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Whatever the season whether it is spring, summer, winter, or fall, oatmeal reigns supreme at the breakfast table. It's warm, filling, and hearty enough to keep us going until lunch. Oats can be found in a variety of foods, including pancakes, muffins, cookies, granola bars, and much more. The distinction between steel-cut rolled, and instant oats are the degree to which the oat groat has been treated. All oats begin as oat groats, which are entire, unbroken grains. Groats are typically roasted at a very low temperature before being turned into any other sort of oat. This not only offers the oats a great toasted flavour, but it also inactivates the enzyme that causes oats to grow rancid, making them more shelf-stable.

Steel-cut oats

Steel-cut oats, also known as Irish oatmeal, are the most closely connected to the original, unprocessed oat groat. Steel-cut oats are made by chopping groats into bits with large steel blades. Steel-cut oats are coarser in texture, chewier in texture, and have a nuttier flavour than rolled or quick oats. They also take longer to make, with typical cooking periods ranging from 15 to 30 minutes. Steel-cut oats, on the other hand, can be soaked ahead of time to save cooking time.

Instant oats

Quick oats, also referred to as quick-cooking oats, are rolled oats that have undergone additional processing to speed up the cooking process. They are partially cooked by steaming before being rolled even thinner than traditional oats. They cook quickly, have a mild flavour, and have a soft, mushy texture. Quick oats are not the same as instant, packaged oats, which may have additional components such as skim milk powder, sugar, and flavouring.

Rolled oats

Oat groats that have been flattened and steamed are referred to as rolled oats or old-fashioned oats. They have a milder flavour and softer texture than steel-cut oats and take significantly less time to prepare because they have been partially cooked. Preparing a bowl of rolled oats takes 2-5 minutes. Rolled oats can also be used in baked goods such as cookies, cakes, muffins, and bread.

Quick tip- In baking, conventional rolled oats and quick-cooking oats are usually interchangeable. If your recipe calls for quick-cooking oats but you only have old-fashioned rolled oats, pulse them a few times in the food processor. When quick-cooking oats are used in place of old-fashioned rolled oats in a recipe, the texture will be altered, but this will usually not matter in most recipes.