Oatmeal has been a staple breakfast food almost since time immemorial and continues to be so to this day. It’s an inexpensive food that can be found in just about any grocery store and is versatile enough to mix well with several fruits, sweeteners, milks, nuts, nut butters, and spices, so it’s easy to customize an oatmeal recipe that suits your individual, personal tastes. Oatmeal is also simple and quick to make, and there are many methods of throwing it together, from instant oatmeal to cooking it on the stovetop to overnight preparations. This makes it an incredibly convenient food that you can prepare in the way that best fits your available time, schedule, and resources. Fortunately for anyone who has to switch to a gluten-free diet, oatmeal is quite easily available in a gluten-free form, thanks to the growing awareness of gluten intolerance and an increasing number of gluten-free products. If you’re looking for some gluten-free oatmeal to add to your morning breakfast routine, here are a few we recommend.
Purchasing Gluten-Free Oatmeal
Here are a few things to think about before buying oatmeal:
- Instant vs. Uncooked: Some oatmeal comes premade in cups or packs, while others you’ll have to mix with water and cook yourself. Instant oatmeal is incredibly quick and convenient. All you have to do is heat it in the microwave for a few minutes, and you’ve got a hot and ready breakfast. If it comes in individual cups, you can even easily take it on the go. And the proportions come pre-packed in both forms, which is especially handy if you’re trying to watch your weight. Uncooked oatmeal can be quick and easy to make as well, though you’ll have to add the extra milk or spices or sweeteners yourself. While more time-consuming, this also makes uncooked oatmeal more customizable than instant oats, which are often already mixed with milk or flavors. And uncooked oatmeal can also be measured out and used in other recipes that require oats. So if you’re someone who bakes fairly often, you may prefer regular oatmeal to its premade, instant cousin.
- Flavor: One advantage of premade oatmeal is that it usually comes pre-flavored, saving you further time on busy mornings. Unless you opt for plain and unsweetened instant oatmeal, you’ll want to consider which flavor or flavors you might enjoy. Common options include maple, cinnamon, various berries, apple, brown sugar, raisin, almonds, and vanilla. Blends of two of those flavors, like brown sugar and maple or apple and cinnamon, are also quite common. They also tend to have some sort of milk (usually skim) powder mixed in. Plenty of instant or flavored oatmeal comes in variety packs so that you can try different flavors to see what you like or simply bring some diversity to your breakfast.
- Rolled vs. Steel Cut: If you decide on regular oats instead of instant oatmeal, they’ll likely come in one of two forms, rolled oats or steel cut oats. Rolled oats have gone through a steaming and flattening process, while steel cut oats (also known as Irish oatmeal) are closer to traditional, unprocessed oats. Rolled oats will have a milder flavor and softer texture, while steel cut oats will be chewier and coarser and taste nuttier. And since rolled oats are partially cooked, they’re much faster to prepare than steel cut oats. They’re generally more common, though steel cut oats are hardly rare. There are also quick oats that are not quite the same as instant oats, which are further processed for an even shorter cooking time, softer texture, and milder flavor.
Best Pack: Quaker Gluten-Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Get your money’s worth with this four-pack of gluten-free oats. Each bag holds 24 ounces and is resealable so that the contents stay fresher for longer. The only ingredient is 100% whole grain rolled oats, so you know you’re not putting any strangely named chemicals or preservatives or sweeteners in your body. The whole grains are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, which may benefit your heart, and rich in fiber to help aid in a healthier digestive tract. The oats are non-GMO certified by a third party. Note that while they have been milled to remove extraneous gluten grains and then cleaned, though there may be stray bits of wheat, barley, or rye mixed in. These oats can be made into oatmeal on the stovetop or in the microwave, and since they’re rolled oats, the cooking process won’t take more than a few minutes either way. They can be used in baking as well.
Best Instant Oatmeal: Bakery On Main Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal
This certified gluten-free and kosher instant oatmeal is quick to make and is available in a multitude of flavors. The mixture of gluten-free oats and grains like flax and chia seeds make this oatmeal both nutritious and tasty. You have the choice between seven different flavors, which include classics like maple and strawberry, and there are even unsweetened options if you prefer to customize your oatmeal toppings and flavors yourself. There’s also a variety pack if you’d prefer an assortment of several flavors. Each box contains six single-serving packets, and you can buy these boxes in seven different quantities, from a single box to a package of 50 individual instant oatmeal packets. Unlike some other instant oatmeals, it can be made on the stovetop if you prefer that method over the microwave. All oatmeals are certified kosher as well as gluten-free.
Best Steel Cut Oats: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats
Some people prefer steel cut oats to rolled oats. If you’re one of them, whether because you like the coarser texture or you don’t like super soft oatmeal, you’ll love these gluten-free, 100% whole grain steel cut oats. Great for baking and overnight oatmeal, these steel cut oats are made in a dedicated separate facility and are specially tested to ensure they’re gluten-free. They also happen to be kosher, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly. Each serving adds fiber, iron, and 7 grams of protein to your diet, and the resealable bags keep them fresher for longer. (Unless you order the standard, bulk bag.) You can buy these steel cut oats as a single bag or four-pack, with each bag containing a full pound of oats or in a massive 25-pound bulk quantity.
Also Great: GF Harvest Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
Classic rolled oats that are useful for making both oatmeal and baked goods that require oats. Verified gluten-free, organic, and kosher, these oats are without adding any GMO seed stocks. They’re made of heart-healthy whole grains that will taste more rich and satisfying than the bland, processed oats. Each bag contains 41 ounces (2.56 pounds) of rolled oats, and you can buy one, two, six, or 12 bags at a time. (Note that some quantities offer 20-ounce instead of 41-ounce bags, so make sure you’re buying the correct total amount for your needs.) Besides gluten and wheat, these oats are free of several other common allergens, including peanuts and other nuts. All the fields, mills, and production lines these oats are produced on are gluten-free for your safety. They can be soaked before cooking for even faster cook times if desired.