Oats are a nutritious pantry staple that are good to keep on hand for baking, breakfasts and even burgers. But since recipes call for specific types, it helps to familiarize oneself with the different varieties out there. So we've created a little cheat sheet to help you keep your oats straight!
First, it helps to know that oats are usually processed one of two ways: coarsely chopped and left un-flattened (oat groats). Or steamed to soften and then flattened into flakes (rolled oats). Using either of these methods, the following varieties are made.
Steel-cut oats are also sold as Irish oats. The husks are removed and the oats are chopped but not flattened. They take longer to cook than rolled oats, but their chewy texture makes them a favourite for a hearty porridge. They can also be prepared like other grains - steamed or boiled - and served as a side dish or used in a stuffing.
Scottish oats are whole oat groats that have been coarsely ground in a stone mill. As cooked oatmeal, they have a softer texture than steel-cut oats, and are used in baking for added texture.
Instant oats are rolled oats that have been par-cooked before rolling. They are perfect for smooth porridges, but not ideal for baking because they tend to turn to mush.
Quick-cooking oats, also rolled oats, have been cut into pieces before being flattened. They're small in size and cook quickly, making them a good choice for breakfast cereal. They can be used interchangeable with large-flaked oats (see below) in many recipes, but are favoured for cookies as the result is a more uniform texture.
Large-flaked or old-fashioned oats are the largest of the rolled oats and have a thick texture that makes them good for topping fruit crisps. Their crunch stands up best to moisture in baking.
Stock your pantry with nutritious oats so you'll be able to make these delicious recipes:
Blueberry Oatmeal Squares
Fruity Breakfast Crisp
Gluten-Free Fruity Oat Muffins
Maple Apple and Blueberry Crisp
Maple Baked Oatmeal
Tropical Granola Clusters with Brazil Nuts
Mixed Grain Breakfast Pudding
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Rhubarb Banana Crumble
Mini Turkey Cheeseburgers
Sunflower Seed Granola Bars