Being out of oats (or the right kind of oats) will happen from time to time. The good news is that there are several viable substitutes that you may have in your pantry or kitchen. Let’s start with the best one first.
Quinoa flakes are the best substitute for oats when baking. They have the right texture and are mildly flavored, allowing other ingredients to stand out. Likewise, quick oats can replace old-fashioned or steel-cut oats well in cooking or baking recipes because they all have a common source.
Read on to learn more about excellent substitutes for oats in baking and how to best use them.
1. Quinoa Flakes
Quinoa flakes are flattened quinoa seeds grown on annual herbs. They’ve become widely popular in almost every region; hence chefs from most backgrounds use them creatively. However, how well will they serve as an oats substitute?
Quinoa flakes can fill in for oats in most baking recipes as they are or blended into the flour. Their baked goods’ texture will still attain their chewy feel.
Moreover, their flavor, like oats, is also mildly nutty, so they pair well with other ingredients in the recipe. However, you can try toasting them if you’re looking to achieve an even nuttier taste and aroma.
As for quantity, there’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to this substitution. Be inventive in your cooking, but first-timers can replace the oats with quinoa flakes in a 1:1 ratio. Adding more chips will make the food lighter and fluffier, but there’s still not much impact on flavor.
Quinoa flakes are also highly beneficial health-wise. Like oats, they are gluten-free and rich in fiber & plant-based protein. They also have essential antioxidants linked with promoting heart health. And with contained amino acids, more health benefits await any consumer.
2. Almond Meal
Almond meal is a powder made from blanched, ground almonds. It’s great for baking delicious desserts, from biscuits to cakes.
It can also replace oats in many baking recipes, providing nearly similar flavors. And like quinoa flakes, almond meal also adds moisture to foods without changing the flavor.
It’s important to know that almond meal and almond flour are different. Being finely ground, almond flour resembles regular flour more closely. However, if it is the only one you can find at the grocery store, it’ll still work well.
You can substitute it in an equal or lesser proportion by mass, depending on the type of food you’re baking. It complements other recipe ingredients you’d generally bake with oats.
Since almond meal is significantly richer in fats, there’s no need for much more butter or oil. If possible, avoid those additions entirely as the baked food may become too moist.
Aside from being an excellent-tasting substitute, almond meal also provides some health benefits. It has essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, reducing the risks of diabetes, stroke, and heart diseases.
3. Wheat Flour
Like almond meal, you can exchange some wheat flour for oats flour while baking.
The baked foods’ texture may change noticeably or slightly depending on the oat and wheat flour types. If you’ve always used a coarse wheat flour, there’ll be a considerable change when substituting it for oats. However, an all-purpose flour’s smoothness will nicely substitute a more ground oats flour.
Aside from being a suitable replacement for its texture, wheat flour’s flavor is very similar to what you get from oats. However, if you disagree (like some bakers who think the latter is sweeter), add more sweeteners than you usually would.
Switch 2/3 cup of wheat flour for every cup of oats flour. However, if you’re baking bread or cookies, reduce it to 1/3. You may need to measure in some butter or oil, as foods made with
wheat flour will be less moist.
Wheat flour is not gluten-free, unlike wheat flour. So if you aren’t okay with it, try other substitutes. However, if you go ahead, it will provide enough nutrients, like calcium, iron, vitamin B6, and niacin.
Wheat flour can also improve gut health.
4. Spelt Flour
Spelt flour may not be the most popular ingredient, but bakers desperate for oat substitutes can turn to it. They are great for making muffins, bread, cakes, and waffles.
Flavor-wise, they are also mildly nutty like oats but maybe a bit sweeter. You’d want to experiment more with or without sweeteners until you’re satisfied.
They have a chewy but lighter texture than oats. They are also drier, featuring a lower oil content.
It’s okay if you can’t find spelt flour at grocery stores because you can make it at home pretty easily. Just purchase some spelt berries and pulse them in a food processor.
On your first bake, try using a 4:1 ratio (1/4 cup of spelt flour for oats floor) before increasing it till satisfied. You can go up to 2:1 as long as you enjoy it.
Spelt flour, like wheat, also contains gluten, which some people can’t digest. However, it has a very high fiber and protein content, even in small servings.
Fiber boosts the digestive system and lowers the risk of type II diabetes. Protein, on the other hand, aids bone development, weight loss, and good kidney health.
5. Chia Seeds
In puddings and porridge recipes, substituting chia seeds for oats is also a good idea.
Chia seeds are tiny and gray with black and white spots. Although edible raw, they popularly blend well with vegetables, provide essential nutrients in crackers, and complement smoothies excellently.
To use them for an overnight pudding, just pour some chia seeds into a bowl and add some milk. Unsweetened almond milk is your best bet for essential nutrients, but the choice remains yours! Mix it well, refrigerate, and go to bed.
The following day, warm the pudding and ensure you sweeten it. Like oats, chia seeds are mildly nutty, so you can’t rely on their flavor. Some common sweeteners include sugar, honey, maple syrup, and agave. Top the whole thing with sliced almonds, shredded coconut, or chopped nuts, and enjoy!
You can use the same amount of chia seeds as oats.
Chia seeds are gluten-free, so anyone with gluten intolerance or coeliac disease can enjoy them. They also aid bone and digestive health, reduce inflammation, and improve blood sugar levels.
6. Brown Rice
Brown rice is another substitute to consider. It also comes from whole grains but adds a stronger nuttiness to foods.
Nothing changes with your oats recipe besides replacing oats with brown rice in most cases.
However, if unsure how to prepare it, try this recipe from Christina Lane:
- Pour brown rice, milk, butter, and cinnamon into a saucepan and stir occasionally. The substituting rice should be in equal proportion with the oats.
- Add some mashed banana and honey, then cook for a minute to thicken.
- Finally, top with your choice of garnishes like ground cinnamon, walnuts, almonds, or chia seeds.
On the other hand, Martha Stewart just uses soy milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract with the rice. So, be creative!
As for the health benefits, you can’t go wrong with brown rice. Its low Glycemic Index (GI) means it won’t spike your blood sugar levels after consumption, keeping diabetes at bay. Its essential nutrients, such as dietary fiber and magnesium, prevent heart diseases and strokes.
7. Coconut Flakes
Coconuts are used in multiple products like milk, flour, and butter, but flakes are the ideal substitute for oats while baking.
Wide, flat coconut flakes are the most recommended, and you can get them in grocery stores or online.
If not, purchase some coconuts and crack them open. Shell out their meat and peel off the brown skin. Rinse the white meat and peel it with a vegetable peeler into wide chips.
Finally, dry the chips in an oven at 60°C (140°F) for 40 minutes to an hour. Make sure to constantly monitor them to prevent burning.
When your chips are ready, replace them in a 1:1 ratio for oats in your no-bake dessert recipe. If you try them for oven-baked products, especially cookies, they will lose shape because the chips don’t provide texture, unlike oats.
Additionally, note that they add a strong coconut-y flavor. They are more intense in flavor than oats, so you should be aware of this.
You will enjoy all the health benefits of coconuts, including their antibacterial properties and blood sugar control. Coconuts provide a wide array of oxidants and other essential nutrients, which can prevent many chronic diseases.
8. Flattened Rice
Also called poha, sira, or pauwa, flattened rice is rice parboiled then mechanically flattened to flakes. They are edible raw and blend well with other ingredients in Asian snacks and fast foods, but can they replace oats in recipes?
Flattened rice is a great substitute for oats because of their similarity in texture. Unlike coconut flakes, as discussed, this will ensure oven-baked foods don’t break apart.
As for taste, there isn’t any sharp distinction. If you don’t reveal the secret, no one will find out, I assure you.
Flattened rice isn’t widespread in the United States or most regions outside Asia, so it’s okay if you can’t find it at local shops around you. Simply try out other substitutes I’ve listed here.
If you are lucky to find it, however, you’ll get high fiber levels that help control blood sugar levels. The ingredient is also ideal for weight loss because of its low calories and rich iron, antioxidants, and essential vitamin content.
9. Rolled/Steel-Cut Oats
If you can’t find oats in particular, steel-cut or rolled oats can make an adequate substitute. As guessed, they all come from the same source but with subtle differences in texture from their industrial processing.
Steel-cut oats are the grainiest among the three. Rolled oats go through a steaming and flattening process, making them softer in texture.
For breakfast, you can easily interchange oats for the other two varieties in the same ratio. Rolled oats will take 2-5 minutes to cook, unlike oats that can only take a minute, while the steel-cut variety cooks in 15-30 minutes.
In baking, steel-cut oats are a better replacement for oats than rolled for their heartier texture and nuttier flavor. However, rolled oats still make great cookies, muffins, and cakes!
Another good reason to substitute oats for oats is their similar nutritional content. You don’t have to do extra research worrying about the replacement’s possible lack of nutrients.
Steel-cut just edges out rolled oats when it comes to fiber content, but the latter still contains a considerable amount to prevent constipation. They are all rich in antioxidants and lower blood cholesterol levels to protect the heart.
Furthermore, studies prove that these oats decrease the risk of childhood asthma.
Can You Replace Quick Oats With Rolled Oats?
You can replace quick oats with rolled oats. Rolled oats have a chewier texture than quick oats, making them even more suitable for baking. However, this means they will take longer to cook for breakfast. In either case, replace them in equal ratios.
As for health benefits, rolled oats are pretty similar to quick oats. They also contain fiber to relieve constipation and help lower blood pressure with their powerful antioxidants.
Can I Substitute Flour for Oats in Cookies?
You can substitute flour for oats in cookies. Wheat flour, for example, will retain the oat’s texture and slight flavor. On the other hand, spelt flour will make the cookies lighter. In most cases, you’ll need to add oil or butter to make a baked good as moist as the oats-containing alternative.
Health benefits, however, will vary by flour type.
The Best Substitute for Quick Cooking Oats in Meatloaf
Rolled oats are the best substitute for quick-cooking oats in meatloaf. They are slightly coarser but retain the meatloaf’s texture excellently. You won’t notice any drastic flavor change because quick and rolled oats taste nutty. Furthermore, both oats comprise similar nutrients.
Quick Oats vs. Old-Fashioned Oats (What’s the Difference?)
The slight difference between quick oats and old-fashioned oats lies in their texture and flavor. Quick oats undergo a steaming and flattening process, which gives them a soft texture and shorter cooking time. Old-fashioned/rolled oats are coarser than quick oats. They also have a nuttier taste.
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For more, don’t miss The 10 Best Substitutes for Quick Oats in a Recipe.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.