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What's the Difference: Rolled, Steel-Cut and Instant

How is each variety made and is one healthier than another? 

All oats are healthy regardless of the different levels of processing for each. We're talking plain oats right now-- oatmeal mixes (like our own) vary on nutrition based on ingredients used, sugar content, etc.  The cooking times and textures will vary the most while the taste will largely depend on the source. 

Each variety is made from whole oat groats, which kinda looks like rice. Here's the rundown on processing, preparation, texture and best uses:

Rolled Oats:

  • Milled, steamed and rolled into flakes, hence the name "rolled oats".
  • Preparation: Use a 1:2 ratio for the rolled oats and milk. Bring them to a boil and stir for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Texture: Creamy and slightly chewy
  • Best use: hot oatmeal, granola, raw muesli, overnight oatmeal, baked oatmeal

Steel-Cut Oats:

  • Milled, steamed and cut into small pieces. 
  • Preparation: Use a 1:3ratio for the rolled oats and milk. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Texture: chewy, al dente
  • Best use: hot oatmeal, granola

Instant Oats (aka Quick Cooking):

  • Milled, steamed, rolled and cut into small pieces. Since these are made the smallest, they cook extremely fast and are perfect for a quick meal.
  • Preparing: Add boiling water to cover the oats by 1/2 inch and soak for 3 minutes or add cold water/milk and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it or it could overflow.
  • Texture: largely depends on exactly how it is processed. Majority of the instant oats have a gummy, "wall-paste" texture. At Mylk Labs, we have our oats custom made for us so even though we use instant oats, they are rolled extremely thick for a chewy yet creamy texture. Imagine a hybrid between steel-cut and instant oats... YUM.
  • Best use: hot oatmeal, oatmeal muffin, oat flour, baking

Extra: Oat Flour

  • Since we touched base on oat flour above, it's essentially the same process as instant oats but instead, it's blitzed into fine flour for baking purposes.
  • Texture: hearty, dense
  • Best use: muffins, pancakes, baked goods

Ready to enjoy oats this week? Shop our oatmeal cups to enjoy as-is or make one of these delicious recipes on our blog.

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