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You’re not the only person confused by all the different types of oats out there on grocery store shelves. Each is processed in a different way, and this affects the cooking method and time. Here’s our rough guide to the varieties you’re most likely to have in your pantry. They all begin as groats, so we’ll start there:
There may be variations in the thickness of the oat flakes from brand to brand. Remember that swapping one type for another in a recipe may completely alter the result, changing the taste, texture, cooking time and overall consistency.
The kind of oats you choose to have on hand in the pantry will depend on what you most commonly make with oats. If you do a lot of baking, rolled oats or quick-cooking oats are probably the most useful to have around, as they’re the types most commonly called for in recipes.
Regardless of the type, know that oats can and do go stale. They should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. If you’re not going to use up your oats within four months, freeze them in a sealed container.