01/06/2012 09:59 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

The Best Instant Oatmeal: Apple-Cinnamon Taste Test

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.

Apple-Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal Taste Test

Previous Kitchen Daily Taste Tests:

Barbecue Sauce
Bottled Iced Coffee
Butter Crackers
Canned Biscuits
Chai Tea Bags
Dark Chocolate
Egg Nog
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Greek Yogurt
Hazelnut Spread
Hot Chocolate Mix
Jarred Salsa
Jarred Tomato Sauce
Kettled-Cooked Potato Chips
Milk Chocolate
Natural Sodas
Orange Juice
Soy Milk
Sparkling Cider
Veggie Burgers