Quick-Cooking Oats


Sometimes basic is better. At breakfast, that can certainly be the case. These easy oatmeal recipes teach you the basic methods so you get creamy, tender oats every time. The flavorings and toppings are up to you.

Prep Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
5 mins
1 cup

Quick-Cooking Oats vs. Rolled Oats

Both quick-cooking oats and rolled oats (sometimes called old-fashioned oats) are oat groats that are steamed and pressed (or rolled) into flakes. Rolled oats are steamed and pressed a little less than quick-cooking oats which helps them retain their texture when they're cooked. The trade-off is that rolled oats take longer to cook than quick-cooking oats, giving quick-cooking oats an edge if you're in a hurry.

Can I Substitute Rolled Oats for Quick Oats?

Generally speaking, rolled oats and quick oats can be used interchangeably in both baking and cooking. If a recipe calls for quick oats and you only have rolled oats on hand, you can pulse the rolled oats in a food processor for a few seconds to break them down into smaller pieces. If you have quick oats on hand and a recipe that calls for rolled oats, you can use quick oats in their place. Just keep in mind that their texture may be less pronounced in baked goods and that you may have to cook rolled oats longer than the time provided in the recipe for stove-top cooking.

Are Oats Gluten-Free?

People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use oats that are labeled "gluten-free," as oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat and barley.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer


  • 1 cup water or low-fat milk

  • Pinch of salt

  • ½ cup quick-cooking oats (see Tip)

  • 1 oz low-fat milk for serving

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons honey, cane sugar or brown sugar for serving

  • Pinch of cinnamon


  1. Stovetop: Combine water (or milk) and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in oats and reduce heat to medium; cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Microwave: Combine water (or milk), salt and oats in a 2-cup microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir before serving.

  3. Serve with your favorite toppings, such as milk, sweetener, cinnamon, dried fruits and nuts.

    Quick-Cooking Oats
    Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Margaret Monroe Dickey, Prop Stylist: Phoebe Hauser

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

150 Calories
3g Fat
27g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 1
Calories 150
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 5g 10%
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Folate 20mcg 5%
Sodium 152mg 7%
Calcium 27mg 2%
Iron 1mg 8%
Magnesium 42mg 10%
Potassium 152mg 3%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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