Can you eat instant oatmeal raw?

In this short article, we will answer the query “Can you eat instant oatmeal raw?”. We will also discuss the benefits of eating oatmeal. 

Can you eat instant oatmeal raw?

Yes, you can eat instant oatmeal raw. The more processed oats (for instance, oatmeal and instant oats) are steamed and heated previously to kill potentially dangerous microorganisms, so they can be eaten raw without any harm.

Historical reports of damage to oat crops caused by Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae, an infection of the plant, first appeared in the late 1800s. Crop failures as a result of crown rust infection were first reported in Europe and the Baltics, just shortly before the pathogen was noted in the USA. Since then, oat crown rust epidemics have continued to affect oat production, resulting in 10%–40% yield losses (1).

The benefits of eating oatmeal:

Oatmeal is a great source of carbohydrates, with a wide variety of nutrients and health benefits. 

In contrast to the refined grains normally added in breakfast cereals, whole grain oats include all 3 components of the grain (2):

  1. Bran
  2. Endosperm
  3. Germ. 

All of which consist of nutrients such as fibre, antioxidants, vitamin E, as well as vitamin B complex (3).

Whole grain oats are also composed of beta-glucan, a kind of soluble fibre that has been linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. The fibre draws water and enhances the mass of food in the intestine, which means that it helps to stay saturated for a prolonged period. Oatmeal is also an excellent option for those who want to maintain or lose weight (4). 

Which types of oats are healthiest?

It’s no secret that the granola aisle at any local grocery store is populated with endless brands and varieties of oatmeal. While most oatmeal is similar in nutritional value regardless of how it’s processed, less processed oatmeal tends to have a lower glycemic index, which means it won’t skyrocket. Instant oatmeal is made from steel-cut oats that have been kilned at a higher temperature than normal steel-cut oats to partially gelatinise the starch. The rollers are set close together to produce thin flakes. This milling process enables instant oatmeal to hydrate quickly in boiling water. Studies show that quick-cooking oats and instant oatmeal produced significantly higher glycaemic response in healthy individuals (5). 

Oat groats:

These are some of the healthiest types and have a lower glycemic index than the most processed oatmeal. They are whole oat kernels without the bitter husk. They are the edible version of what you would find in an oatmeal field. They are not that easy to locate in all supermarkets. In the native oat groat, the starch granules are surrounded by cell walls within the dense endosperm structure, which causes it to have a lower glycemic index (5).

​Steel-cut oats:

These are oat groats separated into two or three sections. Less processed than the rolled or snapshot oats and have a lesser influence on its blood sugar.

In steel-cut oats, in which there is minimal disruption of groat tissue, the starch remains encased within the cell walls, except at the exposed surfaces. Compared with other oats, steel-cut oats require a longer cooking time to gelatinise the starch (5).

​Rolled or old-fashioned oats:​

These are processed further and have undergone the process of steaming, rolling, and flattening. These are similar to the flaked oats and have a glycemic index of 59. Quick or instant oatmeal is a different heavily processed type of oatmeal that usually has additional sugar, fruit, or flavouring, which are not excellent options.

How to eat Oats?

While more processed oats are generally safe to eat raw, cooking the oatmeal or making the oatmeal overnight is probably the best (and tastiest) option. Dip or steam the oatmeal in hot water or milk of your preference and add healthy fruit. The result is a delicious, custard-like, take-away, and filling breakfast (2). 

Can you just add hot water to instant oatmeal?

Yes; for an instant oatmeal mixture for breakfast, add a half cup of the mixture to a container, then add 3/4 cup of boiling water above it, stir, and allow it to sit for two minutes.

Is instant oatmeal inflammatory?

Eating whole oatmeal can prevent diabetes and lower cholesterol, which could prevent cardiovascular disease. Oats have anti-inflammatory effects which could prevent inflammation associated with chronic diseases. Fibre is the most important health trait in oats. 

Avenanthramides are important anti-inflammatory compounds of oats, which have an antioxidant activity of 10–30 times greater than that of other phenolic antioxidants such as vanillin and caffeic acid (2).

Can you soak instant oats?

No, you don’t have to soak oats overnight, it is suggested that you let them soak for at least four hours. Less than this will result in an extra chewy texture. Which not only does not taste bad but also makes them more difficult to ingest.

Can you cook oatmeal in the microwave?

Yes, you can definitely microwave them! Heating oatmeal in a microwave does not deplete its nutrients or alter its health benefits, any higher than cooking on a stovetop does, and in some instances, it conserves nutrients better than cooking on a stovetop does (such as steaming vegetables in a microwave in contrast to boiling them on a stove).

An investigation of the effect of microwaving v. boiling showed that there was no significant difference in the amount of starch released after 1 min of cooking for either thin- or thick-flake oatmeal. However, after 20 min of boiling, significantly less starch was released than during microwave cooking, because there was less cell wall disruption (5). 

Difference between instant oatmeal and regular oatmeal

Instant oatmeal has a nutritional content that is almost equal to regular oatmeal with just one exception: sugar. One packet of flavoured instant oatmeal consists of about twelve grams of sugar, compared to one gram in the equivalent quantity of old-fashioned oatmeal. Sugar is often added to commercial products (5).

Is it bad to eat oatmeal every day?

If you consume oatmeal every day, it can help to decrease the total cholesterol level and the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Furthermore, it will help to boost the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels. It is recommended to even add oatmeal into your treats.

Can oatmeal be a part of a healthy diet?

They are low in calories and only have 1.5 grams of fat. Some of the advantages of eating oatmeal include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease plus colon cancer. Whole grains including oats can also assist to lower blood pressure and help in metabolism. So yes, oatmeal can be part of a healthy diet.

Other FAQs about Oatmeal that you may be interested in.

Does oatmeal expire?

Can you get sick from eating expired oatmeal?

What happens If you eat expired oats?


In this short article, we have answered the query, “Can you eat instant oatmeal raw?”. We have also elaborated on the benefits of eating oatmeal. 


  1. Nazareno, Eric S., et al. Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae: a threat to global oat production. Molec plant pathol, 2018, 19, 1047-1060. 
  2. Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L. et al. Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. J Food Sci Technol, 2015, 52, 662–675. 
  3. Ahmad, et al. A review on Oat (Avena sativa L.) as a dual-purpose crop. Scien Res Essay, 2014, 9, 52 -59.
  4. Martínez-Villaluenga, Cristina, and Elena Peñas. Health benefits of oat: Current evidence and molecular mechanisms. Curr Op Food Sci, 2017, 14, 26-31.
  5. Tosh, Susan M., and YiFang Chu. Systematic review of the effect of processing of whole-grain oat cereals on glycaemic response. Brit J Nutr, 2015, 114, 1256-1262.