The different types of oats

Do you know your pinhead from your jumbo, or your oatmeal from your rolled?

Here's an explanation of the different types of oats to ensure you're oat-savvy next time you hit the shops.

  • Steel cut (pinhead) oats

These are whole oats that have simply been cut into two or three pieces by steel cutters to produce rough, coarse oatmeal.

Uses: use for oatcakes and the traditional way of making porridge.

  • Jumbo rolled oats/flakes

These are whole oats that have been softened with steam and then flattened between rollers to produce flakes.

Uses: use raw in muesli, or to make thick, textured porridge.

  • Rolled oats

These are steel cut (also known as pinhead) oats (oats that are cut into two or three pieces) that have been softened with steam and then rolled to produce flakes. They are smaller than jumbo flakes therefore, so cook quicker and make a finer, smoother porridge.

Uses: tend to be used for the single-serve sachet products found in supermarkets. Use a mix of jumbo and rolled oats to make biscuits, oatcakes, cereal bars or flapjacks.

  • Oatmeal

This is made by using grooved rolls to break up the oats to produce different grades of oatmeal, from coarse oatmeal (steel cut/pinhead oats), to medium or fine oatmeal. Until rolled oats were introduced, porridge was traditionally made with oatmeal. It takes longer to cook and usually has a much thicker texture compared to rolled oats.

Uses: use for biscuits, oatcakes, scones and crumble toppings.

  • Oat flour

Finer than oatmeal, this is made by grinding and sieving oats. As with oatmeal, the flour can be coarse, medium or fine.

Uses: use for making bread or cakes.