The Difference Between Oats And Oatmeal (Rolled, Steel-Cut)

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Do you know the difference between oats and oatmeal?

Most people use these words interchangeably, but there is actually a difference between the two that makes them unique!

Both are a popular breakfast choice among many as they are both nourishing and filling, but there is a specific reason why you might choose one over the other.

In this blog post, I will discuss what oats are and what oatmeal is and take a closer look at their individual characteristics.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

The Difference Between Oats And Oatmeal

The difference between oats and oatmeal mainly comes down to how the oats are processed. Oats are a type of grain that is simply harvested and then cleaned, without any additional steps. Oatmeal on the other hand is made by taking the oats and grinding them into a powder.

Both oats and oatmeal are a great breakfast choice because they will generally keep you feeling full until lunchtime.

However, oatmeal is a lot quicker to prepare than oats because it doesn’t require any soaking, so in my opinion it’s an easy choice to make.

You just have to add water or (plant-based) milk, microwave for a few minutes, optionally add some toppings you love and you’re good to go!

Another way to prepare them is by cooking them on the stove top.

Oats, on the other hand, have a harder outer shell and need to be soaked in water overnight before you can cook them.

Once they are soaked, they can be boiled for about 20 minutes or until they reach the desired consistency.


Oats can be used in a variety of recipes, both sweet and savory. Oatmeal is mostly used as a breakfast food, but there are plenty of recipes that you can use oatmeal in for lunch or even dinner too!

Some of my personal favorite examples are oatmeal raisin cookies, a savory oatmeal with eggs and vegetables, or an overnight oats recipe!

I love to use both oats and oatmeal as ingredients in my recipes because they are not only good for me but also really filling, and delicious when prepared the right way.

Also, if you’re someone who likes to meal prep, overnight oats are a great option because you can make them ahead of time and they’ll last in the fridge for a few days.

On top of that, overnight oats can offer a great variety from your regular breakfast routine as both the taste, texture and temperature are different than what you’re probably used to.

The Difference Between Rolled Oats And Oatmeal

The difference between rolled oats and oatmeal is that rolled oats are whole grain oats that have been flattened, while oatmeal is made from ground up oats. Rolled oats are a bit better than oatmeal as they contain more fibre, but oatmeal is a lot easier to prepare.

The Difference Between Steel Cut Oats And Oatmeal

The difference between steel cut oats and oatmeal mostly comes down to the texture. Steel cut oats are chopped into smaller pieces than regular oats, and they have a more chewy texture. Oatmeal is made from ground up oats, so it has a smoother texture.

steel cut oats
steel cut oats

The Difference Between White Oats And Oatmeal

When it comes down to the difference between white oats and oatmeal, white oats are just regular oats that have been processed to remove the hull and bran, while oatmeal is made from ground up oats. This means that white oats contain less fibre than oatmeal.

The Difference Between Quick Or Instant Oats And Oatmeal

The difference between quick or instant oats and oatmeal is that quick or instant oats have been pre-cooked and then dried, while oatmeal is made from ground oats. This means that instant or quick oats are generally a lot faster and easier to prepare than oatmeal.

The Difference Between Whole Grain Oats And Oatmeal

When it comes to the difference between whole grain oats and oatmeal, whole grain oats are just regular oats that have the hull and bran left on, while oatmeal is made from milled oats. This generally means that whole grain oats contain a bit more fibre than oatmeal.

Which Is Better Oats Or Oatmeal?

When it comes down to which is better; oats or oatmeal, I would have to say that they are both great options! Oats offer a bit more fibre than oatmeal, but oatmeal is much easier to prepare. Both are really filling and delicious, so it just depends on what you’re looking for in a breakfast food.

Even though oats and oatmeal are basically the same thing when it comes down to the ingredients, oats do contain a little bit more fibre than oatmeal.

This is due to the way oatmeal is processed. Oatmeal is made by grinding the oats into a powder, which takes away some of the fibre.

However, oatmeal still contains a good amount of fibre and is generally a better breakfast choice than most other foods that people eat for breakfast such as cereal or croissants (I do still like myself some baked goods for breakfast at times though!).

If you’re looking for a food that will keep you feeling full for a long time, oats or oatmeal are both great options.

Using Oatmeal Instead Of Oats

If a recipe requires oats and you happen to only have oatmeal lying around the kitchen, you can use oatmeal as a substitute. As oatmeal is just ground up oats, it will work just fine in most recipes. The texture may be a little different, but it will still taste great!

Some examples of recipes where oats are often required and can be easily substituted with oatmeal are:

  • a breakfast bowl with oats, nuts, and dried fruit
  • an overnight oats recipe
  • a granola bar recipe
  • a trail mix recipe
  • a breakfast cookie recipe
  • a smoothie bowl recipe
  • a chia pudding recipe
breakfast bowl

Just be sure to check the measurements in the recipe, as oatmeal may not need as much liquid or wet ingredients as oats would.

Generally, one cup of oatmeal equals about two cups of oats.

The next time you’re in the kitchen, why not try using oatmeal in a recipe that calls for oats? You may be surprised at how well it turns out!

Other Questions You May Have

Can I make oat flour from whole oats?

You can make oat flour from whole oats by grinding them in a food processor or blender. Oat flour is a great gluten-free alternative to wheat flour and can be used in a variety of recipes.

What are some different ways to eat oats?

Oats can be eaten as a hot cereal, in granola bars, or as a topping for yogurt or smoothie bowls. They can also be used in baked goods like muffins and cookies.

What is the best way to cook oats?

The best way to cook oats depends on the type of oats you are using. Steel-cut oats require a longer cook time, while quick-cooking oats can be made in just a few minutes. Adding fresh fruit and brown sugar can also enhance the flavor.

Are oats a gluten-free food?

While oats themselves are gluten-free, they can sometimes be contaminated with gluten during the manufacturing process. If you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, it is important to look for certified gluten-free oats.

What are the different varieties of oats?

The different varieties of oats include steel-cut oats, old-fashioned oats, quick-cooking oats, Irish oats, Scottish oats, whole oat groats, oat bran, and oat kernels.

What is the difference between whole oat groats and other types of oats? 

Whole oat groats are the whole kernel of the oat, while other types of oats have been processed in some way. Whole oat groats have the longest cook time and a chewier texture.

Can oats be eaten raw? 

While oats can be eaten raw, they are often more palatable when cooked. Raw oats can be added to smoothies or used in granola bars.

What is the difference between porridge and oatmeal?

Porridge is a type of hot cereal made from any type of grain, while oatmeal specifically refers to a type of porridge made from oats.

What are the best toppings to add to a bowl of oatmeal? 

Fresh fruit, brown sugar, and nuts are all great toppings to add to a bowl of oatmeal. You can also add your own toppings, such as honey or cinnamon, to enhance the flavor.

In Conclusion

The main difference between oats and oatmeal is the way they are processed. Oats are whole and oatmeal is ground up oats.

Oats and oatmeal are both great breakfast options that will help keep you feeling full until lunchtime.

Oatmeal is a bit easier to prepare than oats, but they both have almost the same composition. The only difference is that oats tend to contain a bit more fibre than oatmeal.

If you only have oatmeal on hand, don’t worry! You can use it as a substitute in most recipes that require oats!

Some common examples for (breakfast) recipes in which you can substitute oatmeal for regular oats are overnight oats, a breakfast bowl, or a smoothie bowl.

Do you have a favourite recipe that uses oats or oatmeal? Let me know in the comments below!

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