Quick oats vs rolled oats? If you’ve ever made oatmeal raisin cookies or homemade granola bars you’ve probably wondered what type of oatmeal to use, why it matters, or if you can just leave out the oats altogether. Learn all about baking with oats, and why oats are such an important ingredient in so many recipes.
Whether you’re making apple crisp or oatmeal cookies – choosing the right kind of oats will make a big difference in how your recipe will turn out. Whenever I post a recipe with oats, I always get a ton of questions about substitutions and modifications. So I figured it was time to sit down and talk ALL about baking with oats. Including substitutions, weights, what types of oats to use in baking, and everything in between.
So why not sit down, grab an oatmeal cookie, and let’s get started.
What Do Oats do in Baking?
Oats provide texture and support in baked goods. They also add a delicious, almost nutty flavor. Because they’re whole grain, they’re also often added to baked goods as a healthier ingredient.
Type of Oats
There are many different kinds of oatmeal to choose from when baking. Most recipes will opt for a variety of rolled oats – either old-fashioned oats or quick oats.
Sometimes called large flake oats or simply rolled oats, old-fashioned oats have been steamed and then rolled flat. They create a chewy texture in baking. Old-fashioned oats are often used in fruit crumbles because they provide more texture and larger crumbles. They also add more of a nutty flavor.
Quick oats are rolled oats that have been steamed, rolled flat and then cut into smaller pieces. They’re more uniform in size than large flake oats, and as the name suggests, when making oatmeal they cook more quickly because they’re smaller. Some recipes call for quick oats because they’re more uniform in size. They provide less texture than large flake oats.
Instant oats are rolled oats that are cut into even smaller pieces than quick oats and often come in small envelopes to cook in the microwave. They’re called instant oats because they cook extremely quickly. They are much finer in texture, and therefore behave more like flour instead of oatmeal in baking. Therefore – they should not be substituted for quick oats or old-fashioned oats in baking.
Steel-cut oats are oats that have not been steamed and rolled, but simply cut. They are hard and crunchy. While cooked steel-cut oats are delicious for breakfast, they are not recommended for baking unless a recipe specifically calls for them. Steel-cut oats are also sometimes called Irish oats.
Weights and Measurements
- 1 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats weighs 90 grams or 3.17 ounces
- 1 cup uncooked quick oats weighs 90 grams or 3.17 ounces
- 1 cup uncooked instant oats weighs 120 grams or 4.23 ounces
- 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats weighs 200 grams or 7.05 ounces
I don’t like oats, can I leave them out? Unless specifically stated, oats should not be omitted from a recipe. They provide structure and texture and absorb some of the liquid in a recipe. A recipe, such as oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, would be too buttery and liquid-y if the oats are omitted.
Can I substitute flour for the oats? I do not recommend substituting flour for oats. Oats provide texture and flavor, whereas flour primarily absorbs liquid and provides structure. If you substitute flour for oats the recipe will be too dry and crumbly.
Are old-fashioned oats and quick interchangeable? Sometimes. Always follow the recipe instructions. In many recipes, substituting old-fashioned oats for quick oats or quick oats for old-fashioned oats using a 1:1 ratio will be ok.
Are oats gluten-free? Oats are naturally gluten-free. However, it’s important to check the packaging as cross-contamination is possible as many oats are produced in facilities containing gluten.
And if you’re looking for delicious recipes with oats – make sure to try:
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- Apple Crisp
- Berry Crumble Bars
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp