Find out if rolled oats are safe for a gluten-free diet and get a list of gluten-free rolled oats brands to buy.
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If you love a bowl of oatmeal in the morning like I do, you know that there are a number of different types of oats to choose from. Depending on how long you have to cook your breakfast, you could make oats low and slow on your stovetop for up to 30 minutes or one minute in your microwave.
Rolled oats are a type of oat that are somewhere in the middle of that cook time and are an extremely versatile ingredient. Other than oatmeal, you can use them to make cookies, add to meatballs or meatloaf, or create your favorite granola recipes with them.
If you’re getting started with a gluten-free diet, you may have learned that some grains contain gluten and others don’t. You might also have heard conflicting information about oats and oatmeal and whether or not this food is considered gluten-free.
In this post, we’re going to dive into rolled oats to determine how these fit into a gluten-free diet and what you need to know about them before you pick up just any package from the grocery store to start cooking.
Find out what rolled oats are, what they’re made from, and if they’re similar or different from old fashioned oats and whole grain oats. We’ll wrap the post up with a list of gluten-free rolled oats brands to help you make shopping even easier with a short list of options to choose from.
If you’ve wanted to know how rolled oats work with a gluten-free diet, you’re in the right place!
What are rolled oats?
Rolled oats are oats that have had their tough husk covering removed, then the oats are steamed and rolled flat. This flattening by rollers is why this variety of oats are called rolled oats.
Rolled oats are used for making bowls of oatmeal, baked goods like oatmeal cookies, and can even be added as a thickener for meatloaf or meatballs.
What are rolled oats made from?
Rolled oats are made from whole grain oats (also called oat groats) that have been husked, steamed, and rolled flat. Whole grain oats are the closest to what you’ll find growing in fields, a very firm grain with all four parts intact – the husk, bran, endosperm, and germ.
When oats are processed, the husk is removed, leaving only the bran, endosperm, and germ. Each of these provides its own nutritional value. The bran offers fiber, the endosperm gives carbohydrates, and the germ has the grain’s oils, vitamins, and minerals.
Rolled oats are oats that have been steamed for the shortest amount of time compared to other types of oats and oatmeal, like quick oats and instant oats.
Are rolled oats and whole grain oats the same?
Rolled oats and whole grain oats are the same in that they both come from the same oat grain. They differ in how they are treated after this stage. Whole grain oats or oat groats look similar to other grains like wheat berries, and are cooked at this stage.
Whole grain oats are the healthiest form of oats as they have the least amount of processing. They may take longer to cook than other types of oats, but they also have the most fiber and protein than others.
Rolled oats start out as whole grain oats, then are processed by steaming them and rolling them into an easier to cook form. You’d need about double the amount of rolled oats to make up for the same calories, fat, protein, and fiber of whole grain oats.
Due to the processing, it takes less time for your body to digest them so you may get hungry faster than with whole grain oats.
Read on: Are whole grain oats gluten-free?
Are rolled oats and old fashioned oats the same?
Rolled oats and old fashioned oats are the same oat with different names. The two names can be used interchangeably and used in the same recipes. When shopping for oats, you can buy either rolled oats or old fashioned oats, knowing they are the same product.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
You can find gluten in whole grains, but also in many processed foods as well. Many processed foods have hidden gluten in them in the form of gluten or wheat derivatives.
These are also in the form of flavorings, binders to keep ingredients together, or other additives.
Read on: Which whole grains are gluten-free?
Are oats gluten-free?
Oats are naturally gluten-free, and on their own and processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility, they are safe for a gluten-free diet.
The main reason oats aren’t always considered gluten-free is because they can become contaminated with gluten in a shared facility with gluten-containing grains.
They may also come into contact during the harvesting process if oat and wheat fields share physical proximity and are harvested at the same time.
Processing wheat, barley, or rye on the same equipment can result in cross contamination of gluten in oats.
Another potential place for cross contamination is bulk bins. If you buy oats from a grocery store that uses scoops, these scoops don’t always stay in their intended bins. Someone may accidentally move a scoop from a gluten-free bin and put it in a bin with wheat, barley, or other gluten-containing grain, and contaminate the whole bin of oats.
While oats are naturally gluten-free, you’ll want to be aware of these specific ways that they can come into contact with gluten.
There are a number of other oat products that may or may not contain gluten. You can read more about these and get brands to look for at the store in the following posts:
Are rolled oats gluten-free?
Rolled oats or old fashioned oats by nature are gluten-free, but like other whole grains, it’s important to know that there is a high chance of cross contamination with gluten during processing.
Since oats are often processed on the same machinery as other grains (many with gluten), it’s a good idea to look for gluten-free labels on packages before buying.
Rolled oats are whole grain oats or oat groats that have been flattened, making them quicker to cook. Rolled oats, or old fashioned rolled oats, are great in oatmeal, but can also be used in baked goods, in place of crackers or breadcrumbs in meatloaf or meatballs.
Read on: Is oatmeal gluten-free?
Brands of gluten-free rolled oats
There are a number of gluten-free rolled oats available, but here are some you can look for at your grocery store or at online retailers like Amazon or Thrive Market to help you get a jumpstart on your shopping.
- Anthony’s Organic Rolled Oats
- Bakery on Main Certified Gluten-free Rolled Oats
- Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
- GF Harvest Gluten-free Rolled Oats
- Nature’s Path Gluten-free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
- One Degree Organic Foods Gluten-free Sprouted Rolled Oats
- Quaker Gluten-free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
- Terrasoul Organic Rolled Oats
- Thrive Market Organic Gluten-free Rolled Oats
Gluten-free Rolled Oats Recipes
If you’re wondering how to use gluten-free rolled oats in some of your cooking and baking, be sure to check out some of my rolled oats recipes below.
- Gluten-free oatmeal cookies (dairy-free, egg-free, vegan)
- Gluten-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (dairy-free, egg-free, vegan)
- Gluten-free granola (dairy-free, vegan)
- Gluten-free dairy-free gingerbread granola (dairy-free, vegan)
- Gluten-free meatloaf (dairy-free, egg-free option)
Are Quaker rolled oats gluten-free?
Quaker offers two options for rolled oats that are gluten-free. Their regular rolled oats or old fashioned oats are not considered gluten-free by the company, so you’ll want to be sure you’re buying the options that specifically have “gluten-free” on the packaging.
These specific gluten-free options are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility so you don’t need to worry about cross contamination with this product as you would their regular old fashioned oats.
Read on: Are Quaker oats gluten-free?
If you’ve been wondering if rolled oats are safe for you to enjoy on your gluten-free diet, I hope this post has helped you get the answers you’ve been looking for. Most rolled oats or old fashioned oats are naturally gluten-free, but the way they’re processed makes it so they aren’t safe for folks on a gluten-free diet.
Choose a brand of rolled oats or old fashioned oats that have a gluten-free label to know that the brand takes cross contamination seriously, and there is no chance for trace amounts of gluten in the product you’re buying.