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. Rolled oats = the same thing as longer cooking oats but are steamed longer and rolled a bit thinner.
Made from oat groats ground into a fine oat meal, oat bran is then combined with some of the outer bran or husk of the oat to increase the overall fiber content of the oatmeal. Because of this, it is slightly higher in insoluble fiber than rolled or cut products.
A common question I get is what is the difference between instant oats and rolled oatsand can you interchange them? Rolled oats are bigger than instant oats and take longer to cook (see the size difference in the video). If a recipe calls for instant oats, but you only have rolled oats, no problem.
Quick cooking oats are an ingredient that I like to use a lot in baking, and they frequently show up in my recipes for oatmeal cookies and cakes. Quick cooking oats are rolled oats that have been coarsely chopped into smaller pieces to allow them to cook more quickly than regular oatmeal.
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.