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8 Diffferent Types of Oats

Trying to differentiate between the types of oats? Let this guide help you out!

Oats are a staple of a healthy diet. But with so many different varieties, figuring out how to use them all can be challenging.

Scottish Oats with Blueberries and Sesame Seeds in a Bowl

The humble oat is one of the most inexpensive and versatile grains around. They’re an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Many of us are familiar with types like instant and old-fashioned. But knowing what makes them unique isn’t so obvious.  

So let’s explore eight different types of oats. From the popular to the lesser known, you’ll learn everything you need to know.

Types of Oats

Rolled Oats in a Wooden Bowl

1. Rolled Oats / Old-Fashioned Oats

Rolled oats are one of the most popular types. Also called old-fashioned oats, rolled oats are flat and irregularly round with an indented center. 

Once cooked, they become creamy, making them perfect for your morning oatmeal.

What sets them apart is the processing. The oat groats (hulled kernel) get steamed and then rolled into flakes.

Use them for savory oatmeal, cookies, energy bites, and more.

Here’s how to cook rolled oats:

  1. Boil the liquid. Add 1 cup of water or milk of choice to a small pot. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the rolled oats. Stir in 1/2 cup rolled oats. Reduce the heat and cook them uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Raw Organic Gluten-free Steel Cut Oats in a Bowl

2. Steel-Cut Oats / Irish Oats

Steel-cut oats have a thick texture and chewy flavor.

Unlike old-fashioned oats, this type forgoes the rolling process. Rather, they’re cut with a steel blade. Hence the name!

Also known as Irish oats, steel-cut oats are coarse pieces. They also take longer to cook than other types. But they’re well worth the wait!

Here’s how to cook steel-cut oats:

  1. Boil the liquid. Add 3 cups of water or milk to a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Mix in the steel-cut oats. Stir in 1 cup of steel-cut oats and reduce the heat. Cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until you reach the desired consistency. Stir them frequently.
Homemade Creamy Scottish Oatmeal with a Pad of Butter

3. Scottish Oats 

If you love a warm bowl of porridge, then you’ve had Scottish oats. These oats are super thin and very creamy.

What makes them so thin is the slow grinding process done with steel burrs or stones.

Unlike steel-cut oats, they’re creamy rather than chewy. And like old-fashioned oats, they cook fairly quickly. 

Here’s how to cook Scottish oats:

  1. Boil the liquid. Add 3 cups of water or milk of choice to a small pot. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Stir in the Scottish oats. Mix in 1 cup of Scottish oats and reduce heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

4. Quick Oats

If it were a popularity contest, quick oats just might take first place. They have a quick cooking time, which is why we people love them.

The reason they cook so fast lies within the processing. 

Quick oats are a type of rolled oat that gets rolled even thinner. As a result, you can cook them in 5 minutes or less. 

But don’t confuse them with instant oats. They’re not the same.

Here’s how to cook quick oats:

  1. Boil the liquid. Add 2 cups of water or milk of choice to a pot. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Stir in the oats. Mix in 1 cup oats and cook uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir them frequently.
Instant Oats in a White Ceramic Bowl

5. Instant Oats

Instant oats are a type of rolled oat. They undergo further processing of flattening or steaming.

Sometimes, they’re precooked. But not always.  

As the name suggests, instant oats are ready in an instant. They only take a minute or two. 

They often come in a packet with flavorings like apple cinnamon or brown sugar. You can cook them with hot liquid or in the microwave.

Adjust the water-to-oats ratio for either method for a thicker or thinner texture.

Here’s a general guide for cooking instant oats with hot liquid:

  1. Add the instant oats to a bowl. Pour one packet in.
  2. Add hot water or milk. Stir in 1/2 cup boiling water or hot milk. Let it sit for 2 minutes. 

Here’s a general guide for cooking instant oats in the microwave:

  1. Combine the instant oats and water. Mix one packet of instant oats and 2/3 cup water or milk in a bowl. 
  2. Microwave the oats. Microwave the oats for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir. 
Whole Oat Groats on a Wooden Bowl with Wooden Spoon

6. Whole Oat Groats

Many oats start as whole oat groats. 

Also called oat berries, oat groats are raw, hulled oats. They have an intact bran, endosperm, and germ.

They’re nutty, toasty, and look similar to rice. You can eat them like oatmeal. Or use them in things like soups and stews.

They also take much longer to cook than any other type, steel-cut oats included!

Here’s how to cook whole oat groats:

  1. Boil the liquid. Add 3 cups of water to a pot with a pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Add the oat groats. Stir in 1 cup of oat groats. Reduce the heat and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes. Stir occasionally. Drain the excess water.
Raw Organic White Oat Flour in a Bowl

7. Oat Flour 

Oat flour is oats that have been finely ground. It has the texture and appearance of regular flour. The flavor is also mild and nutty. 

Use oat flour as a partial flour replacement. It’s great in baked goods like cookies, muffins, and banana bread. You can even use it as a soup thickener. 

And you can make oat flour at home, too. All you need are oats and a blender. 

Here’s how to make oat flour:

  1. Add the oats to a blender. Add 2 cups of oats or the desired amount.
  2. Blend. Blend the oats for about 15 to 20 seconds. The texture should resemble flour. 
  3. Store. Transfer it to an air-tight container. Store it in the freezer, refrigerator, or a cool dry place. 
Oat Bran on a Wooden Bowl with Wooden Spoon

8. Oat Bran

A byproduct of oat processing, oat bran is the outer layer of groat oat. It’s mushier and cooks quicker than regular oatmeal.

You can add oat bran to all kinds of things. It’s great for smoothies, cereal, baked goods, and more. 

The thing to remember is oat bran can change the texture. So don’t add too much when baking. 

Here’s how to cook oat bran:

  1. Boil the liquid. Add 1 cup of water or milk to a pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Stir in the oat bran. Mix in 1/4 cup oat bran and cook it for 5 minutes. The texture should be soft, like porridge. 

8 Different Types of Oats

Different types of oats include rolled, steel-cut, Scottish, instant, and whole oats. Learn more about each type and how to use them.


  • Rolled Oats / Old-Fashioned Oats

  • Steel-Cut Oats / Irish Oats

  • Scottish Oats

  • Quick Oats

  • Instant Oats

  • Whole Oat Groats

  • Oat Flour

  • Oat Bran


  • Select your favorite types of oats.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a delicious recipe in 30 minutes or less!
Types of Oats

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