What can I substitute for quick-cooking oats?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for quick-cooking oats?”. We will elaborate on different substitutes of quick-cooking oats along with their advantages and disadvantages.

What can I substitute for quick-cooking oats?

If you are short on quick-cooking oats and are desperately looking for its substitutes, do not worry, here in this article we have prepared a list of substances that can be used as an alternative to quick-cooking oats.

  • Ground flax
  • Rice Bran
  • Quinoa flakes
  • Chia seeds
  • White rice

Quick-cooking oats

Quick-cooking oats are rolled oats that have undergone post-processing so that it’s cooking time decreases. Although quick-cooking oats are almost similar to old-fashioned oats, the only difference is that quick-cooking oats are rolled thinner as compared to old-fashioned oats. Steaming is used to partially cook them.

Oat flakes are produced simply by flattening either whole or steel-cut groats with two rotating rollers. Flake thickness can be controlled by adjusting the distance between the rollers: the thinner the flake the faster they cook. Because of the thinner shape, the starch of the quick-cooking oatmeal can absorb water more quickly and thus decrease the cooking time. In general, quick-cooking flakes are rolled thinner (0·36–0·46mm) than whole-oat flakes (0·51–0·76mm) (1).

Some substitutes for quick-cooking oats

Although quick-cooking oats have multiple substitutes, these ones that are mentioned below are used most commonly:

Chia seeds 

Chia seeds belong to a flowering plant in the mint family known as Salvia hispanica. Chia is an annual herbaceous plant native to Mexico and Guatemala (2). The appearance of chia seeds is oval with a gray surface and black and white spots on them. The size of chia seeds is about two millimeters. 

Advantages: A lot of nutrients are present in chia seeds. These seeds are highly nutritious. Antioxidants present in chia seeds help to ward off cancer-causing agents. Soluble fiber present in chia seeds helps to regulate appetite and boosts weight loss. They also have Omega 3 fatty acids that help to prevent heart diseases. The seeds of the plant are a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA, up to 83% of extracted oil), dietary fiber (34.4g/100g), total protein (16.54g/100g) and minerals (2). Chia mucilage, obtained from seed hydration, can also act as fat replacer, thanks to its high water-absorption capacity and increase in dough viscosity (3).

Disadvantages: Chia seeds can cause allergies in some people. Chia seeds are not very friendly when it comes to digestion. The hard exterior core of chia seeds can cause problems in the digestion process. People with diabetes have experienced many problems related to blood sugar levels after eating chia seeds.

Studies showed that the addition of ca. 10% chia flour to sponges improved the nutritional value of the product, but also the levels of acrylamide, hydroxymethylfurfural, and furfural; however, it reduces the shelf life of the product by accelerating the oxidation of lipids. The addition of chia flour to the bakery also resulted in a decrease in both specific volume and color parameters. These negative effects were countered by the addition of hydrogenated vegetable fats (3).

Rice bran

Rice bran is also recognised as miller’s bran. It is the outer layer of cereal grain that is tough. Rice bran is composed of a combination of aleurone and pericarp. While producing refined grains, rice bran has produced a byproduct of milling. Rice bran is an essential component of whole grains.

Advantages: Rice bran is very effective to lower the cholesterol level of our body. A high level of calcium leads to the formation of kidney stones. Rice bran can be used in the treatment of these kidney stones. It is also very effective for the prevention of some types of cancer and diabetes.

Consumption of rice bran portion is being investigated regarding health attributes relevant to both chronic and infectious diseases. Rice bran have been shown to decrease risk of type 2 diabetes, regulate lipid metabolism, control metabolic  syndrome and cardiovascular disease, and exhibit anti-cancer activity. Rice bran components also act on the immune response and against enteric pathogens such as Salmonella (4).

Disadvantages: Although rice bran is very nutritious but if eaten in high quantities, it can lead to unpredictable bowel movements. It can also lead to an uncomfortable situation in the stomach and intestinal gas. 

Some individuals have experienced blemishes and irritation from eating rice bran plagued with a pest described as the straw itch mite, but this is uncommon. In addition, rice bran quickly becomes rancid after milling, caused by lipase-mediated oxidation of rice bran  (4).

Quinoa flakes

Quinoa flakes are not much different from conventional flakes. These are just pressed quinoa. To make a flake, each little quinoa is rolled flat the way an oat groat is rolled for making a rolled oat. All the properties of flakes like gluten-free, high in plant-based protein, and sufficient quantity of fibers are present in quinoa flakes.

Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal, belonging to the Chenopodium family. The plant is native to South America with its origin in Peru and Bolivia. Quinoa seeds are rich natural antioxidants. The oil content of quinoa seed varies from 2% to 10% and is rich in essential fatty acids, namely linolenic and α-linolenic acid. Quinoa seeds also possess many important functional properties like oil and water holding, foaming and emulsifying capacity (2).

Advantages: A lot of nutrients are present in quinoa flakes. Quercetin and Kaempferol, which are unique plant compounds, are present in quinoa flakes. 

As compared to the fiber content of other grains, quinoa flakes contain a high amount of fiber. People with gluten-related allergies prefer quinoa flakes as they are devoid of gluten. All the essential amino acids are present in it. The addition / substitution of up to 30% wheat flour by quinoa flour can significantly increase the nutritional profile of the baked goods, without negatively affecting their sensorial quality (3).

Disadvantages: A high quantity of quinoa leads to stomach aches, diarrhea, bloating, and sometimes causes stomach discomfort. The reason behind this is the inability of the body to handle fiber. Sodium is present in a low amount as compared to calcium, potassium, and iron which is a plus point but in some people, it can lead to itchy skin and hives.

White rice

Husk, bran, and germs are removed to make white rice and these are milled rice. While making white rice from conventional rice, the texture, and appearance of rice change. This is good to enhance storage life and helps to prevent spoilage. To make the appearance of white rice shiny, the rice is milled and polished after that.

Advantages: One of the major advantages of white rice is that these are light on the stomach. Blood sugar levels can be controlled from white rice. As these are gluten-free so people with gluten-related allergies can utilize these. A huge amount of energy is obtained after eating them. White rice keeps our gut healthy. 

White rice is composed mainly of 90-94% carbohydrates and 6-10% proteins and does not contain significant amounts of fat, vitamins or fibers. It is easily cooked and digested and a main source of energy for billions of people in the world (4). 

Disadvantages: Eating white rice can lead to high blood pressure. High fasting blood sugar is noticed in people who consume white rice. An adequate amount of triglycerides is present in white rice that is not good for health at all. While HDL cholesterol is present in a low amount. White rice is poor in nutrients and has a high glycemic index, which is negative for diabetic patients. White rice consumption as a staple food alone has been shown to lead to malnutrition. Lack of daily intake of essential nutrients can lead to a broad spectrum of risk for infectious and chronic diseases (4).


In this brief article, we have provided an answer to the question, “What can I substitute for quick-cooking oats?”. We have also elaborated on different substitutes of quick-cooking oats along with their advantages and disadvantages.


  1. Decker, Eric A., Devin J. Rose, and Derek Stewart. Processing of oats and the impact of processing operations on nutrition and health benefits. Brit J Nutr, 2014, 112, S58-S64.
  2. Goyat, Jyoti, et al. Development of chia (Salvia hispanica, L.) and quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, L.) seed flour substituted cookies-physicochemical, nutritional and storage studies. Curr Res Nutr Food Sci J, 2018, 6, 757-769.
  3. Peris, Miguel, et al. From the laboratory to the kitchen: New alternatives to healthier bakery products. Foods, 2019, 8, 660.
  4. Borresen, Erica C., and Elizabeth P. Ryan. Rice bran: a food ingredient with global public health opportunities. Wheat and rice in disease prevention and health. Academic Press, 2014. 301-310.

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