What is instant oatmeal? First, let’s start with oat groats. These are the whole grain form of an oat, but rarely are they sold as is. Instead, you find steel-cut, rolled or instant oats, and all are pre-cooked to some degree. Steel-cut oats = oat groats cut into pieces.
First, let’s start with oat groats. These are the whole grain form of an oat, but rarely are they sold as is. Instead, you find steel-cut, rolled or instant oats, and all are pre-cooked to some degree. Steel-cut oats = oat groats cut into pieces. Rolled oats = the same thing as longer cooking oats but are steamed longer and rolled a bit thinner.
Thick Rolled Oats: These are made from steamed whole oat groats rolled into flakes. Because they’re the thickest variety, it takes them longest to cook. “Old Fashioned Oats”, or Regular Rolled Oats: Think Quaker Oatmeal. These are the steamed whole oat groats rolled into a thinner flake which shortens the cooking time. The texture is a bit mushier than thick rolled oats, but still pretty filling and full of whole grain goodness.
Oats are an incredibly nutritious food packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In addition, they're high in fiber and protein compared to other grains. Oats contain some unique components — in particular, the soluble fiber beta-glucan and antioxidants called avenanthramides.
Also referred to as quick oats, instant oats are the most processed of the three oat varieties. They are pre-cooked, dried, and then rolled and pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats. They cook more quickly than steel-cut or rolled oats, but retain less of their texture, and often cook up mushy.
Cakes made with quick cooking oats will typically have a finer, tighter crumb to them. In all cases, recipes that use quick cooking oats will have just as much flavor as those made with regular rolled oats, so it all comes down to a matter of personal preference in the end.
The difference between steel-cut, rolled, and instant oats is simply how much the oat groat has been processed. This also results in each variety having a distinct texture and varying cook times. This also results in each variety having a distinct texture and varying cook times.
Irish oatmeal is made differently than regular oatmeal. Instead of the groats being rolled, Irish oatmeal's kernels undergo a steel-cut process. Using giant steel blades, the oats are cut into small pieces that, rather than being flattened, retain their shape, albeit smaller.