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Types of Oat Products

If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between the various types of oats and oatmeal products at the grocery store, here’s a rundown of what different labels mean and how to best use them.

Oat Groats

These are the most whole form of oats where you’ll find the entire oat kernel minus the husk. The kernel includes the germ, endosperm and bran — layers that provide vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and both soluble and insoluble fiber. This highly nutritious oat product just requires rinsing and soaking overnight. To prepare, you just boil them in some water for around 20 minutes and serve just like oatmeal.

Steel Cut Oats

These are oat groats that have been minimally processed simply by using steel cutters to cut the grains into a few pieces each. This results in coarse oatmeal best used to cook into traditional, hearty porridge. They are sometimes called Scottish or Irish oats, but real Scottish oats are prepared by stone-grinding.

Rolled Oats

Rolled oats are steel cut oats that have been steam-softened and rolled into flake shapes. They can come in “old-fashioned” form or “quick” form, the latter meaning they’ve been rolled thinner and steamed longer. Rolled oats in general are often used in baking to make muffins, pancakes, homemade granola, or a smoother, finer oatmeal breakfast. The quick-cooking or “instant” rolled oats are usually the type found in single-serving oatmeal packets at the supermarket. Your body digests instant oats more quickly. And as such, they can cause your blood glucose to rise faster. So unlike thicker rolled oats, they are not a low glycemic food. Instant oats fall under the medium category of the glycemic index.

Jumbo Rolled Oats

These are rolled oats, but the flakes are not made quite as small. Jumbo rolled oats are often used to make a thicker porridge with more texture, or even used in their raw form to make muesli — a breakfast dish of raw oats with chopped fruit and nuts.


Oatmeal is made by rolling and breaking whole oats into a variety of oat “grades” ranging from coarse oatmeal to fine oatmeal. Traditional oatmeal is used for muffin crumb toppings, or to make scones, biscuits, crumbles, as well as other breakfast and non-breakfast foods.

Oat Flour

Oat flour is made by grinding oats into a powder — which can range from coarse to fine — for use in making baked goods. It can also be used to thicken stews and soups.

(Excerpt taken from The Food Revolution Network)

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