Can I Substitute Rolled Oats for Flour in Cookies?


If you're trying to avoid flour, rolled outs can be used as a substitute, with a few caveats. You'll need to use more oats than you would flour, and the taste and texture may be altered. If you need to avoid gluten, though, be sure to buy organic, gluten-free oats -- some oats have been processed on the same equipment used to process wheat, so they may contain gluten.

Rolled Oats 101

  • All types of oats --including steel cut oats, rolled oats and quick oats -- begin as oat groats, which is the oat grain. Rolled oats are oat groats that have been steamed to soften them and then pressed or rolled to flatten them. The rolled oats are dried and packaged. Rolled outs retain the nutty flavor and chewy texture of oat groats, but they absorb water and cook more quickly than steel cut oats, which are simply cut oat groats. Rolled oats are also called "old-fashioned oats." Quick oats can be used as a substitute for rolled oats. They've been pressed thinner, so they cook even more quickly.

Making the Switch

  • If you're trying to avoid flour, you can use rolled oats for at least some of the flour, although the texture and taste will change. Substitute rolled oats at a ratio of 1 1/3 parts rolled oats to 1 part flour, advises Colorado State University Extension.

Taste and Texture

  • Flour has a much finer texture than oats, as well as a blander taste. It provides structure in cookies when combined with sugar, butter, eggs and other ingredients. Rolled oats add a chewy, nutty flavor to cookies, as well as a rough, bumpy texture. The cookies might not hold together as well if you use all rolled oats and no flour. For best results, substitute only half the flour with rolled oats.


  • Oat flour is available at health food stores and most large grocery stores, or you can make it yourself in a food processor or blender. Oat flour has the same nutty flavor as rolled oats, but it's been milled so it has a fine texture and does a better job of binding the other ingredients together. Substitute 1 part oat flour for 1 part wheat flour.

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