Skip to Content

The 10 Best Substitutes for Quick Oats in a Recipe

If your recipe calls for quick oats and you have none, all hope is not lost. Here are several substitutes that can work well in almost any recipe.

1. Coconut Chips

Raw organic coconut flakes in a bowl for baking

For no-bake recipes, you can substitute quick oats with coconut chips. The larger the coconut pieces, the more texture, so shredded coconut won’t cut it. What you want are those long and wide coconut flakes.

Swap oats with coconut chips in a one-to-one ratio and, voila—a different yet equally delicious outcome. You can use the chips as-is or toast them to add more flavor and texture. To toast them:

  1. Spread the flakes on a rimmed baking sheet evenly. 
  2. Bake at 325°F (162.77°C) for ten minutes or until the edges turn golden brown.
  3. Stir them after five minutes to make sure they brown evenly. 
  4. Remove the chips from the oven and transfer them to a plate or bowl to cool.

Alternatively, you can place flakes into one even layer in an ungreased skillet and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Stir or toss frequently to ensure even cooking and prevent burning. Once golden brown, remove them from the heat and hot skillet to cool.

Of course, using coconut chips instead of quick oats in a recipe will alter the taste of your final product but in a surprisingly delicious way. I’d reconsider using it as an oat substitute in baked goods, but you’re welcome to try.

2. Flattened Rice

Raw flattened rice in a wicker bowl

Flattened rice is an excellent substitute for quick oats in baking recipes where the oats provide texture. In this case, your oat replacement shouldn’t dissolve into the recipe. Otherwise, your baked treats may not hold their shape. 

Flattened rice, also known as beaten rice, is rice that’s flattened into flat flakes. It’s commonly used to make poha, a traditional Indian breakfast recipe. 

These flattened grains also make for an excellent quick oats replacement in baking because, like oats, they hold their shape but also soften when baked. What’s more, the resulting product tastes and smells like it’s made with oats.

There are different brands of flattened rice available. The flakes vary in thickness depending on the pressure employed during the flattening process. If the rice flakes of the brand you purchase are too thick, you can always blitz them into smaller pieces.

Use the same amount of flattened rice as you would quick oats in baking. The results will be more or less the same, and you might even grow to like this substitute to the point of using it as an original ingredient in other recipes.

Related Is Oatmeal a Good Substitute for Rice? | What You Should Know.

3. Quinoa Flakes

Quinoa flakes spilling from a wooden spoon

Quinoa flakes are quinoa seeds that have been pressed into flat flakes by a rolling machine. Although not as tasty and filling as oat flakes, they make for a healthy oat replacement in just about any recipe. 

For baking—especially gluten-free baking—substitute quick oats for quinoa flakes, where the recipe requires oat flour. But with so many alternative flours today, why work with quinoa flakes? Well, they get the job done pretty satisfactorily.

Replace the oat flakes with quinoa flakes in a one-to-one ratio by weight. If you’re not a fan of quinoa and are concerned your cookies, muffins, and the like will have an earthy flavor, not to worry. Your baked goods will be delicious and nutritious. But don’t just take my word for it; try it for yourself.

4. Rice Bran

Craving gluten-free cookies or muffins with a nutritional kick but don’t have oats? Rice bran will make a great substitute. Rich in fiber and healthy fats, rice bran makes baked items that are nutrient-dense, super filling, and notably delicious. What better way to start your morning?

Gluten-free baked goods typically have a shorter shelf life compared to wheat-based products. Research shows supplementing gluten-free rice flour bread with rice bran extends the shelf life of the bread. Furthermore, it also improves the bread’s taste, texture, and nutritional profile.

So if you’re looking to kick your gluten-free baking up a notch, rice bran is worth the try—be it as a substitute for quick oats or a healthy addition. Use it with gluten-free flour in a one-to-one ratio by volume, but you can use a lesser amount. Your baked products will be nice and crispy on the outside with a tender crumb and have a sweet and hearty flavor.

Additionally, whatever baking goodness you supplement with rice bran will be as nutritious as it will be tasty. That’s because rice bran is a good source of fiber, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, energy, and fatty acids. The table below shows the nutrient composition of stabilized and probiotic rice bran per 100 grams.

NutrientsStabilized rice bran (SRB)Probiotic rice bran (PRB)
Protein (g)17.5019.25
Fat (g)13.1017.20
Crude fiber (g)7.854.96
Insoluble dietary fiber (g)21.1713.10
Soluble dietary fiber (g)2.171.80
Total dietary fiber (g)23.3414.90
Carbohydrate (g)52.3348.55
Energy (Kcal)389426
Ash (g) 4.924.924.64
Calcium (mg)52.1049.90
Phosphorus (mg)1185.201186.50
Iron (mg)28.1030.05
Zinc (mg)6.025.89

Related The 9 Best Substitutes for Oats in Baking.

5. Ground Flaxseed

Bowl of ground flaxseed

When quick oats are combined with flour for added texture, you can substitute them with ground flaxseed, also known as flaxseed meal. However, you should only use ground flaxseed as an oat replacement if the oats don’t account for more than  ¼ of the total oat/flour mix. Why? You can’t use ground flaxseed as flour, but you can add it to flour to increase texture quality.

That said, ground flaxseed will add a nutty taste to your baked goods, so keep that in mind when modifying your recipe. Ideally, use less of the substitute than you would oats and use more flour in your recipe to avoid the taste of flaxseed overpowering everything else.

Another reason you should use ground flaxseed in moderation is that it contains 46% more calories than oatmeal and significantly more fat. So while it’s a healthy addition to recipes, you don’t want to overdo it as it can increase your calorie intake way more than you’d like.

My go-to brand of ground flaxseed is this one, found on Amazon because it’s nutritious and has a delicious taste. You can enjoy it alone or add it to cereal, pancakes, baked goods, yogurt, and protein shakes.

6. Buckwheat Flakes

Buckwheat flakes in a wooden scoop isolated on a white background

Buckwheat flakes may not be a popular choice for breakfast cereal, but they’re highly nutritious and filling, not to mention versatile. You can use them to make porridge, muesli, and even baked goods like bread and muffins. And as such, it makes for a good oat substitute in breakfast bowls and baking recipes.

Nutritional-wise, buckwheat has more fiber, potassium, and vitamins B2 and B3 than oats. It also has less saturated fat and is gluten-free. So I’m inclined to think buckwheat is the healthier of the two grains. On the other hand, oatmeal is richer in iron and calcium and has far fewer calories, 5x fewer calories than buckwheat.

Speaking of which, despite its name, buckwheat is not wheat. Technically, it’s not even a grain. It’s a seed, but one that’s quite similar to grains both culinary- and nutrition-wise. So if you’re looking for a gluten-free grain to replace oats in a recipe, you ‘oat’ to give buckwheat flakes a chance.

You can swap quick oats for buckwheat flakes for various baking applications: to bulk up recipes, provide texture, or grind into oat flour. For the latter, you can use whole buckwheat—the results will be more or less the same.

Overall, expect a taste difference when you use buckwheat flakes or whole buckwheat instead of oats. While oats are relatively bland, buckwheat has a distinct sweet earthy taste. If you prefer a more mild flavor, use a smaller amount of buckwheat flakes than you would quick oats.

Related 11 Best Substitutes for Soba Noodles.

7. Millet Flakes

Millet flakes in a wooden bowl

In recent years, millet has been gaining popularity as a gluten-free grain and a healthy alternative to rice. This popularity has led to the creation of millet flakes, which are a good substitute for quick oats because of their size and somewhat neutral taste.

Use millet flakes as a one-to-one replacement for quick oats in recipes when the oats provide bulk or add texture to baked treats. But if the recipe calls for oat flour, millet flakes, in this case, are not the best substitute. That’s because when you grind the flakes into flour and add water, you’ll get a starchy puddle rather than a dough.

And although millet has a mild corn-like flavor, it still has a more pronounced flavor than oats. Consequently, it might not be suitable for recipes that require a bland grain. Additionally, I’ve found millet to work better in savory recipes than sweet ones.

8. Barley Flakes

Barley flakes on a wooden spoon

Barley flakes are very similar to oat flakes with regard to appearance, taste, and texture. They have a chewy texture and neutral flavor hence a top contender for oat substitutes in sweet and savory recipes.

However, despite their texture being quite similar, barley flakes are thicker and chewier than oat flakes. So if you’re specifically looking to substitute quick oats, you’ll want to pulse the barley flakes in a food processor for about a minute. The end result might be a bit chewier than if you had used oats, but it’ll still be pretty good. 

The only downside I can think of for swapping quick oats with barley flakes is the latter are not gluten-free. Although barley has a lower gluten content than wheat, it still contains gluten. 

Therefore, if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you shouldn’t eat barley. Consuming even a tiny amount can result in unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea and constipation. So if you want an oat substitute for a gluten-free recipe, barley flakes are not it.

9. Old-Fashioned Oats

Close up on a box of Scott's old fashioned porridge oats

If your recipe calls for quick oats, but the only type of oats in your pantry is old-fashioned oats, you’re in luck. Also known as rolled oats, old-fashioned oats are very similar to quick oats. However, the latter takes longer to cook because they’re larger and thicker.

To substitute quick oats for old-fashioned oats, make the pieces smaller first. Add the oats to a food processor or blender and pulse until they’re your desired size—be sure to stop and stir occasionally. Once processed, the rolled oats are ready for use in place of quick oats.

You can substitute quick oats with pretty much any type of oats by going through the same process. However, there might be changes in the texture of your baked product since some forms of oats are minimally processed, resulting in a coarser, chewy texture.

If you use a less processed kind, such as whole oat groats or steel-cut oats, consider pulsing them until they’re finer, not just smaller. But be careful not to turn them into flour unless your recipe uses oat flour. In which case, grind away.

10. Wheat Flakes

Box of Wheaties

Don’t have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity? Wheat flakes might be a better substitute for quick oats than barley flakes. The reason is wheat flakes have a neutral taste and pleasant texture that’s not too chewy like barley flakes.

You can use them exactly as you would quick oats in recipes. However, if the recipe calls for grinding oats into flour, it would be easier to use wheat flour, perhaps even wheat bran, if you’re in the mood for something unusual and more nutritious.

Of course, if you want a gluten-free replacement for quick oats, much like barley flakes, wheat flakes are not an option. Instead, go for the gluten-free options we’ve discussed in this list, such as quinoa flakes and buckwheat flakes.

If gluten is not a concern, I’d recommend Wheaties 100% Whole Wheat Flakes, which you can pick up conveniently on Amazon. These whole grain flakes taste great and provide essential nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like iron and zinc.

Recap

Here are 10 of the best substitutes for quick oats in a recipe:

  1. Old-fashioned oats
  2. Coconut chips
  3. Flattened rice
  4. Quinoa flakes
  5. Rice bran
  6. Ground flaxseed
  7. Buckwheat flakes
  8. Millet flakes
  9. Barley flakes
  10. Wheat flakes

For more, don’t miss The 9 Best Substitutes for Oats in Baking.

Related Articles

Please share!