Instant oatmeal is the poor-man's oats -- it's a little heavy on the sugar and doesn't deliver the same health benefits that steel-cut oats do -- but it's a pretty popular breakfast and snack option, nonetheless. We wanted to see if our go-to instant oatmeal was the best on the market, so we decided to test out some popular brands and give them a ranking. The flavor? Apples and cinnamon.
So, what's the difference between instant and regular oatmeal? Instant oats have been finely milled to decrease their cooking time down to 1 to 2 minutes, and they're treated with chemical preservatives and flavors. You're basically trading in some health benefits for convenience. So if you're truly looking for something tasty, we're here to help you find the best (and we were shocked at how big of a difference there was between the seven oatmeals that we tasted).
Here's how the tasting worked. To put our oatmeals on a level playing field, we made each bowl with water (not milk) and cooked it according to the package's microwave specifications. (For a creamier version, you can obviously make your oatmeal with milk.) Our testers blind-tasted the oatmeals and scored them based on texture and flavor.
Which oatmeal was tops? Check out our slideshow below to find out.
What's your favorite? Leave us a comment and check out all of our previous taste tests below!
As always, this taste test is in no way sponsored or influenced by the brands involved.
Comments: Good-sized apple chunks." "Good apple flavor -- enjoyable." "I really like the balance of cinnamon to apple in this." "The texture is pretty good, but it's a little bland." "This is what I want my apple-cinnamon oatmeal to taste like." "With a touch of salt, the flavor might be perfect." wholefoodsmarket.com
Comments: "Perfectly creamy/chunky texture but it's slightly lacking that satisfying oatmeal flavor I crave." "Solid -- par for the course." "Good texture and strong cinnamon flavor." mccanns.ie
Comments: "Pleasant and smooth, but there's not enough apple." "The texture is too soft and mushy for me." "Could be sweeter." "A little too mushy, but it's got a nice true apple flavor." "A little too slimy and glossy." "A little light on cinnamon, but it's still a nice option." traderjoes.com
Comments: "Very cinnamon-y, and the texture is almost pureed." "Good texture, with lots of cinnamon -- but it could be sweeter." "Berry flavor -- strangely pleasant." "Too smooth -- not chunky enough." "Not terribly flavorful." kashi.com
Comments: "Sweet, apple-y flavor but it's too watery. The oats didn't absorb the water very well." "Too sweet, thin and watery." "A little too watery." "Tastes like cough syrup." "The flavor is spot on -- warm and comforting -- but it's too watery." quakeroats.com
Comments: "Hearty-sized oats, but it tastes unsettlingly like cloves." "Way too much cinnamon, and it was dry." "This looks appealing but tastes like grass." "Tastes like bark or cardboard." "Looks and tastes unadulterated, but it's bland." wholefoodsmarket.com
Comments: "Gluey, with not enough flavor." "Not enough apple and too much cinnamon -- too paste-like." "This is like glue. Where are the apples?" "Somehow both gluey and chalky." "Texture seems gummy and unappealing, but it actually tastes okay." naturespath.com
Previous Kitchen Daily Taste Tests:
Bottled Iced Coffee
Chai Tea Bags
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Hot Chocolate Mix
Jarred Tomato Sauce
Kettled-Cooked Potato Chips