Muesli Vs Oatmeal – What’s The Difference?

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Breakfast wouldn’t be the same if oats had never be discovered. They are prominent in many of our favorite morning-time meals, including muesli and oatmeal. 

Oatmeal has been a family staple for eons, and muesli has been trending in more recent history.

What’s the difference between muesli and oatmeal? The biggest difference is that muesli is made ready-to-eat whereas oatmeal needs to be cooked. Both are commonly enjoyed with a variety of fruit, nuts, and sweet toppings, but all of those goodies come packaged with the oats in muesli and need to be added separately to oatmeal unless you buy an instant, pre-flavored variety.

Muesli and oatmeal are similar, yet different, and both delicious. In this article, we’ll look more closely at how and why you might choose to prepare one over the other.

Main Differences Between Muesli and Oatmeal

Both muesli and oatmeal are cereals made primarily from whole grains.

Oatmeal is made from oats, not surprisingly, but many cooks will add a variety of toppings to their oatmeal for flavor and texture.

Muesli is ready-made in that the toppings are added to the cereal before it is packaged and sold. The other main difference between the two is that muesli is more commonly eaten cold, though it can be cooked.

Oatmeal is eaten hot, though oats themselves can be eaten raw or in a variety of other ways. 


Muesli is a ready-to-eat cereal that can either be eaten hot or cold. It’s made up primarily of oats and a variety of flakes, such as bran flakes or cornflakes.

Added to the grains are dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and other flavorings such as coconut or chocolate.

Muesli is actually more similar to granola than oatmeal, with the only real difference in the muesli vs granola realm being that granola is baked before being used, whereas muesli is raw.

Is Muesli Healthy?

Muesli can be incredibly healthy and chock full of nutrition, but it can also be a sugar-bomb that wreaks havoc on your glucose levels. 

If you make your own muesli so that you know exactly what is going in it, you can make sure to include a wide variety of healthful ingredients, such as raw nuts and seeds, coconut, and no-sugar-added dried fruits.

You can also monitor the amount and type of sweetener you add to it. We recommend Monk Fruit Sweetener.

If you’re purchasing a pre-made variety, check the nutrition label to decide for yourself how healthy it is. Look at the sugar to fiber ratio, which should be in favor of the fiber.

It will have some sugar, but check out the ingredients to see if that sugar is coming primarily from fruit, nuts, or even honey, or if it’s from less desirable sources, such as anything called “syrup” or “high-fructose.”  


As common as oats and oatmeal are across the world, many people still ask the question, is oatmeal porridge? The answer is a simple yes and no.

Oatmeal is a type of porridge, but not all porridge is oatmeal, though most people use the terms interchangeably.

Porridge is a hot cereal made of nearly any grains, legumes, or even vegetables, whereas oatmeal is, by definition, made from oats. The oats can be of any variety, including steel-cut, rolled, or quick oats. 

How to Make Oatmeal

The most common way to eat oats is to cook them in milk or water and make oatmeal. Depending on the type of oats you have, you may need to cook them longer or soak them first.

Here are a few specific varieties that get asked about often:

  1. How to make steel cut oats: steel cut oats are hearty and nuttier than their more finely processed relations, which make them perfect to cook in batches.
    • For a deeper flavor, toast them first in a dry pan on your stovetop.
    • Use 1 cup of oats for every 4 cups of liquid, either water, milk, or a combination of the two. Simmer with a tiny bit of salt and butter or coconut oil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. How to make oatmeal stovetop: If you want heartier, textured oatmeal, use rolled oats. If you prefer creamier, mushier oatmeal, use quick oats. Either way, bring your water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and then add your oats.
    • Use ¼ cup to ½ cup oats per serving and double the amount of water. Add your milk and toppings after your oatmeal is cooked, which takes about 4 minutes at a simmer with relatively frequent stirring.
  3. How to cook oats in the microwave: Rolled oats and quick oats are cut into much thinner slices than steel cut oats so they can cook up nice and quickly in the microwave.
    • For a single serving, place ¼ cup of oats in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with milk or water, about ½ cup. Add any toppings like nuts, seeds, dried fruits, etc.
    • For rolled oats, cook for 2.5 minutes, keeping a close eye and stirring if it threatens to boil over the bowl. For quick oats, you only need 1 minute.
  4. How to cook oatmeal for weight loss: If weight loss is your goal, the most important rule is to avoid instant oatmeal that is full of sugar and other additives. Used rolled or steel cut oats to get the most fiber and protein and add natural toppings such as fresh berries and nuts, avoiding syrup, sugar, honey, and even dried fruits to cut back on the sugar.
  5. How to make oatmeal in milk: If you’re making oatmeal on the stove, you have to be very careful if you want to cook it in milk because milk will scald easily. You would be more successful cooking your oats in single servings in the microwave, as above, making sure it doesn’t boil over.
    • If you want to cook steel cut oats in milk, use your slow cooker on a low setting overnight, using a ratio of 1:4.

Benefits of Oats

Both muesli and oatmeal have their basis in oats, so you’ll enjoy the benefits no matter what you fill your bowl with in the morning. 

Oats Nutrition – 100g

Calories 389

Grams Daily Value (DV)
Fat 6.9 11%
Carbohydrates 66.3 22%
Sugar ~
Fiber 10.6 42%
Protein 16.9 34%
Thiamin (B1)
Pantothenic Acid (B5)
Folate (B9)

As you can see from the chart above, oats are very respectable plant-based sources of a wide variety of nutrition.

They take care of all your macros in a well-balanced way, especially considering the high fiber count, they’re a good source of nearly all the B-vitamins and they’re high in multiple minerals that are essential for your overall health.

Thanks to these various nutrients, as well as plenty of antioxidants, oats have been shown to lower blood pressure, balance cholesterol, improve blood sugar response, and promote good gut health. 

They also have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties which make them uniquely suited to ease skin irritations as well. Oats benefits for skin have been noticed by many cosmetics companies who now include finely ground oats in their formulations.

You can get the same soothing benefits by wrapping a ½ cup of dry oats in cheesecloth and security with an elastic and soaking in warm water with the oat bundle. 

If you’re interested in learning even more about oats, we’ve written a complete guide over here: Ground Oats: The Complete Guide

Related Questions

Can I eat oatmeal every day?

You can absolutely eat oatmeal every day. Millions of people around the world start their days with oatmeal as a way to help them power through their morning without losing energy or getting hungry before their lunch break.

Even if you have the opportunity to stop and snack, a hearty bowl of oatmeal will help you stick to your diet plans and keep you regular, healthy, and completely satisfied during the process.

The best thing about oatmeal is that you can make it new each day, adding different toppings to change up your routine.

Berries and cocoa powder one day, and maple syrup and walnuts the next.

What are the best muesli brands?

The best selling brand of muesli on Amazon is Low Karb Keto Vanilla + Strawberry Nut Granola Mix.

Keto is a massive trending search term and this undoubtedly has affected the sales and ranking of the muesli, because if you look at the ratings, it’s clear that the long-standing muesli winner is from Bob’s Red Mill, specifically their Old Country Style Muesli Cereal that they promise tastes equally good hot or cold.

Somewhere in the middle of these two is HighKey Keto Granola. It’s marketed as Keto friendly and it has stood the test of time, with more than 1000 ratings (compared to Low Karb’s 89) that average out to a very pleased 4.5 stars.

What are the best oatmeal brands?

There are three clear winners for this title, for unique reasons.

The best oatmeal in terms of availability, choice, and sheer market ownership is without a doubt Quaker Oats. This brand has been around since the dawn of the modern food industry and it’s not going anywhere soon. They have a wide selection of oatmeal options and can be purchased just about anywhere in the world.

If you’re searching for a high-quality brand that puts their own personal touch into everything they do, Bob’s Red Mill and Nature’s Path are tied for the best quality oatmeal brand. They are dedicated to their customers, also provide a good selection of oatmeal options, and focus on quality ingredients and manufacturing processes over mass manufacturing.

One Comment

  1. I am interested in your statement:
    “Oatmeal is eaten hot, though oats themselves can be eaten raw or in a variety of other ways.”
    Are there any pros or cons to eating raw oats?

    I look forward to your reply.

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