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Jeruba's avatar

What's Quaker Instant got that regular old Quaker Oats hasn't?

Asked by Jeruba (52943points) June 21st, 2009

Flavor varieties aside, is there any difference between the oatmeal in a packet of Quaker Instant and the oatmeal that comes in a box? Could I just pour a little portion of Quaker Oats right out of the big old familiar red, white, and blue cardboard cylinder into a bowl, add some hot water, and mix up instant oatmeal? Or is there something special about what comes in the little packets?

I tried to figure this out by reading labels and looking at the Quaker website, but I did not find the answer. I’m sure they’d rather have me pay for the convenience of ther little packets.

I suppose someone might say I could just take a scoop of regular oatmeal and try it. And yes, I could. But that wouldn’t satisfy my love of the theoretical, you see, nor would it be an explanation. It would just be a bowl of oatmeal.

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28 Answers

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Old Fashioned oats have to be cooked for about 5 minutes or so while the instant ones are pre processed to cook up with just hot water into a pithy mush mash.

Tink's avatar

Instant you just put hot water and eat it right away
Old fashioned you cook it

Jeruba's avatar

Yes, but why?

augustlan's avatar

I think it’s kind of like parboiling… they’re partially cooked to speed up your cooking time.

DarkScribe's avatar

For some reason what are known as “Steel Cut” oats are reputed to have more nutritional value than any other variety. As as I don’t like them and never eat oats or porridge I have no real opinion.I use them in various forms of cooking though.

Tink's avatar

@Jeruba – Its probably for people on the go, you know in case your in a hurry

Jeruba's avatar

No, I mean why does it cook faster? The oats are dry. They don’t look cooked. How have they been processed? What’s been done? Frozen vegetables are partially cooked, too, but they don’t look raw and fresh.

Tink's avatar

Oh idk about that I’m just a teen :)

augustlan's avatar

Think of it more like instant rice… it doesn’t look any different, either.

augustlan's avatar

Maybe it’s the outer hull that’s gone in the instant.

Jeruba's avatar

Hmm. Instant rice. So how does that work? How can they cook it without getting it wet? Or once they get it wet, how can it keep on looking like that? This is becoming a great mystery.

I am going to have to try it.

What do you suppose would happen if I made oatmeal cookies using quick-cooking oatmeal? Would there be some sort of explosion? That could be interesting too.

augustlan's avatar

Once hulled, oats are comprised of two parts. The bran, and the endosperm (flour). When processing oats for consumption, the endosperm is separated from the bran, and in the case of “instant” oatmeal, the endosperm is then steamed, rolled flat, and the process repeated. The greater the extent of processing, the faster the oats will cook. Source

Edit: So it appears that they aren’t pre-cooked, just more processed.

augustlan's avatar

By the way, if you make exploding oatmeal cookies, I want one! :D

Tink's avatar

Me too!!
But they won’t explode with quick oats :(
I’ve tried them before
Edit: Please leave out the rasins :)

rooeytoo's avatar

I think the consistency of the instant is different than the old fashioned cooked kind. I can’t quite explain the difference but I don’t like the instant nearly as much. And I don’t think it would be properly cooked if you tried to do it quickly like the instant.

I would think the instant would work in cookies. But I am more of an expert at eating cookies, not making them!

mcbealer's avatar

I found cooking times to vary only minutely, about 1 minute or less when cooked in a microwave. I made the mistake of buying the instant kind recently, and have needed to make that adjustment so it cooks to the desired consistency. I also noticed that the old fashioned oatmeal has a coarser, hearty texture once cooked.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

It’s a government conspiracy. Always is.

eambos's avatar

Oatmeal cookies made with instant oats are rather bland. They don’t have as much flavor or texture as the old fashioned ones.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@augustlan Oh don’t even get me started on those..

whatthefluther's avatar

I don’t care…I hate them both. Make mine Cream of Wheat or Cream of Rice; add raisins, brown sugar, butter and milk. Now that is hot cereal!

sanari's avatar

Irish Oats or Scotch Oats or Steel-cut Oats :These are are natural, unrefined oats chopped into 2 to 3 pieces processed with a minimal amount of heat by steel blades and not rolled. They take considerably longer to cook than rolled oats so they are best used for chewy cereals.

Quick Oats : These are oats that have been cut into several pieces before being steamed, rolled and flaked thinly. They cook very quickly (3–5 minutes).

Instant oats : These are made with cut oats, precooked and dried and then rolled. They can be directly mixed with a hot liquid and need no further cooking.


MissAusten's avatar

I used to buy the instant packets to keep around for quick breakfasts, but lately have been buying the “quick” oats in the big container. That way I have oats on hand that I can use in cookies and a quick breakfast option. My kids actually like it better because they can request their own additions. My daughter likes hers with maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon, with a good amount of milk on top. She says it’s much better than the instant variety.

Now I want to try making some cookies with the old fashioned oats. These are our favorites! And they don’t explode.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

On Mondays, I often make a big pot of steel cut oats, adding the sugar, cinnamon, dried fruit, etc. on Monday, and then refrigerate it and microwave bowls full during the week. It tastes so much better than instant or quick oats.

Lupin's avatar

Here’s the difference – measured by a licensed PE. (N=5)
.............................Nominal Flake….......Nominal
............................ diameter mm…........Thickness mm
Old Fashioned….........6.1…......................0.65
(That’s probably why the instant cooks faster.)
The instant has a touch of CaCO3 and other trace vitamins and minerals. (Data from label.)

The geekitude is in rare form today. Probably because I have so much work to do.

Darwin's avatar

@augustlan – How is steaming the endosperm not precooking it? Sounds to me as if they cook it, roll it flat again so it looks uncooked and can dry out again, and then you simply finish the cooking at home.

In any case, I prefer good. old fashioned steel-cut oats.

boffin's avatar

What’s Quaker Instant got that regular old Quaker Oats hasn’t?
Sugar, lots of it!

chyna's avatar

Also Quaker Instant has 80 mg of sodium, regular Quaker has zero.

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