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Oatmeal

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2000

With so many available styles, which type of oatmeal should you reach for?

Even with so many oats from which to choose, we found only one that was just right for our ideal bowl of oatmeal. Making hot oatmeal from steel-cut oats took considerably longer than with regular rolled oats (about 25 to 30 minutes total), but the outcome was very much worth the wait. The hot cereal had a faint nutty flavor, and while its consistency was surprisingly creamy, it was also toothsome; there was a firm core to the soft oat granules that whimsically popped between your teeth when chewed.

CookedUncooked
Oat GroatsThe whole oat hulled and cleaned.The flavor is reminiscent of brown rice.
Steel-Cut OatsGroats cut into a few pieces.These make for a creamy yet toothsome hot cereal with a nutty essence.
Rolled OatsAlso known as old-fashioned or regular.These American-style oats make a drab bowl of oatmeal.
Quick OatmealThese are rolled extra-thin.Cooked, these are flavorless and quick to cool into a flabby paste-like consistency.
Instant OatmealPrecooked rolled oats.These make a cereal that resembles gelled chaff.