Home » Nutrition » Rolled Oats vs Quick Oats – What’s the Difference?
by Hannah Magee, RD on Apr 27, 2022 7 comments »
Are you wondering what the difference is between rolled oats vs. quick oats? You’ve come to the right place! As a Registered Dietitian, I’m breaking down how they’re made, the nutritional differences between rolled oats and quick oats, and the best uses for these two types of oats.
Do you know the difference between your oats?
There are a variety of oats available, and sometimes they even go by different names. There’s rolled oats or old fashioned oats, large flake oats, quick oats, instant oats, and steel cut oats. It’s definitely a challenge to keep them straight and to understand what their differences are.
In this post, we’ll look at the differences between rolled oats vs. quick oats, including:
- how they’re processed
- how they taste
- their nutrition facts, in order to answer the question “which one is healthier?”
Rolled Oats vs Quick Oats
What Are Rolled Oats?
Rolled oats, also known as old fashioned oats, start out whole (as all oats do) with the grain and the husk in tact. The husk is the covering that encases each grain. This gets removed, and the remaining product is called the oat groats.
The groats are steamed and flattened between heavy rollers (hence the name rolled oats) then dried in a kiln. This drying process adds flavour and stabilizes the healthy oils in the oats by deactivating an enzyme that can cause the oats to go rancid.
Old fashioned oats are the most common type of oats found around the world.
What are Quick Oats?
Quick oats also start out whole with the grain and husk in tact. To produce quick-cooking oats, the same process of removing the husk followed by steaming and flattening the oat groats occurs.
In this case the groats are steamed for a longer period of time before rolling, and when they are rolled, the rollers are closer together creating a thinner oat product. These thin oat pieces are also cut up which creates more surface area for faster cooking.
Because they’re cooked longer and rolled thinner and smaller in the manufacturing process, quick oats cook more quickly (which is why they’re called quick oats) than rolled oats do.
What’s the Difference Between Rolled Oats and Quick Oats?
Rolled oats are steamed for a shorter period of time and rolled into larger, thicker flakes. Quick oats require more processing to produce, as they are steamed for a longer period of time and rolled then cut into thinner, smaller flakes.
Because of their smaller size, quick oats have a greater surface area and can absorb liquid more quickly than rolled oats, thus cooking faster when preparing dishes like oatmeal or porridge. And because rolled oats are larger and thicker, they will take a bit longer to cook and/or absorb liquids.
Rolled Oats vs Quick Oats Nutrition:
Rolled oats vs. quick oats – which is healthier?
Despite the differences in processing, there are marginal nutritional differences between rolled oats and quick oats. Plain rolled oats and plain quick oats contain similar amounts of nutrients like fat and protein, with very slight differences in carbohydrates, fibre, and calories. Quick oats do have a slightly higher glycemic index compared to rolled.
This table provides a nutritional breakdown of rolled oats vs quick oats per 1/2 cup serving:
Rolled Oats vs Quick Oats Glycemic Index
According to the International Glycemic Index Database, rolled oats have a glycemic index score of 59, while quick oats have a glycemic index of 66. Both 59 and 66 fall within the medium glycemic index range.
Because quick oats have a higher GI, they can raise your blood glucose levels slightly quicker compared to rolled oats. This is due to the smaller size of the oats.
What to Keep in Mind:
If you aren’t familiar with glycemic index, it is a scale of 0 to 100 that ranks the effects of carbohydrate-containing foods based on how much they raise your blood sugars. The higher the glycemic index, the higher a food can raise your blood sugars.
Regarding quick cooking oats, remember that individual packets of quick oats may contain added sugars and salt for flavouring, which may alter the nutrition information and glycemic index as well. Read the ingredients list, and know that the table above lists the nutrition facts for plain whole grain oats.
How to Use Rolled Oats and Quick Oats:
Can I Use Quick Oats Instead of Rolled Oats?
Generally you can use rolled oats and quick oats interchangeably in recipes like baked goods and smoothies, though there may be some slight texture differences. Same goes for your morning bowl of oatmeal, although quick oats will of course cook more quickly as they absorb liquid and soften more easily.
When it comes to recipes like overnight oats, rolled oats and quick oats are not interchangeable.
Can I use Rolled Oats for Overnight Oats?
Here at Hannah Magee RD, we share all kinds of simple and nutritious oats recipes, including overnight oats.
Because quick oats absorb more liquid than rolled oats, they are more likely to become soggy in overnight oats where the oats are sitting in liquid like milk and yogurt overnight. I have made overnight oats using quick oats before. The taste is usually good, but they do tend to be more on the soggy side.
Rolled oats are perfect for overnight oats. Due to their larger size and thickness, they tend to absorb just the right amount of liquid for a creamy but still chewy overnight oats texture.
Both rolled oats and quick oats are versatile, affordable and highly nutritious sources of whole grains. Rolled oats tend to be slightly higher in nutrients like fibre and protein, and have a slightly lower glycemic index compared to quick oats. This is due to the higher amounts of processing that quick oats undergo.
Rolled oats are quick oats are interchangeable in many recipes, but not so much in recipes like overnight oats. Overall, both are healthy choices, but I tend to choose rolled oats more often and save quick oats for those times when I really need something quick!
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published on Apr 27, 2022
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7 comments on “Rolled Oats vs Quick Oats – What’s the Difference?”
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Gordon Collis —Reply
Your nutrition chart shows rolled oats have 1 gm sugar vs quick oats have 0 gm sugar… Suspect this is an error… as the processing should not destroy nor add sugar
Actually, I looked at the packaging, and quick oats have 1 g of sugar, while old-fashioned — none; why, I do not know. So, it looks like the author’s data is a mistake, but so is yours :).
- (Video) Is Oatmeal Good for Weight Loss? | WEIGHT LOSS WEDNESDAY - Episode: 176
Judging by the packaging, it is the opposite — quick oats have 1 g of sugar, while old-fashioned — none.
Venkata Sudireddy —Reply
Which Oats is better for type 2 diabetes person for eat .
Hannah Magee —Reply
Hi Venkata, either quick or rolled oats would be suitable, however rolled oats do have a slightly lower glycemic index (resulting in a slower rise in blood sugar). Both quick and rolled oats fall under the ‘medium’ glycemic index range.
I enjoyed reading this post, I am a huge lover of oats. Thank you so much Hannah,
Hannah Magee —Reply
Thanks Temidayo – I’m so happy it was helpful!
Leave a Reply
Which is healthier rolled oats or quick oats? ›
Rolled oats tend to be slightly higher in nutrients like fibre and protein, and have a slightly lower glycemic index compared to quick oats. This is due to the higher amounts of processing that quick oats undergo.Why use rolled oats instead of quick oats? ›
In terms of your morning bowl of oatmeal, yes, rolled oats and quick oats are interchangeable. However, rolled oats are better for baking and cooking because they retain their texture better than quick oats. This makes them the ideal addition to baked goods like my autumn granola breakfast cookies.What is the healthiest type of oatmeal? ›
Steel-cut oats, also called Irish oatmeal, are the whole oat kernel that has been cut into two or three pieces using steel disks. This type of oats contains the highest amount of fiber, as it is least processed.Which is easier to digest rolled oats or quick oats? ›
Health Benefits of Quick Oats
Although the nutrition content is similar to rolled oats, quick oats may impact blood sugar differently. Instant oats are quicker to digest and have a higher glycemic index than steel cut oats.
Contrary to popular belief, instant oats have the same nutritional benefits of regular oats. The biggest problem with instant varieties? All those flavored options can be bursting with added sugar! Many of your favorite flavored brand will set you back at least 3 to 4 teaspoons of added sugar per serving.Are old fashioned oats more nutritious than quick oats? ›
There aren't any major differences in the nutrition benefits of the three types of oats. All forms of oats are 100% whole grain, a good source of fiber and have the same nutritional information – same calories, fiber and protein per serving.Are steel-cut oats healthier than rolled oats? ›
Metric per metric, rolled oats and steel cut oats are almost the same when it comes to nutritional value. However, steel cut oats beat out rolled oats in two areas, fiber content and density, which make steel cut oats the best bang for your nutritional buck.Which type of oats is best for weight loss? ›
If you are particularly trying to shed kilos, steel-cut oats are better as they contain a high amount of fiber. The fiber content in it can keep you fuller for a longer time and control cravings for unhealthy food items. Eating fiber-rich food also improves the count of healthy gut bacteria.Do oats spike blood sugar? ›
Oatmeals have a low glycemic index of about 55. It means that consuming oatmeal does not cause sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. In addition, oatmeals are high in fibre content and help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels and fulfil the daily ideal fibre intake.What type of oatmeal is easiest to digest? ›
Oatmeal. Is oatmeal easy to digest? You'll want to stay away from packaged instant oatmeal because of the amount of added sugar, but oatmeal made from raw oats and flavoured with honey is one of the most easily digested foods out there. It's also one of the most nutritious whole grains.
Which oatmeal is best for digestion? ›
According to Burak, steel-cut oats are beneficial to your gut health because they act as prebiotics and contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which are both good for your gut.Is it good to eat oatmeal everyday? ›
Yes, it is good to eat oatmeal every day considering its nutritional profile and health benefits, including weight control and heart-healthy effect. As a breakfast food and mid-meal snack, oatmeal is potentially a better option than the majority of foods available in the market.Why are steel cut oats better than quick oats? ›
Steel-cuts and rolled oats have a lower glycemic index than quick oats, potentially making them the best choices for blood sugar control.What oatmeal doesn't cause gas? ›
Choose Whole Grains: If you're buying pre-packaged oats, opt for whole grain versions instead of processed ones as they contain more fiber and nutrients which can help prevent gas after eating oatmeal.Are quick 1 minute oats the same as rolled oats? ›
Quick oats are steamed longer and rolled into thinner flakes, then cut into small pieces. Because quick cooking rolled oats have a greater surface area, they can absorb liquid more quickly, which makes for a faster cook time and a softer texture. Rolled oats take longer to fully cook and absorb liquid.What happens when you eat quick oats everyday? ›
Benefits include lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, protection against skin irritation, and reduced constipation. In addition, they are very filling and have many properties that should make them a food helpful for weight loss. At the end of the day, oats are among the nutrient-dense foods you can eat.Why are quick oats less healthy? ›
"They are all actually identical in terms of their nutrition. The difference is how they are rolled and cut." However, Price added that since instant oats are the most processed option, they generally have salt and added sugars. "This puts them on the lower end of the healthy spectrum, but they're still healthy."Are quick oats anti inflammatory? ›
Another common benefit of choosing oatmeal for breakfast is that it can help you lower inflammation. It isn't a miracle food that will remove your inflammation instantly, but it can be consumed as a part of a well-balanced diet and can help contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle.Are Quaker old-fashioned oats healthy? ›
Old-fashioned oatmeal provides many nutrients, including carbohydrate, protein and a small amount of natural fat. Because it contains the oat germ, it is rich in minerals, such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.What's the difference between Quaker old-fashioned oats and quick oats? ›
Quaker® Old Fashioned Oats are whole oats that are rolled to flatten them. Quaker® Steel Cut Oats are whole oats that have not been rolled into flakes. Instead, they are cut approximately into thirds. Quick Quaker® Oats are simply cut into slightly smaller pieces so they cook faster.
Why are quick oats cheaper? ›
Because quick oats are sold in a bulkier fashion, they're often cheaper. Instant oats often have preservatives and additives and can come in a variety of flavors, from Maple Brown Sugar to seasonal Pumpkin Spice. Quick oats have only one ingredient– oats– and don't usually come in flavored options.
- Nature's Path Organic Hot Oatmeal: Original. ...
- Purely Elizabeth Original Ancient Grain Oatmeal. ...
- Qi'a Superfood Chia, Buckwheat, & Hemp Cereal. ...
- McCann's Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal. ...
- Wildway Grain-Free Instant Hot Cereal. ...
- Oat Groats. ...
- Steel Cut Oats. ...
- Scottish Oats.
Due to their density, steel-cut oats are cooked with a higher ratio of liquid than rolled oats. They yield a larger portion, meaning you can eat less oats and consume fewer calories. Steel-cut oats take longer to digest, helping you to stay full longer and causing less of a rise in blood sugar.Are steel cut oats anti inflammatory? ›
“Eating whole grain oats can prevent diabetes and lower cholesterol levels, which could prevent cardiovascular disease.” Some studies show that oats have anti-inflammatory effects, Sang says, “which could prevent inflammation related to chronic disease.”Can oatmeal help you lose belly fat? ›
Oats for weight loss
Oats are super rich in fibre content, which helps you remain full and prevent overeating and binge-eating. Proteins keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent insulin spikes that may lead to fat storage. Oats are super low in calories, making them great for aiding weight loss.
"Whole grain oats contain soluble fiber which helps to lower cholesterol," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and a member of our medical expert board. "Steel-cut oats, in particular, can help to lower cholesterol and are high in soluble fiber."Which oats is best for cholesterol? ›
Whole-grain oats: Best bet for lowering cholesterol - Harvard Health.Why is my blood sugar high after eating oatmeal? ›
Eating oatmeal can spike blood sugar levels if you choose instant oatmeal with added sugar or consume too much at once. Oatmeal may negatively affect health in those with gastroparesis, a health condition that causes delayed gastric emptying.Why does oatmeal raise my blood sugar so high? ›
But this convenience means your body breaks down both types of oats quickly, which means the carbohydrates in the oats are more rapidly converted to glucose and absorbed. That can lead to a spike in blood sugar.What oats don't spike blood sugar? ›
Steel-cut oats are best for type 2 diabetes because they are the least-processed version of oat groats. “Rolled oats have a higher GI than steel-cut oats as they actually have been partially cooked, making them increase your blood sugar faster,” says Kaufman.
What is the purest form of oatmeal? ›
Groats are the purest form of oatmeal. They are made from hulled grains, which are then toasted to make them more edible. Groats are considered the healthiest oatmeal because they go through very little processing. Because the grains are still whole, nutrients stay intact.Are Steel-cut oats harder to digest than rolled oats? ›
Steel-cut oats have a GI score of about 53, and rolled oats — of about 57. Steel-cut oats may take longer to digest, reducing spikes in blood sugar. Both oat types are better choices than other forms, such as instant oats, which have a GI of about 83.What is the most oatmeal eaten in one sitting? ›
The most porridge/oatmeal eaten in one minute is 557 g (1 lb 3.64 oz) and was achieved by Andre Ortolf (Germany), in Augsburg, Germany, on 4 August 2021.Is oatmeal good for colon? ›
Every time you eat a bowl of oats, they get busy feeding your body fiber, and fiber can help keep things moving through your colons and intestines. And that's great – because you definitely want to make sure that colon is chugging along.What oatmeal is best for IBS? ›
Certain grains: Gluten-free oatmeal and brown rice are usually well-received by people with IBS and provide soluble fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements.What happens to your gut when you eat oatmeal? ›
"Oats contain a special type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan," says Michalczyk. "Beta-glucan forms a gel-like consistency in the gut and helps to keep things moving in your digestive tract and keep you regular." This helps with bulking up your stool, making it easier for your bowel movement later.Why do people put salt in oatmeal? ›
Salt brings out the nuttiness in oatmeal, and as it cooks it develops a warm, toasty flavor.How many times a week should you eat oatmeal? ›
People should start with oatmeal two to four times a week and work their way up to daily servings, he says. It may be beneficial to have a large glass of water with oatmeal to help move the fiber through the GI tract to reduce bloating and stomach pain.Which oats is best for protein? ›
Steel-cut oats are a power food. Packed with protein, a bowl of this wholesome oats can help in giving you extra energy to sustain throughout the day.Are quick cook steel-cut oats still healthy? ›
Steel cut oats are rich in protein and fiber, improving fullness and helping to provide the macronutrient building blocks of a healthy diet. They are also an excellent source of: Vitamin B Complex. Iron.
Should steel-cut oats be rinsed before cooking? ›
Cover and leave in a warm area of your kitchen for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse before cooking.What digestive problems can oats cause? ›
Oats can cause gas and bloating. To minimize side effects, start with a low dose and increase slowly to the desired amount. Your body will get used to oat bran and the side effects will likely go away.Is oatmeal hard on the digestive system? ›
Oats can be a fantastic gut-friendly food as part of a healthy, varied diet. Here are four of their digestion-boosting benefits. Most simple of all, the high fibre content of oats helps us have regular and healthy bowel movements. To a nutritionist, this means at leastone easy bowel movement a day…Does oatmeal cause intestinal gas? ›
Whole grains such as wheat and oats contain fiber, raffinose, and starch. All of these are broken down by bacteria in the large intestine, which leads to gas.What happens if you use quick oats instead of rolled oats? ›
If quick-cooking oats are used in a recipe in place of old-fashioned rolled oats, the texture will be different, but that will probably matter very little in most recipes. You can also make oat flour, or ground oats, from oats.Is it OK to eat quick oats everyday? ›
Yes, it is good to eat oatmeal every day considering its nutritional profile and health benefits, including weight control and heart-healthy effect. As a breakfast food and mid-meal snack, oatmeal is potentially a better option than the majority of foods available in the market.Which oats is best for stomach? ›
According to Burak, steel-cut oats are beneficial to your gut health because they act as prebiotics and contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which are both good for your gut.What is the fastest way to eat oats to lose weight? ›
Phase 1: Eat oatmeal for three meals for one week. Eat whole oats instead of instant oats. You can add some fruits to oats during this phase. Phase 2: During the second week, you need to eat oats for at least one or two meals in a day with healthy low-fat options for the rest of the meals.Can I eat oatmeal 3 times a day and lose weight? ›
Eating oatmeal 3 times a day may help you lose weight. Oats are filling and low in calories, so they can be beneficial for those trying to lose or maintain their weight. Additionally, oats contain soluble fiber which helps to reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation in the body.When should I eat oats morning or evening? ›
There is no particular time to eat oats. You can consume the oats at lunch and dinner too. This cereal, however, is consumed in breakfast mostly. It contains fiber, magnesium, complex carbohydrates, etc, which help in keeping your tummy full for a longer time, thus, reducing overeating.
Are quick oats too processed? ›
Also referred to as quick oats, instant oats are the most processed of the three oat varieties. They are pre-cooked, dried, and then rolled and pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats. They cook more quickly than steel-cut or rolled oats, but retain less of their texture, and often cook up mushy.What can I put on my oatmeal to avoid glucose spikes? ›
Protein or healthy fat: Enjoy oats with a protein or healthy fat such as eggs, nut butter, or Greek yogurt. Adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds can add protein and healthy fat, which can help stabilize your blood sugar.Is oatmeal good for A1c? ›
A modified diet with β-glucan from oats was reported to be superior to the American Diabetic Association's diet in improving metabolic and anthropometric profiles in well controlled type 2 diabetic patients: larger decreases in glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), weight and body mass index (BMI); greater increase in ...Do oats need to be washed? ›
Make sure that you are rinsing them well. People tend to skip this step, but from my personal experience, I find rinsing them well omits this. It also helps in washing away the sticky starch that can make oats gummy.Which type of oats are easiest to digest? ›
Oatmeal. Is oatmeal easy to digest? You'll want to stay away from packaged instant oatmeal because of the amount of added sugar, but oatmeal made from raw oats and flavoured with honey is one of the most easily digested foods out there. It's also one of the most nutritious whole grains.Is oatmeal and bananas a good breakfast? ›
Oatmeal and Banana Combination
Both oatmeal and bananas contain soluble and insoluble fiber, each of which helps you maintain proper bowel health. Soluble fiber also helps lower your cholesterol level, so increasing the amount in your breakfast by adding a banana to your oatmeal is a healthy choice.